Many years ago, there was an unprecedented riot in my city. Mum had to walk some distance to pick us from school and we had to walk that distance again to get to the car. It was as though the whole city was ablaze and confused, and all major roads, blocked. Then, there were no mobile phones.
I asked mum where we were going and she said, “Home!” It occurred to me that as confused as the roads and the unwilling pedestrians appeared, we faced different directions but were going to just one place: home! I was under ten.
In today’s world however, home is either one’s place of comfortable/preferred abode or a familiar website from which one is comfortable to make progress. Whichever way, home is characterized by comfort, preference, and afterwards, progress.
However, home does not always fulfil these expectations. For example, there are people who lurk about after work, waiting till late so as to reduce contact time with their spouses. There are children who are “delivered” from home by gracious admission to boarding houses; they do not look forward to vacation. In university days, there were those who never went home.
What makes a place home?
Love and peace.
There are many homes without wealth yet with love and peace. There are many homes without perfect health, but still with love and peace. Maybe we should ask what makes for love and peace and joy.
First, the Christian’s Bible says that love and joy and peace are produced by the Holy Spirit living in a man. He enables one to look into a rough situation and still maintain a smile of assurance.
Furthermore, we could decide to love and be joyful no matter what may come our way. Viktor Frankl, a Holocaust Survivor, says “everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms–to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances.” Our greatest freedom is the freedom to choose our attitude.
While many situations require more than a positive attitude, many homes could have joy and peace if we would decide so. If we could make our homes peaceful and joyful, we could expect progress on more fronts.
By September 2014, I had become shy to review my 2014 annual plan–too many unfulfilled plans. Last week I was discussing with a friend and we saw January 2015 disappear too quickly. We both imagined that another year is going and several plans are slowly slipping to the junk yard of unfulfilled dreams again.
I hit the nail on the head: “Wow! The year is about to end again!”
Friend: Don’t scare me; we still have 11 months!
Me: Well, yes! But time-wise, we cannot score 12/12 again! The best we can make is 11/12 and that is only of we swing into action NOW!
For every one year plan you made for 2015, if you have not started out on it, time-wise, you can never score 12 over 12 again! However, 11/12 is still better than 10/12 and 9/12.
Why do we abandon projects?
I identified some points (not an exhaustive list)
2. Family responsibilities
6. Lack of resources
7. Faulty dreams
How can we rekindle our visions and projects?
1. Write them down!
2. Get an accountability partner or mentor
3. Plan your life / budget your finances
4. Partner to implement the plan
5. From time to time, go back to the place where the dream was conceived.
6. Evaluate your dreams to be sure they are still viable.
7. Count the cost before starting out.
8. Dream of what things would be like when your dream is fulfilled!
If you take just one thing on your list, and I take one thing on my list, and she takes one thing on her list and he takes one thing on his list, the world should take one huge step forward this year.
Let us start as, in the words of an old man I met recently, “it is the start that stops!”
For all creation is gazing eagerly as if with outstretched neck, waiting and longing to see your fruit!
Once someone referred to a much older man. He said, “He’s so old that in his school days, history was called current affairs!”
Well. We often think that history was made by great men! I think that no one is born great but in time, each proves his/her worth. Architects of history are never fixated on their own needs. There focus is on how they could foster the good of all. They are not required to be perfect…but selfless.
No matter what Nelson Mandela got wrong, his selflessness and sacrifices overwhelm them. No matter what Obafemi Awolowo got wrong, his policies are the foundation upon which some good things in Nigeria are built today. If Charles Dickens never wrote Oliver Twist, thousands more of hapless orohans would probably have died. If Dr Stella Adadevoh did not hold Ebola back with her life, Nigeria would have been pillaged; Nigerians would have travelled , and everyone would have been hit somehow. Aliko Dangote doesn’t appear to be ambitious for wealth at this stage; I think he is expending his capacity in building Africa.
As we begin to write on the blank canvas of 2015, let us look away from ourselves.
