Just a lil’ bit closer

A few months ago I had a conversation with a lady from the Eastern part of the country. I jokingly told her I was married to a man from the North and she literally rained down fire and brimstone, you know that kind of thing the Igbo people will say “tufiakwa” or “Chukwuaju” which both literally translates to God forbid. She had every right to make such statements after all, her brothers and sisters were been killed in the North, all of them in the North are killer herdsmen, all of them are members of Boko Haram. While you’re wondering where I’m headed with this story I’ll paint another picture.

Sometime last year I had attended a program organized by my local Church for the youths. It was a week long program with some adults from Church living in a camp with about 700 youths. On one of those days the organizing team for the variety night was supposed to shop for the gifts for the pageant winners. One thing led to the other and I was co-opted to join two (2) ladies. I literally fought my friend who made the suggestion… “I don’t know her well, we don’t talk, it would be one awkward drive” – my words to my friend and to make it worse, the second lady goes to sit at the back and leaves the front passenger seat for me *insertrollingeyes*. The first few minutes were indeed awkward and then a word here and there, then music, then more talk, then hysterical laughter, then we end up eating in the market (Agidi and pepper soup), then we buy boiled corn and coconut and then I peel to give her to eat while driving and then we start to dance to loud music in the car on our way back.

How often have we made decisions on assumptions, half-truths, media-sensational news? I have a colleague who is against globalisation. He feels everyone should remain in their countries. But here’s the thing about such statements no one is an island. Life happens, and we find ourselves constantly on the move. You will never understand anyone from a distance, you’ll make false assumptions when you don’t understand someone. Can you make an effort to get to know that loner in your class who everyone thinks is weird? Can you choose to seat close to that colleague over lunch and get to know her better although your colleagues feel she’s mean? Can you spend an extra minute speaking to that security man in your estate who you can’t stand his guts?

In the two stories certain assumptions were made. On one hand my new-found friend attended the same Church with me, served in the same ministry with me but I didn’t know her. Did I forget to add she also felt uncomfortable going with me – in her words it would be one awkward trip. On the other hand what I didn’t mention was my dear Northphobic lady had never lived in the North, all she knew about them was what she read and heard. What she doesn’t know is my first night in England during post-graduate studies was in Zainab’s house – A northern and a Muslim (We are not related, she was referred to me by a friend in Nigeria). What she may never know again is the few weeks I was using crutches to walk in school, it was a Pakistani-Muslim who offered to be dropping me off in school and asked I called him after my lectures to pick me up. The only link I had with him was we shared an apartment building.

Yes we live in a world dominated by technology and you’re a keypad away from any information in the world. But the question remains who controls the information you read about? Whose narrative is it? Is the information verifiable? If it is verifiable, what is the criteria? Cos at the end of the day, you will never know the person you don’t understand. If you don’t understand the person, you can’t make excuses for the person cos of misunderstanding. If you can’t make excuses for the person, you’ll be quick to make judgements. By making judgements you fall into the category of generalisation. And honestly almost everyone is fighting some demon. Can we all take a step closer to know someone.

Judgement

Loads of Love

JMAD

Photo Credit : Google Images

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Man in the 21st Century and the women who love them

It was one of those Sunday rides after Church Service with a friend. From discussing the sermon to a female friend of his. This shouldn’t make headlines but something he said struck a chord with me. This lady friend of his visited him in a “big” car and he found it threatening to men (Not him though, cos’ he wasn’t interested in her). He’s not alone in this line of thought, a colleague reiterated this claim when I mentioned the kind of cars I like. In his words “it will drive men away”.

Ursula von der Leyen, Nikki Haley, Chioma Ukonu. These names may just be other names but look closely, Ursula is the German Minister of Defense, wife and mother to seven (7) children, Nikki is the US Ambassador to the UN, wife and mother of two while Chioma is running a foremost Nigerian Recycling Company with her husband and has three children. If you’re still wondering what my point is with all these information just stay with me a little longer.

I grew up in a home with just my two sisters, there was never a time the place of our gender affected what we could or could not do. We practically lived lives to the fullest, if we had to race the boys in our streets on our bikes we did, if we had to slide down on the corridor, we did just that. When it was time for undergraduate studies our gender wasn’t a determining factor ; we studied Metallurgical Engineering, Geophysics and Electrical Engineering respectively. All thanks to my Father and Mother who were the wind behind our wings and haven’t changed.

