Omo Rere

It’s so great to be back! I apologise for the long break. To make up for it, I have two posts for you today. Enjoy!

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When my children do something good, I call them “omo rere”, which is Yoruba for “proper child”. You see, with my kids eating is a challenge. You practically have to beg, dance and make promises just to get them to eat something before going to school.

On this fateful day, my last daughter, without any dancing or promises from me, finished her food and showed me her plate, “Mummy see, I finished my food.”

I couldn’t believe my eyes. I started dancing, singing and praising her, “Omo rere,  omo rere, omo rere…” Her older sister was so unhappy about this that she came up to me with an accusing look and said, “Mummy, you!” I asked her what I had done wrong and she said, “Mummy, after everything I have done for you, you did not even call me omo rere.”

I wondered what my five-year-old could possibly have done for me, so I asked her.

“What have you done for me?”

She said she:

  1. Had her bath
  2. Brushed her teeth
  3. Did her homework
  4. Ate some of her food
  5. Made her bed.

After all these she did for me, I did not call her omo rere, she complained. I just had to clarify things for her right there and then. I explained to her that all those things she listed, she did for herself and not for me.

“If you don’t eat before going to school, you will be the one hungry before lunch time. If you don’t have your bath, you will smell and people will run away from you; you will have no friends. If you don’t do your homework you’re the one who will be punished in school. If you don’t make your bed, you’ll sleep in an untidy bed. So my dear, you are not doing me any favours. It’s because I love you and don’t want anything bad to happen to you, that’s why I encourage you to do these things you just listed.”

It’s the same in our relationship with God. When God commands us to do something, or to obey His commandments, it’s not for His benefit but for our own benefit. God knows the principles upon which He founded the earth. Those principles are based on who He is so when He tells us to keep His commandments which are based on those principles, it is for our own good. We are the ones who will be blessed. (Job 35:6)

If we sin, what do we accomplish against Him? However, because God is love, he doesn’t want anyone He created to suffer. That’s why He tells us in love to keep His commandments. That’s why He gave us His Son Jesus Christ to atone for our sins; it was out of love for us, not because He needs anything from us.

There is a Yoruba proverb that says, “Omo yi ma pa mi, ma pa mi, ife lo wa be.” When a mother is asking a child not to “kill her”, that is, do something that will hurt her, she is talking out of love. It will get to a stage where the mother will say, “Ma pa ara e!” meaning “Don’t hurt yourself!”

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