A story is told: of a young man, youngest in the family, who appeared to have the Midas touch. Whatever he ventured in turned to gold. He bloomed and shone like Morning Glory and the aroma of his life circled the atmosphere wherever he found himself. He went the extra mile to share his good luck with his siblings and extended family. But try as he would, family members looked at him with suspicion. His growth from one level to another never found favour in their eyes. When he was set to move to the next educational level which would place him above his seniors, the family knew it was time to act – in the opposite direction.

Without deliberate and joint plan, they sought to cut him to size. They would guide him into a project, goad him, and at the critical moment abandon him. Yet he would overcome the challenges of being alone, think of excuses to cover his family, succeed, and share the benefits of success with the same family even when the others preferred to concentrate their achievements on themselves.

What indeed accounted for the success of the young man, call him Winner? A man, call him Mr. Backbone, was the answer. Family members, like Delilah, searched and found out this truth. They then went out to dislodge this source of strength. How would they?

Because Winner was so proud of Mr. Backbone he talked a lot about him to his family members. They got to know the man’s likes and dislikes. One by one they whispered to the man what Winner did not do to hurt the man. These and these he did to promote your dislikes while these and these he did against your likes. The man, sad because the stories resembled truth and worse still came from Winner’s family, withdrew his support more so he had often warned Winner to be careful of human beings. “The snake said,” the man had warned, “Human beings must be feared.” Winner was too much in love with his family he never believed any of them could hurt him. And he had done so much for each of them as individuals and as a group even with his little resources! “The Lord God knows why each of us is placed in a family,” he once argued. “Since God cannot be wrong, each of us must be tied to our family,” he always persuaded himself.

He forgot the oft-repeated admonition that human beings must be wise. Wisdom means sifting grain from chaff and seeing beyond the ordinary. Mountains are green far away and what is, may not be what should be.

Winner faced a crunch because he had been cocooned by Mr. Backbone for so long. Worse still, he was not prepared for the enemy within. “My friends, beware of family,” Winner later warned when he came face to face with truth. “You may not be another Joseph,” he continued and concluded with the fanciful phrase, “Shine your eyes.”

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