But I’ve often heard some comments from people when I run my ideas with them, you’re too ambitious, you’re a woman, you need to take it easy, and you’ll chase men away. I remember a guy asking me why I wasn’t a primary school teacher (this isn’t to undermine the teaching profession) to enable me come back from work around 2 p.m. to take care of my children. at that time he was a prospect and I asked him what of the father, his response “You’re an African woman, when you people travel abroad you forget this”.

Dear woman.jpg

In a conversation with an acquaintance the issue of the equality between male and female came up. He went straight to remind me he’s a Bible believing Christian by quoting “The woman should be submissive to the man” (he didn’t know where it was written in the Bible). On the premise of his sermon to me, he went further to say the woman is inferior to the man using the most appropriate illustration – Star Radler and 33 Star Lager Beer. The alcohol content is 2.00 and 5.10 percent respectively. Radler representing the women while 33 was for the men, I went on to ask him what content was more in the men. At the time of this writing he hasn’t given me an answer yet.

What does it mean to be an African woman? Are women truly inferior to men? What does the Bible mean in Genesis 2:18 “Then the Lord God said it is not good for man to be alone, I will make him a helper fit for him” Genesis 5:1b – 2 “When God created man, He made him in the likeness of God. Male and Female he created them, and he blessed them and named them Man…”. Can women break glass ceilings and still be wives and mothers for those who choose to? If these women are breaking glass ceilings do we have a generation of men who are threatened by them?

A man I respect said something profound. In the past, men were the hunters but now we have women who are going out to hunt too. The career path chosen by many women is giving them a platform they never had before. I know I was created for so much more, I’m trying to make sense of all of that and at the same time coming to terms with the reality that there’s really no limitation except the one I choose to place on myself as a result of Cultural or Social bias. In the next couple of days I’ll be putting up articles written by Men and Women on these issues. I hope this challenges what you have thought and believed both as a Man and Woman.

Loads of Love

JMAD

Photo Credit : Google

Is God dead?

Is God dead

Time Magazine 1966 cover page had the inscription ‘Is God dead’? A few years ago my local Church had a response for Time Magazine. It was our annual youth week; part of the activities lined up was to see a movie. God’s not dead was chosen, I hadn’t seen nor heard of it and a few adults were supposed to accompany them to the Cinema. A quick review on the movie left me disappointed, which influenced my decision not to go. Fast forward two weeks after the movie, I was told the same movie the youths saw will be the basis for our teaching in Church. Here I was without a clue of what happened in the movie and expected to start up a conversation/teach my students.

Thankfully someone had the movie and gave it to me, I reluctantly sat down to quickly run through the movie. Thirty minutes into the movie I gradually started to relax to watch it. Somehow my eyes gets a little moist when the debate between the Professor and his Student starts on the existence of God. The tears would eventually stream down during the rest of the movie. Deep issues on Christianity were asked, it was so appropriate for the youths as they try to make sense of their faith daily. I equally had to ask myself certain questions.

You’re probably wondering if we are about to have a religious/philosophical debate on the existence of God. Not really but stay with me a little longer. We have seen different names for various generations from Generation X, Y, Z and recently Alpha. While these names are separated by the years they occur, the 21st century introduced a phenomenon that transcends years. According to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) the United Nations (UN) specialized agency for Information & Communication Technologies (ICT) at the end of 2016 seven billion people (95% of the global population) live in an area that is covered by a mobile-cellular network. Almost everyone has access to tons of information through the internet. While this should be a good trend it has a flip side.

Half truth

There’s an urgency to soak up a lot of information, hence we don’t have “time” to really understand one before moving to the next big news/headline. A new name has been coined, “The headline generation”, we are plagued with just reading the headlines or just a few lines of an article and we think it’s sufficient enough to draw conclusions or even make us experts in the subject matter. This has led to people using 140 characters to give misinformed information, and presidents of countries are not left out. This urgency has left us at the mercy of reviewers like in the case with my movie. Behind such reviews we forget one fundamental thing which is the criteria for reviewing. We definitely do not have a universal set of indicators for review, the reviewers have different influencing factors. Do we have a benchmark for reviewing information gotten from the internet?

Truth be told many of us have shared information we had not read entirely, we just see a catching headline and we share. Proverbs 18:13 MSG “Answering before listening is both stupid and rude” while AMP says he who answers before he hears the facts it is folly and shame to him”. Permit me to add he/she who reads a headline, a few lines and shares the information without having the facts is shameful.

