What happens now affects what happens later. This is a simple law of nature.

Welcome to Monday morning. A new week is ahead of you. How your Monday begins can affect how your entire week unfolds, so the content of the next three minutes can affect the quality of the next seven days. Well, it’s a good thing I have something positive for us to think about, and – oh, what a coincidence – it shouldn’t take much more than three minutes.

How does it feel when you rush into a washroom, only to discover that the person who was there before you didn’t flush? How does it feel, as you stand there with your desperate need to comfortably use the facilities thwarted by somebody’s floating parcel of excremental negligence. And sometimes, it’s not even in one piece. Sometimes it’s all over the place in some nightmarish “shipitsii” pattern that will require copious amounts of Dettol to sanitize.

I bet you ask yourself all kinds of questions about whoever the culprit may be: “How can people be so thoughtless? So they didn’t have 2 seconds to flush the loo before they left? Don’t they have any manners? Who raised them? Don’t they think of others””

It seems like such a simple thing, doesn’t it? Just leave the place in the same condition you met it. How difficult can that be? Well, don’t be so quick to judge, because in many ways, we are all being totally inconsiderate of those who will come after us.

Remember your last day in high school? Or in University? Did you carve your name in the furniture? Did you paint your nickname on the wall? Did you throw some school equipment out of the window, or over the balcony? Were you thinking about the next batch of students who will not get to use these things you were vandalising?

When you move out of an apartment, what state do you leave it in? Would you be happy to rent a place in that condition?

When you’re driving and you roll down your glass to throw out the pure water sachet into the gutter, are you thinking of the family nearby whose home and property will get soaked the next time it rains and the drains get choked?

What is our role at work? Do you remember your first week, when you were reading through your predecessor’s incomprehensible handover notes? When you saw the mess he had made of the filing system? When you wondered how anyone could expect you to function in such a jungle? That was because the person who did your job before you didn’t really care about you. So how about you? Do you care about the next person? Do you try to leave things better than you found them?

Pastor Mensah Otabil talks of Generational Thinkers. People who find solutions to the problems of their day, rather than pass them on to their children to grapple with. In our own small way, we need to evolve into Generational Thinkers.

As individuals, when we park our cars, we need to remain within the lines, so that when others come, they can also use the remaining parking spaces.

As a community, we need to stop sitting around, waiting for the government to come and stop us from blocking our gutters with rubbish, because when the gutters spill over and become mosquito-breeding ponds, whose children will get malaria first – ours or our leaders’?

As politicians, we need to stop sowing seeds of conflict with the politics of insults that we use to incite people against each other, because if it degenerates into a war, we will have no nation to bequeath our children.

As a nation, we need to stop borrowing money at ridiculous terms, doing it without the prick of our conscience because we know it’ll be up to our children to pay them back.

We need to start taking responsibility for our successes and failures as individuals. as communities, as businesses, and as a nation, because our choices today, will shape our children’s future.

Let’s make a positive impact on our surroundings for the future generations. Let’s solve today’s problems today, so our children will at least stand a fighting chance of solving their own problems tomorrow, without having to worry about ours too. Let’s not leave our problems unsolved, floating in the WC of our children’s future. 

My name is Kojo Yankson, and by the time I leave this world, it MUST be better than I found it.