… The most treasured life’s asset
The name of a person defines his or her identity or individuality. It also distinguishes a person from other people. A name forms part of the personality of an individual. A person without a name doesn’t exist. I certainly believe so. The naming ceremony in our traditional setting, for example, is so important because it adds blessings to the child, especially if he or she is named after a prominent member of the family. If a name is so important, I can imagine how great a GOOD NAME stands for.
A good name defines a refined character based on good deeds. According to a thesaurus dictionary, there are eight synonyms for a good name. They are: repute, reputation, status, dignity, honour, prestige, respect and good report. A good name requires having honourable motives and priorities which hinge on our values. A good name means living with a clear conscience by taking responsibility for our actions and making things right, especially when you have identified a wrong act. Our actions of kindness, hard work, good human relations, and our total service to our community encapsulate the value of a good name. So, in all our cravings for success, let us look for a good name instead. It is indeed, better than riches, in spite of the value of the latter.
Do you have a good name at your workplace? How credible are you as a CEO of that organisation or establishment? Do you have the moral courage to stop certain dishonest practices at the workplace? Do your employees revere you? If you use people to achieve your roguish agenda, you do not certainly have a good name. You may have the fallouts or results you are craving for to prove a point to your taskmasters, but posterity will not forgive you of your arrangements. As an employee of that organisation, what do you also crave for? Immediate pleasure or good records? Can you be trusted with money, office equipment and other logistics? If our attitudes are off beam or below the bar, no matter how garbed or decent we may look in our appearance at that workplace, we shall be of no earthly value. How shameful it is when our ‘malicious shadows’ hunt us for our self-centred agenda.
Do you have a good name in your family? How does your spouse see you? Does your wife trust you? What about your husband? Can he also trust you as a loyal wife? Are you transparent with your spouse and your children? Can your children also confide in you, especially when they are punctuated with emotional challenges? How do your neighbours see you? Yes, you cannot please everyone as a defective person, however, your unconventionality can make you distinct from others. Thus, let’s fight for a good name.
What controls your being? There are some people who are motivated by genuine love for people. It is that love that inspires them to render good services in the fields of medicine, architecture, education, business, pastoring, caring for the less-privileged, and formulating good economic policies in making lives better. Such people with authentic love for mankind believe that the utmost assets of every society are people. Such far-sighted fond persons work hard to plan for the next generation, and even generations yet unborn. So, what controls your emotions? I ask again: Who is also controlling your judgement(s) to take some puerile or senseless decisions at the expense of the health of your life, organisation and the good people around you? We must be humble enough to review our action plans, especially when good people prompt us.
Inasmuch as we have some individuals with good thoughts, there are others who are also controlled by greed and self-ambition. In every situation, greedy and self-ambitious people want to have their way. In other words, they cheat, lie, manipulate the system, and bring others down through slandering in order to ascend that position of influence. In addition, they use every possible false imbalance to prove a point. The attitudes of greedy and self-ambitious people are dangerous for our communal living. There is nothing wrong with being ambitious; but where that desire is controlled by selfishness, it destroys healthy relationships and tears apart congenial social environment.
What about greed, the old time ‘friend’ of failure? The excessive desire to have more money, power and earthly possessions through dishonest means is what I term as greed. Don’t get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with a desire to have more resources in making people’s lives better, but a longing to solely amass wealth to the detriment of the interest of other people around us leads to our failure.
In the history of colonisation in Africa, the West and the industrialised nations took advantage of the permeability in the economies of the African continent. The struggle for more colonies led to the super powers indoctrinating the African continent though known to be one of the richest in terms of natural resources with their philosophies and systems.
Today, it has become increasingly difficult for us as Africans to be united in terms of socio-economic policies. The founding fathers of Pan Africanism put all efforts to bring all African countries under one umbrella of a united state, but it never worked because of dissimilar belief systems among our leaders and certain external influences. Though we have the theoretical amalgamated organisation, the Africa Union, its colossal impact on the world stage is either negligible or not very much felt.
Greed on the part of most leaders has collapsed the moral fibre of a continent so blessed by the Almighty with uncountable resources. If ancient human civilisation started in Mesopotamia (now located in modern-day Iraq, Kuwait and Syria) and then shifted to Egypt (Africa), where advancement in agriculture, architecture, law, astronomy, mathematics and more, emerged, how come most of the inhabitants of modern-day Africa in general, live in abject poverty?
According to www.issafrica.org statistics on global poverty, Africa has the largest share of extreme poverty rates globally, with 23 of the world’s poorest 28 countries at extreme poverty rates above 30 percent. Using the poverty line of US$1.90 a day, Africa’s extreme poverty rate of 43.1 percent in 1981 was almost equal to the average for the rest of the world’s rate. You still wonder why a continent so blessed with rich natural resources and adequate human resources still live in abject poverty? No matter how it may be debated that people contribute to the success of their lives, my argument is, if people are not empowered with the right tools, how would they enjoy prosperity?
