Has anyone ever told you ‘stop talking to me like am a child!’ only for you to make a mental note to reserve that tone for children? No, don’t do that. Even kids don’t like being spoken to like that. No one does.

When learning different Nigerian dialects, most people will ‘advise’ you to learn insults first so you are aware when a speaker insults you and respond likewise (at least, that is my experience). Some of us actually go ahead to learn these rude words and whip them out at the nearest opportunity like at the market, during road rage, to the waiter or servant, etc. While we do this, we relish the surprised expressions on our opponent’s face because of our gutter mouths.
Is this necessary? Is it necessary to perfect your backhand slap for your servant? Or your supercilious glance for your subordinates? Why do we keep the word ‘infidel’ on the tip of our tongues ready to brand fellow Muslims with it? Why do we address security men, front desk officers, nurses, cleaners, etc like they are beneath us? To earn their respect? To get our demands answered on time? To compensate for the lack of love at home? Just because we can? Do we really believe such abominable manners will yield positive results? Such people who are treated with disdain tend to feel oppressed. They may be compelled to obey but they will not respond out of respect either. Respect is reciprocal.

That waiter you so saucily ordered to get you a drink may spike it with some urine or saliva; the servant you yelled at to bring your meal may add some drops of sputum. A housemaid may take out her frustration on your children; your son may take it out on his younger sister.

Without a doubt, people push our buttons especially our children, but we should repel evil with good. Responding to people with kindness and love yields better results. Don’t reserve that tone for the children; drop it completely. Don’t save those insults for a rainy day; drop them from your vocabulary entirely.

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