??LESSONS FROM MY MOTHER.
I have often wondered, what prepares a man to face life as he finds it. Really there is no universal solution. One thing that is clear however is; the place of mother in the life of a man.
I grew up hating the world, feeling deserted, wanting to hurt every body, hating the fact that I was not accepted. I vowed to get back at the entire world, for the circumstance I found myself. I started out as far back as primary three, thinking, “I would one day cause a lot of pain”. You know to be that bitter, that is one of the greatest disadvantage and handicap any human would ever have. It’s far weightier than any thing.
One influence that actually kept me was my mother. After yesterday, after listening to you talk, I reflected back on the pain, the worries and the doubt that she must have gone through. Then I thought about how she handled this very tough boy. Now a little bit about my story;
I was born without a father, not dead but refusing to accept his child. (by the way, he requested abortion of that pregnancy so strongly that it became a big issue). I think really, he was afraid because he was from this strongly fraternal family with clan like orientation. Well, he never wanted anything to do with this chap (His son). To make it worse, nobody wanted anything to do with this guy. Born hurriedly and of course they told him as soon as he was old enough and ‘I was old enough’ very early. So, it was a life of trying to find friends where there was no friendship. Now you can understand why I grew up feeling strong hatred fro the world at large.
My mother remarried after a while but that made it worse for me. No, my step father was a wonderful man, but I wasn’t ready to accept nice from any one not at that time anyway. So, I showed him a sample of the hatred I was capable of dispensing. We never got along and I never stopped telling him that he was a poor specimen of humanity. I guess that was prompted my mama’s decision to consciously ‘mother’ this guy.
How do I relate this to you? Emotionally, I was disadvantaged. Going out to meet this dynamic world without the proper orientation to the challenges of life, that’s worse than physical handicap. This is because, it is more difficult to understand, to explain, to uproot and accept. You don’t know why every body has somewhere to go to and play with family but not you. Why when your half siblings goes for vacation you can’t go. It’s difficult answering why your name is different? Who your father actually is? Its difficult crying to bed some nights without anybody to describe what you are feeling. Not your father because you don’t have one. Not your mother because you think she would feel bad. Not your sibling because they wouldn’t understand. Not a friend because you are ashamed of your origin. If it were physical yes you understand the origin. You understand what you can do to avoid problems. You know your limitations and what you shouldn’t do. You can explain to people et.c
Retrospectively, I think I can remember points made in the day to day interactions with my mother and summarize them. I hope they are applicable as you try to inspire your son to live and have no excuse.
The first lesson from my mother;
1) EVERYBODY MAKE CHOICES: she said she, made a choice to have a baby with my father and the result was me. While the circumstance might not be perfect, it was her choice. It’s true that it has affected me. It’s true that she might have wanted it better. But it was her choice and she is accepting it without guilt and without excuse. After explaining the fact that it her choice, she said, ‘I have a choice on how I want to live, either to go through life feeling depressed or to make a choice to be me’ without allowing the choices of the past to determine who I was or what I was going to be. The past can not be unwritten, but the future is a blank pad and biro. I can decide to write my choice. But then, I would have to live with it. Really what a champion need is that sense of acceptance and responsibility.
2) UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU FACE: SHE said, ‘you are facing a cynical world that would not accept anything but what it thinks right’. You are living in environment that would want to berate you on the basis of fatherhood or some other things. But the issue is THIS, you must know and realise that fact. Even if you had a father, the world would always find something else. She made it plain that I must understand the challenges and be prepared. I guess I took that lesson seriously.
3) HAPPINESS IS NOT ABOUT WHAT YOU HAVE OR WHAT YOU DON’T HAVE BUT HOW YOU SEE IT: she once called me and said:
True biological fatherhood evaded me; I don’t have that. There are so many things I would not have. But, my happiness would not depend on all this things but on how I see them. I might see it as a challenge to conquer. A prove that I am better than the challenge. I might see the opportunity to excel and inspire other people who would otherwise not win without such example, OR I might see the same scenario as a victim and be sad through out my life. The issue is this; whichever way I see it, I would be the beneficiary. So, the question I needed to answer is how do I want to see my life? Happy or sad? I was young then, it wasn’t a one day talk, it was reinforced on a consistent basis and everyday.
