By Oluchi Okafor Ugwunne.
I stared at the old lady as she passed by me, stooping as she walked and trembling slightly. I shook my head in wonder. This old lady obviously didn’t start out as an old lady. No, not at all. Once upon a time, she was young like me. Strong, vibrant, full of energy and zest. Once upon a time, she walked with a spring in her steps, with enough power in her to take on the world. Once upon a time, she had smooth, flawless skin, and probably was the toast of many men. Once upon a time, she was desirable and desired, she had her whole life in front of her. Once upon a time, the sky was her limit.
But now…her face lies in wrinkles. Her shoulders stoop as she walks. Her hands tremble as she tries to lay hold of the door handle of the car. She cannot make it up the stairs without one helping her.
And I ask myself: When did this drastic change happen?
The truth is that, age steals on you. Most people do not notice themselves growing older with each day that passes. But the truth is this: We will not be young forever, and age has a way of creeping up on you while you are not looking.
It happens when you are reading that book in the library. While you are traveling from Point A to Point B. When you are checking your wall on Facebook. Yes, even after reading this post, you will be five minutes older than when you first started reading it. Time passes without most people noticing it.But it does not leave us unchanged.
For many youths, we somehow think that we will be young forever. That somehow, old age is a somewhere very faraway, a place we are not going to get to very soon. And so we waste our moments, procrastinate our dreams, and assure ourselves that we have all the time in the world.
But time passes…and suddenly we find that we are someone’s mummy. We find responsibilities at work overwhelming.
Days turn into weeks, and into months. All of a sudden, the person in the mirror doesn’t look like we used to know them before. We’ve added a lot more weight, we look more like a real adult and….hey, is that a gray hair you just spotted on your once dark shiny hair?
Time passes by quickly when you’re not looking, and if you don’t take care to use it well, you find that life wastes. The big years of one’s life are made up of simple things called minutes, and you find that if you use your minutes well, you would have used your life well.
Don’t spend time on things that do not matter; otherwise your life will not matter. No wonder Moses prays, ‘Lord teach us to number my days, that I may apply my heart to wisdom.’ NLT puts it thus, ‘Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom.’
David also prays in Psalm 39:4-5, “LORD, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered—how fleeting my life is. You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand. My entire lifetime is just a moment to you; at best, each of us is but a breath.”
What matters is not that we are going to get old- that is an inevitable fact of life. What is important is that we utilize our God-given time wisely in doing good now that we are young and strong, so that when old age (‘the evil days’ as the Bible puts it) gets to us, we will not live our lives in regret for the things we left undone that we should have done.
The Bible enjoins us to serve the Lord in the days of our youth. I daresay those days are NOW. There’s no better time than now to begin serving God diligently, zealously, with all our hearts and all of our strength. Let’s seek to make each moment count.
Remember, old age is coming…Don’t be unprepared!
Oluchi Okafor Ugwunne studied Medicine in the University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria. She is the author of Practical Advice for Girls and A Reason to Hope. Her life’s passion is helping young people discover and fulfill their God given destiny. She is married to her lovely friend and they are blessed with children.
How Expensive are Expensive Weddings?
By Edisemi Okpokiti
The cost for marriages is another reason for low marriages and also early broken marriages…it brings too much pressure to the equation.
Too much expectations, too much injuries in the process to accomplish, too much division already between new families who ought to be uniting, too much attention of the supposed spouse on an event than on the marriage.
Too much false hood expressed that has to be sustained, but with no basis for maintenance. Too much bad blood between supposed couples before they even start their home.
Many marriages ended on the night or morning after the wedding ceremony.
People regret night after their traditional wedding, and ask if it was worth all the tension, pressure and troubles or are visibly sad all through the wedding realising they have short changed themselves.
Love is stifled by fleshy lust of men and women for rights,privileges and inordinate desires to feel among. Many work for years to blow it one week 😭😭
Once the cost of the price to marry is reduced, the attention will be shifted to what my choice person thinks or feels and not what people think or feel; and that’s how relationships are built.
Preparation for marriage ought to be a good opportunity for people to know and get more acquainted with themselves but the pressure makes them distant from themselves, cursing, fighting and bitter at each other for their difference in priority and the family effect on them.
Father in-laws, mother in-laws , Siblings already become vouched enemies even before they know themselves.
It’s pathetic that poor families are the most expensive ones to marry from, it’s like these marriages is their visa out of poverty.
Elders have become children in their conduct and character just because of a young child’s money collected with the deceit of a priceless adventure.
Churches should adopt like the Orthodox churches now do for burials, giving specific date you must bury after death, thereby forcing hands to bury with what they have and not what they think they want.
Weddings in churches should be encouraged to be done even in midweeks and without receptions.
Young people also should stop talking of dream marriages. The women especially would shout “It is not in my turn, I’ll fall my hands”, but can’t you all see ,the men are not proposing because they are afraid and do not have what your entire village will demand? Ladies have to start discussing with their fathers and uncles and defend their husband to be.
Money spent on Marriages in this country, especially by the middle class and poor if invested could make those couples financially stable.
The steam most times is off before the team comes to field.
Many have lost even before the game starts.
