As a student I had a knack for collecting wise sayings and proverbs and writing them in a big book. In fact at one point in the late 90s my main interest in the Sunday newspaper was the page that had a compilation of wise sayings from famous people, poets, philosophers and politicians.
I would push my mother to buy the newspaper and even volunteer to go to the main road to buy a copy. As soon as I bought the paper, I would quickly head to that page and then read through the quotes and when I got home I would write my favourite ones in my book soon after my mum was done with reading the paper.
The fact is that I learnt a lot from all those quotes and freely used them whenever I was talking with my friends, especially when trying to emphasise a point to them or win an argument. It would not be easy for one to win an argument against me if I threw in words said by Ambrose Bierce or Oscar Wilde.
However to me the most basic of all is the one that goes, “A word to the wise is enough.” In other words, a brief warning or explanation is enough for an intelligent person. More importantly it implores us to pay attention to wise counsel and take heed when those who are wiser than us speak to us.
On the International Day of the Girl Child, the First Lady of Rwanda, Mrs. Jeannette Kagame penned a very sweet letter to all the girls of Rwanda. The letter that appeared in The New Times started off with endearment when she referred to the girls as Abakobwa bacu (our girls).
That alone shows that as per the African tradition the responsibility of raising the young is a communal not just a personal one — otherwise she would have said, Abakobwa bange (my girls). In short, we should not leave it to her but instead join her in moulding the young girls into people of worth for the world ahead of them.
It was no surprise then that in the same letter she pointed out that she was sure that other parents, guardians and mentors had also told the girls that, “it took more than a good education and the right opportunities to become a woman of strength.”
As last week came to an end, President Paul Kagame had a cordial moment with over 2000 university students from over 30 different institutions, whom he talked to, advised and even listened to. The conversation which aired live on national TV and radio was followed keenly around the country.
In brief the President called on the youth to take responsibility in leadership and not wait for the future to be leaders. “You should be the leaders of today. For the youth to take their proper role in leadership, it must start early, you don’t wait for tomorrow, you start as early as possible,” he said.
The students acknowledged the inspiration they got from the President who emphasised the theme of self worth and efforts to fight the situation of being second-class citizens of the world. All these wise words from the President and the First Lady should be enough to a wise student.
Students should also listen and take heed when their parents and teachers offer them any wise council with regard to their studies. These messages are very vital even after one has left school and I can safely say that some of the things that my teachers told me are still clear in my mind and I am grateful they were said to me.
Students ought to know that the mere fact that they are following in the footsteps of those who came before them, it is imperative for them to listen well and take heed. A word to the wise is indeed enough.