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I was taught that there was God

I was taught that that God was all-seeing,

I was taught that the all-seeing God was also all-knowing

I was taught that there were angels in heaven

And those angels were messengers of God

I was taught that I had a guardian angel

Every child my age also had a guardian angel

And those angels were messengers of God

And the angels followed us all day as our shadows

I was taught that the angels reported to God

And reports were made about my sins to God

Each time I dipped my hand into mother’s pot of soup

And stole a piece of meat or two

I was taught that my guardian angel turned his face away

Each time I started to eat without grace before meals

The angels covered their faces in shame about me

Each time I sinned by cursing my friends or fighting with them

I was taught that the angels spread out their wings and flew away

And they would fly away fast back to God

And when I did not see my shadows any time of the day

I searched my thoughts for any sins that I might have committed

I was taught that each time I told a lie

My guardian angels would hiss and flap their wings

And remind me to repent and retrace my steps

I was taught to say my prayers

And to promise God that I would be a good boy all day

I was taught that life on Earth was only a phase

And that the Earthly phase was for me to purify myself

I was taught that purgatory was real

And that any stains of sins would still therein need atonement

I was taught that heaven was above the Earth

And that nothing that was tainted would enter therein

I was taught that hell was real

And that all that died in sin would perish in hell

I was told that the heat of hell was immense

And that no amount of ocean waters would be able to quench the blaze

I was taught that the devil was black

And that disobedient Lucifer was burnt from white to black

I was taught that Archangel Michael was the chief of Angels

And that his sword for sinners was sharper than razor

I thus learnt to conform in all that I did

And learnt always to choose my words with care

And then I learnt from the teachings to pray

And to lay my worries to my God each day

And through my guardian angels I tried to please my God

And whatever I have become in life

I sincerely attribute all to what I was taught as a child

And whatever wrong that I did as I developed

I learnt to confess to God

And whatever good that came my way

I learnt early to attribute to God

And whether my thinking life likes it or not

And even if my critical thinking as an adult believes it or not

And even in the many moments of scientific rationalization in my life

I still hold dear those things that I was taught

And so whatever opportunity that comes to us in life

We must learn to impart only what is right to the young

Whatever that is right that the young mind learns

And whatever evil that vicious minds may to him impart

These will in time his character influence

And as we all preach a better and more humane world today

We will do well always to remember

That only the teachings to the young can change the world.

© Oliver Akamnonu

Massachusetts, USA

Feb.8, 2015

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