• Thursday, April 18, 2024
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BusinessDay

It’s never been about where you’re coming from

It’s never been about where you’re coming from

She flunked her exams yet again. He and some of his siblings just couldn’t understand why their old man would insist on sending his driver’s daughter to an expensive private school when there were so many perfectly good (okay, maybe not so perfect) public schools around.

When they accost their dad, he would mumble something about some of his children not being too academic either and how if it wasn’t for the intervention of God and securing a government scholarship, he would have remained in his village and, at most, might have been lucky to be crowned village champion one day. Well, as luck would have it (at least that’s how his children saw it), Motunrayo was asked to leave by the school as it had become so obvious that she couldn’t cope. The children’s celebration over this didn’t last long, though.

Barely a year later, and much to their chagrin, their dad, stubborn as ever, went ahead to register Motunrayo’s younger sister at Babcock University High School too! The famous Ekiti ‘agidi’ (stubbornness) is real. Anyway, yes, Ebun (real name Withheld) showed promise academically, but why spend so much on her education? Would people not agree he had tried, even if he sponsored her to a public school? His children just couldn’t understand it.

Fast forward a few years, and Ebun graduated from Babcock University High School at the top of her class. Fast forward another 4 years, and Ebun graduated from Babcock University with a 1st Class in Accounting. Thankfully, by this time, his children had matured somewhat and had acquired a completely different perspective on life. Ironically, Ebun has now become the pride of them all. Not least, because she also happened to be the very first person from the old man’s household to earn a first-class degree!

Q: “You may not have had much say regarding your background, but your future is almost entirely in your own hands, as it really depends on what you do with the lemons.”

There is a wise saying that what’s most important is not where you are coming from, but where you are going. You may not have had much say regarding your background, but your future is almost entirely in your own hands, as it really depends on what you do with the lemons. Or what you do with the silver spoon. Both can be equally destructive, depending on what you do with them.

Ebun was soon snapped up by one of Nigeria’s biggest banks, which tirelessly searches for the country’s brightest, and she went on to clear her ICAN (Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria) exams while remaining in full-time employment. And in the process, may I add, completely redirecting her family’s trajectory from one of penury to one of hope?

Just because someone along the line cared. Some years later, she resigned from the bank to further her studies and sponsored herself to a US Ivy League university, where she is currently pursuing an MBA. For Ebun and her lineage, the future has never looked so bright. For me, I learned some life-changing lessons because I happened to have been right there. Lend a helping hand when you can. And make the most of the opportunities that come your way, as they may never come your way again.

But the cardinal lesson I learned from my dad in this story above is that he saw wisdom in adhering to the Greek proverb, which says, “A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they shall never sit.” I’m so glad that he listened to the voice of God rather than to me and some of my siblings.

But there’s one more thing that I learned. I came to understand that, in very practical terms, education means taking your destination into your own hands and not waiting to see what fate will throw at you. Ebun did just that, and it changed her life forever.

Changing the nation, one mind at a time.