Tap: Message from the Morning Man
by Kojo Yankson
7th October 2015
I once read a story about a factory where a major piece of equipment broke down. All manner of experts were brought in to sort it out, but none of them could. The factory was losing money daily, and all the staff were idling about with nothing to do.
Finally, they brought in an old local mechanic who had been fixing stuff for decades. They weren’t sure he’d be any more successful than the well trained, well qualified technocrats who had already tried and failed, but they figured there was no harm in letting him have a go, since they were desperate.
the old man walked around the machine for a few minutes, carefully inspecting every inch of it. Then, with great aplomb and ceremony, he pulled out his hammer and gave it one tap, and the machine suddenly sprang to life. Everyone was relieved, overjoyed and grateful to the old mechanic for saving the day – that was until they received his invoice for ten thousand dollars.
Confused and uncertain about how five minutes of inspection and one tap with his hammer could warrant a ten thousand dollar tab, they asked the old man to present an itemised bill. He did, as follows:
One tap with a hammer = $5.00
Knowing where to tap = $9,995.00
My friends, today’s lesson is about the value of experience. I know that many of us young people are seizing our destinies, and taking matters into our own hands. This is great. I’m optimistic about our future because I know the youth are poised to take control and steer our path to a greater destiny.
I also often hear young people despair at the older generations. I hear them say, “Our parents have failed us. They have mismanaged our economy, they have borrowed heavily in our name, they have failed to provide for our future, they have mis-educated and misinformed us to the point where we can’t compete globally.
Well, that may all be true. But they have also been through everything that we are yet to go through. They have managed the families, the companies, the systems, the governments that we are about to inherit. They know where to tap with their hammer, and that knowledge is valuable. Plus, they don’t like change. if we don’t work with them, they will work against us.
My people, this nation cannot be turned around with half of us steering one way and half of us steering the other. We have to all come together and forge ahead in one common direction. That’s the only way.
Kwame Nkrumah failed to achieve his vision because he failed to get everyone on his team to buy into his ideas. Today’s youth might suffer the same fate with our nation if we fail to find a role for the highly skilled, extensively experienced and yes, palpably flawed older generations.
It’s easier said than done though. They will fight, brawl and claw against the necessary change we must all go through, but with patience, love and an unwavering sense of unity and national purpose, our new youth leaders will get us all there. We must. For the sake of generations yet unborn.
My name is Kojo Yankson, and I’m ready to work with anyone who wants a better future for Ghana – especially those who know where to tap.
GOOD MORNING, GHANAFO!