What two naughty kids taught me

My cousin’s last two kids Julius and Nanzem are really adorable.  Cute, shy and polite little things – until you get to know them.  They drop their wings, break their halos and begin to grow tiny tails and horns.

When I first moved in with them, they welcomed me with a song and a drama which was rather thoughtful.  However I noticed as the drama unfolded that Jules was the benefactor: he always got the major roles and was getting all the goodies in the drama. On the other hand, the minor, supporting character (Nanzem) always got nothing.  I got to realize during my stay there that in all the dramas Jules was ALWAYS the benefactor…

Once I had to stop the ‘injustice’ in the middle of a scene. “STOP!!” I shouted.  “This is not fair Jules! Why do you have to be the only one enjoying during the drama?”  Four pairs of eyes stared at me, one pair looking puzzled and the other knowing exactly what I was talking about. He sat munching on slices of bread and butter which “his servant” had just served him.  Imagine! I had to warn him to stop writing one sided scripts, and told Nanzem to stop acting if she also didn’t get a major role. It hardly ever happened.


Anyways, Jules always gets peeved when you send him on an errand or correct him.  He shows this by stomping his heels to the ground, and his steps make a “doom-doom” sound.  Nanzem is quite a patient child and is always willing to help, except that she shows her own displeasure by attempting to cry. Her cheeks swell up, like a little balloon that is about to float away…

Recently Jules has been more willing to work or run errands.  At least that is what it looks like.  Before, a typical conversation would go like this:

Me:       “Jules!!!”

Jules:   “Yes, aunty?”

Me:      “Did you leave the kettle boiling with the lid on?”

Jules:   “Me? Nooo….”

Me:      “But you did”

Jules:   Silence

Me:      “kneel down”

 Now this is what it sounds like:

 Me:      “Jules?”

Jules:   “Yes, aunty?”

Me:      “Did you leave the kettle boiling with the lid on?”

Jules:   “Yes aunty”

Me:      “And you know it’s the wrong thing to do right?”

Jules:   “Yes aunty”

 Me:     “Do you know you can burn the house down doing that?”

Me:      “Yes aunty”

Me:       Silence.

Jules:     Staring.

Me:      “Go, but don’t do it again”

Jules:   “Ok aunty”

Seems like he’s learnt his lesson right?  Wrong, because soon after, Jules repeats the same thing he promised he wouldn’t do.


Last week I was preparing for work as early as 5 a.m.   I found Nanzem awake, looking like she was about to burst from the tears forming in her eyes and the air from her cheeks.  When I asked what was wrong she told me she had wet the bed.  Now Nanzem doesn’t wet the bed, so obviously we were both shocked at this occurrence; she must have either taken too much water at night (those kids are like fish!) or was too tired to wake up.  As it was a rare case, I calmly said it was all right and asked her to change into something dry. I also didn’t want her to go back to the same bed so I asked her to sleep in mine since I was about leaving for work anyways. For the next 15 minutes, our conversation went this way:

Nanzem:          “Aunty I’m sorry”

Me:                     “It’s okay, change your nightie.”

Nanzem:          “OK. Aunty, I’m sorry”

Me:                     “It’s okay. (I smile) Go back to sleep”

Nanzem:          “Thank you aunty. (She hugs me)  I’m sorry aunty”

Me:                     “No problem. (I hug back) see you later.”

Nanzem:           (Now under the covers, head in palm and face in deep thought) “OK. Bye aunty.”

On my way to work I thought about how sincere Nanzem was about her “mistake”, and how willing I was to forgive and forget.  Unlike Jules, who now admits to all his mistakes but is never sincere about it.  Could that be the reason why I don’t believe he’s sorry whenever he says he is? Something tells me this is his new defense tactic against punishment….

The point?

Majority of us ask God for forgiveness, not because we are really sorry, but because we are afraid of the punishment to be meted against us.  We know we are wrong, and we lose even more by not admitting it, so we go “Yes, I am human, I am a sinner, God forgive me”.  I knew a catholic who would go for confession every week and would still repeat the sin from the previous week!!! (I am catholic, so no offense – I just hated the fact that the sacrament of reconciliation was more or less abused!)  Personally, I go for confession quite infrequently because of the “shame” it takes for me to go there.  The “Go and sin no more”  should form part of our daily lives as well…

It’s getting harder for me to believe Julius is ever sorry for the naughty stuff he does, because he is so smooth and so willing to accept his fault.  His “sorrys” come with a straight face and a confidence that once he admits his fault, I have no right to punish him again.  However Nanzem makes the effort not to repeat the same thing – even though a kid’s mind is always looking for new and naughtier stuff to do…

I know God is loving and merciful.  Slow to anger and rich in mercy.  He can never refuse us His forgiveness if we ask for it, for Christ Jesus paid the price.  But don’t you think He would be more willing, if we were more sincere about it?

 Food for thought.


3 thoughts on “What two naughty kids taught me

  1. Funny n weird stunts kids, oh! sorry 4giv my manners we humans pull off effortlessly. Ultim8ly d wages of sin is death but thank God 4 Christ who paid dearly wit His life 4 our redemption but b d@ as it may choices birth up our actions wether good or bad n dey all drag wit dem (rewards) consequencies yet again good or bad- now my point is simple deserved consequencies d@ aint rightly dished out abuses any perfect system…. “if an individual takes d liberty to foul d air n runs away from d resulting aroma he/she loses value numerically or emperically….”
    Howdy? Ur case study was nice n totful I think I’ve met dose lads b4 when i visited ryt?


  2. Nice food 4 thought.
    Dats wat makes David a man after God’s heart. He tried not engage in a sin he had been forgiven. It will be a beautiful world if all can sincerely confess their sins and not go into it again.


  3. David I guess what you are saying is that our actions lead to certain results which affect us positively or negatively, and we have to learn to live with those results, right? Right. But God sometimes allows us to go through them so that we can be wise and make decisions that will not repeat the same result in the future (such as not drinking too much water at night in nanzem’s case, perhaps?)

    Which brings me to Jide’s comment. I think David was a man after God’s own heart not because he never sinned in his entire life, but he was always, always, sincerely sorry each time. As much as we claim we will not sin again, we will. Yes there are some actions that should not be repeated, but there are others that remain as thorns in our flesh – to humble us, to ask for help and the grace not to repeat it. The reason why we must make the effort to feel sorry each time we ask for mercy

    Thanks for your comments! 🙂


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