Contentment simply means the ability of an individual to be satisfied with what he has at any given period of time. It is the feeling of happiness or satisfaction with one’s possessions in life, irrespective of the size. It does not come from envy, greed, selfishness, favouritism and the likes. His needs are guided by his own available resources (money) or what is on ground. He is satisfied with whatever he has whether big or small, but still works hard to be better or improve himself to the standard he has set for himself. This virtue enables one to be appreciative of what God has blessed him with or any situation he finds himself. A student who is contented will be proud of his parent’s status, academic record and physical appearance. The spirit of contentment among students leads to mutual understanding, cooperation and good relationship. It does not allow greed, envy, jealously and gossip to thrive.
Attributes of Contentment
- Satisfaction: This is the feeling that is experienced when an achievement is made along the line of intents and purposes. This means the good feeling or state of being pleased when one has achieved something in line with his expectations. A satisfied person is never greedy, envious or jealous of other people’s achievements or possessions. He is happy, relaxed and at peace with himself and the environment.
- Lack of Envy: Contentment does not give room to attempting to be in someone else’s position because of lack. The feeling of envy is absent in the mind of a manor a woman trained in contentment for he has the correct information about life. This means that a contented person is never envious of people’s achievement, possession and position. A contented student should not be involved in gossip of people’s achievement or success, but should see them as a challenge to work hard and improve his lot.
- Abhorrence of Greed and Corruption: A man with contentment has no strong desire to acquire more wealth, power and possession, etc more than he can contain or manage at a time. He hates greed and because greed leads to corrupt practices, he will not get involved in any form of corruption or use of public office for private gain or favour.
- Humility: Humility is lowliness of mind. It is the humble condition of an individual in society. A contented person is always humble and meek in spirit. He is neither boastful nor arrogant. He has self-respect. He is tolerant, lovely and friendly. He is always ready to offer help to those in need without counting the cost. Youths need to be humble and submit themselves to the elders of society. Students need this quality of humility so that they can always take instructions from their school functionaries,teachers and principals. In other words, humility will make them obedient to the rules and regulations of the school, home and society at large.
- Discipline: This refers to the ability to control behaviour or the way we live or work. Discipline is a good factor of contentment. A disciplined mind is a contented mind, always showing order, self-respect, selfcontrol, self-confidence and obedience.
Effects of Lack of Contentment on Society
Lack of contentment is likely to breed the following effects on society and her members:
1) Corruption: It is the moral breakdown of the societal values and norms with the result that a wrong thing is done or emphasized in place of the right thing, because of personal interest or gain. It is the abuse of public office or position and also the use of public fund for private and personal gain or use. It is an evil that has destroyed the fabrics of our society.
Corruption can manifest in different forms and ways. Some common ones are bribery, over-invoicing, non-delivery of consignments paid for, purchase of fake or substandard goods or drugs, giving good positions to wrong persons for the material gains likely to come from them, using sex to secure better results in institutions of higher learning, using sex to get employment, diverting public fund for private or unofficial use, ‘godfatherism’, awarding of contracts to unqualified persons, rigging of election, inflating contract fee and electoral figures, giving admission to students/applicants who have no results or the requirements. The various forms and shapes of corrupt practices are too numerous to mention all, but the effects are too destructive to be ignored.
This has brought bad name to this country, and in fact, damaged her image and the reputation of Nigerians abroad. It has scared away foreign investors from investing in Nigeria. Corruption has also destroyed the societal values and norms we cherish so much and has given our youths wrong orientation. The youths believe so much in fast or quick money and any means employed to get it is acceptable, because, to them, “the end justifies the means”.
2) Greed: This is the excessive desire to acquire money, material things, power and other possessions for the sake of acquiring them and also to the detriment of others. This occurs most where contentment is lacking, because people tend to acquire more than they can contain at a time. Greed has made people to use all kinds of unlawful means to acquire wealth and has led them into immoral acts.
3) Envy: This is the feeling of wanting something that somebody else has. Societies without people of contentment are exposed to this feeling of being in somebody else’s position with the hope of displacing him and this brings about disorder in the daily activities of society. Those who are envious of people’s achievement and possession do not have self-confidence and this will lead to hatred, grudges, bitterness, and malice.
4) Theft: Stealing is the unlawful taking of someone’s possession without the permission or consent of the person. It could be obtaining by tricks (O.B.T.), pilfering, pickpockets, biro-tapping, looting, shoplifting, burglary, embezzlement and fraud, etc. A person that carries out these acts is called a thief. A contented person cannot steal somebody else’s belongings. It is very wrong for students to engage in any form of stealing. Anyone caught should be appropriately punished to serve as a deterrent to others.
5) Prostitution: Sexual immorality has given rise to prostitution as an occupation that people take up in order to make surplus money. As the name shows, prostitution is the practice of having sexual intercourse with someone with the intention of making money from it. The high rate of prostitution and indecent dressing in Nigeria are all signs of or pointers to lack of contentment in society. So many ladies and girls are into this business of prostitution out of the desire to get fast money and dress expensively. Some people are into it because of poverty and lack of employment. Yet, some others are deceived and lured into it without their expressed consent. Such people are being used as moneymaking machines. In fact, it is another form of slavery and, thank God, the government is not keeping quiet over this ugly situation. Our young girls should be talked out of this as it is not a noble or descent lifestyle.
6) Robbery: This is the act of stealing money or property from persons, shops, houses, stores, banks, supermarkets, etc using threat, intimidation or violence. The strong desire to get fast money and make it ‘the next day’ has led to the increased rate of robbery, kidnapping and burglary. Societies without contentment in the citizens experience threats and violence in their institutions, streets, markets, houses and so on. Robbers are always armed with guns and harmful weapons and so are called armed robbers. Most often, their operations result in the killing of innocent people and, sometimes, the armed robbers are killed, particularly when the police are alerted about their operation. Robbery has robbed us of many young, vibrant, dynamic and productive citizens.
7) Cheating: This involves acting in a dishonest way or manner in order to gain advantage, especially in a social game, competition, an examination, buying and selling and so on. Cheating is commonly seen among students in their various schools. Some students cheat in the examination by copying from other people’s work. Some give their take -home assignments to other students or their friends to do for them. Cheating is bad, it is an immoral behaviour which attracts punishments and students are advised to resist the temptation to cheat.Cheating makes an individual irresponsible and gives rise to fear, mistrust, suspicion and other social vices. Parents, teachers and the good people of this great nation should join hands in fighting cheating tendencies in our children so that they do not lead or graduate into higher forms of social ills.