—– WAS METHUSELAH EVER WISER THAN SOLOMON?
Ghana is a country with very wonderful stories and captivating events. There is this unsubstantiated general perception that we are the second nation loved and blessed by God aside the state of Israel. As funny as it sounds, a lot of people have strong belief in that. It gets deeper in football seasons especially, when we manage a win through a last-minute penalty. That is Ghana for you.
One recurring question I keep asking myself is, do we even pick some few lessons from the great Biblical stories of the nation that we compare ourselves to? Two people in the Bible who normally draw attention on the streets of Ghana are Methuselah and King Solomon. Methuselah is the oldest man to walk the surface of this earth. He lived on earth for almost one millennium (969 years). Surprisingly enough, a glance through the Holy book, the Bible paints only a faint picture of him. His name was only mentioned in the genealogy from Adam to Noah. Not even a single story was written on any aspect of his life. The only honour he had was the mention of his name and his record-breaking age.
The other personality in perspective, King Solomon did not live up to even a quarter of the years of grandpapa Methuselah. However, Solomon had a number of Biblical chapters talking about him. His unprecedented wisdom, wealth, service to God, good governance and on a low key, love for women were written boldly in the Bible. The 969 years of Methuselah attracted only three sentences to his credit. The rather short stint of Solomon however was credited with several chapters of the Bible. Does this short analysis paint any picture in our minds?
There is this very worrying trend in this country and others where it is strongly believed that until someone spots grey hairs, he cannot and will not be capable of handling certain positions and making certain decisions. This anti-youth syndrome seems never to go away despite the popular saying that ‘the age of Methuselah has got nothing to do with the wisdom of Solomon’. One infamous saying today especially in our political circles is ‘wait for your turn’. As a young adult who believes in youth power, this entrenched stand of our older generation is quite worrying and the earlier they come to the realization that the world is changing with supersonic speed, the better it would be for us all.
A very evident generational gap which results from the struggle for power must be addressed as soon as applicable. I would however make a point for the younger generation. As biased as my views might be in favour of my generation, any one with some level of objectivity will to a larger extent agree with my inclination.
Despite the conviction that the youth are predominantly reckless and exuberant, and are very inexperienced to handle very vital roles in our society, the youth have proved otherwise. We still give the older generation the benefit to still occupy those positions. The multi-billion cedi question I ask is, have the older generation proved their worth?
Was the African leader of the millennium, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah not a youth when he took the whole world by storm? Are his dreams for a better Africa which was thought to be ambitious and full of youthfulness not the guiding principles of the European Union today? A jump outside the continent will land us perhaps on the famous Camp Nou. Have you wondered where the new excitement in that football club is stemming from? It is just because a young gentleman christened Pep Guardiola decided to pitch his youthful exuberance against the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger. Surprisingly enough he has succeeded and has therefore overshadowed the likes of them.
Another youth worth mentioning, is one man whose magic the whole world cannot resist. The mention of his name or just a slight presence of his face puts the world into a kind of excitement. Was Madiba, as he is popularly called in his hometown, not a young man when he spearheaded the fight against apartheid? Did his youthfulness or tender age prevent him from achieving that ambitious objective? The football legend, George Oppong Weah despite his lack of grey hairs then, was able to unite in his own way a country that has been through one of the worst human atrocities ever. He never won the presidency but he did more than many older people to bring back the people of Liberia together. He was a young man then. Have young people not proven themselves in the past with all these examples?
Currently the world is running at a supersonic speed and it seems some of our older folks cannot keep up with the race. That is why it is prudent to handover the baton to the more energetic ones who can keep up with the speed of the world. Most developed nations have received this message already and are acting on it.
United States, the most powerful nation on earth with very complex governance system and an integral part of this world have placed their destinies into the hands of a young man who is not even up to fifty years yet. As if that is not enough, perhaps the most conservative country on earth, Britain, just elected an extremely young man to be their Prime Minister. Russia, another force to reckon with in world politics also has a young man for a president, totally diverting from the era of Boris Yelstin and his contemporaries. Do these trends not ring a bell?
Barclays Bank Ghana has as its Managing Director, a young man who is determined to succeed. If a Britain originated bank can give a young Ghanaian that opportunity to prove the worth of the Ghanaian youth, which I think he is doing, what in God’s kingdom are our own indigenous companies and agencies waiting for? During the 2008 elections, one would realize that the old guards of the political parties had little to do when the rather energetic and ambitious youths took over. Is it not evident even in our present government that the young ministers are performing well, whilst little is seen of the so-called old political gurus? Does the bell ring louder now?
It is time we give the Ghanaian youth the chance to prove his worth. There is a general attitude in our society, especially our workplaces which is very abhorring. This attitude normally rears its head when young graduates are on internship or newly employed. They tend to face all kinds of hostile behaviours from older folks just because of the fear that, these guys might take over their positions. Another trend is how most of our public and civil servants alter their dates of births just to stay longer in their various workplaces, thereby blocking the chances of numerous graduates coming with fresh and updated ideas. How is it therefore not surprising that in this age of technological advancement, typewriters are still used in our big offices and our law courts?
It is not to say that our older folks have out-spent their usefulness. They form an integral part of the developmental agenda of Ghana. However if we are able to blend the experience of our fathers with the energy and updated knowledge of our sons, we will get a formidable force to propel this wonderful nation forward. In as much as I have touted a number of youthful leaders who made positive impacts, I am not oblivious of the likes of Adolf Hitler, Charles Taylor and the likes who plunged the world into untold stories with unguided youthful exuberance. That is why we will need the older generation around to guide the younger ones to steer the ship to dock safely.
This is a clarion call to the youth of Ghana. Let us arise and take up our rightful positions in society. The rather apathetic stand we have taken is a dangerous weapon that will only ruin us. In our churches, educational institutions, companies, chieftaincy and other endeavours of life, let us take up the mantle. With wise counsel from the older generation and with a sense of purpose and determination, we shall live up to the task. We must not wait for our turn any longer. The water might not be flowing by then. Let us not forget Apostle Paul’s advice to Timothy in the Bible, ‘let no one despise your youth’. IT IS OUR TIME!
By: COURAGE AHIATI