|Every little thing counts|
|Saturday, 21 July 2012 00:00|
I went to boarding school at a very early age. From my pocket money I would set aside some to take back home. The savings were very small but I always made sure I reserve part of it for my grandmother. I started on half a cent, then cent and graduated to two and half cents.
To those old enough to remember the two and half cents was a coin with three or so spears cast on it, what people of my kind called “tiki.”
Every holiday I would look forward to going to my rural home (kumusha) so I could give my grandmother her gift.
I used to love my grandmother’s response. She was very encouraging. She would thank me for the money, the thought behind my action and also tell me that one day I was going to give her much more.
What this meant is that I was laying a foundation for greater things tomorrow. Her words gave me the impetus to do more and even to work hard in school so I could fulfil her expectations.
I think in my own way I managed to do more and had she been around today, I would have given her much more than two and a half cents. Some years ago I went for quilting classes where we would cut up materials into small different shapes and sizes. Then piece them together to form a quilt.
One of my projects that I was proud of was a cot size quilt with the wedding ring design which creates an impression of intersecting circles.
It consisted of very small pieces of material sewn together one by one to form the magnificent artwork. Quilting requires a lot of patience because it can take months or years to complete a project.
Also it requires neatness if one is to produce a good and valuable piece of art. I think all little things said or done amount to something either positive or negative. Things build up from little things to bigger things. According to the law of nature things start small and then grow into something bigger.
The Shona have an adage “Nzombe huru yakabva mukurerwa” (a big ox was once a calf). It is the little things that make up the bigger picture. Little negative actions, words or thoughts can create the monster that affects relationships or corrupts the whole person.
I think some of the shocking crimes or offences that we hear about have their origins in the little lie or petty thieving. There are certain things that we let go because they appear negligible yet if left unchecked can cause more problems in future. In relationships, between husband and wife for example, a petty action or word could have bigger consequences.
The decision to ignore a partner who comes home late can create a chasm as one little thing leads to another until the situation is beyond redemption. So every little thing counts for something. I have a tap at home that drips sometimes. So knowing that every drop of water counts especially toady with the water challenges, I put a bucket under it. I was surprised to realise that by the end of the day I had collected a bucket full of water.
The drops are so tiny that one may choose to ignore them but together these drops account for much. The Bible tells a story about a man whose son had a demon that had robbed him of speech and when it manifested it threw himself to the ground, frothing, gnashing his teeth and making him rigid. His father took him to Jesus for healing.
From the story Jesus established that the boy had had this problem from childhood. Some of the things that we struggle with have their roots in the cradle. If it is mischief it probably was not nipped in the bud through the rod of discipline. The little things that we do or do not do will amount to something. I am sure you have seen a small pothole developing into a “dish hole”.
Timely intervention averts serious problems.
The English have a wise saying “a stitch in time saves nine.” It is better to do the right thing at the right time. Choosing sleep over study will mean double punishment that of failing and also having to repeat the examination. I know there are people who loathe the day that they bowed down to pressure to take the first smoke or sip the wise waters.
It has turned into an addition and cannot stop even for medical reasons. Then it appeared like a small thing and it was fun too. I have heard motivational speakers or life coaches telling people that fulfilling a dream starts from the little things done everyday.
The little actions together make the bigger picture. The problem we have today is of people who want to walk before they crawl or run before they walk. They consider the small things to be time wasters.
I have seen people who want to start with owning a mansion or driving the latest car. As the biblical Paul says we have to be on a milk diet before we can tackle solid food. In my view beginning with the bigger things can work for a while but soon it can be overwhelming.
The younger generation want results yesterday. They want everything all at once, a good salary, a car and all these perks before they have made any contribution to the organisation. Dear reader I am not encouraging us to aim low but to aim high but follow every step on the way.
Rushing for the bigger things before taking care of the little details might turn out negative. Sometimes we have to re-do certain things or the consequences are far greater than the benefits.
I recall during the times of bread shortage some queue jumpers suffered humiliation and were sent right to the back of the line. They ended up worse off as they would be behind those people that came after them. The law of nature says we start small and grow bigger.
The process of growing requires patience and nurturing so that the end result is maturity. Rushing processes is like putting the cart before the horse. One of the kingdom principles is sowing and reaping.
We have to sow in order to reap. A lot of work goes in between sowing and reaping and that requires patience.
We cannot sow today and reap today. Bigger things fall into place if we take care of the details. Remember every little thing counts therefore pay attention to detail.