Thursday, June 16, 2016
The African Child continues to live in an intensely challenging environment.
On a day like this the least we can do is reflect on how we view children around us with an aim of making better discisions. What value to you place on them, how do you relate with them, how do you view and take care of their needs?
In our country, the needs of children continue to go uncatered for. As though children begged to be brought into this world, they tend to be treated as a troubling resource consuming entity. You know, like an annoying itch!!
We pay lip service to loving them, but more often than not, we use them simply as a crutch to support our weak egos and seared consciences.
The call for the rights of children has always rang out especially with the enactment of the Child's right act in 2003 but where have we gone since then? Children still hawk during school hours, children still go hungry even in our cities, children are stil being used as begging assistants, children are still being excluded from basic school, children still lack adequate clothing and shelther both at home and in school.
Even the church, who should be the epitome of societal ideals, falls flat on its face in this regard! Building fantastic worship domes that have no space for its children, conducting services that have no relevance to the children. Of course lip service is still paid... especially on children's day... but, how many parents will be happy to have their own service conducted in the spaces made out for their children. How many parents take time to share their faith with their children (if its really so important)?
Children have feelings exactly like yours. They know when they are being catered for. They know when they are important in the scheme of things and believe it or not, they are forming their world view gradually from each and every experience.
Children today are the adults of tomorrow! We owe them every responsibility to grow up in a secure and enabling environment!!
Today is the Day of the African Child! What will you do to make lie better for them? What will you do to make them to be seen and heard?
Tuesday, March 8, 2016
Today is International Women's Day. Someone said over the radio this morning that the day is about feminism, not femininity. Chimamanda Adichie also once said that every woman should be a feminist. When ever the discussion is about women, its not long before the word FEMINISM pops up and takes centre stage just like its about to do now. But, I don't think I want to talk about feminism per say, I just want to talk about being a woman. You can research feminism yourself.
My overall thoughts on the topic of this post is that: being a woman is a dichotomy! Everyday I wake up and many times feel trapped. Why do I need to go to work all day away from home when half the time, I'll be thinking about what happened at home, whats happening at home or what would happen at home later in the day. Why do I have to pursue a career that makes me feel apprehensive and a target for a guilt trip when and if something goes wrong 'at home'. A Yoruba proverb says "a bad child is his mother's". More often than not the woman is told to keep 'her home'. Asked to forgo her career to take care of 'her children'. Admonished to quit her job to 'support her husband'. Compelled to get married to keep up with what society deems expected,virtuous and respectable. What about being threatened to keep quiet in the face of abuse? Oppressed into killing her dreams because, well, she is a 'commodity' to the society- one to be used to bargain for the greater good, more often than not!?
Historically, the place of women in society has been mixed. We have the Queen Aminas, the lady Emotans, the Margaret Ekpos and the Fumilayo Ransome-Kutis who were able to fight against great odds to rise to prominence. But we can't ignore the reality of the millions more who are trafficked as sex slaves, used as cheap labour, abused, discriminated against and bullied in the home and even in the workplace. How about the families and cultures where giving birth to a girl is an unfortunate incident, forgetting that the 'birthing machine' IS A WOMAN! and moreover, sex determination scientifically rests with the MAN?!
As we celebrate 2016 International women's day with the theme: Pledge for Parity. I have taken the liberty to voice my stance on the issues of gender equality and parity. My stannce stems from the traditional role of women. By traditional role, I mean mostly biological. In advocating gender parity, the biological role of women especially in child bearing must take centre stage. Let me quote from an article I read a while ago that put this succinctly: "Women pay heavy baby penalty" (you can read the full article here). This is the true reality and one that must be fundamentally addressed if we are ever going to make any headway in the issues of gender parity. Indeed, what we really mean when we advocate for gender parity? As much as we might want to say that the beginning of this parity is ensuring women's rights e.g. the right to make decisions that affect the, we cannot be judged fair to thrust women such 'rights' when we know that there are uncontrollable circumstances that affect her decisions. In fact, it is as though nature had made some of the decisions for her, at least as far as the interplay between biology and sociology is concerned. As much as a woman might be interested in building a career in the corporates for example, she almost always has to choose between climbing the ladder along with her peers or building a family. Women who have two to three children during their career life, can loose up to 10 years off their career progression. This reality is daunting.
Society must come together to decide what it really wants to do with its Women folk. These pockets and bursts of policies that don't address fundamental issues will not take us very far. For example, when you allow women study engineering but most companies who don't want to employ them are not sanctioned, its just nonsense.
Women must be allowed to create their own sense of achievement and they must be respected for their choices. Like I have emphasized, the biology of women, 'stands against' the society's present push push for parity. A woman who decides to be a 'stay-at-home' mum should not be discriminated against, especially financially. Many women everyday opt for lower paying jobs simply to have more time for their family, especially their children. How do we 'pay' for this selfless sacrifice?
Pushing women into the boardroom, while it has its benefits, creates more problems in my opinion, especially when the same society does not leave the woman alone to make decisions about her need to or not to procreate!!
- Women should be allowed to decide if and when they want to marry.
- If they do get married, their decsion as to if and when they want to procreate should be supported.
- Organizations and institutions must be sanctioned for playing the 'baby card' against women.
- Society must allow women to take advantage of medical advancements in deciding how, when and indeed IF they want to have children.
- Our labour laws must make it easier for women to carry on their God given responsibility of child bearing with little penalty.
Since I have taken the family bias to achieving gender parity, it behooves on families under pined by cultures, to reorient themselves in these regard. I firmly stand against using women for cheap labour especially in the the home without commensurate recognition and/or compensation. This for me is the greatest stumbling block to the campaign for parity. You cannot expect an oppressed person to naturally excel. Respect for women must be enshrined in our family values for women to blossom and supply their quota in the development of our society.
