Children will go at any length to pass on the blame to another to avoid suffering the consequences of a mistake; so is the case with adults who are however, hard to mould.
Many scholars attest to the fact that we can learn a lot of things from our children. They have no tribe; they don’t care about social class and are never afraid of one another. When they meet together and start playing, even while they speak different languages, they somehow manage to communicate with one another. They are just happy and even the Lord Jesus asked us to humble ourselves as children if we want to inherit God’s kingdom.
So the other day as I headed to the local canteen, I could not help notice two boys of approximately five – six years old as they walked to the shop talking and laughing animatedly. When they arrived at the shop, without waiting for the queue, they managed to squeeze themselves in front of me and other customers who were waiting to be served.
Immediately one of them announced his order, “Nipe Sport tano, kiberiti moja na sweeti mbili”. The shopkeeper told them to wait for their turn, seemingly annoyed by the way the children had interrupted my discussions with him. However, out of courtesy, I asked the shopkeeper to serve them as I waited for my turn.
Once they received the cigarettes, the match box and the sweets, they each took one sweet and started walking back to their house. As soon as I got served, I also went home in the same direction as the boys. Out of curiosity, I decided to follow them closely, to have an idea what kind of discussions they were having. I wanted to know whether they would be discussing politics, the VAT bill, the ICC cases or any of the myriad problems that our country seems to be facing.
To my astonishment, they did the unexpected. The one who was carrying the cigarettes removed one of them and pretending he is smoking, which was more of a breath in, breath out exercise. The other boy also demanded to also get his ‘own’ cigarette. The first boy refused and they agreed to share, which was a commendable gesture in the circumstances.
They continued to interchange and at one point, they started pulling the cigarette from each other’s mouth. Within no time as expected, the cigarette stick broke and you could just notice the shock in their eyes. Instead of figuring how to replace the one spoilt cigarette, they started fighting on who was to blame. All this time, I was standing on a pole, pretending to be on phone.
After some push and shoving, the boy holding the packet of cigarettes dropped them and stepped on them.
The fighting immediately stopped. The boy started crying, blaming the other one for pushing him. At first I thought of saving these boys the agony of explaining to their dad what had happened, then on second thought I decided to let them face their consequences. I walked passed them and went my way. I am sure they cooked a very convincing story somehow.
As I walked away that afternoon, I was wondering — the boys had only one cigarette damaged, why did they not think of focusing on solving the problem of one instead of looking for someone else to blame? Although I know they lied their way out, most of the time life does not give us many chances. It reminded me of this day when one of the parents came to school during the parents day, and she was quite dominating and contributing many points for every item under discussion. She was whining, how the school is missing this or that, how the teachers are not treating ‘our children’ with respect.
Interestingly in the subsequent school meeting, the head teacher was telling a few of us how that parent had her son suspended from school due to indiscipline and every time the teachers tried to explain to her the behaviour of her son, she would literally shout at the teacher and claim that the teacher was indeed the problem. The head teacher had even given suggestions on how to handle the matter, but she ignored the advice given and looked for someone else to blame?Are you looking for someone to blame for your issues? Have a blameless Sunday.