"Agwoichitemmeke-temmenkwekajéd (The child with a failure-to-thrive syndrome is seldom reminded to cry)"
The word “nkwek” is here translated as failure to thrive and among the Annang, a child that failed to reach certain developmental milestones was so classified. A combination of things contributed to children failing to attain certain developmental tasks. Malnutrition was one and so was having another sibling in quick succession. With attention paid to the newborn, the older child often had less attention and with limited mobility would often cry for attention. The people thought that it was natural for children with this condition to cry, and so the saying arose that those who experienced developmental issues were naturally prone to crying. No one enjoys seeing the child cry but the child certainly knows from experience how to get the attention of the adults around him or her. The important lesson conveyed by the saying was not in the wrong observation, but in the fact that experience polishes use and practice makes perfect.
Mathew Arnold, the nineteenth century English Poet, advised his contemporaries this way: “Use your gifts faithfully, and they shall be enlarged; practice what you know, and you shall attain to higher knowledge.” No one increases his or her skill without frequent use as most things in life follow the simple pattern of use-it-or-loose-it-rule. No matter what your talents may be, if those talents are not put to use they become diminished and eventually lost. It follows therefore, that as we procrastinate and cut corners, and as we look for the easy ways to avoid taking on the hard work, we lose our abilities to hone the skills that would make us better at what we do.
What talents do you have and how are you putting it to use? Are you using it faithfully or are you abandoning it for other things. We all have different gifts and what makes some successful and others not so successful is that some have developed their talents and have become better at what they do, while others do not pay attention to the gifts and graces that they have. Has someone admired your writing? Has anyone said you painted something good? Have you been complimented for your public speaking skills? What was your favorite subject in school? Do you dance or sing well? Whatever you do and whatever you think you do well, if you devote time for it and if you keep on practicing, such gifts are capable of being enlarged. It is practice and experience that makes perfect. As you step into the last month of the year, do not give up.
Adede (Dr.) Ezekiel Ette
For Annang Writers Association (A division of Annang Heritage Preservation Inc.)
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DISCLAIMER: Views expressed here are solely that of the author and do not represent the official position of Annang Heritage Preservation Inc. or any of its affiliate