I met a Cameroonian gentleman.
he just loves to visit Nigeria. He has had many good times on his last 4 visits. He thinks he will make it an annual trip. He is based in Europe, but he would not mind to live in Nigeria. He loves the fast pace of life in Nigerian cities, he loves the business acumen, the music, the movies, and the night bars!
He asked if I am Yoruba or Ibo (I wonder if I do not look one bit Hausa to him!). Well, I am Yoruba. He said Yoruba and Ibo people are very hardworking.
Hmm. I thought he must just be looking for something nice to say!
I explained to him that on average, Yorubas are professionals while Ibos are business men. His joy seemed to overflow! He told me with excitement that a successful business does not need more than those two! One person drives the business, the other manages it! He said that Africans need to work together! I sighed inside, knowing that Yorubas and Ibos are not necessarily natural associates.
He offered a prayer for Dangote (Africa’s richest man). He said that Dangote goes all over Africa to invest, create jobs and generally promote society. He told me what I could not dispute: there are many wealthy people in Nigeria. If only they all could do like Dangote, Nigeria would be better than an average European city!
He’s hitting hard! He said that Dangote’s businesses in Cameroon are huge!
Then he began to sing a Nigerian song “You don dey make me kolo ee.” I laughed, asking if he understood what the song means. No he did not, but he cannot help singing Nigerian songs and watching Nollywood! He said African music means Nigerian music! I explained the song to him anyway! But I thought about how the most popular things about Nigerian musicians in Nigeria are their mistakes and vices: children out of wedlock, divorces, unguided investments, etc.
I told him of a Ugandan woman I once heard singing a P-Square song and I exclaimed, “You listen to Nigerian music?”
She answered, “That’s not a Nigerian song, it’s an African song!” We laughed unitedly!
My Cameroonian thinks the best thing for any African to do is to live in Africa and contribute something to make a better society! He said Congolese have a lot of money but they don’t go to school. And once you are not educated, your judgements will not be well grounded. Hence when the rich men tell theothers to take to arms, tney take to arms…and now they are best known for wars and infightings!
He’s hitting hard! Insurgency and Education may truly have an inverse relationship, even in Nigeria! i.e as education goes up, insurgency goes down…and vice versa.
I think that when we stand outside the system, we can see the big picture and appreciate our blessings and strengths better!
Oh well, this is not about whose Benz, Jeep or Jet is bigger. It’s about an eroding core.
A friend pointed out to me how there was no kindness in her religious centre. I did not let her land:
Me: You belong there , and you have been there for two years.
Her: It’s not up to two but it’s over one.
Me: You are part of the problem. New comers look at you and wonder why you are not kind. Why not solve the problem?
She took it in and mused.
In reality, we often wait for others to bring good on board while we do nothing. As colleagues, we wonder why no one announces and celebrates our birthdays, yet we do not bother to know when they were born. I joined an organisation and observed that a particular person alerts me about the birthdays of members of our department (he bought cake and drinks on my own birthday). I learnt later that the idea came with him (not the complaint). Now it has caught on; if he doesn’t send, some else will!
Many of us wonder why we are out of church for weeks on end and no one calls; no one seems to ever notice. It’s just because we have never noticed the absence of others! Or if we did, we never called them; we let it pass!
There was a couple that joined a church to which I belonged. They seemed to bring a glow with them. They were beautiful and peaceful. As they got more involved they made friends and visited families at home. In time, the families (we) returned the visits. Opportunities to do things together arose and a strong network, an enviable one, was built. It’s only with hindsight that I recall someone telling me there was no love in church. After these couple came, no one in our circle could say that.
And let us consider one another to prpvoke unto love and to good works (KJV).
And let us be moving one another at all times to love and good works (BBE).
Show family affection to one another with brotherly love. Outdo one another in showing honour (HCSBF)
As to brotherly love, kindly affectioned towards one another:
As to honour, each taking the lead in paying it to the other.
Two key points for the competition God expects of us:
– Outdo one another in good;
– You take the lead!
Sad news that Myles Munroe died, now, and in a plane crash. He lived a life of impact and he succeeded at moving from “very poor” to “very rich” in the same community.
