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21.04.2019 Feature Article

Dear Old Folk, You’re Old And We Know; We’re Just Asking For What’s Rightful! (Part II)

Dear old folk,

As I have explained in earlier submissions the reality that nature and culture has placed you in a position of advantage over younger ones is well established. But another reality is that the young ones are ‘smarter’ than you were at their age. They may not have the benefit of your experience but they have their own experiences that make them different from you. So stop making it appear that you are ‘better’ by virtue of your being on earth days, months, or years before them.

Yes, you are better in your own right (thanks to nature and culture including religion). But young ones are better in their own right too. If you don’t agree with me on this I have a simple question for you. Why do older folks find it tough understanding and learning to use technology? Take mobile phone for example. Why do older people almost always call younger ones to assist them in things as simple as recharging airtime or saving and finding contacts or switching from silent to ring? Is it that they don’t want to learn new technology or they think learning and becoming familiar with it isn’t entirely necessary? I doubt.

My writings are mostly inspired by everyday experience with people and this one is no exception. I had an ‘encounter’ (I would explain the encounter in subsequent submissions) with some provision shop owners some months ago (I would guess they were couples because they thought and acted alike and were from the same generation). After the encounter I could figure only one conclusion. They thought they should be right because they were older than me. They couldn’t wrap their heads around why and how a relatively younger person like me should be suggesting to them or perhaps ordering the around.

The interesting twist was that I was their customer and that didn’t appear to matter to them at all (I wasn’t surprised anyway; I was only shocked at how uncivilized they were at their ages). They were just interested in showing me they were older enough to be my parents. I bet I would have pointed to them that my parents were over 70 years then so they could at best be my siblings (they would have cursed me!). Recently, three subordinates at my former company mustered courage to ask me of my age. And I could see the surprise on their faces when they heard I was younger than all of them (I’m sure they were asking so: this was the ‘small boy’ that was ordering us around?).

When will this belief and perception that younger people are irresponsible, unwise, good for nothing, and so on stop? Who told you age always makes one wiser, responsible, or good for something?

The issue is very simple: young ones are (and should be) smarter than older folks. If not so how will humanity develop? Nature will always present new challenges and opportunities and it takes smartness to seize the opportunities even in the midst of challenges. If we stick to the ways of ‘yestergenerations’ how can we develop? Naturally it wouldn’t happen that people from different generations will think and act alike. A generation should be different from the ones before and after it. However, society can slow down this tendency for young ones to be better versions of old people and not their photocopies.

This is what is happening in Ghana. Culture, religion, and our collective conscience is not allowing the natural course of human development to occur. We are slowing down our own progress just to maintain the status quo. This is a danger that has culminated in a timed bomb of mediocrity, inferiority complex, timidity, sycophancy, dumbness, ineptitude and so on. Let’s hope the remnants of this explosion don’t affect the next generation.

By: Mustapha Bin Usman

The author is a writer, entrepreneurship expert, business and life coach, entrepreneur, farmer, trainer, and teacher. You may contact him via email: [email protected] or on Mobile/ WhatsApp: +233 246 134 798 or visit his Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/theusmanconsulting/

Mustapha Bin Usman
Mustapha Bin Usman, © 2019

This author has authored 9 publications on Modern Ghana.
Author column: MustaphaBinUsman

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