THE REWARD OF COWARDICE

THE REWARD OF COWARDICE

Back in my days in secondary school I had a tough disciplinarian as the Dean of Academics; one Chief Olowoyeye. He was a man with an irrevocable commitment to discipline and excellence. He could flog a dead horse back to life.

One day Chief was teaching in our class and it was long past the time for breakfast. As it was a boarding school if you went late to the dinning hall you ran the risk of losing your meal to hungrier students. On this particular day we were to eat yam and egg, it was the favourite of most students. Chief overstayed his welcome on the most unlikely day. For that he had the class revolt. As he wrote on the board backing the class the class grumbled in protest will many rubbed their feat on the floor and others beat their desks.

Each time he turned to look who did it, everyone sat up. This went on for like three times. About the third time, Chief became particularly furious. “All rise”, he yelled at the class. Easily, we were all in soup. It was a really bad morning. Each person had about 5 hot strokes. Grown ups wept. As he flogged the class and abandoned me in a corner I kept reminding Chief that I had not being flogged. Being quite a troublesome boy I expected that he would intend to double my strokes. To ensure that he does not give me “special” treatment I asked severally and he motioned to me to wait each time. I bemoaned what was to be my fate.

When Chief finished flogging the class he came over to me. I froze. I thought I was in soup. But Chief announced what was a major surprise coming from someone who takes every opportunity to discipline me for my stubbornness. Chief said he would not flog me. I was stunned! But Why? He said (Here are his words) “I won’t flog you because you cannot be one of the cowards who could not easily ask for their right (as it was normal break time). I flogged the class not for disobedience but for COWARDICE. Jembola, if it was you you would raise your hand and tell me to my face Sir, it is time for break. That’s bravery”.

Dear reader, chief was right. I was not part of the people who caused distraction. He was also right, I would rather have called him out if I wanted so badly to do breakfast. I learned a well-taught lesson in bravery that day.

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