So… last night, I remembered something that happened on Valentine’s Day.
Now, I was at dinner that night, and couldn’t help but observe the two couples at the table next to me. The men were obviously friends, and they had brought their wives out on a double date to celebrate Valentine’s Day.
All night long, these two guys talked about nothing but football. Liverpool and Man City and Sallah and Solksjaer. In fact, by the time they left, I knew every single story George Addo Jnr could possibly have to share on the following day’s Sports Centre.
Through it all, the wives exchanged looks with each other, conveying all manner of emotions, from boredom to irritation to frustration to downright anger – all of which were totally justified! Just imagine.
After months of cleaning up after the kids (and their fathers), cooking, washing, bathing, screaming, shouting, stressing, probably while juggling their own careers too, on the one night that they get to go out on a “romantic” date with their husbands, the guys want to spend the whole night talking about flaming football? How annoying!
So then, I started thinking about all the men and women around the country who were also out that night, probably for the only time this year. I thought about those who were receiving their only presents for the year, because their spouses would probably forget their birthdays again. Those enjoying their first and last massage, chocolates, roses – or even sex – for the year, What a tragedy to live with someone you love but only shows it once a year!
The more I thought about this, the more I realised that we all tend to do exactly that – not only with love, but with all the important things in our lives. We’re only Christians on Sundays. For the rest of the week, we gossip, lie, bribe, steal, and abuse each other like we’ve never seen a Bible before.
We only seek to improve our lives on New Year’s Eve. For the rest of the year, we just go back to the exact same habits that have taken us nowhere for so many years.
We only love Ghana when the Black Stars are playing. The rest of the time, we insult, malign and defame our nation as corrupt, backward, uneducated, underdeveloped, a failed state.
As a nation, we only celebrate our “Ghanaianness” and patriotism on Independence Day. For the rest of the year, we buy imported goods that kill our economy, farm out our greatest brains to foreign governments and companies, and give our government contracts to multinationals to execute.
We only celebrate farmers on Farmers’ Day. For the rest of the year, they are the poor, smelly, illiterate, village-dwelling labourers, whose place is in the rural areas, where they won’t kick up too much of a fuss about not being paid on time and in full, for their cocoa.
Politicians spend one month in any election year paying attention to the people’s needs. Once they win, they spend the next three years and 11 months paying attention to their own needs.
It’s actually very serious when you think about it. We have proven that we are not willing to do the right thing in any aspect of our lives. All we are willing to do is pay lip service to it on special occasions.
Nelson Mandela said, “The excellent life is not lived by countable good deeds, but by uncountable good thoughts.”
Famously philosophical American Basketball coach, John Wooden said, “The true test of a man’s character is what he does when nobody is watching”
My friends, it seems we are only interested in the headlines and not the story. We are only interested in the vehicle and not the journey. We want the wedding, but not the marriage. We want the baby, but not the soiled nappies.
It’s time we start managing our own expectations. It’s time we had a quiet word with ourselves about the realities of life. Whatever we dream of doing, we must do it every single day – not only on special occasions; on every occasion in-between.
How will you become a singer if you don’t sing every day? Or a footballer without daily practice? You want to be excellent? Be excellent every moment of your life. Not just when it’s expected, and not only when people are watching.
With every thought, you must move yourself closer to your goal. Every thought. Not just the ones you have at work when the Boss is watching you. Every thought. Start now, and never stop.
My name is Kojo Yankson, and every day is Farmer’s New Year Valentine’s Christmas Day.
GOOD MORNING, GHANAFO!