Sunday 28 January 2018

How are we Influencing our Children?

Influencing our Children
I was thinking this morning.... about how my birthday yesterday made me reflect on the impact I am having on my children. I remember being at lunch with my colleagues some time ago when one related her experience after she left church one Sunday. According to her, while driving very slowly through the potholes on the road to her estate, a female driver behind her, with kids in the vehicle, was getting impatient. At the slightest opportunity, the driver overtook her, blocked her and brought her hand from the car and said the Nigerian curse word 'wanka.' Immediately, the passenger in my colleague's car shouted in disbelief that the lady driver was her home cell leader and just left church with them. Wow!!! So much for living by example, but it got me thinking about the example the lady was setting for her kids that were in the vehicle with her. How will her actions of today influence the behavior of her children tomorrow? But wait a minute, are we more influenced by our immediate family or by our peers/bosses or by the environment (neighborhood) we grew up?
I reflected on how growing up in Warri had made me a  Warri boy (you will not miss my waffi pidgin English.) If my parents had listened to my prodding to relocate to Miami when I was in the womb, imagine how my Yankee intonation will be. Nothing spoil. There is power in environmental influence.
As I sunk into deeper thoughts, I recalled visiting my children in school recently. Having feted with the children, it was time to give the hugs and see them back to their hostels. Then I observed a parent stuffing chocolate into the socks of her daughter to help her beat the rule prohibiting taking of food and snacks to the hostel. I was stunned because I know this mother has just given her daughter a life lesson on how not to obey the law. Hmm!!! Parental influence is solid.
Have you thought lately about the influence you are having on others? It is a sobering thought. As I x-rayed what may have influenced me to becoming such a nice guy, I recalled a story of a car accident in which a teenage boy was killed. He and his friends had been drinking. When the police reached the home of the deceased boy and explained the details of his death, his father's immediate reaction was, 'if I could find who sold those boys that alcohol, I'd kill him!' The dad was so shaken up he went to his liquor cabinet for a drink and there found a note that read, 'Dear dad, I knew you wouldn't mind if we borrowed this bottle of liquor. We'll pay you back soon.' Hmm!!! He had provided his son the weapon that killed him.
Take a moment to evaluate the effect you're having on your kids and those around you and be certain it is positive. Just wondering the sort of influence our crooked leaders are having on children of today, it scares me to imagine what the future holds. In my little space, as I appreciate God and you all for the love shown me during my birthday yesterday, I have chosen to be guided by the words of Matthew 18:7, '...woe to that man through whom offence comes.'
Happy Sunday.
.....Just the thoughts of a certain Wey Mey.

Sunday 21 January 2018

The Offence of Cattle Herding in 1000BC

Cattle Herding in the City
I was thinking this morning.... about what constitutes an offence. I was updating myself on current affairs after a very busy week when I read this news report about Ryan Carney Williams, a man traveling from Iceland to England by British Airways (BA). On getting to the check-in counter, he was told he had excess luggage and has to pay for the excess. In order to avoid paying the fee, he opened his bag and wore all the excess clothes. He was arrested for wearing an excessive amount of clothing and of course prevented from flying. I laughed when I read the story and according to Spiff of The Johnsons comedy show, it was a classic example of BTD (Boys Thinking Deep.)
In my attempt to 'think deep,' I wondered, 'If wearing an excessive amount of clothes to avoid paying excess luggage fee could be classified as an offence by BA, how come the open grazing of someone's farm by the cattle of herdsmen, is not seen as one in Nigeria?' On my way to the office days ago, the cars ahead of me suddenly came to a stop. I immediately concluded that it must be another police check point. I was wrong. A young cattle herder was leading his cattle across the road in a location that is almost built up. Have you observed that these herders and their cattle don't obey traffic rules? Not Zebra (or even cattle) crossings, traffic lights nor pedestrian bridges, where they exist, yet none has been arrested for traffic offence. As I pondered on this, I recalled Exodus 22:5 that says, 'If an animal is grazing in a field or vineyard and the owner lets it stray into someone else's field to graze, then the animal owner must pay compensation from the best of his own grain or grapes.' Hmm!!!
Think about it, if open intrusive grazing was an offence hundreds of years before Christ (BC), it is shocking why some will consider it otherwise over 2000 years after the death of Christ (AD). When the rest of the world has gone ranching in line with biblical and best practice, Nigeria is debating cattle colonies. Na wa! This cattle colony debate reminds me of the dark past when lepers colony was common. Could it be Nigeria is operating in year 1000BC?
It seems logical that the compensation for destroying the crops of one man is replacing it with the best of your crops. Makes sense, right? But can someone please explain why human lives are taken in place of stolen cows. Because the only reason the umbrella body of the herders have given for the slaughtering of villagers is that their cattle were rustled. One would expect that the compensation should be the produce of the farmers and not the lives of the farmers, except of course in the estimation of the herders, cows are equal to human.
My take is, until we recognize that we are a nation with laws and enforce the law irrespective of who is involved, we are living in deception, because while the rest of the world is counting forward in AD, we are moving backward in BC.
Happy Sunday.
.....Just the thoughts of a certain Wey Mey.

