The Palm Cross

No matter what your present religious disposition is, if as a kid you were Catholic, you’d admit Palm Sunday was always very exciting. Not because of the processions or the difference in mass activities that day. It was because of the palms.

Back then, the ability to craft a cross with the palms at your disposal was admired. If you could make a palm cross, you were the envy of your friends and the centre of attention, as you would immediately be beseiged by pleas to help with theirs. Simpler times…

This morning, I was at church for the Palm Sunday mass. I was sitting, waiting for the end of the announcements, with my single palm frond on my lap untouched (I used to be really good at making palm crosses, but abeg, e dey bring money?). Then I noticed some kids to my right, playing with their palms. One little boy in particular caught my attention. While the others were playing and making their usual kid chatter, he was trying in vain to make a palm cross. It was amusing, because he was so serious with it, his tiny face screwed up in concentration. This boy couldn’t be older than 7. He kept failing, but kept trying.

After I was sufficiently amused and impressed by his efforts, I called out to him to come. He walked up to me dejectedly, and I asked him to give me the palms. He gave them to me. In less than a minute or two, I made a palm cross for him as he watched in silence. I finished and gave him the cross, with a smug look of satisfaction on my face.

And this boy immediately ran off to where he was earlier. I was lowkey offended that he didn’t say thank you, or laud my craftsmanship and acclaim my incredible ‘palm-cross making talent’. Then I remembered how young he was and decided to let it slide.

What I saw next horrified me. He walked up to the kids playing, touched a girl I later found out was his elder sister, and they sat down together and proceeded to UNDO the palm-cross I had made for him!

I thought, “Which kain pikin be this sef???

But what I saw next amazed me, and is the reason for this piece. I watched as these two children, both below 10 years old and unaware I was watching, began to remake the palm cross they had just undone. And at the same time, they used the same pattern to make two new palm-crosses.

Apparently the boy had watched me making it, and then he and his sister also carefully undid it to find out how, and then created theirs. When they were done, the little boy ran back to me with both crosses in his hand, gave me the palm cross I had made and said with glee, “Thank you, Uncle!”. And he ran back to meet his sister.

I almost teared up.

In their innocence, they were oblivious of the profound impact they had had on me. They had no idea the level of intelligence and innovation beyond their years that they had shown. For them, it was simply to make more crosses to play with. For me, and for you, they inadvertently provided many positive life lessons to be drawn.

Draw yours.



Create or die trying

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store