“If you keep water in your mouth for too long it turns into saliva.” – Akan proverb
They have always said they need ideas, the leaders and persons of interest. And we all agree that we new ideas and ideals to make our nation great and strong. It is ideas that offer us solutions to re-invent our lives; and to make them bigger and better and sweeter. As a developing nation ideas, and enchanting ideas at that, are the gateways to our economic liberation. They are the most vitalising energies we need for our developmental programmes and strategies. They are probably the most seductive force that can rouse us out of our zombie attitude. Without them, our lives will decided for us by other people. And that has been happening for too long for us. We need to climb out of that cycle.
Societies have progressed based on ideas and ideals that were so inspiring in sight and spirit, so enduring and classically enchanting that it took their breath away – forcing them to work toward achieving them. That is why we have to generate our own ideas. We need ideas, inspiring ones; probably a million new ideas to enchant us into changing our ways and our society. Ideas have a way of bewitching us, whether it is for the better or worse; but it is ideas that have always got humans to organise themselves efficiently.
Our daily efforts of trying to imagine what our lives ought to be; what kind of homes our houses should become; what education we should give our children and which one should the adults engage themselves in; what health system would be best for us; what values should drive all our social services, and many other aspirations, rest on ideas. Such is the importance of ideas.
Sadly, we seem to be lacking ideas. With the world being changed by ideas – and many ideals being implemented in other societies to improve lives, we are still employing the same old ways of doing things. It seems our understanding of ideas is to recycle our old ways over and over. For a nation with two-thirds of its population within the youth bracket, this is disturbing. We should be popping out ideas like we are celebrating posterity.
There is a reason we seem to be a people without ideas. Many of us have become idea-killers. We are quick to rubbish concepts we do not understand – and the worst part is we do not even take time to try understanding them. When we do not hear certain words and phrases in the presentations of others, we close our ears to whatever they are saying.
But ideas come with their own language. Many times, they are so strange they sound like gibberish. What we should strive to appreciate is the imagination through which those ideas have passed – the reason being that the imagination serves as operating instructions, the best manual there is to the idea. It is the most useful guide to helping us embrace the idea we are encountering.
On the surface, we seem to lack ideas. But a further probe only reveals a disturbing attitude. The general populace is generating new ideas, but these ideas are not coming to the forefront because persons of interest are sitting on them. As a developing society, this is a worrying phenomenon. Many are the complaints people make about their ideas being stolen.
The trick is for persons of interest to feign disinterest in an idea, and then wait a period of time and try to implement the idea with little modifications here and there. The modified idea is then presented as their work. How sad is that? And then there are also the protests about ideas being welcomed, but with undermining efforts to separate the personalities from their products – so that other personalities can be linked to the ideas.
We are failing to give credit to those who deserve them. Why we do that is another challenge we have to delve into. What we need to understand is that there is no law that says one has to be full of ideas before occupying a certain position. There is none. Rather, it is generally accepted that when one is in a certain position, he/she will solicit the best ideas to implement for the good of all.
The originators of those ideas must be given their due recognition. Have we not learned a lesson or two from film-makers? They give credit to a host of people, and more often their numbers exceed the faces that appeared in the film. And the reality is that this little sign of appreciation is what people need and ask for. We cannot all be stars, but we can all be appreciated for the various roles we play in making things happen.
A pat on the back does not break any back, but it goes a long way in inspiring others to squeeze their minds to receive similar recognition. Let us learn to give credit where it is due, not matter how small it is. When people are appreciated, they give more than themselves toward the uplifting of our humanity.
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