By Oludara Ogunbowale
Back in the day, when I was younger, anytime guests came visiting at our house, the first thing on my mother’s lips, after the gift of smiles to our guests, would be “Oludara! Get Uncle/Aunty Lagbaja water” and if I was still watching my favourite shows or anything that had my full attention at the time, she may not say it twice.
The second instruction would be the sound of a hot slap on my back or cheek depending on which part of me was close enough for her to reach. So, I knew that welcoming visitors and making one’s home hospitable for guests was a no brainer.
But when I began experiencing the culture in the different homes I have ever been in touch with, I found out that it was different practices for different folks.
There are the ones who love you genuinely beyond giving you a drink; and there are also the ones who still grudgingly give you a drink. There are those who love to have you around and the ones who do not have a say as to whether you were around but if they did, you definitely won’t.
The ones who do not like you but do everything right around you, yet your sixth sense keeps bringing to your notice their negative energy around you and you just know that something is not right. The people that make abusive comments that refer to and make mockery of your upbringing since they cannot directly say it to your parents, you are the hearer and bearer only!
Of all the people I have stayed with, I know only very few people that I can go to spend the weekend with when I just want to unwind and a few others that I would just be kind to from afar because of what I felt like when I was there.
Iyanla Vanzant, Lawyer, Life Coach and Creator of Fix my Life on Oprah Winfrey Network says ‘there are no bad or good experiences but that all experiences help shape who we are and help us go through the pain that we need to grow’ and I think I quite agree with this perspective.
Everyone deserves to be treated nicely. Everyone deserves to feel as though they matter and in fact, everyone does matter. Some people say that Blood is thicker than water… True. Even though Family is priority, others whom we come across must be treated with respect and care. Not because No One knows tomorrow like everyone is quick to quote, but because everyone has dignity and should be treated as such. From Pillows, to baths and Mats to hugs, Sweets, Garnished Rice, Garri and smiles, there’s very much we can do when people come stay with us.
You may think oh ‘Dara, you do not understand’. I do. I know some people who stay with us some times have terrible behaviors that make us cringe and I will address this one of these days. But we owe it to ourselves to do our own part; showing kindness, hospitality and love to those we come across from time to time. Don’t be the host that does not check up on your guest for three days even in the same house!
From all my experiences, I now know how to treat people better and I know how not to. The world is cold. Sometimes, even the experiences of people are so cold. You just might be that breath of fresh air!
Read also: #DarasPage: Clash Of The Values
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