Tuesday 31 May 2016


Blacked pot and kettle.
Image: In-Sights

A while back, I spent some time with some missionaries in Zaria. The house was a warm and loving environment where one couldn’t help but feel at home. It was a family of 5, with the only female in the house being the mum. The boys are between the ages of 7 and 13.

Though they were 5, you would never find just 5 people in the house. There is always any number of people at any given time in that house, whether they are living there or just passing by like I was. What should have been a two day visit ended up being a four day visit.

It was on one of those days that something remarkable happened.

The kids were having their breakfast while their mother studied in the living room. I was doing some chores inside when I heard the boys arguing. They were, like most boys that age, putting down their female classmates. The conversation went thus;

Mummy, the girls in our class as SOOOO dirty!’ the second son said.

‘And very annoying!’, the third son punctuated.

Their mother looked up from her books and asked why they said so. Since I was out of view of the boys, I stopped what I was doing to hear the argument. And no, it was not because they were bashing girls….or maybe it was.

The boys described situations where the girls would sit together at lunch break, all eating from each student’s food warmers until they were all done. They went further to say the girls ate with their hands like ‘local people’ and that they didn’t even bother to wash their hands before doing so. The breaking point for the boys was that the girls would leave the place they ate messy and disgusting.

I held back a chuckle as their mother chided them. She told them they were no different from the girls in their class. She reminded them that she had to pick up after them whenever they came home, ate or studied. The boys were not pleased with their mother’s stand and said she always supports women. Their mother said she only spoke the truth.

The back and forth made between mother and sons got me thinking.

We (generally) judge people harsher than we do ourselves. Let me use a relationship to make my point. When couples fight, it is always about what the other person did and never about what you did. Adam blamed Eve who in turn blamed the snake. President Buhari and the ruling government blame the previous administration for everything wrong with the country. Husbands blame their wives if their children turn out poorly and mothers blame society for corrupting their children.

Why do we judge people harsher than we do ourselves? Why don’t we take the blame for our contributing actions to problems? Why couldn’t Adam say, ‘Father, I did wrong. I am sorry.’ Why couldn’t Eve say, ‘Father, I convinced my husband to go against your word. Forgive me’. Why can’t Buhari say that Nigeria has problems but he came in ill-prepared for them? Shouldn’t a father say, ‘I play a role in ensuring my children turn out well and if they don’t I take some blame?’

I want to assume that we were created with an innate desire to blame ourselves less but that will scratch out my entire ‘choice’ ideology. However, I do believe we view the world through clear glasses and ourselves through jaded ones. And it is not just with bad things. We always see the grass as being greener on the other side. The question is, why?

As I pondered on these things, I finished my chores and went in to rest. I was brought out of my reverie when I heard the mother shouting at the boys.

Turned out, the boys left their plates where they ate, with pieces of food strewn about and the entire living room in disarray. It was a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black.

Who would have thought yeah?

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