For those of us born with silver spoons in our mouths, there could not have been a better caution than, "No condition is permanent," Fred said with tears in his eyes.
Fred's parents were fabulously rich. They both occupied high positions in government and had property scattered all over the country.
As their only child, Fred's parents did not only adore him but cherished him for his intelligence and exceptional brilliance. He was streets ahead of his classmates and topped every examination in school.
As a result of his academic prowess, he caught the attention of many people, especially his schoolmates and teachers. His friends actually worshipped him.
Money meant nothing to Fred and he spent it lavishly. He had everything that a child could dream of. Quite often he paid for his friends to watch movies and spent time at entertainment spots. In no time, his friends began to influence him negatively.
At school, he started smoking and drinking heavily and disregarded school rules with impunity. He flouted almost every school rule and treated school authorities with outright disdain.
He started absenting himself from class and his notoriety attracted several instances of suspension. The dramatic turn in his character started taking its toll on his schoolwork.
Concerned family members who dared to advise him were usually snubbed.
Fred had countless advice sessions with the Guidance and Counselling Department but all fell on deaf ears. Instead, he taunted the school counsellor.
During one of the numerous sessions, the counsellor lost his temper and rained curses on Fred, who grew mad, as a result, and nearly assaulted the teacher.
That act of gross disrespect angered the school authorities and they did not hesitate to announce his dismissal from school.
That fateful day the President, determined to purge the country of corruption, took the nation by surprise. He announced the removal from office of some ministers of state and top civil servants who had mismanaged state money and abused their office.
A special committee was set up to investigate and recommend to the government the necessary action to be taken against those ministers.
Fred's parents were among those arrested and put on trial. They were found guilty and sentenced to several years imprisonment.
All their assets, both movable and immovable, were confiscated by the state because they were found to have been acquired with stolen state money.
Fred had nobody to turn to except his external family members. He, however, feared going to them for comfort and protection because of the way he had treated them with scorn in the past. His past insolence to the family head flashed through his mind.
When he realised that he had nowhere to go, Fred sobbed uncontrollably. Finally, he mustered courage and went to the family head who readily forgave and accepted him.
As Fred sat in a corner of a small clumsy room clustered with all manner of junk which had become his bedroom, he shed tears of misery. He remembered his happy moments and remarked, "Indeed, no condition is permanent."
So, as children, we should not disrespect the elderly because of our parents' wealth or what we have. It is best to work towards our own success, no matter the status of our parents in society.
We must also show respect to all because, indeed, no condition is permanent.
Story by: Esther Asantewaa,
Grace JSS, Berekum.