What Legacy Are You Leaving Behind For Your Children And Your Society?

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In 2016 during the Electoral commission’s Limited Registration exercise, I was a NPP polling station agent in one the communities in the Sissala East constituency. I challenged certain decisions there and it brought the whole exercise to a stand still. For about a hour or two, we were just stuck there and nothing happening. This raised the tension in the said community and there were threats to attack and beat me.

As for the insults, they were uncountable. I had to call for the police to come and protect me and the exercise. Whilst all these noise was happening, a man passed through the crowd and came to me. He was from the community, heard what was happening, came to find out about the “small boy” that was preventing them from registering their people etc. He asked others about where I come from and whose son I was.

It was when he had answers to his questions that he felt he needed not to only come to me but to protect me and also assure me of my security. Whilst standing with others, he told them they should leave me and that he knew my late father very well. He said he used to come to him in Accra to always take “tea”. An indication they used to be close before he came home(to the Sissala East). I wondered whether he could have actually given me the security and protection judging from the way the community was tensed but I never forgot his gesture and the reason behind his gesture.

At the beginning of this year, I was at my Hon. MPs office in Tumu when a man came there and was to join him travel to Accra. I greeted the man and we were both quietly standing there. I realized he couldn’t recognize him eventhough I knew him since I was a child back in Accra. I then asked him whether he can recognize him and he said no. So I told him who I was and after realizing who I was he opened the conversation and he started talking straight away about how my late father was good to him when he first came to Accra and how he made life comfortable for him though my late wasn’t a wealthy person. He said after he made it in life, he tried contacting and helping my father but he realized he was no longer in Accra and he later realized he passed away.

What then occasioned these recollections? On Friday the 30th of September, 2022 between 9:30 to 10am, I had a call from an elderly man now probably in either his late 70s or early 80s. He said he heard of him and searched for my contact. He was not calling in relation to me but he was calling to tell me the good my father has done for him. In fact, he doesn’t even know my mother. It was my stepmom who is my father’s first wife and first love that he knows. He asked about how many we are now and what we are all doing currently.

After these inquiries, he then to told me that back in the 70s he was in Accra hustling and struggling. My father was then a watchman for the Graphic Corporations Limited (publishers of the Daily Graphic, Ghanaian Times and other newspapers). The corporation said they wanted some 12 people to employ.

A lot of people applied. My late father advised him to also apply. He applied. Even then, the ‘who knows you’ or ‘who you know’ stuff was also there. He didn’t know and doesn’t have anyone to push him. The only person he knew and could talk of was my late father who was just a watchman. My father pushed through and out of the many applicants, he was one of those picked. He worked there and then took the opportunity to apply to the Ghana Institute of Journalism before he left for overseas. He is now back home. Like the second story, he also said he wished he could have done something for my late father but by the time he came back, he was already deceased (my father died in 2012). We then delved into some history lessons and our conversation ended.

These scenarios and many others have kept me thinking since Friday. In fact the last call from the old man has kept me asking myself numerous questions: what would I also be remembered for? How would my children also assess me? What would others tell my children about me after I’m also dead and long gone? What am I putting in place for my children to always be proud to associate my name to theirs? Do I need much wealth before I can impact the life of others?

Material possessions I have realized are good but they do not become the cornerstone of the human legacy. The little good things we do, some we forget, some we do not even take them serious are eventually the things that others appreciate mostly. I have also realized that the good things we do though some do not appreciate and value them, there are others who even if they do not do anything physically good to payback, they keep it golden in their hearts, keeping you permanently in their memories and praying for you always. It is good to always be good and concentrate on being good. Do good based on your standard and try not to turn yourself to the standard of another just because of how bad he treated you or has been treating you.

I will end with a statement from the Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings of Allah be Upon Him), “Do good, because you don’t which of your good deeds would lead you to Jannah” (Hadith). To paraphrase, do good because you don’t know which of your good deeds would become your lasting legacy in this world and which would leave a permanent mark in the memory of those you helped and the society you leave in.

Fuseini Abdul-Fatawu
(Son of late Jagbe Batie Fuseini aka Fuseini Sissala)

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