Charity, alms, generosity, all these words in their core connotes giving. Giving to the society, those in need and just doing good unto people you know deserve them.
This is how the Ghanaian society was structured in the day, with the watch word “being your brother’s keeper”. In that society, the communal spirit reigned supreme and everyone was happy as the community took care of each other. No one hungered, no one lacked clothing and no one was exposed to danger because your business was everyone’s business and everyone’s business was your business. The extended family system although has its flaws played an important role in this communal society and it was what one would call an ideal society. Tables were longer and walls were non existent. You would always see a young boy or girl carrying a basket of food to deliver to an uncle, aunty, neighbor or family friend. Such a pleasant sight it was but the occasional tripping and spilling of the food always saw to some good evening spanking from mothers.
Fast forward a few years down the lane, the nuclear family system took over. The watch word became my wife, husband and children. The communal system vanished without trace and most people became selfish and self centered. Now walls around homes have become taller with dinning tables becoming shorter and smaller, but human needs keep increasing. This, one can blame on selfishness because if you decide to share, you will obviously get help or a solution from another person and this portrays what we’ve lost as a people.
You see the rich watching from their balconies neighbors going hungry, in tattered clothes, walking barefooted and yet refuse to give from their bountiful and you ask, “what happened to us? Is it westernization or we’ve always been like this at our core.”
Used to believe all one was responsible for in this world was their immediate family but someone taught me otherwise. They showed me it was easier and fulfilling to give and help others especially when they do not expect anything from you. They taught me to give in my abundance and when I had little. They taught me to show love not because I want but because I have to. They taught to see this world as just fleeting and reminded me that the same way I come to this world naked and without anything, so would I leave it. Then it dawned on me why we are on this earth in our numbers. If God wanted us to be alone, be self centered, selfish and prioritize ourselves only, he wouldn’t have wanted the earth populated with people from all walks of life.
This festive season opened my eyes to so many things. I saw people give to their neighbors, acquaintances and business associates. I am not saying giving to all these people is wrong but most people gave to those who already have in abundance with the aim of gaining favors, whilst that neighbor, church or staff member who needed help the most was ignored. If this what the world has become? What will the good Lord say watching over us now?
I say we revive that communal spirit and stop being inward looking. I saw we share what little we have with those who really need it because you might literally be saving someone’s life with a kind gesture.
I say we teach our kids and they teach their kids and they teach their kids and the cycle of giving and showing love never ceases.