I will not be alone in the maze and craze of spontaneity, jumping onto this social media trend- the ‘our day’ petition.
Spontaneity comes with our job, as writers and bloggers. For us, it is only natural that we leverage trending issues of national and popular appeal. So, my accusers should spare myself and all the other media outlets who have made Oswald and his celebrated Teacher an overnight social media sensation.
Truth be told, this matter is not one that I would have ordinarily paid attention to, or squeezed time off my schedule to write about. Yes, a boy has written a letter to the mum, (Image Attached), instructing her to take keen note of every slightest detail, regarding the items he needs for his ‘Our Day’ ceremony. How does that affect me or why should that even be a subject worthy of social media trends?
Our Day instructions that my colleague’s son gave to her. The emotional blackmail at the end 😂😂😂 pic.twitter.com/VrEuUeQYAW
— Gambit ♠️🐻 (@SmylyThe3rd) July 29, 2021
This was my preliminary disposition until I chanced upon the trends on Twitter. To be honest, unlike many, I only took keen attention, when upon my curious search, I found out that Mrs. Appiah, the Teacher at the center of this buzz, was a person I knew from a church I played the organ for.
Her position as the secretary of the church is not what makes her conspicuous. Beyond the fact that she also served as a conductor of the choir, she is a personality, whose presence, one cannot but notice, anytime she is around. Active and lively, she always wears that smile that can pierce through every tense situation.
It was my affinity to Mrs Appiah that made me take keen interest in the trends to read the boy’s request carefully. Admittedly, I truly felt proud of her exploits and my association with her, reading the many commending reviews and user-generated pieces in her honor.
For the first time, I can convince some ardent social media critics that the tool can be used for much impactful social good. That’s, a tool to appreciate the people who truly deserve being appreciated and to celebrate those whose lives continue to model exemplary paths for many.
To have a teacher and a 9-year-old boy lead Twitter trends for hours on a day Sarkodie is launching his much anticipated #NoPressure Album, is no mean feat.
Whilst some of these user-generated trends, as expected, are exceptionally hilarious and humor-ridden, one does not suffer to come across a number of these trends that are full of praise for Mrs. Appiah and the young audacious boy.
I sigh in deep relief that our social media enthusiasts are finally paying attention to the people who are truly supposed to be appreciated and celebrated for their significant contribution to human development and society, and I am looking forward to many of such gestures in honor of other professionals, like nurses, doctors, security personnel, and other people who put their lives on the line for others.
The times when only musicians and actors or those in the arts are labeled as celebrities should be over. These exemplary leadership Lessons can be learnt from Oswald Gennuh’s letter to his mum:
Learn to Negotiate
When I read through this gentleman’s request, I see a boy who is not enamored by an entitlement mentality. He doesn’t appear to be making the request only based on a sense of entitlement, as a child whose mother is supposed to make his ‘Our Day’ event lively and cheerful.
He puts his negotiation skills to play by coming from the point of view of merit. He states: ‘‘I didn’t disappoint you in the exams so please don’t disappoint me’’.
His ability to leverage his supposedly good academic outing as a bargaining chip for his request is truly a hallmark of great leaders. The boy teaches us the importance of effective negotiations skills in leadership.
Indeed, Ghana needs these kinds of leaders who can properly negotiate for better and favorable generational equity with the bargaining chips (numerous naturally endowed resources) at our disposal.
Bring your Best to the Table
Again, by tying his request to his bargaining chip, he invariably disproves an entitlement mentality, just based on status.
To win, leaders must be worthy of trust on their terms and merits. This cannot be commanded, demanded, or awarded. Leaders must understand that their only true way of inspiring confidence and trust is to gain same, on the merit of their words, achievements, and actions and not to demand it as of right.
Put Others’ Interests ahead of yours
For a boy of 9-years to consider his Teacher first on his wish list speaks volumes of the impact that teachers have on their students, beyond the fact that this gesture is truly commendable.
Indeed, we need Oswald’s kind of people who will put other people’s interests ahead of theirs. This boy has shown true leadership values that we hardly find in this part of the world, and as I am not surprised all these good things have come his and his colleagues’ way.
When leaders see beyond their interests and needs, the impact of their achievements is incalculable.
Beyond the leadership nuggets above, Oswald leaves an important lesson on the role of communication in leadership. This boy knew what he wanted, how he wanted it, and how it should be delivered.
The clarity of his communication and the exactitude with which he expected same to be executed, is found in these words: ‘Read every tiny note’.
Leaders must not just be meticulous; they must insist that the people they lead are deliberate and meticulous about the things they say or do.
Suffice it to say, that it takes a lot of courage and confidence for leaders to communicate with this level of clarity. Besides, the fact that he chose to put his request in writing, should tell you about the seriousness with which he wanted his mum to attach to every detail.
I am conceivably convinced that his request would not have achieved this level of national appeal, if it were communicated verbally and tacitly to the mum at home.
Need I say that knowing what to say is not enough if it is not delivered through the appropriate medium and language?
Never give up: Dreams can come through
Oswald’s rather inspiring story should spark a glimmer of hope to every leader about their dreams.
The fact that a young boy of nine will be serious about his request to a point of putting it into writing, convinces me that he might have experienced several bouts of a disappointing ‘Our Day’, over the years.
In fact, the mother in an interview with JOY FM openly admitted to brushing off some of Oswald’s requests as though she never heard him.
The boy’s letter, by diction and style, reveals his palpable desperation. If you have been in a position where you have repeatedly been rejected, Oswald’s rather desperate tone will not come to you as a surprise, and I am sure most leaders have had their bouts of desperation and disappointments.
Oswald’s story teaches us that every dream, be it personal or commercial, can come through, however the challenges and disappointments. Just as Oswald did, we need to take the necessary steps and put in the work and leave the rest to God and providence and the rest will be history. Indeed, ‘‘the vision is for an appointed time.’’
I am particularly amazed by the array of support and goodwill that has come Oswald’s way. From the spontaneous user-generated campaigns that have been generated around this campaign, to the social media mileage and celebrities who have all passed comments of commendations, I think the young man should truly be proud of himself for making his Teachers, Parents and School Proud.
As a brands and communications person, I have equally been thrilled by the spontaneity of social media activations this rather daring request has provoked. I do not think such a spontaneous response or approach to marketing is opportunistic, at all.
I think we need more of such spontaneous spark to marketing communications. Nothing can make brands more socially- responsible, attentive, and personal such as some of these spontaneous activations.
As I conclude, two things gladden my heart: the boy’s leadership lessons and the spontaneity/responsiveness that social media affords marketing in our age.