Can we start to look beyond the headlines, whatever your headline is? Can we learn to dig beyond the surface? Can we be more patient to spend more time to understand why people act in a particular way? Can we wait a little longer before making a conclusion over what we heard a friend said about us? Can we truly be an enlightened generation not an illiterate-halftruth-misinformed-enlightened one? To respond to Time Magazine God is not dead, He’s living sitting in Heaven with Jesus Christ.

God is not dead.jpg

Loads of Love

JMAD

 N/B A series on the Man in the 21st century and his role as we continue to see a shift in gender roles will be coming up next week. How do Men live with Women breaking glass ceilings? Both men and women will be writing in. I’m excited at the conversation it’ll generate.

Photo Courtesy: Google

What do you want?

Happy New Year, I hope you had a good Christmas holiday. Many of us if not all of us have written down a few plans for the year. In a recent conversation with a few friends one of them said a mother defined New Year resolution to her little daughter as “a to-do list for the first week of January”. So I ask, did you create a to-do list for only the first week of January or the entire year of 2017? While there are those who have mapped a plan for the year there are others who haven’t, for various reasons. Some may say Que sera sera (whatever will be, will be), others may say the previous year plan wasn’t achieved, so what’s the use of creating a new one while some may be scared of writing down anything as a result of fear. While reading this, you will probably find yourself in one of the categories.

While there are those who have mapped a plan for the year there are others who haven’t for various reasons. Some may say Que sera sera

Let me start with the last category, there was a time I was like you. I have shared the story of my risky decision to switch careers before on the blog here but what I didn’t mention was what a friend told me. You see, its one thing to take a study leave for a Masters to return to that same job or something similar but it’s another thing to leave for a course entirely different from your already established career path. In his words he said “what do you stand to lose going for this course, what if you decide not to go and live with the thought of how your life would have turned out”? Yes I took the risk, one (1) year after graduation I’m still amazed at how far God has taken me and I know He hasn’t started with me yet. With that in mind take that risk.

what if you decide not to go and live with the thought of how your life would have turned out”

For the category of those who aren’t planning for the year cos’ of the unachieved goals of 2016, I have a few questions.  Who says it’s wrong to carry over a plan into the New Year? Who says a plan terminates on the 31st of December? I have experienced unexecuted plans and I gladly moved them over. Did I beat myself? No but I learnt from the experience.  You probably would have compared your life to someone else who got all their plans checked. But who says you’re in a race with the person. At the end of the day what was your goal for putting down those plans? Was it for the praise of men or a higher objective? With that in mind go to work.

For the category of the Que sera sera, my dear friend once said “if you don’t have a destination, you’ll get to the bus park and any bus will be convenient for you and you will never know when you’ve reached your destination”. What this means is you’ll receive anything 2017 throws at you, you can’t accurately rate your progress cos’ you don’t have any yardstick to calculate it. It’s like meeting a potential employer and when asked what kind of job you are looking for and you respond anything.

“if you don’t have a destination, you’ll get to the bus park and any bus will be convenient for you and you will never know when you’ve reached your destination”

2017 is not the year to say and expect anything, life doesn’t throw anything at you rather specific things. A man who had been sick for 38 years, clearly needed to be healed but when Jesus met him, he asked him in John 5:6 “Do you want to be made well”, Jesus Christ met another man begging by the road who was blind and He asked him in Luke 18:41 “What do you want me to do for you”. Ever wondered why He had to ask these men what they wanted? In the two verses the first man gave excuses why he hadn’t been healed while the second man kept on screaming Son of David, have mercy on me! Even when people kept him to shut up he kept on screaming which eventually caught Jesus’ attention. Are you going to keep on giving excuses why your life has taken a particular route or will you speak up?

Are you going to keep on giving excuses why your life has taken a particular route or will you speak up?

Just like the New Year message in my local church, “There’s more to me”. Until I do something nothing will be done by God. I need to Speak, Get Up and Move. You may have to make some decisions but it can’t be life as usual. Have you dreamed of going back to school, starting that business, writing that book, getting married, having your own children, purchasing that property, visiting a new country? It’ll only remain wishful thinking until you start making plans to achieve it. So I ask what do you want? At the end of 2017 what would have changed? Can the decisions you make this year be effective enough to affect the generations after you? See you on the other side.

dreams

Loads of Love

JMAD