A few months ago I wrote an article about aberrations in our traits which emanate from sources external to the person. If I can just recall some salient facts, I said that there are both behavioural and emotional defects in people’s lives which they have to pay attention to live normally.
The behavioural defects are anomalies like lying, stealing, stuttering, eating disorders, family breakdown, continual financial insufficiency, being accident prone, early death, alcoholism, and physical abuse.
The emotional defect anomalies like fear of rejection, depression, lust, anger, fear, anxiety, inferiority complex, hostility, sexual abuse, incest, homosexuality, adultery, etc.
These defects sometimes are inherited from one generation to the next affecting the health of individuals, and causing social embarrassment in families and even clans.
I remember a story which I heard during a church service, which would perhaps highlight the major issue I want to raise in this piece.
The story goes like this: All the animals gathered together one morning for the task of choosing one of them to be their king. The domestic animals nominated the dog for the position.
They reasoned that the dog’s barking habits would be very useful when enemies approached the village. With that simple logic, the animals chose the dog to be king.
But, the rabbit was not happy with the choice because it reasoned that the dog also had an unbearable habit of going about sniffing at things everywhere. It was agreed that the dog would drop the habit.
The second day in the dog’s rule as the king of the animals, the rabbit devised a method which would make the dog fail. The rabbit took a bone which had been roasting in the fire and passed at a safe distance from where the dog was standing knowing that the dog would catch the scent from the bone.
The dog resisted for a time from going around sniffing, but soon the urge was unbearable so it returned the crown he had been crowned with and went sniffing around to find the source of the roasted bone.
The above story proves one fact that some habits will never die. I would like to refer to the story in the Sunday Times published last week about a man who committed incest with his young daughter.
That story should be seen in the light of the defects mentioned in the first paragraph. These are emotional defects exhibiting themselves in a man who is not normal. In everyday life, we see people who are sick in the mind.
We see them behave in a manner which defies logic. Some behavior can be as tragic as the one which in that story but, on the other hand, other behavior can be as simplistic as veering off the road and urinating on the fence of someone’s home.
We call them mad or insane, but actually these people suffer from an invasion of demonic powers and influences in their mental faculty.
Of course, there may be genuine congenital medical cases arising from injury of the brain during birth, or in the course of growing up.
When one goes to a doctor for examination, the doctor will always want to know whether that type of disease has also attacked other members of your family.
Diseases like diabetes, cancer, heart problems, asthma, or even stroke are some of the most common ones which tend to develop a pattern in the family tree.
It is very much possible that these diseases are passed down from one generation to the next just as the doctors make us believe.
If we were to use the doctors’ methods in looking at people, it is possible we could spot a rapist, or a sexual abuser from one kilometer away.
A person who has been exposed to an environment, either in his own home, or in his village, teeming with people with emotional defects such as fear of rejection, depression, lust, anger, fear, anxiety, inferiority complex, hostility, sexual abuse, incest, homosexuality, adultery, etc. will invariably pass such acts to the people they come into contact with.
We cannot keep on living with time-bomb rapists and incestuous people side by side only to lament when they strike. We shall then have a victim living with the scars forever. We need to move in the area of prevention rather than cure.
We already know that our society is full of people whose lives have been traumatized beyond control. We also know that the white man, when he left, bequeathed to us a country with extreme inequalities.
We are further aware of the extreme poverty, extreme emotional imbalance and a lost generation with lost culture in our midst. We should, therefore, take proactive steps to address these issues.
First, we need to give mental health more attention both at family and national levels. Let us increase the spending that goes to mental health in our national budget. Open up more clinics dealing with mental health in every nook and crook of the country.
Secondly, let the doctors also pay more attention to the state of their patients’ mental health. If the doctors find a pattern of mental imbalance in certain people from specified areas, then more attention and follow-up should be given to such people.
The third preventive measure is to educate the population about symptoms and consequences of mental or emotional imbalance in the families and among their neighbours.
For example, any spouse who is found to be abusive to the other and to the children should not be allowed to take custody of any of the children when the spouses separate.
Moreover, if someone sees a person who has been abusive to his family get closely acquainted to young people of either sexes, it should start the warning bells ringing.
Finally, as a Christian, I think we need to look to the Bible to find some solution. We read in the book of Psalms 51: 7- 9 “Cleanse me with hyssop, and I shall be clean, wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity” God is willing to fulfill this promise to those who ask. Let us pray that God will intervene in our daily lives to cure members of our families, clans, and nation from both behavioural and emotional defects some of which I mentioned above.