About his death, I pressed my “black” button and began to wonder:
- Did he commit any last minute sin that made God “forsake” him to “fate” at that last moment?
- Maybe he did not have time to pray that morning.
- Didn’t he recite Psalm 91 every morning?
- Could it be that his stepmum is still alive and she bewitched his jet?
- Or another thriving pastor in the Bahamas was jealous and so bewitched him?
Then I “unblacked” and saw another perspective. Would Myles Munroe actually fly a private jet poorly maintained? Doubtful!
A few weeks ago, I explained to a friend why “I will never exceed a particular “self-imposed” speed limit: after working in a tyre manufacturing company, I trust every single thing on a car (within my engineering limits) except the four tyres. I have seen car tyres x-rayed, and I know how quickly the mistake of one disgruntled factory worker could kill many people at a time.
Are planes fail-safe?
I flipped another button again and I saw a different perspective
- Myles Munroe was never death-shy! He kept emphasising the need to contemplate our mortality: remember that you will die!
- Preaching on one occasion, he said he had attended his own funeral (in his mind) and that he was permitting no one to sorrow at his funeral. He said that if anyone shed a tear at his funeral, he would wake up, slap the person and then die again—we sure had a good laugh!
- He also said that he had attended his wife’s funeral in his mind, since he did not know which would be first. Incidentally, both coincided.
I will always remember Myles Munroe for his novel response to journalists on homosexuality. You have not heard it because journalists did not report it. He was asked for his position on homosexuality. He answered that as an Ambassador of the Kingdom of Heaven, he had no position; “but I can tell you the position of the kingdom I represent. The bible says, ‘…’” At that point he said that the journalists usually thinned out.
So how does heaven welcome successful Ambassadors?
See you one day in heaven!
Scarcely would anyone associate soldiers with peace…except on a second thought. Yet soldiers are more about peace than war. This is certainly not about the once-popular political soldiering and coup d’etat.
Mankind will always contend, hence the need to defend. But while humans are naturally-occurring, soldiers are not. Soldiers are made. The making of a good soldier is involving and takes years. The soldier has to be physically differentiated, mentally prepared, and also adequately equipped for leadership since soldiering is a team sport.
When men are hurriedly conscripted into the army at war-times, time for, and depth of training is drastically reduced and such soldiers are equally hurriedly discharged after the war…those who survive it. Abraham Lincoln was once so conscripted. He was immediately made a Captain. By the time he was discharged, he had gone all the way to the unhigh rank of a Private! He was not prepared.
So, while soldiers are meant to ensure peace, it takes peace to make a good soldier. (catch 22?)
Like our nations, individual lives also need to contend from time to time to ensure competence, “sovereignty”, and territorial integrity. And just as for soldiering, we need to prepare when there is no need!
We need to be in shape physically before a demand is placed on stamina.
We need to develop our competence before competence will be used for differentiation.
We need to dig a well before we are thirsty, to plant a seed before we are hungry.
We need to prepare and equip our soldiers even though there is no need!
We used to have debates when we were in secondary school. A wonderful debater senior is today a medical doctor. One day when he was beautifully articulating his points during a debate before the student population of over 2,000 students, the bell went off on him. He stopped and sighed. Then he said, “Time! Time can time me but I cannot time time. With all I have said…” His presentation was clear, his closing, novel, the applause, deafening! Time is most critical!
I got tired of seeing the same contact appearing multiple times on my phone due to multiple email/social media synchronization. So a few days ago, I began to merge, to delete and generally tidy up. I was amazed at the number of my contacts that have crossed to the great beyond! Just then, something seemed to whisper to me, “The number will only increase…with time!”
The last few months have been traumatic for news watchers: from Chibok, to Ebola, to ISIS, to poverty, to lack of potable water, etc. The big issue is not a problem to report, but which of the many problems should be put in the spotlight! The earth (physical system) is convulsing; the social system (world) is contorting.
Some say that Jesus is coming soon, others say that the world is about to end. Still some believe that these events are normal, just that information technology has only made us more and quicker aware of so many unpleasant events. Not sure which to follow?
