One of the foremost educationists in Nigeria and social critic, Dr. Tai Solarin, who founded Mayflower School was often quoted to have said ‘May your road be rough.’ Many of the people who heard it at that time were young men and women in their early twenties and a few of them were teenagers. I think it was the rough part that caught their attention. They did not like that and a lot of them who were also from religious homes never said amen.
Let’s take a close look at the statement and see if this is a curse or even try to understand what he (Uncle Tai, or Oga Tasere, as many called him) meant by that statement. I was going through a few things recently and I remembered that statement. It was a rough time and the rough times often remind me of the greatness to come.
It is generally believed that if your paths in life are smooth you will rush into the roads and move too fast in life. As you go ahead on daily basis, you will not learn anything. It will look as if everything comes instantly on demand. By the time you arrive at your destination, you may not have what it takes to remain there. This can also mean that if you succeed too fast you will not learn anything. The success can be lost if gotten too soon. If you have not had trials and challenges, you may not have gone through times that will equip you for success retainment.
It is one thing to succeed and it is another thing to be able to sustain the success. When they say ‘may your road be rough,’ the intended statement is that you will go through times that will develop your character. It means you will have experiences and challenges that will help you know how to keep your success when you eventually become successful.
You may have heard that a pilot is not rated by his certificates or his great looks. He is rated by how long he stays in the air! A sailor is also not judged during smooth sails. The best of sailors are determined by the storms they have overcome. Those who don’t have any challenge can be shaken by any small thing when they become successful. But when you see those who have gone through the thick and the thin, they are not shaken.
It is important to note that the rough road is a metaphor for developmental challenges. There is no gold that is not tested. If it will become real gold to be sold at a great price, it has to go through all the possible tests. Now when you review the statement (may your road be rough), it can also be said as ‘may you go through the rough times that will help you become great.’ If you are not ready for a rough road then you are not ready for greatness.
Now if I say may your road be rough, will you say Amen?
Fola Daniel Adelesi
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