By Motunrayo Adesina
I laid in my silent reverie, wondering, how did I get here? It felt totally unbelievable that dad held me while I sobbed despite the fact that I had not been the best of daughters to him and all of a sudden it hit me, as the answers came pouring in even though I wanted them to stop.
It started many years ago, I might have been 8 or 9 years old, I couldn’t quite tell specifically how old I was when Mummy finally trusted me to pick out my outfit for occasions and family gatherings, she told me I could wear whatever I wanted. She also succeeded in not telling me to change what I had chosen. When I turned 18, I was proud to be finally making my own decisions. This was coupled with the fact that I could finally get to drive myself even though it was the rather old and rickety Volkswagen beetle I learnt to drive in. Dad had a fleet of choice cars but I only had access to that one car only and he thought it was a privilege that it belonged to me at that tender age. I considered him too possessive; he would not let me drive the rest of the cars in the garage.
I had always had a tendency to be rebellious and after mum passed in a plane crash, every ounce of compassion I had for anything and anyone left me. I didn’t care neither was I interested in being close to dad even though he tried.
One day, when I got invited to a friend’s party, I picked the key to dad’s Mercedes and did not return until the next morning. He was sipping a cup of fine brewed coffee when I returned in the morning and knew what was coming as soon as I saw him. I walked over to him; prepared and knelt down to say good morning (I knew how to revive the culture in me when I needed it). “Good morning my dear he replied, how was your night out?” he added. I was too shocked to reply as this was not the reply I had expected.
That moment it hit me; I was an adult, I was responsible for my decisions. Every other person only has opinions but no power over my decisions and I was wallowing in my freedom and expressed myself like no one else mattered. My father was struggling with raising me and I was deliberately making it uneasy for him, I could decide to torture him and the actualization of that fascinated me. From that day, I became selfish, self-centered and no one else mattered. Nothing was priority or considered important. Maybe my father condoned me because I was a brilliant student with good grades.
Getting a Job was the easiest experience. The only difficulty I faced was deciding which job offer I would accept, so I locked myself up in a room, drank a little and did a ballot.
I resumed work on Monday with my larger than life attitude, my desk had a frame that read ‘don’t talk to me’ as opposed to a family picture. Some days I could smell the reek of hatred for me, which permeated the entire office. The resentment from my boss was enormous, even though I was good at my job; in fact I was awesome at it. I knew a lot of things my colleagues had no clue about, was very outspoken and my English was precise touché.
5 months into my dream Job cum miserable environment, it was my birthday; Dad was out of the country so I could not get my morning birthday gift ritual. The day passed silently and all I got were Facebook messages, thanks to the auto remind app. I sat there thinking how the lovely little girl, turned smart teenager, turned popular rich kid was now a sad, depressed, good at what I do, yet unhappy adult.
I called dad in the evening to cry because he was the only one that could still tolerate what it felt like to love me. He sounded very happy, happy to see me breakdown; that I was taking a second to stop and look back on the way I act and like the good dad he’s always been, he was on the next flight home to console me.
It dawned on me that I lacked morals and my values were not particularly positive. I couldn’t adapt to conditions that were not stated in my employment letter. I thought they were the ones with problems for not tolerating my drinking habit after close of business, then it dawned on me being good was not good enough and I knew I wasn’t going back to my job. I was not sure they would be happy to have me back.
Was I born this way? No. I remember vividly the moment I chose this path.
It was my decision.
By Victor Oladosu
Awhile ago, it was claimed that more than twenty-something people were put to death in the northern part of Nigeria. The suspects? An aggrieved group that has a different opinion of how and who should run the government. Some university students also had their school closed indefinitely. Why? The school introduced a new policy, it was outrageous to them and the situation became a free for all.
These scenarios are as a result of conflicts within the system. Conflict is disharmony between incompatible or antithetical persons, ideas, or interest, to come into collision or disagreement; be contradictory, at variance, or in opposition. Conflicts between people are frequent, natural and an inevitable part of life —at school, work, home, market, relationships, even the society at large. But quite sadly most of us don’t really accept this fact, and we still get distressed and surprised when it is clear that a conflict has emerged. Instead of dealing with it, we mismanage our anger and either implode, or explode.
However, productive conflict breaches holes into a plan or an idea, find the holes and gaps and bring forth an even stronger idea once the gaps are filled. The result of a stronger, discussed plan is increased effectiveness, and overall satisfaction for those involved.
Never let fear of conflict hold you or your team back. Healthy conflict is what makes the best organizational teams move forward as everyone has something different to bring to the table. The difference is holding yourself accountable to conflicting when necessary and creating that environment where you can share and receive productive and respectful feedback so the team and the organization benefits.
You must accept that people’s point of view will differ from yours. When this happens, we tag them “enemies”, hold a grudge against them, most people demonstrate that by backbiting. As children, students, employees, or as spouses we have experienced losing in a conflict because we fear parents, teachers and bosses have advantage over us. Even though we know the feelings of resentment, anger, dislike, even hostility that we experience as a result of losing. This win-lose conflict resolution has created much damage on interpersonal relationships; creates distance, separation, dislike, even hatred. It’s the reason why some people leave their jobs for new ones, students drop out and marriages break up.
The weird thing though is that we must first disagree to agree. Most often if you are trying something out for the first time, it is only natural we don’t get the exact desired product initially. That’s probably because we are not doing something right, but when that wrong is righted, the desired result surfaces.
How conflicts get resolved is the critical factor in any relationship. In fact, it is the most critical factor in determining whether a relationship will be healthy or unhealthy, mutually satisfying or unsatisfying, friendly or unfriendly, deep or shallow, intimate or cold. The goal is to find a solution to the conflict that meets the needs of both people, a win-win situation.
Once you’re aware that you’re in conflict, what you do next really matters. Acknowledge that a conflict exists. Very often, we decide not to acknowledge this hoping that the conflict will somehow go away or resolve itself. That rarely happens. Only when conflicts are brought out into the open do they have the chance of being dealt with effectively.
Beyond personal conflict management and resolution, examining ethnic or religion differences as it relates to Nigeria it is possible to have peaceful coexistence if we follow these rules.