The shouts of “Up Nepa” rented the air as I ate my indomie (every typical Nigerian knows it is indomie not noodles wink) and egg. In their homes, spread across Rayfield, these kids screamed. I suppressed a chuckle even as I continued eating. Then, the questions came to my mind, “how did these children recognize that term?”
For more than a decade, NEPA (National Electric Power Authority) had been changed to PHCN (Power Holding Company of Nigeria), but these kids never shout “Up PHCN”. Who indoctrinates these kids into saying the same words, with the same gleeful disposition we had when we were like them? Slowly, the answers began to be whispered to me by my senior partner. The Holy Spirit said, “Your answer lies in the unofficial culture of the home.”
These activities have been subconsciously adopted as the norm by the parents in the home. The set of words and exclamations that parents have continually repeated within the home.
The set of character traits that the parents exhibit when they are away from the scrutinizing eyes of the public. Yes, all these constitute the unofficial culture of the home. The culture of constant swearing or blessings that the children inherit from their parents. The culture of entitlement or gratitude that the parents showcase to themselves. The culture of charity or selfishness is seen in the parent’s words and actions. The culture of giving up or dogged persistence at pursuing goals, which the children learn from their parents. The culture of spiritual growth through prayers, study and thanksgiving or laxity which the parents showcase in their personal lives.
Society is formed from the family. All the values we desire to see in the political and social fabric are formed from the family. Herein lies the lesson, we must consciously work on building our unofficial culture. Consciously decide to be the same person indoors and outdoors. Consciously decide to live by what we preach and stop trying to remove the little needle in the eyes of others while we walk around with large woods in ours.
John Maxwell said that true leadership is done by influence. There is no greater form of influence than our actions. Beyond what we say we must live the life we wish to see in those whom we lead.
The sudden upsurge in ritual killings and internet fraud is nothing but a reflection of the failure of the family system. We must, as a people do better if we desire to see a better nation. The Africa of our dreams begins in the smallest unit of our society – the family. Let us be parents by examples, aunties and uncles who reflect the right structure.
Dear friends, your kids and family learn much more than “Up Nepa” from you. They consciously model their lives to reflect the unofficial culture of your home. Be watchful! Isaiah 50:4 mentions how we should know how to speak words in seasons. Indeed the power of life and death is in our tongue, we must learn to guide our words and actions if we must be leaders worthy of any emulation.