Learn to say NO - By Dupe Bobadoye

hand, left, no war

“Even the bible says the grace that teaches us to say NO to all forms of worldly lusts has been given to us. (Titus 2:11-12).” 

Our scars only tell half the story, but right in our heads, the memories linger.

As a child of 5 years, while learning two letter words, one of the words we learnt from the popular children’s book “Queen’s Primer” was N-O, NO! Each time the children learnt the two letter words, the “N-O, NO” part always sounds simple, yet powerful.

The word ‘NO’ has shut the doors against many evils when used appropriately and has also put a lot of people into untold troubles because of their inability to use it when it mattered most. It is one of the simplest words in the English language and one of the simplest non-spoken body language, (just by shaking your head) yet it is one of the most difficult word for humans to say. What a paradox!

The temptation to do wrong or otherwise hangs on this simple two letters but one word –NO. Sometimes as humans, we get carried away by our lustful desires that saying ‘NO’ becomes very difficult. Life throws a lot at us irrespective of our age, social status or gender, that would try our resolve to say ‘No’, but we soon discover that saying it becomes a huge burden or an impossible task for so many.

The temptation to live beyond our means, covet another person’s wife/husband, take what does not belong to us, live a fake life, spend on impulse, (to mention a few) which depends on our ability to say ‘No” or otherwise is one thing we often struggle with.

Growing up, the super-strict upbringing infused in us by our parents was enough reasons to say ‘NO’ when faced with diverse temptations because we knew the consequences already.

Looking at the present day, we discover that saying No to such temptations is almost impossible. One cannot rule out the fact that our value system has been eroded and the younger ones believe that the temptations they are facing are much bigger than what the earlier generations grappled with.

So much that they refuse to understand that irrespective of the century you are born into, there are always temptations peculiar to each generation and as long as we are alive in this human body, we’ll face it in different forms.

I once remember a teenager brandishing comfortably an excuse saying;

“You can’t understand what we are passing through. Things were different in your own days, you were not exposed to sexual temptations, financial temptations, etc. unlike us.”

I couldn’t help but laugh at the ignorance in the heart of the teenager.

As a young teenager growing up, the desire to own what our parents couldn’t afford, sometimes led us to stealing from them or lying to get extra. This has always been the same, years past, now and in many generations to come.

The temptation to chase love interest in the opposite sex despite knowing the grave consequences and many more has always been the same, years past, now and in many generations to come.

I remember as a little girl in primary school, I used to envy other colleagues wearing eye glasses and at some point had the effrontery to lie to my father about my sight so as to get one.

Thank God for the wisdom of parenting at the time. My father not satisfied, tested me himself, yet I pretended not to see clearly. He then asked me to move closer to the letters and then I read them correctly.

He didn’t stop at that. When he asked where I sat in classroom, I told him I sat right at the back. He looked at me thoughtfully for a moment and then simply said, “When you go back to school, make sure you sit in front so you can see the board clearly.” Case closed!

As a young adult, the temptation to have an illicit affair with my boss tested my resolve, but a simple NO solved the whole issue. As a married person, the temptation to have an extra marital affair was also conquered by a simple NO.

Sometimes, you don’t go about looking for trouble but trouble comes looking for you and whether it will find you or not is dependent on the two letter word N-O. Let me share the story with my boss.

I once worked in a very reputable company where I had this boss that I usually rode with back home at the close of work in company of three other colleagues. Fortunately we all lived along the same axis.

On one of those days of waiting for him, he asked me to accompany him on a trip over the weekend. This was a man I had great respect for. The first thing that came out of my mouth was,

“Where am I supposed to tell my parents I am going?”

He simply gave a convenient answer. “Tell them you went to your boyfriend’s house” to which I answered, “I don’t have a boyfriend!”

He was shocked to hear I didn’t have a boyfriend just as I was shocked to hear him teach me how to lie to my parents. Considering the fact that saying ‘No’ could make me lose the comfort of going home in his really comfortable car, it could also put me in serious trouble at home and could permanently damage my reputation which I took seriously.

What I stood to lose was way more than anything there was to gain and politely but firmly, told him,

“No sir, I can’t embark on such a trip” to which he responded;

“It’s okay, don’t worry.” I didn’t lose my ride eventually, neither did I lose my respect.

Looking back and considering what could have happened if I had gone on that trip with him, perhaps I could have gotten some cash gifts from him and to think it was those days when mobile phones were just new in the country. I would (like most youths today) have bought myself a mobile phone and then what? I can’t possibly still be using such a phone but would have lost what I can never get back.

As a parent with responsibilities in the midst of scarce resources, the temptation to spend heavily on clothes, which we call ‘Aso Ebi’ has become the order of the day. So many people, especially women have wrecked their homes, self-respect, reputation, over this matter. Considering the cost of fabrics and sewing and the fact that you might not need it eventually after the event, makes it a huge burden and for some, a serious financial burden.

Many ladies/women have suffered countless humiliations because of debts accumulated from buying these frivolous things. It becomes worse for women because buying the fabrics are never enough. They’ll need matching shoes and bags and they always find it difficult to stop once they have started. They forget that there is no award for the person with the most clothes.

Many have even plunged further into prioritizing these clothes over their children’s school fees. If ladies (especially) were to gather all their aso-ebi’s together and then calculate how much has been wasted in buying these things plus the cost of sewing, they’ll discover that perhaps, the cars they should have bought or houses they should have built or even businesses they could have started is what is wasting away in their wardrobes.

Don’t get me wrong, if you are a woman of means and you can afford it, then why not? But the question is, “Is it really necessary?”

The worst now is the younger generation and their obsession with phones! Sometimes, I ask if these phones come with permanent credits or they get paid to own such phones.

Just recently, a sales boy stole N150, 000 from his boss. In his estimate, his boss had so much money, but to his boss, it was nothing but business money. At the close of business for the day, he pocketed N150,000 and immediately dashed off to get one of those expensive phone that is the fad of the moment.

To make matters worse, the N150,000 was only a deposit for the phone. In other words, he still needed to steal more from his boss. But his theft was quickly discovered and he was subsequently arrested.

The question then is, “Was it worth it?” Even the bible says the grace that teaches us to say NO to all forms of worldly lusts has been given to us. (Titus 2:11-12). There is nothing you have that someone else does not already have or even the better version. So why not tame your appetite for materialism?

So many young people have lost their lives or destroyed their future over the quest for materialism. A lot of girls/ladies have become victims of unwanted pregnancies or ritual killings because of their inability to say “NO”.

Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions (Luke 12:15)

As parents, one of the ways we can show love to our children is by saying “NO” to some of their demands. Being a’ Yes’ parent does not make you a better parent, rather you are postponing the evil day.

Nobody gets all he wants, certainly not children. They should be made to understand that life doesn’t work like that and we don’t always get all we want. Just as we learnt in basic Economics that man’s wants are unlimited but the resources are scarce, they should be made to understand just that. The earlier we teach our children this, the better for them, for us and the society at large.

How do we say ‘NO’ when faced with temptations?

Just say NO!

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7 thoughts on “Learn to say NO”

  1. Adedamola Ilori

    Dupe thanks for this writeup, you touched it right on the spot. Upbringing like you said is the key part and understanding the consequences of the loss inherent in saying Yes when you mean to say NO.

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