From Ogunjimi James Taiwo
“What force is more potent than love?” – Igor Stravinsky
The month of February is reffered to by many as the month of love. It is the only month in the year when people feel that they can show love to people. The 14th day of February stands out as the day when people get to show “love” to others.
Valentine’s day has different meanings to different people: * To some children, it means a day when parents are so endeared to each other that they have no time for the kids * To the secondary school children, it means a day when Valentine cards and love letters get passed around * To the higher institution students and youths generally, it is a day when lovers drag themselves to eateries and beaches, buy gifts for each other and end the day in each other’s beds. * To the married folks, it means a day when they remember their courting days and buy each other gifts * To the religious, it is a day when they are encouraged to love others as themselves.
But there is more to love than Valentine’s day show-off. Every day is a chance for us to show love. It isn’t about buying ourselves gifts; it is the motive behind the gifts. It isn’t about us visiting others on Vals day; it is a question of why we haven’t been visiting before.
If we are going to have a fulfilled Valentine’s day, we need to have a change of orientation. We don’t need to give for the sake of giving, we need to be determined to meet others’ specific needs.
TO AN ENEMY, GIVE LOVE
“Constant kindness can accomplish much. As the sun makes ice melt; kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust and hostility to evaporate- Albert Schweitzer
Valentine’s day is a chance for us to be friends with our enemies. When we realize that we are wrong, we should not hesitate to make amends. Like John Mason said, “We all need to say the right thing after doing the wrong thing.” Let us remember that a society where the citizens co-exist well makes everyone happy; it creates an atmosphere of love and peaceful co-existence for our children.
TO A FRIEND, GIVE ATTENTION
“The greatest gift you can give another is the purity of your attention.” – Richard Moss
So many people take friends for granted. We believe that he/she would understand. But even though, the friend may not speak up, deep down, there is a feeling of neglect. Valentine’s day is a day for us to right all the wrongs. Instead of going out to drink with total strangers, why can’t you just be available to the one who needs you? Instead of hiding under the guise of work, why can’t we take time to renew the vitality in our friendships?
TO SOMEONE WHO OFFENDED YOU, GIVE FORGIVENESS
“There is no revenge so complete as forgiveness.” – Josh Billings
There are so many of us who still carry the grudges of last year in our hearts. We have vowed never to forgive. But it’s true that when you refuse to forgive someone, he may be happy, but the heaviness in your heart makes you sad. Valentine’s day serves as the perfect opportunity to remove the heavy load you’ve been carrying. Remember the words of Paul Boese, “Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.”
TO THE NEEDY, GIVE
“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” – Norman MacEwan
The astonishing fact now is that more than half of the world are still below the poverty line. When we hear some incidents, we dismiss them as rumours. When we hear that robbers raided in a certain place, we are quick to condemn them as criminals. When we hear that some people committed sucide, we are quick to call them cowards who can’t make it in life. But do we ever stop to wonder why they do what they do? Do we ever think of it that we have means to help yet we don’t. Aren’t we people who have vacancies in our places of work yet will rather give the job as a part-time employment to our “family friend’s child” who has another job? Aren’t we people who would rather give their dogs food than give their housegirl/boy.
AND THE GOVERNMENT?
“Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love.” – Martin Luther King Jr
Valentine’s day is a day when we see some political leaders sharing foodstuffs on T.V. We see them visiting orphanages and the motherless homes. And we continue to wonder, do they hope to make up for their gross wickedness all year round with a day’s atonement? Nigerians have thrown off the garment of gullibility and such political propaganda won’t work again.
As Valentine’s gift from the government, Nigerians need Accountability, Transparency and Fulfilled promises, every other thing amounts to little. Also, as Nigerians, let’s remember that love is a debt we owe one another. Let us break down all forms of political, ethnic, tribal or religious barriers.