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10      CHILDART      THE MORAL OF YOUR STORY                                                                                                                                                                           APR-JUN 2021      11
                                                                                                                                      LADY NGOZI AKANDE

                                                                                                                                      DEPUTY DIRECTOR
                                                                                                                                      NIGERIAN NATIONAL COUNCIL FOR ARTS & CULTURE
                                                                                                                                      ICAF REPRESENTATIVE IN NIGERIA
                                                                                                                                      ABUJA, NIGERIA

                                                                                                                                      Morality refers to principles concerning the distinction   world: the Nigerian Civil War in 1967 and the religious
                                                                                                                                      between right and wrong or good and bad behavior.   crises in Jos, Plateau State in 2001. These two events
                                                                                                                                      But simply put, morality can be said to be the ability   were extremely impactful because instead of accepting,
                                                                                                                                      to discern between what is right to do and what is not.   celebrating, and appreciating people’s differences, several
                                                                                                                                      Several personal stories have come to define my personal   communities chose to attack, malign, and marginalize
                                                                                                                                      moral compass.                                      other communities just because of these differences.
                                                                                                                                                                                          Rather than looking at the potential value and goodness
                                                                                                                                      In Nigeria, we have a saying that goes: “What an elder   of individuals and rationally solving problems, they viewed
                                                                                                                                      can see sitting on the ground, a child cannot see sitting   others as enemies.
                                                                                                                                      on a tree.” This saying can be interpreted to show the
                                                                                                                                      importance of the adults in our community. They are   These experiences helped me evolve my morality to more
                                                                                                                                      the first stop on your moral journey that influences how   than just the distinction between right and wrong. To me,
                                                                                                                                      you view the world and the concepts of right and wrong.   morality is action: it involves tolerance, learning, listening,
                                                                                                                                      The next most important influence for me was religion.   growing, and most importantly, practice. Morality is also
                                                                                                                                      Growing up Catholic, a lot of my sense of right and wrong   a state of being where you are constantly challenging
                                                                                                                                      was defined by the teachings in the church, which could   yourself to not just be right, but to stand firmly against
                                       SEEING THE                                                                                     be summarized as: do unto others as you would like them   wrongdoing to ensure humane treatment of mankind.
                                                                                                                                      to do unto you. Family and religion were two of the most
                                                                                                                                                                                          From my childhood growing up with religion and family,
                                                                                                                                                                                          to my lived experiences and my thirst for knowledge, I
                                                                                                                                      distinguishing factors in my concept of morality.
                                                                                                                                                                                          also believe that morality is an endless journey from your
                                         GOODNESS                                                                                         What an elder can see                           first day to your last.

                                                                                                                                        sitting on the ground, a                          There are several situations where I still struggle with
                                                                                                                                                                                          morality. These situations are the result of unhealthy
                                                                                                                                         child cannot see sitting                         stereotypes and judgements that have been perpetuated
                                                                                                                                                                                          by negative media coverage of specific groups of people.
                                                                                                                                                      on a tree.                          This is extremely rampant with the portrayal of African
                                                                                                                                                                                          Americans, Muslims, and other minority groups in the
                                                                                                                                                                                          media. In Africa, there is reduced exposure to a diverse
                                                                                                                                                                                          populace, however upon many visits to the United States,
                                                                                                                                      As I grew older, in a more diverse, smaller, and more   I caught myself buying into several negative connotations.
                                                                                                                                      connected world, I quickly came to realize that there   By seeing how people dressed and how they lived, I would
                                                                                                                                      were several shortcomings in specific scenarios that were   infer that they were doing wrong. However, when I caught
                                                                                                                                      never covered by my elders or in church. However, these   myself doing this, I took a step back and questioned why
                                                                                                                                      situations required me to grow by listening, learning, and   I felt that way to ensure that this sense of right and wrong
                                                                                                                                      trying to understand diverse viewpoints in my community.   was mine rather than a projection of negative stereotypes.
                                                                                                                                      I was taught how to relate with family and friends and   We do not live in a vacuum; hence our point of view is
                                                                                                                                      how to relate with other Christians, but my knowledge   influenced, but thinking critically allows us to evaluate the
                                                                                                                                      fell short. How do I act when people are different from   potential value and goodness of human beings.
                                                                                                                                      me? By expanding the confines of my early learnings, I
                                                                                                                                      adopted humanism, which stresses the potential value   A phrase I live my life by is: “Success is not measured
                                                                                                                                      and goodness of human beings, emphasizes common     by wealth; it is measured by how many people are better
                                                                                                                                      human needs, and seeks solely rational ways of solving   off because you lived.” And that is why my advice to you
                                                                                                                                      human problems. Rather than looking at people as    is this: prioritize humans over ideals, dogma, and laws
                                                                                                                                      different from me, I viewed them just as I was taught–as   because without humanity, there is no beauty in the world.
                                                                                                                                      people that should be treated as I would like to be treated.  And without beauty, we end up being alive, but never
                                                                                                                                      Nigeria is home to a diverse range of people, cultures,   truly living. Patience and tolerance should guide your
                                                                                                                                      and languages. My morality was severely affected by two   thoughts and actions. Continuously practice kindness
                                                                                                                                      events that really came to define the way I viewed the   to everyone around you.

         ARTWORK ELIOTT FRANK AGE 12 USA                                                                                                                                                                                   
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