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Opinions Thu, 3 Jun 2010

The Abandoned Treasure

I have no doubts at all that Dorothy Canfield Fisher; an educational reformer, social activist, and best-selling American author in the early decades of the twentieth century, did not mince words at all when she said that: ‘A mother is not just a person to lean on but a person who makes leaning unnecessary’. In the Ghanaian society, past and present, this quotation is like a time tested tradition which always lives up to its billing. The uncommon affection and love that mothers demonstrate towards their children, speaks volumes about God’s special help meet for a man .No wonder the saying: ‘Behind every successful woman there is a woman’ has become a well worn cliché across the length and breadth of this country, that the ordinary primary school pupil can even recite without a sigh.

I have personally grown up to believe that a true mother is the greatest asset that anyone can find on earth. In our society today there are a lot of true life stories on how most mothers have endured all forms of pain, suffering and shame in order to find a place for their children to stand in life. Indeed, there are several mothers have either sold a cloth(s), engaged in a menial job or have stretched forth open palms to secure the future of their ward(s).Nevertheless upon all this and other countless sacrifices that

mothers continue to make, my worry lies in the fact that mothers are often despised and rejected by the very people for whom they have raised through thick and thin. I heard a true story about Maame Afua, her husband Mr. Akoto and their son Papa Yaw (Please kindly take note that these are not the real names of the parties involved).After the couple had failed to settle a quarrel that broke up between them, a divorce became the last resort although their son was only two years old by then. Although Mr. Akoto catered for his son after the break up, Maame Afua’s refusal to allow him to adopt their son finally became the last straw that broke the camel’s back. Mr. Akoto stopped discharging his duties as a father leaving Maame Afua with a burden too hard to bear. Even though such a decision seems very baffling, it appears as a dominant trait of most fathers in our societies in recent times. Life became not just unbearable to Maame Afua and his son but simply a wicked hurricane that struck them with utter dismay.

It was William Shakespeare, that; “when sorrows come they come not single spies but in battalions”. Aside all the difficulties that Maame Afua was experiencing as a single mother, the unfortunate thing happened when a wicked fire gutted their residence with her son trapped in it. Maame Afua shouted several times for help but to no avail. In agony and pain, she hurriedly passed through the naked fire to the rescue of her child. She later bounced out of the room within some few minutes with her wrapped in a cloth in her bosom but her face subjected to severe torture by the fire. The once attractive Maame Afua who caught the eyes of every Youngman has turned into something else. But with her determination, a poor facial disposition could not stop her. She kept pressing on by engaging in all forms of degrading jobs in order to make ends meet as well as gather enough for her son’s education.

Immediately after completing his university education, Papa Yaw was lucky to get a very lucrative job with one of the top marketing firms in the country. Although he could have rented an apartment, he had decided to do that in three months time and so was still leaving with his mother. Papa Yaw started avoiding his mother’s presence due to her looks. Any time his friends visited their house; Papa Yaw never made the attempt to introduce her mother but will quickly his visitors at a cafeteria near their house. This attitude continued for a long time until Maame Afua got fed up with her son’s attitude. On one fateful day, whiles Papa Yaw was chatting with his friends outside as usual, Maame Afua suddenly burst onto the scene. Immediately, one of Papa Yaw’s folks shouted on top of his voice: ‘Papa Yaw your Laundry Woman wants to see you’ unknown to him that Maame Afua could understand and speak good English being a six former. Maame Afua could not simply control the pain that pierced her heart as tears run down her cheeks. She asked to be excused for some time after which she returned with photographs of her former self. She then narrated to Papa Yaw’s friends how she had lost her facial beauty after going to rescue a son (who now denies her) from the fire. Papa Yaw who sat motionless throughout her mother’s narration went on bended knees and pleaded for his mother’s forgiveness. What a pity?

It is no gain saying that this story is only one out of a million instances. There are countless number of well to do men and women in our society who are where there are as a result of the selfless sacrifice their mothers did for them. Yet they end up catering poorly for them and even go to the extent of accusing their mothers of being witches. The place of mothers in the life of every individual can never be denied. They are a true pillar to lean on. Apostle Paul in 1 Thessalonians 2:7 describes the relationship love of the apostles by comparing it to a mother’s love. Hear him: ‘But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherishes her children’. No wonder when Prince Nico Mbarga the highlife musician, born to a Nigerian mother and a Cameroonian father sung "Sweet Mother”, it rose to became one of the top selling in the history of Nigerian music.

Although 9th May is gone, each one of us must remember that we owe a duty to make every day a memorable one for our mothers. Give sweet mum a happy treat every day and if possible tell her those three magic: ‘I Love You’.

Columnist: Manu, Kofi