Sunday 14 January 2018

Snake Servant Vs Monitor Lizard

Monitor Lizard
I was thinking this morning... about how the beliefs of yesterday can affect the thinking of today. The other day as I stepped out of my house, I noticed a reptile by the fence. As I looked closely, my native mind identified what I was looking at to be 'Snake Servant.' And immediately, my eyes scanned the immediate vicinity for snakes. 'Wake up,' my educated mind raised its voice telling me that it is but a Monitor Lizard and not a servant of any snake.
When I got into the car I started thinking about why we refer to Monitor Lizard as 'Snake Servant' back then in Warri. I can understand if the name came about because someone once observed a snake going after the lizard and concluded that the lizard was the messenger of the snake, but can't understand why every one of us back then believed the story. Ignorance, they say, is a voluntary misfortune.
As I smiled at our ignorance back then, my native mind, refusing to accept defeat, asked my educated mind, 'if you are laughing at us for calling it 'Snake Servant,' can you explain why it is called Monitor Lizard? Are they class monitors or monitoring spirits?' My educated mind, lost for words, decided to consult Google. The search engine revealed that Monitor lizards, belonging to the genus Veranus, with the largest species being the Komodo dragon, derived its name from ancient Egypt.
In Egypt, in the early days of civilization, the Nile river was the life line of the Egyptians villages because they depended on it for cooking, washing, bathing and swimming. But the Nile had a problem. Crocodiles. How were the Egyptians to know when it was safe to enter the water, without risking being eaten? They devised a scheme. They would catch one of their large Veranus lizards and chain it by its front paws to a large boulder on the edge of the river. If the Lizard was lying peacefully sunning itself, the Egyptians knew it was safe to enter the water. If however it was thrashing about and struggling to get away, they knew that danger was lurking nearby. A crocodile was in the area. The lizard didn't want to be eaten so it would struggle to get loose of its chains. The Monitor Lizard monitored the crocodiles movement, hence its name.
'So how is that different from the story of the Snake Servant?' my native mind had asked. At this point, both of my minds agreed that there was no winner in this debate. But how was I drawn into this debate in the first place? It was my belief of the past affecting my thinking of today. I realized that if I don't put the beliefs that the events of 2017 had shaped in my mind under control, it will affect my thoughts in 2018.
 Think about it. Due to the failures of governance at all levels in Nigeria in 2017, many have entered 2018 believing all hope is lost. While many were trying to reprogram their memories from the negative beliefs, then entered fuel scarcity and killings by herdsmen. In describing what is happening, Wole Soyinka aptly captured it, 'We have been here before - now, 'before' is back with a vengeance.' Truly, 'before' is back with a vengeance, but I beg you to unravel 2018 with renewed hope for you and this nation. Do not let negative beliefs of the past affect your thinking of today. Romans 12:2 says, 'And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.'
Happy Sunday.
.....Just the thoughts of a certain Wey Mey.

Sunday 7 January 2018

Your Strength is Your Weakness

Your strength is your weakness
I was thinking this morning... about how a strength is a weakness. This past weekend, I went with my children to watch the blockbuster adventure/comedy movie, 'Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.' After the quartet had been sublimated into the game and landed in Jumanji, they were each shown their strengths and weaknesses to aid them in playing the game successfully. While the weaknesses of others include venom, speed, endurance etc., that of Kevin Hart (who played the character, Moose Finbar) was listed as 'cake' and 'strength.' On seeing that, he exclaimed, 'how can strength be someone's weakness?' Even I was confused, saying, like we do in Warri, under my breath, 'I bow o. How can strength be someone's weakness?'

As I thought about it days after, I realized how true the statement is in a different light. I recalled the News headline this past week, 'California Legalizes Sales of Marijuana, Men and Women Queue up to Buy.' I wondered, how is it that marijuana has become iPhone X that people are queuing up to buy? Shameful! The strength of America is their freedom or liberty, but this has also become their weakness, as we watch a sizeable percent of the population become addicted to illicit drugs. Their strength has become their weakness.
Please dwell on that thought and come back home. It's a new year and many are wondering why the majority of Nigerians are detached from what is happening. Alberto Fujimori, the 79 years old former president of Peru was sentenced to 25 years imprisonment for corruption. He spent 12 years in prison and was recently granted pardon on humanitarian ground due to the worsening of his medical condition. There was public outrage and protests across Peru with the people demanding that the current president resigns. That will never happen in Nigeria. Why? Remember, Nigerians were once judged the happiest people on earth, not because of the good life the government had created but because of our aloofness from the ills around us. Our strength (the 'odechi' to evil leaders and their actions) has become our weakness, the unchallenged raping of our commonwealth.
While there is a flip side that makes your strength your weakness, for many, they are like Moose Finbar, their lack of strength is their weakness. We will require strength of character if we must churn out success in 2018. Think about it, your greatest strength could be your weakness. If you are a great talker as a woman, you may be talking too much. Listen more, especially to your husband. If you are a great cook as a man, appreciate the food of your wife, even though it may taste awful.
Please do not let your strength be your weakness, otherwise you may not survive the game. But rather turn your weakness to strength. Thankfully, 2 Cor 12:10 says 'That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.'
Happy Sunday.
.....Just the thoughts of a certain Wey Mey.