OPINION: THE TWO SIDES OF THE COIN

When man innovated and created the coin, he gave it two sides (following an uncontestable norm of Mother Nature on creating her perfect creatures, for example: two eyes, two ears, two nostrils, two hands, two legs, man and woman, boys and girls, night and day, right and left, good and bad, positive and negative, leaders and followers, shepherd and sheep, etc. etc.).

Indeed, without the two sides of a coin, it cannot be regarded and accepted as a coin. The defacing or spoliation of one side of the coin brings rejection to the other side (and even the whole coin).

Therefore, it means that the two sides must be near-perfect (is there any perfection in nature?) for it to be regarded and accepted as a coin. In addition, this same treatment happens to the paper-money that is innovated and created by man as a means of exchange.

Let’s move further from this wholesome introductory analogy and a reality of life. Indeed, before we settle on one of the analogies, and thereafter use it to analyze how the two sides has greatly shaped how the things that exist on earth revolve, activate and act to the benefit of all in it (earth); we hereby also confirm that in-between the two-sides of the coin (or everything), the thin-third-side (the thin-line that separates the two sides) exist in-between the coin (or any other thing that exist and function). But it is what it is: thin-side or thin-line or the flip-side, that is a little to the right or a little to the left; not too good and not too bad of anything; the neutral between the positive and the negative; the middle ground; the centre; the children of men and women; the fence-sitters in all things; the average between the intelligent and the dullard quotient; etc. To say the least though, the world and all there is in it, greatly (repeat: greatly) contends with the greater two equal sides and sizes. The third thin-line, many a time, participates in the activities that concerns the greater two equal sizes or sides, from the periphery; and is therefore seen and treated by many, as insignificant! But, is it insignificant? Only one can answer for oneself.

Let’s move on! Indeed, let us now focus on one of the many analogies of the two-sides (of the coin or reality) hypothesis. We shall therefore, hereby analyze the shepherd and the sheep (the much talked-about: leaders and the led—the followers’; the cow and the grass; the fat-cats and the other cats’ understanding). Yes, the shepherd and the sheep or the leaders and the followers!!!

According to The Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, a shepherd mean: someone whose job is to take care of sheep (flock); or to lead and guide a group of people somewhere, making sure that they go where you want them to go.

A sheep is defined as: a farm animal that is kept for its wool and its meat; or people (who) behave like sheep (gentile and supine)—they do not think independently, but follow what others do or think.

Please permit us to also digress further, by equating a leader to a shepherd, and followers (the led) as sheep. Indeed, forgive us if you find this equating faulty. It is just for analysis-purpose: which we strongly believe-in. To this writer, a “leader is nothing but a shepherd: anyone who is totally concerned about the wellbeing and welfare of those that follow him/her. Like shepherds of sheep, a leader should never allow his/her flock (people following him) to go astray”.

Following our analogy of the two sides of the coin therefore, a shepherd (leader) is one side of the coin and the sheep (follower) is the other side of the coin. Indeed, without one side (i.e. if defaced), there is definitely no other side of it (i.e. the coin). The two sides must complement each other (i.e. themselves) for one-whole of them to be regarded as a (good) coin (or paper-money) worthy to be spent or accepted as a medium of exchange. Indeed, without the sheep, there will be no shepherd. If the shepherd exist and there is no sheep to shepherd, his/her existence becomes worthless—surely a nonentity. Therefore, for a shepherd to be regarded and recognized there must be a sheep or many sheep (flock) for him/her to shepherd (guide, lead) to greener pastures to feed and tend to their welfare. Not doing so methodically also means his/her shepherding will surely come to futility (i.e. become a futile effort).

Below therefore, in a concise form, let’s equate a shepherd to a leader, and sheep to a follower (the led) as we connoted earlier.

Let’s start by first asking these pertinent questions: 1. If there are no followers (the led), can there be leaders? 2. If the led do not want someone to lead (guide) them, can there be leadership? 3. Like they say: “some sheep must always stray and as a shepherding rule, a shepherd must not always kill them”; in essence, should a leader hurt or kill (some) of his followers when they infract on regulations and laws of society or not? 4. Is it the duty of the shepherd to be mindful at all times, about the welfare of his sheep (or flock), knowing full well that if one sheep is stricken or lost, his/her flock cannot therefore be seen and said (by the generality) as complete or healthy.

This writer’s answers to the above questions are (yours could and should be different and that is the beauty of a discussion like this):

1. Indeed, if there are no followers (the led), there cannot be leaders. Leaders exist to lead, and if there are no ones to lead and guide (to a destination), their leadership positions will surely become a non-issue, a non-entity and indeed, a non-considerable position to behold. Leadership and followership positions are surely two sides of a coin—which is only good for meaningful exchange (achievement) when they are both in good condition (not defaced); and therefore should always respect and complement each other, for the sake of operating a functioning society.

2. Also, if the led (followers) do not want someone to lead (or guide them sometimes, somewhere or to a destination), there cannot be a leadership role to perform or fulfilled by any person (who thereafter regards himself or herself as a leader). Leaders emerge from followers and it is a transient position. There can never be one leader for all times. One can be a leader today, and a follower tomorrow or vice-versa! Therefore, if the majority of the followers do not want to be led by a particular leader, he/she should not impose himself/herself on them, or else they may sabotage his efforts while as a leader.

3. A shepherd does not kill or inflict-pain on his sheep, just because they stray. This is because, if he/she who is a shepherd do so all the time, it means that eventually, he/she will not have any sheep to shepherd at long-last. Furthermore, doing so (that is: killing or inflicting pain his/her sheep that strays) would amount to decimating his flock and may eventually have no more sheep to shepherd at long-last. This same analogy can be transposed as it concerns humans—on leadership and followership. Indeed, better leaders are those who have imbibed this key fact of life. Leaders also fail because they feign ignorance of this cardinal fact in shepherding (leadership).

4. The shepherd has always been mindful that it is his duty at all times (repeat: at all times) to submit and perform the needful welfare services to keep his/her sheep healthy and alive. Whenever one sheep is stricken or dead, the shepherd has always cried. To say the least, he/she who is a shepherd has always bearded in mind, that the health of one of his/her sheep, equals the health of all his sheep (flock). This is surely a great lesson that leaders of humans should learn, imbibe and practice if they want to succeed in whatever leadership position they hold. Indeed, this is a clarion understanding, and must be upheld by leaders. Leadership and followership are two sides of the coin—like shepherds and sheep, they must serve towards one purpose—to make a good medium of exchange; and to make one (side) exist so that the other side will be regarded (like sheep and their shepherd).

The above answers, as we gave here, serve as our conclusion to this analogy and treatise. Think about it: life is like a coin, it takes the two sides of it to make a better life and living. It is surely a complementary world. Mother Nature made it so and wants her off-springs (humans) to fully understand this and practice it at all times. Methinks so and this makes me respect others without minding their positions in society. What of you?

Written by Ejike Kingsley Osuji.
ekosuji@yahoo.com

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