Baby Again: the future of the African child

Fear and the inability to take risks are man created. We were not born that way. We were informally trained to be afraid, to lack courage and to avoid risk. We were brought up to think that it’s best to always play it safe. But I have come to realize that although a ship in the harbor is safe; that’s not what ships are made for. They are designed and purposed to sail the high seas and surf through the turbulent storms; and they are specially designed to serve that purpose.

Risks are a part of life; boldness i  s often essential and it is innate. Fear though seems natural, it isn’t our default setting. We picked it up along the way and dropped the courage we were born with not realizing that although fear will take us to a destination faster and safer; often it leads to the wrong one and at when best, to a destination far lesser than where we ought to and could reach.

Take a look at a baby. Regardless of who her father is or how uneducated his mother is. Even if the baby is an orphan from theimages (1) poorest of families; when you place him or her in a room filled with the most honourable and noble dignitaries of the world, the baby would still end up doing whatever it is it wants to do. If it wants to cry, cry it would; or smile or make noise or cause trouble. A baby acts without inhibition and without fear. They are a great example of courage and boldness.

And each and everyone of us was once like that baby. We were all born that way. And that’s what we need to get back to being. Fear is a habit we learnt while unlearning courage and we need to reverse that to unlearn fear and relearn courage.

We were born that way for a reason. The world we are in is one filled with opportunities. But despite the huge opportunities that lie around, what we find also is great inequality.  The resources available are not equally distributed and no matter the kind of socialist system any government tries to run, they can never be. Resources are not necessarily scarce; or let me say scarcity is relative. Resources can go round but it just won’t.  I believe that an interplay of fear, faith, courage and boldness is what decides who gets what and how much of the resources available gets to a person.

It takes the bold and courageous to stretch forth and reach for his own share. It takes a lion heart to have a lion’s share. And that courage lies within your heart. You just need to find it.

And to young parents and intending parents especially my fellow African people i have this to add: We tend to teach our children not to speak where elders are instead of teaching them how to speak where elders are. We teach our daughters to be subservient to their male counterparts rather than making them know how to be achievers in themselves as well as humble afterwards. These are the things that sniff out the boldness and courage we were born with. Little wonder we are the way we are. I believe it is important that we change some part of how we train our children. No doubt our system has given birth to really strong and defiant people and time won’t permit me to name examples, but like always said, there is always room for improvement.  Ability to adapt and to survive are not the only things we can have. images (2)Courage, confidence and boldness could be added to the character of the African child.so we need to adopt systems that would model these traits in our kids. We need to make them start seeing that the white man isn’t better and that the foreign land isn’t more blessed. That they can compete against anyone in the world because they are equally as good as anyone else of any skin type. Our children must see beyond their immediate environment; beyond their history, they must see their future. The must see that they also have a role to play, an impact to make ; a contribution to give towards making the world a better place. They have a share in greatness, and we must show them the path that leads there.

I believe in the future of the African child. I see a future where we also contribute positively to the growth and development of this world. Where we are not just a spectator as to what happens; but rather active partners in change. But to reach that future, we must re-become what we were; re-discover the baby in us and find that boldness, faith and courage God equipped us with for the prize of greatness he has destined us for.

O dabo

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shift: from backseat to center stage

I recently told a friend that if people tell you after seeing you for the first time after a long while of no contact that you haven’t changed, you shouldn’t regard it as a compliment but as a remark of failure. Abraham Lincoln said once that “I don’t think much of a man who isn’t wiser today than he was yesterday”. And so in the church I attend, it’s our custom to conclude each service by saying to ourselves ‘every day and in every way, I’m getting better and better’.

I pleased to say that this has been the testimony of my life. I’ve moved from being that guy that sits at the backseats of meetings to the man who owns the centre stage. You might have heard me say it before that there was a point in my life I could barely speak to one person, talk less of addressing a crowd, but today I look forward to opportunities to speak before multitudes of any size. In fact the bigger the crowd, the more excited I am about speaking. I’d love to share some of the keys that helped me practically break out of that limitation timidity placed on me. If you want to build your self-esteem, confidence and move from back seats to having the spot light on you, you could also adopt them.

First, solve your identity crisis and come to terms with who you are. When a man identifies the purpose for his life and the reasons for his existence, then and only then can he move from merely existing to really living life. To solve this crisis, ask yourself the following questions.
Who am I?
Why am I here?
What do I have?
What can I do?
Where am I going to?
Providing answers to this both spiritually and otherwise will start you along the path of self-confidence. There is something that makes you unique and special, when you find it, it will transform the way you view yourself and view things and people around you. Discover your purpose

Second, build your knowledge base. One of the reasons why some people can’t face a crowd is usually because they don’t have anything to say. A lot changed for me when I started reading books. Even the bible tells us plainly, that knowledge puffs up (1cor8:1).i.e. It has the inherent ability to make proud and boost confidence. Pride is evidently not a good thing but confidence is a quality characteristic to develop. Seek to know; when you know, you’d be known. Not because you’d be shouting your name on the rooftop, but there is a way knowledge announces itself. Remember, when the clouds are full, they empty on the earth. In the account of job, Elihu was too loaded with sound knowledge to be timid in the presence of Job and his friends.

Thirdly, work and earn yourself some cash. If you aren’t already doing this, you need to start planning to. There is something money being in your Pocket does to even the way you walk. It just has a way of influencing you and boosting your confidence. Being rich even has a way a people and crowd respond to you. Trust me, there is no easier audience to face than a willing and receptive one.

Fourthly, make impact. Do something with your life and touch someone’s heart no matter how little that touch is. There is a kind of feeling that helping someone especially when they can’t repay you gives you that nothing else does. It could be of your knowledge, skill, substance, time or whatever it is that you can use to be a blessing. I can assure you that as you do your confidence and esteem would grow and grow.

Last but not the least is to know God. This has worked wonders for me. In all sincerity, life really started for me when I got to know God for myself. Not just knowing about him like I did all my life, I got to really know him. Not as what the pastor or books said, nor what friends suggested, but what my spirit came to understand. I came to a realization of his plans for me, his will, and his love and that revolutionized the way I perceived myself. I’m not talking mere religion as I do not regard myself a religious fellow but a personal deep rooted knowing of who your creator is to you.

A mixture of these 5 keys alongside some other principles that time, space, and purpose will not permit me to tell here was my recipe for breaking out of timidity into the realm of good esteem and confidence. It basically moved me from the backseat to the centre stage. With this basic 5, I’m sure any timid man can be transformed. If I who was the least of timid people could get over it, so can you. I charge you to go for it, do what you’ve gotta and be what you ought to. Don’t be satisfied with the status quo timidity and shyness limits you to. Remember, our greatest fear isn’t that we are inadequate, but that we are more powerful, beyond what we can phantom. Be the best you. Succeed!

Afolabi Soaga.

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