As for me I am deciding to be my own personal crusader. As we wait for society to come to terms with the kind of environment needed for women to fulfill their potential, I'll do my bit. I'll keep my own space. I will allow society neither to sterotype me nor to blackmail me. I will fulfil my potential in my own way and in my own time. I will juggle the balls at my own pace! And I will look into the mirror and smile to my self, congatulating me for a job weldone.
Happy International Women's Day! Celebrate yourself and all you mean to the world!!
Please drop your views and comments below. Thanks for reading.
Photo credits: photostock, 123RF
Saturday, January 2, 2016
As we start a new year, I do not need to reiterate the frenzy with which we plot plans and goals and prayer requests. Churches allover the world come up with a watch word for the year. For some it's just a scripture vers; others attach a slogan to it : 'my year of ...'. It's all well and good. I too have a word for this year and it is 'talk is cheap'. You may be wondering how that can be a word for the year so before your mind gets messed up, let me explain.
The scriptural records started with chaos in Genesis chapter 1. And so it was until God spoke. Speech is the concretization of the musings of our heart. Jesus made this clear when he said 'out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks' (Matthew12:24). Before you can speak something out, your heart must be FULL of it. However, when we speak out, tremendous energy is released to bring our words to fulfilment.
Mark 11:23 KJV
For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.
Ephesians 3:20 KJV
Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,
Ezekiel 37:4 KJV
Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the Lord .
Ezekiel 37:4 NLT
Then he said to me, "Speak a prophetic message to these bones and say, 'Dry bones, listen to the word of the LORD!
We can see the power of the spoken word in this verses. In Proverbs 18:21 (NLT) we read: 'The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences.' No doubt the tongue has power, I hope you agree.
So let's wrap it up. Seeing the power we can unleash with our tongue, talking, I say talk is cheap. It costs you and I nothing to speak into the atmosphere. To prophesy to your circumstances. To say what your heart is full of!
Talk is cheap dear friends and it can set great things in motion! Talk is what set our whole world in order for 'God said.... and there was...'
In this year 2016, say it until you have it, say it until you become it, say it until it looks like it,say it until you get there. No one's going to charge you a dime for it.
Talk is cheap!!
Wednesday, December 30, 2015
1 John 2:26-27 NLT
I am writing these things to warn you about those who want to lead you astray.  But you have received the Holy Spirit, and he lives within you, so you don't need anyone to teach you what is true. For the Spirit teaches you everything you need to know, and what he teaches is true-it is not a lie. So just as he has taught you, remain in fellowship with Christ.
Saturday, October 31, 2015
Over the past few months, I've toyed with a thought in my mind trying to concretize it. It is the thought that 'God exists for us'. Yes, that might sound counter intuitive but just hear out my warped logic :-) .
Personally, time and time again, I have experience God step in and literally pull me from the edge of the fire. Many times I was on the brink in diverse circumstances and he just shows up and saves the day even though I've ignored asking for his help. Gently, he nudges to remind me that 'I am here for you. Call on me'
The bible tells us that it is in him we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28). We are also told that it's in him that everything holds together (Colossians 1:17). Friends, God is here for you. He exists to keep your life together. Another scripture tells us that Jesus lives forever to make intercession for us! (Hebrews 7:25).
How then can we go about life ignoring the very essence of our life? How can we ignore the mighty power that God makes available to us in himself and rather decide to live life being harassed by the devil? The only sane reason I can give is, IGNORANCE. The bible alludes to the fact that ignorance kills (Hosea 4:6).
In case you didn't know, or in case it slipped your memory, let me tell you: God is here for you! Quit struggling in the dark alley of life! Stop dwelling on your guilt! Stop measuring your future by your present! GOD IS HERE FOR YOU!! Waiting, knocking, longing for you to call out to him.
Let's stop this cycle of defeat. Decide today that henceforth, it's no longer back and forth but on and on! For if God be for you, who can be against you!! (Romans 8:31)
Sunday, October 11, 2015
There is the common cliché acronym that goes like this: Fear= False Evidence Appearing Real! If you think about it a bit, you'll get the point.
One of the symptoms of fear is worry. A lady who was given to worrying a lot was once asked, 'why do u worry so much'? Her reply: ' Well someone's got to worry about things. If I don't, who will?' She went on to add, ' and half the things I worry about don't happen. So, I must be doing something right!' What do you think of that?
Fear has a great impact on our mind. Take the phobias for example. A phobia is an irrational negative reaction (fear) to certain things or situations. Fear incapacitates us! Phobias are particularly powerful. They are so strong that a person can put himself in greater danger just to escape his phobia. For example, a person with arachnophobia (fear of spiders) will not hesitate to jump out of a moving vehicle if he sees a spider on board!
That's the power of fear! It completely blocks our rational thinking. It counteracts our power of self will! It simply holds us bound!!
If you think about your life, maybe you can find some fears you have harboured in the past, and some that are still present. Our fears may affect others. For example, a parent can fear his child being injured and thus deny the child of stepping out of the house. A boss may fear his subordinates not getting a job done well and thus, holds back from delegating.
The mental attitude of fear, takes a heavy toll on our whole being. It has been linked to many heart and brain problems and even death!
We all have fears. We all come in contact with fear. How can we overcome its incapacitating power?
1. Admit that you are afraid.
2. Answer the question, Why?
3. Decide that you are not going to allow fear push you to inaction or avoidance.
4. Take little steps towards conquering your fear.
5. Ask a trusted friend to help you overcome your fear.
6. Picture yourself free. Think of what you could achieve if you let go of fear.
7. Live life to the fullest!!