My two-year-old son has the habit of putting his left thumb in his mouth. Often when he does this, he also reaches out to me or his Mom with his right hand and fondles any part of our body that he can reach. It often has a great feeling experiencing him do this. It could happen while one of us is carrying him and rocking him to sleep or when he is lying in bed and trying to sleep off.
A few days ago he woke up about 4:00 AM and began doing this to me. I really wanted to catch a little more sleep so it was a bit of a disturbance to at that time of the morning. Once in a while I would push his hand away and try to sleep but he wouldn’t budge. I did this over and over until I gave up and left him on the bed to go and sleep for the last thirty minutes of my night on the carpet. Less than five minutes later he came down from the bed and lay on my back! it was almost funny but for the time of day.
Some people have a similar experience with their spouses. They get a call every hour or two from their spouse while they are “busy” at work and it seems to be a bother. On the other hand some people never hear from their spouses till they get home. Go figure. Others always hear their spouses yelling at them to come home earlier or pay more attention to them.
The whole point of these two stories can be summarized in two ideas. One is the fact that while your family may express their love for you in diverse ways, it is important to realise that what is being expressed is actually LOVE. Love is something that many people in this world do not experience so we must value it when someone finds us important enough to them to pinch us or yell at us to come home. The comedian Kasime Anne joked that singleness may seem like great freedom but you realize you may have to get home and shout “Hello” only to have the walls of your huge house echo back to you “Hiii”! Or maybe you have to buy two mobile phones so you can call yourself!
Paul Kofi Mante said in a recent presentation that work is like a rubber ball while family is like an egg. If you drop the ball, it will bounce back to you but if you drop the egg, it is likely to crack. Value the love you receive from your family even when it seems to be a bother. Respond to the love in your own way and make them feel valued too.
Living in a busy city like Lagos you may have noticed how hard it is for drivers to give way to pedestrians trying to cross the road or other drivers trying to join a major road. It didn’t take long after I moved to Accra to realize that the attitude on the roads was quite different here. In Accra, giving way to pedestrians is such a strong culture that pedestrians consider it a right. Giving way to other drivers when they need your help is considered civil. It is simply all a way of life that has been cultivated.
Have you ever been on the road in your car and someone gives you way by allowing you come in from an adjoining road to the main road. There is a sense of responsibility that act of kindness gives you. It makes you feel obliged to give way to the next driver who needs such a gesture. This is the same case for most other acts of kindness, the recipient of the act becomes a giver automatically. In societies where such acts of kindness have become the natural course, I believe It has become so because of the ripple effect of such acts of kindness.
The next consideration in view of the above is then how does it all start? How can one change a society that is more inclined to hedonistic behavior than otherwise. I think it can be achived by consistent acts of kindness whether they are reciprocated or not. Kindness can have a ripple effect and it may be even more powerful in environments where such acts of kindess are not considered normal behaviour.
Most acts of kindness take hardly anything away from us. For example letting someone in front of you on the highway cannot stop you from reaching your destination. Letting a disadvantaged person in front of you on an ATM queue will not stop you from getting your money out. Besides, you actually feel better after doing such things! How about starting a ripple of kindness today?
I was born in a village andthe first language I spoke was Igbo. I faintly remember the encounter I hadwith a fellow two or three-year-old in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. We were examininga little pond. I guess I was fascinated with the fact that I could see myreflection in the water, and his too. I made certain comment about the water inIgbo which I am not sure whether he understood, one thing I was very sure ofwas that I did not understand whatever it was he said in English when heresponded. I do not even remember what he said today but I remember I felt outof place when I could not understand him. I remember another incident in myearly life. I am sure I could have been about four years old when I heard thefirst song I remember hearing: Madonna’s LaIsta Bonita (The Beautiful Island). Till date every time I hear that somesomewhere, I remember the blue lights that lit up the hall in that remote villageof the then Imo State called AmaiyiIgbere. My father was well known, generous and used to host a lot ofparties replete with food and drinks. Incidentally, it was at one of thoseparties in 1986 where I had my first taste of beer at age seven: a mix ofleft-overs from several bottles of Gulder, Star and the likes.
A child’s earliest experiences have a huge impact on the outcome of his or her life even if he doesn’t consciously remember those experiences. I believe that some experiences of our childhood stick with us so deep that even if we do not remember them consciously, they lie hidden deep in our subconscious and subtly contribute to our patterns of thinking. While it is safe to say that most of us have these scripts written in our subconscious inadvertently, as parent, we can take advantage of these realities and attempt to deliberately shape the thinking of our children right from childhood by regulating the things they are exposed to.
I once saw a picture of my childhood when I was about two years old. I was fiddling with the record player looking very serious. My Mom told me I tended to find some electronic device to play around with at every opportunity. She also told me I always found a way to open our bedroom window from the first floor of our house in the village until my Dad secured it with binding wire. That is the nature of every new born: always exploring.
(Excerpts from my next book)
Driving into a fuel station for a refill. The car has a fuel tank capacity of about 60 liters. While the pump attendant filled the tank, a motorcyclist also rode in to the second pump. Before I knew it, the motorcycle was full and the rider rode off while the car was still at the pump.
I got there before the motorcyclist but he left before me. It suddenly occurred to me that it would be absolutely silly of me to think “I got here before him. How come he is leaving before me?” Why? Our capacity is not the same. The truth is there are times in life when we are stuck at the pump of divinity.
Those who came in behind us have gone ahead of us; those who learnt from you seem to have outran you; those who graduated years after you are now the ones calling the shot and it seems as though you are stuck.
Could it just be that your capacity is bigger than theirs? Could it be that your own assignment needs longer preparation?
Could it be that your character is
being formed for the task ahead?
You do not know what you need.
Only the One who designed the journey knows what is important.
Why don’t you hold on?
People will often say my mates are doing this…..
My mates have done that …..
My mates have this…
My mates are now….
But I’m still here doing, having, nothing……..
It is important to know that you spent nine months of formation in your mother’s womb alone and you were given birth to alone even if you’re a twin. Therefore never classify anyone as your mate.
God’s dealings with/in your life is never an estimation of what is happening in the life of your friend or colleagues. God’s dealing in your life is VERY PERSONAL and unique and should never be an estimation of physical and tangible things.
Take your gaze off other people’s path and concentrate on the race, speedometers are different. You Will earn your own medal!
God bless you all……