Most people who passed through nursery school are quite familiar with the rhymes of the five magic words. It is taught in school as a song to reinforce the essence and significance of purpose. Teachers who turned the words into a song did so to make the words stick to the memory and become integral part of the growing child and help change narratives and shape the society.
What then are the ‘five magic’ words? They include please, sorry, thank you, forgive me, well done. The biblical versions mentioned as fruits of the Spirit are: meekness, forgiveness, longsuffering, love, peace, and kindness etc. How wonderful it would be to see these magic words feature in our everyday dealing with each other. How we wish that in any moment of mistake or misunderstanding, one of the magic words would be applied instead of squabbles? How can the magic words form part of our everyday language to fulfill the reason for the song? Who will be the influencers to bring back the magic words? Who will be the celebrity to re-introduce and project the magic words through this hashtag:#IStandWithTheFiveMagicWords? Celebrities – RMD, Omotola, Mercy Johnson, Ireti Doyle, Rita Dominic, are you out there? I can’t hear you echoing Barack Obama’s stirring battle cry: “Yes, We Can.”
Words possess supernatural power that can be applied, either for good or evil. Words can heal, comfort, soothe frayed nerves, bring back smiles, as well as restore peace and happiness in homes, offices, businesses, churches and the society at large.
All bickering between people arise from the magic words not being applied in such situations to resolve issues.
In a scenario where a supposed leader sees his subordinate in all ramifications of life and throws out a kind greeting first, how do you think that junior person would feel for the day? Assuming it becomes part of us to say ‘Thank You’ to conductors when they give us our complete balance, even though it is our bona fide right to collect it, imagine the difference it would make. Can someone imagine a big hug and ‘I am sorry’ used to replace anger and acrimony when someone is offended somewhere? Try to visualise what relationships would be like when these words become integral part of our daily life.
Nevertheless, it is to be noted that the system is not completely bereft of the magic words. The fact is that when they are used more often, response to the gesture is positive. Recall the days of the War Against Indiscipline (WAI), when people queued up in orderly manner at bus-stops to board vehicles to various destinations. It was a big offence to cross the express roads where there were overhead bridges. It was also an offence to drop food wrappings on the road, not to talk of dumping garbage by the roadside. Street trading was very minimal. Drivers of commercial vehicles that had no trash baskets were sanctioned. Discipline and orderliness were observed. Now imagine what it would be like when the magic words are applied to interpersonal situations.
Where is the place of appreciation in our lives today? How many people sincerely appreciate one another without pretence and prejudice? When a child does well and is commended by the parents, doesn’t the child grin from cheek to cheek? When a gardener is given a pat on the back by his boss for a perfectly mowed lawn, what happens within his system? He feels warm inside. Selecting individuals as the most hardworking staff, best sales executive of the year, neatest boy or girl in class, the overall best in a department, are all forms of appreciating a person. When a reporter is applauded by his or her colleagues for a job well done, when newly recruited staffers are welcomed and given orientation with the magic words, lives would definitely be transformed. It is not the heads alone, who should use the magic words, juniors can reciprocate with expressions like: “Thank you, I am sorry, I take responsibility and so on.”
Picture this scenario as one specific instance of how the magic word saved a situation: two senior male students fought and one was injured. Everyone thought that hell would be let loose because of the deep cut he sustained. The school authorities invited their parents for further disciplinary action. The injured boy’s mother got to the disciplinary committee first and started apologising on behalf of the two boys. The other mother became chicken-hearted because she knew her son was already on his way to be automatically de-boarded and suspended. Surprisingly, the conduct, plea and magic words of the first woman saved the two boys. When she was asked why she pleaded for the two boys, she politely said that fighting was part of growing up and, therefore, allowed, noting that a mother needs to keep cautioning and talking. Even the teachers were amazed at such level of maturity coming from a woman whose son was injured in the school.
When appreciation saves situation, it looks as if a miracle has taken place. Now, imagine where a mother visited her son and his family. The daughter-in-law has a distinct way of paying attention to details because of her academic exposure as a senior corporate executive. Mama’s background and environment is not as sophisticated and still in the lavatory era. When she came and was ushered into her room, she was perplexed. She did not understand the state-of-the-art water cistern toilet with almost invisible button by the wall as the flusher. She mistook the WC as an expensive breakable plate for eating and not meant for evacuation.
I once witnessed Chief Alex Akinyele expressing uncommon appreciation to his domestic staff. For months I had been trying to get an interview with him and the appointment finally clicked. As the interview was about to start, he politely asked his housekeeper to get tea for his guest. As the boy showed up with a tray of flask, mug, milk etc, Akinyele poured out the magic words: “Thank you my son. May your days be better than my days.” I quietly looked at him, but he did not notice; that look was because what he said was not what you would hear every day. And to imagine that the person was not his biological son! Now, that is a great man.
A boss who cares about the welfare of his staff with the magic words is doing the best because when the time of poaching comes, the workers will protect the interest of the boss and stick with him. A known fashion designer cried wolf when another upcoming-designer poached and took away her best tailor. She practically mourned the absence of her key staff who she did not appreciate until she was gone. The tailor confessed: “My madam is too arrogant, that was why I left.”
Teachers who scream and yell at students for minor mistakes, but pretend to be saints in the presence of their parents, should know that the day will meet in due course. Madams who talks down on house helps and calls them unprintable names; please replace those names with the magic words. Businessmen who give their boys knocks on the head; married ladies who talk carelessly to the unmarried ones, political godfathers and passengers who think conductors are condemned criminals, people who generally take the position of God, without considering others, please swallow your pride and use magic words to transform lives and make the world a better place for us all.
Re: Beauty is just not enough
Well done Madam, but do they really care. In fact, I am afraid of getting into marriage now. The beauty may be there and when there is no character, what is the essence of the beauty? May God help us…. –Ben Black, Lagos (07010508651).
Agatha, you have spoken the minds of 90 per cent of men in this generation. I prefer an extremely ugly woman who is productive than the most beautiful lazy and nagging woman. I always envy my friend Barr. Ohimege who married a talented ugly teacher; they sit and plan their lives together. She takes care of the home while my friend saved and raised an apartment for them… –Barr. Abbas, Kaduna…08032773809.
I just finished reading your write-up. It is a beautiful one. This is my first time of reading you. Keep it up and it shall be well with you… –Iwu Aloysious…0818 623 5605.
Nice piece on ‘Beauty is just not enough’… –08032159249.
What a nice piece and interesting topic for discussion in our generation. It is an eye opener and educative indeed. Well-spoken Agatha; please keep it up. I wish you can post and circulate it on the social media. –Josa, Kaduna…09035473866.
Agatha, you are very correct. Beauty is just not enough. God bless you for being truthful.. –Chika Onuoha…08167929293.