By Usman Abdullahi Koli
Who knows how much and how far a simple kind gesture can go to make a difference? I often ask myself this question whenever I see people in need of a shoulder to cry on. Civilisation has, perhaps, switched us into ‘mind your business’, ‘me and my family,’ and individualistic lifestyle. This has dealt negatively with our norm and humanity. A clear illustration is extending a helping hand to someone who stumbles and falls. This is the simplest form of humanity. Service humanity will in no way harm us. Rather, it creates strong bond among people.
“This should be obvious, but there are so many people out there who seem to forget how much of a difference kindness makes. When people are kind to each other, it’s contagious. Kindness breeds kindness and there’s nothing wrong with that. I believe it takes energy to be, so why bother?”
Humanity is described as state of being compassionate, brotherly love, humaneness, kind-heartedness, consideration, understanding, sympathy, tolerance, goodness, etc. I relate this to what the Yoruba call ‘omoluabi’. When a man exhibits humility, kindness and compassion, he’s described as omoluabi. The definition of humanity is the entire human race or the characteristics that belong uniquely to human beings, such as kindness, mercy and sympathy. An example of humanity is treating someone with kindness: The quality of being humane; benevolence.
Humanity means helping others at times when they need that help the most. Humanity means forgetting your selfish interests at times when others need your help. Humanity means extending unconditional love to every living being on earth.
Humanity or rather kindness, simply means to help others who are under you in every aspect of life. As history teaches us, for the past three to four decades, the way and manner our elders lived with each other in terms of discipline, kindness and sympathy to each other differs from the way we view things in this modern or technology-driven world.
Looking at the current situation of the country, specifically as poverty hits our lives, the haves find it hard to help the have-nots. The wealthy individuals have failed to be the best set of people their kinds were – 30 years back. We are not the same people we used to be, a century ago. Compassion is a concept of mutation; once it is lost there is no claiming it back.
Somehow, mercy and sympathy have gradually eroded us. That’s why we lost respect for the elders; even some parents have not been receiving parental treatment from their children. You cannot help a person in need, yet you would be quick to attend his funeral where you will present bags of rice. This is nothing, but hypocrisy. And since no religion takes the issue of humanity lightly, there is the need for all of us to uphold our faith.
I could remember a time when our grandfathers would sit under the shade of a tree with their neighbours to take their lunch and dinner. Every house with its own dish and all would be arranged for feast. He who has no means of feeding was always welcomed and would be treated with utmost respect. There was no discrimination as to who was poor or rich. Immediately after eating, chats follow.
Then every child felt his father’s mate as his own father, and every father considered the son of his neighbour’s as his. Whenever I reminiscence of those moments, I am often filled with mix feelings of euphoria and nostalgia.
I think Anne Lamott says it best: “Gratitude begins in our hearts and then dovetails into behaviour. It almost always makes you willing to be of service, which is where the joy resides. It means that you are willing to stop being such a jerk. When you are aware of all that has been given to you, in your lifetime and the past few days, it is hard not to be humbled, and pleased to give back.”
You can optimise your own life, and encourage others to emulate. Be kind, care about and help others, use everyday like it’s your last to breath and forgive, these can help in restoring the lost humanity. We need to think long and deep. We need to revive former version of ourselves.
• Usman Abdullahi Koli, writes from Mass Communication Department, Abubakar Tatari Ali Polytechnic, Bauchi. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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