4) SOMEBODY BELIEVES IN YOU:
Over time as time went on she made it known that she believed in me. In my ability to live beyond the emotional chain. As such, she laid expectations on the table; she would not treat me specially or coddle me. She expects me to be better every day and men!!! She was hard. She made me live up to those expectation. sometime actually I thought she was maltreating me. But she was right treating me. I grew up expecting not special pity, because I was not to be pitied. I was normal with greater challenge because I had the strength to be more. Part of believing in my capacity was not showing pity, not worrying her sick over me. If she had done that, I would wonder why she believed I was up to that task. The expectation were high, and retrospectively, I think I am measuring up though am not yet there. So how does this affect you, believe in your little yourself and the kid you will have and raise. Check out history, pity, worry never raised a champion only believing in them and holding them to expectation does. THE STRENGHT OF A BELIEVE IS HOLDING PEOPLE RESPONSIBLE TO EXPECTATION. YOU BELIEVE IN GOD SO YOU ASK HIM TO SOLVE THE IMPOSIBLE. IS THAT NOT THE WAY IT IS? SAME, FOR HUMAN INTERACTION.
5) THE WORLD BELIEVES WHAT YOU BELIEVE STRONGLY :
The world has no defined value, it is a mirror, it reflect your believe. If the illumination is strong enough, if your believe is strong enough, it will reflect what you want. So, if you think you are weak, then you are. If you think you are disadvantaged then you are. What then do you want? Thinking back, it stopped me on my track. Here was a bitter young boy, reflecting the victim mentality; definitely the world was shouting VICTIM! For a boy to grow up to a man, he must develop a strong belief about himself, his origin and his future. He must ask & believe in achievability of anything. He must believe in the love of a creator and uniqueness of his life. This is what one mother taught his son, and this is true. Let children develop a strong believe and you wont have to worry or try fending for him throughout his life.
6) PAIN IS PART OF LIFE:
No matter what I tell you she said, pain, hurt and disappointment is part of life. You must learn to accept it. Sometime you will not enjoy a portion of your journey, you must learn to accept such time or else your pain will be magnified. Time will come when you wish you were not you, when you background will affect your life. At those times, you must learn to accept this period or else your pain will be worse. You must realize that pain help to sharpen our sensitivity to goodness in life. I have experienced pain, but I have learnt to accept this as part of life. It strengthens you when you know. An enemy known is half conquered. So, we can conquer pain by knowing in advance.
7) IT’S GOOD TO CRY: it might be good she said to always think you are strong; it might be good to always feel on top. Sometime HOWEVER, the best thing in life is to cry. Crying help ease the pain, helps us to get perspective and realize our humanity. It is until then that our relationship with the divine will become significant and without that, fulfilment is far. Every man must imbibe this; it is macho sometime to be overwhelmed and weak to think we are always strong. Cry my son, cry; it’s an opportunity to be human. It would help ease your pain.
8) LIVE LIKE THERE IS NO TOMMOROW: because there is actually no tomorrow. We are always in today. Tomorrow is a today in twenty four hours. Never postpone an opportunity to laugh. Laugh hard, play hard, love hard and hate hard. Enjoy every bit of today because, the things we often regret about yesterday are the things we never did? Friendships, giving and so on. Try to do everything you can do today, particularly when it will bring smile to your face and to your friends.
9) LAUGH AT EVERY THING: never get too serious to laugh at your dilemma. Because if you do, you have lost the battle. Pain might be evident, but life still makes room for laughing. when you take time to laugh, it eases your pain. (actually proven medically, laughter releases endorphins are released when we laugh is known to dull pain, so I think she was a scientist) Try hard to find the funny sides when you are handed the short end of the stick. By the way, nobody was born with a stick in hand so, a short stick sometime is quite long. If you take this lesson, when you face challenge, it will lessen the obstacle, reduce your fear, and ease your pain.
10) IT WILL ALWAYS BE ALRIGHT:
Hardship never kills, it strengthens. Whether the end is what we want or not exactly our picture. So when the heat is on, when no friend seem around, when the pain seem unending, when there is absolutely nothing you can do, there is always an assurance, it will be alright. pain don’t last forever, sadness will always lift, particularly if you know and believe that it will be alright. So son she said, always believe this, it will always be alright.
And the last lesson:
11) YOU DON’T HAVE ANYBODY NOT EVEN ME: you can lean on me, you can depend on friends, but when the chips are down you are on your own. Nobody will fight your battles, nobody will win the battle for you, you have to brace up, you need to prepare yourself, the battle is up to you to win, my dear son, look only to you and believe in your creator, you have it in you to win, so my child with yourself, you can win, your creator created you to win.
These are the lessons my mother taught me in words, in actions, in several discussions, they represent some of the pillars of MY LIFE. I have thought severally and I think they can be applied to any man growing up, so apply them.