Last week, a friend asked me a question so many people must have been meaning to ask me but have not just because they haven’t had the chance or are, perhaps, scared of what my response might be.
I had just returned from a four-day camp; Operation Salvage where I took pictures with most of my secondary schools mates and juniors who came for the program. It was a joy seeing those guys again. We laughed together. We joked. We had fun. We had harsh talks too. When they were to leave on Sunday, I didn’t was them to. My unserious eyes refused to shed tears but it almost did. I took as many pictures as possible with them before they left for FGC Ogbomoso. It was one of these pictures at this friend of mine saw that prompted him to ask the question: ‘Why are you so attached to your secondary school?’
It was not just a question. It was an UNEXPECTED question. He asked as though it was not something that he expected from me or anybody at all; as though by being attached to my secondary school, I am showing a kind of weakness or lack of emotional control that he did not expect from someone like me.
I know this question is not his alone. It is a question many of my friends might have wanted to ask but have not asked due to reasons best known to them. Some regard my attachment as a sign of laziness and apses it as a temporary thing that will fade away once I get busy. Some have said, while I was writing short stories about my secondary school before I got admitted to the university that I was doing so because I was idle and had nothing to doing at home. What a reason! Some saw it and still see it as a sign of weakness; a sign that I was to weak to get over secondary school life and move on. Some see it as a sign of childishness and say I will soon grow out of it an or grow into senses.
The thing is, these are all wrong beliefs. I have been admitted now and as busy as s bee and that had not stopped me from looking back, shedding tears, writing stories and giving thanks to God for the three years I spent in Fego (Federal Government College, Ogbomoso.)
Back to my friend. He did not ask this question rhetorically. Hr certainly expected an answer. And I gave him one, immediately.
‘Why are you so attached to your secondary school (Fego)?’
‘Because that school made me. It shaped me. It kind of changed me and made me who I am today.’
‘Before nko?’He continued. ‘Isn’t that what a school is meant to do? To change us and make us better?’
He missed it there. He was right. School is meant to make us better, to impact us with knowledge. However, he missed the fact that this is not something that can be done forcefully. This is not something that can be done with threats. This is where this popular saying comes in: You can take a horse to the river but you can’t force it to drink.
To get the best out of a place, an activity, a camp, a conference, a convention, a school; you need to open up your heart. You need to be ready to learn. You need to humble yourself. You to accept the fact that you are there in that school, that meeting, that convention, anywhere, everywhere; to learn and to leave a better person. That way, you will be able to get the best out of the meeting.
In explaining this to my friend, I told him about my junior secondary school. Probably most of you don’t even know I attended another secondary school apart from FGC Ogbomoso. Why? Because I never talk about it. Why? Because there is nothing to talk about. Why?
Now, this is not because this school is a bad school or I didn’t have good teachers. It was a fine school. There are people whose lives had a turnaround while they were in this same school that I have nothing to write about. There are people who will be forever grateful to that school for changing their lives, for making them a netter person. Why? Because, while in that school, they opened up their heart to change, to correction, learning, edification. This is something I did not do in my junior secondary school. I was not ready for a better life then. I was not ready to be changed, to be blessed, to be impacted. I did not open up my heart for edification. And as a result, I left the school worse than I entered. Whose fault? Mine.
This is not to say that there are some schools who kill change, who kill morale and morals, who make you worse, whose teachers are no good. There are. But still, if you don’t open your heart to these ones, who won’t be influenced badly.
Everything boils down to the topic: your heart. There are some of my mates who had met their change before they came to Fego. There are so many of my mates who did not meet theirs while in Fego and left worse. These guys chose this for themselves. You don’t have to come to my school to be a great person. You don’t have to have the same teachers I had to be able to write success story or share your testimony yo the world. You only have to be receptive. To be open minded. To be ready to be impacted. To be open for edification. To be ready to learn. And I tell you, you’ll leave that place you are a better person. Cheers.