With all these resources, what accounts for our absorbency, perviousness or sponginess? Is it attitudinal or a curse? Definitely not a curse, but our poor attitude.
Most of our state institutions are porous because of sleaze, malpractice, self-ambition and excessive preference. The desire of every self-ambitious person is not to make people’s lives better but to take undue advantage of the porosity of the institutions to constantly amass wealth and draw attention only to themselves. There are bad roads, under-resourced hospitals, poor healthcare delivery, weak educational policies, among others.
We are in a continent of abundance; yet; our self-ambition, greed and pride have paved way for looters and selfish strangers to take advantage of our weak systems. Take a look at most of our West African countries – so blessed with oil. Most of the proceeds from the drilling of oil and other natural resources are not well-accounted for. Though we have massive natural reserves, our countries live in abject poverty as funds are misdirected into some people’s coffers at the expense of the development of the states. Are we not interest in a good name?
Poor leadership has scattered some brilliant citizens of Africa to roam around the world in search of greener pastures. The desire to make our system better is constantly fought by some quarters all because their percentage in the share of the booty will be denied. In his book, Three Stages of Salvation: Heavenly Oriented or Hell Bound, Gyasi (2015) asserts that: “In September 2014, for example, 22,000 ghost names were discovered on the payroll of a certain public organisation in Africa. The estimated cost of this scandal to public coffers was thirty-one (31) million US dollars per year”.
This is so sad. This astronomical malfeasance was about 1 percent of that country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2014. Meanwhile some public workers in that particular year were not paid, and hospitals and schools were starved of the basic resources, just to mention a few. Some government officials and even middle-level managers of corporate organisations embezzle public funds in some countries, and the severest punishment meted to them is indefinite suspension. Instead of asking them to refund the money before going to jail, they are allowed to go with impunity.
In fact, some perpetrators are even promoted to positions attracting higher pay check. Thus, they get away with the stolen money. This is the state of greed and bad leadership. Such acts of mismanagement of resources and appointment of incompetent people into higher offices are a sign of disrespect to the people being led. Until we deal with the canker of voracity, self-interest and learn to be content with what we have, we will continue to disappoint ourselves, fail our generation and terminate the dreams of the people we lead.
The Holy Book is true about desiring for a good name. Why? It is better than vain riches (Proverbs 22:1). Many of us are also leading a forged life. We crave to impress people with a phony life. By this, we put up conceited lifestyle with regards to what we have, what we have done, what we have achieved, where we go, the association we keep, and the privileges we enjoy from our connection with the crème de la crème. Who are we deceiving? What a terrible world! Do you know what? Double-standard lives are deeply ‘rewarded’ with blushing, disappointment and embarrassment, especially when our true character is unveiled, divulged or exposed. Learn to be yourself because you have only one life to live. The beauty of life is learning to be ourselves without impressing others with our bogus lifestyle. Think about your action(s) today. Our arrangements today will speak for us tomorrow. And what will tomorrow say about you?
Are we interested in building a co-operative community or our selfish interest makes us use other people’s skills for our personal agenda? Maybe, it’s time we did an extensive cross-examination of our thoughts. How patriotic are we? Do we become happy when our waterbodies are destroyed because of illegal mining and other unhealthy practices which are not healthy for our environment? Are we so much interested in unwarranted money through dishonest gains, that making our community better is irrelevant to our communal growth? Can the next generation benefit from our impact?
Life is measured in terms of a good name and a great impact. Life without a good name is worthless living. Will you be praised for making a positive impact on the lives of others, or your name shall be in the sea of forgetfulness? I pray the former becomes your ultimate. Let your good name in the areas of idea creation, charisma and personality modification change the lives of others. No matter how imperfect we are as humans, our eccentricity, unconventionality and non-conformity shall stand out in all our endeavours.
Desire to leave a good legacy behind for others to emulate. Examine your life. Ask if the things you do are for personal agenda, personal recognition or they are from an open-heart devoid of any ominous intention? Remember, one of the most cherished assets for living is a GOOD NAME. So, go for it!
- Gyasi-Agyei, A. (2015), Three Stages of Salvation: Heavenly-Oriented or Hell Bound. Mumbai: Patridge India, p.253
- Owusu, P. (2016) The leading Edge: An all-inclusive leadership approach for leading nations, families, churches, corporate organizations and enriching one’s life in an effective and efficient manner. Kumasi: Steams Publishing House, pp.216-219.
Grab copies of the writer’s books from Kingdom Bookshop, KNUST, Kumasi and in Accra, contact: Mrs. Justina Asempa (Phoenix Insurance, Ringway Estates, Osu) on 0244 20 88 43 and Pastor Stephen Gyamfi (ICGC, Asylum Down, 054 679 7323). In Obuasi, contact: Sammy on 024 77 3 78 11.
The writer is an Academic, Visiting Lecturer, Leadership Consultant and a Reverend Minister with the WordSprings City Church, Kumasi-Ghana.
Email: [email protected]