In secondary school again, a year after that memorable debate, there was the news that the world would end on the 28th of October. One of my friends invited me to join a study from the 21st of October: a study of the behaviour of fellow students as the D-day approached. We would sit out and watch how fellow students behaved in class, in the hostels, on the assembly ground, in the dining hall, etc. We also noticed a few new and even brighter stars in the sky (today we know they are satellites). On the D-day, it was a Wednesday. Usually, the senior boys were unruly and never prayed during assembly, but that day everybody behaved; they bowed their heads during prayers. Kay and I were busy observing instead of praying! This says what? While we are not sure if Jesus is coming this night or the world is ending tomorrow morning or another big bang is about to happen or something, everyone is concerned about what happens after tomorrow!
It’s only the ostrich that sticks its head in the sand to hide from its fears, forgetting that the bulk of its body is not under the sand. Wouldn’t it be wise to ask for the way??
Years ago, I worked in an organisation in which, officially, a worker caught sleeping on duty twice would be summarily dismissed. While I was there, no one was officially caught twice; it was always a first time! You know, you’d walk up to a dozing colleague and wake him up saying, “That’s your first time.” We would roar with laughter and everyone would be wide awake and carry on with work.
It was a fast-paced environment both for the brain and for the feet; a senior could call you and ask why you were walking slowly like one who had nothing to do!! It was an environment in which the prime motivation for work was fear…and there was no hiding place except outside the gates! We certainly were not lazy; it was the practice to jump down from the company’s staff bus caught in traffic to hop on a two-legged to get to the office in good time. Working two shifts back-to-back was no big deal though to get paid for extra hours was highly debatable.
Let’s flip over our minds and imagine a work environment in which fulfilment is the prime motivation; where mistakes are not punished but learnt from. An environment where the boss knows the names of the spouses and children of the team members!
My mind was looking for that environment sometime ago and I found it!
I found one who is not hunting for mistakes but looks for opportunities to praise and affirm;
I found one who identifies stumbling blocks on the path and guides over them safely;
I found one who gives difficult tasks and watches proteges ignore valuable tools and embark on unsustainable journeys; what does he do? He sends the necessary help and provisions to key milestones on the path;
I found one who always knows when people are tired, and he generously lavishes rest breaks;
I found that no matter how much mankind can try, there could be no better Father than God!
I came across a book about Nikola Tesla. He was said to be the inventor of the 20th century. That caught my attention. If he was so key, how come I did not know him!
Well, he was born a European boy and he was technically inclined. He admired Thomas Edison’s inventions especially of electricity, and he proceeded to get a job in the Edison company in France. From there, he struggled to get to America, get a job at the Edison company and meet Thomas Edison in person.
Nikola had conceptualized “alternating current” and he believed it would be possible to transmit it over long distances, unlike Edison’s direct current. Edison turned down the idea and Nikola left to look for an investor.
As Nikola’s dream progressed, Edison waged a media war against him, telling America and the world that alternating current kills. Edison proceeded to demonstrate this by first killing stray dogs and then criminals condemned to death, with alternating current.
Nevertheless, alternating current won. Edison later confessed that turning Nikola down was the biggest mistake he ever made.
But then, did alternating current win? Truly, alternating current proved more efficient to transmit over long distances, but it has not eliminated the use of direct current; the world uses both. Several equipment run on alternating current, several more run on direct current. Many devices convert from one to the other.
Today, we find people and companies at war, misjudging potential collaborators as competitors. For instance, there is a community of 1,000 people with each person in need of a certain service. A businessman cashes in on the opportunity but he has the capacity to service only 250 people. After 2 years, another business man comes in with a capacity for 150 people. The two business men immediately see each other as competitors; as sworn enemies.
Out of a demand of 1,000, the sum of their individual capacities supplies 400 (40%), and they consider each other an enemy. Maybe if they collaborated, they could synergise and meet 50% of the demand or even 60%, with their profits only rising! Maybe if they worked together, they could muster funds to expand their investments, etc.
But sometimes, percieved competitors are better off as collaborators!
NB: Nikola Tesla did transmit electricity wirelessly!