Well for those who are really really well to do and I mean both not that the man is. Those whose families have more than enough to spare, then you are not stopped from your ecstasy.
If you are in relationship, and it’s not taking the next step this is a major cause. Seat with yourselves, seat with your parents and pastors and achieve your desire without destroying your desire. SELAH!
If you are a sibling or parent , please assist and clear all barriers and ensure your children and siblings don’t have this as a barrier preventing their marriage.
The age of unmarried is increasing daily to an average of 30…if this menace is not addressed …we will soon hit 35 yrs as average age of unmarried girls.
Let the wise hear, but the foolish rant…Life is a choice.
A counsel is not forced on anyone.
Edisemi Okpokiti is the Lead Faculty, The Pulpit and Lead Consultant of Rhabonni Consult Limited (A Human Capital Development Consultancy Firm). He is a trained Information Management Consultant and passionate preacher of the gospel.
Opinions Today, Pinions Tomorrow
By Perez Tigidam
Nigeria is full of drama and the growing internet penetration and social media usage amplifies this daily. Individuals and even corporations are constantly being sucked into this pool of daily drama.
My thought is simple, if you must be an active and opinionated participant in every raging conversation on the internet, ensure you do so from the place of thought and principles and not an emotional rush, no matter how logical it might sound at the moment.
The internet archives, it never forgets.Perez Tigidam
If you stand for a wrong today and months after try to go against that wrong because this time, you’re emotional towards one party involved, it means that you lack principle in the first place. Because the internet never forgets, people will call your bluff while referring to precedence.
It is very easy to glide into contradiction and inconsistency when you always have to offer opinion or hard stance not backed by principles.
Before you tweet, think. Before you post, pause to ponder.perez tigidam
I have a particular friend who knows me so well that, in my absence, he can literally tell you what my position will be on any given issue even without hearing from me. Same for him. This is because -not to sound saintly- we’ve been consistent in our thought pattern over a long period of time. Our positions on things are always not popular but there’s been a pattern and we’ve been consistent.
One last thing,
In a low trust society like Nigeria, it’s important that you’re consistent in character and in principles. It helps when those with less knowledge of you bring up disparaging commentary of your person.
Last year, I had a fall out with a client and someone asked me, “What if this client decides to give a negative feedback on referrals?” My response was simple, my disagreement is not out of bad character but out of principle that binds a contractual relationship. Of every one client relationship that goes wrong, there are 9 others that will stand vehemently for me, because of character and precedence.
You can say I am not cheap when it comes to billing for my services and I’d agree, but I do not know that I am a cheat or dubious in character, for this I am grateful for my upbringing and can raise my shoulder anywhere to this.
If I disagree vehemently with a friend or a client, it’s mostly not out of bad character but out of principle. I rarely do shift from my position, either I just want to let you have your way and move on or I’m deeply convinced that my position is wrong, which doesn’t happen instantaneously either. I have to slowly be convinced on facts and principles that support that position, it’s the reason people say I’m stubborn.
But I am not.
Perez Tigidam is a brand management consultant and media entrepreneur based in Nigeria. He runs one of Nigeria’s foremost brand consultancy and design firms Arden & Newton Ltd and doubles up as the user experience and content strategy team lead at TheNerve Africa.
Going back to the basics.
By Nimi Stephanie Ekere.
Last year, we were woken up to the news of a student who tried to poison his colleague because she was doing better than him, academically. This was to say the
least, frightening. That for me, set my mind wondering what the home environment of the said student was. If a child in Secondary school could think of something so terrible, it clearly showed that his family, which is the smallest unit of the society was in a wrong state. The reason is that the family forms most of a person’s values, at least at that tender age.
Recently, the suicide rate in the country has become so alarmingly high and particularly scary amongst young people. Young people take their lives for the flimsiest reasons. It’s either you hear that they took their lives because they were heartbroken in their relationship, they failed an exam or someone spoke to them badly.
In the past, we were known for our resilience and ability to adapt to even the most unfriendly situations, so what suddenly changed?
I would like us to look into the family setting and review our parenting styles and strategies. A lot has changed. Yes, I think a lot has changed so much; and this does not mean that our parents were perfect in the past. They made their mistakes but to a very large extent, they did a lot of things right.
Many modern day parents are so concerned about pleasing their children that a lot of areas are left unattended to. There seems to be no standards and values which are the bedrock of effective parenting.
The twenty first century parent is caught up in the web of an extremely busy schedule in the pursuit of money and when they make it, throw it at the child and fail to invest quality time with their children and lose the opportunity to discover their children and what they are growing up to become.
For many of these children, integrity means little or nothing, and the child having nothing to emulate, seeks help from his peers and the television.
Nannies have taken over the place of mothers in the lives of these children. And because parents are not always visible, and even if they are visible, they are unavailable, there lies a wide communication breakdown. And if a child cannot talk
or discuss everything with his parents, there usually are deadly alternatives for them.
Parents try to compensate for these deficiencies with wonderful vacations, gifts, expensive clothes and shoes and other luxuries. While these are wonderful, they do not take the place of deliberate, intentional and effective parenting.
Also, a lot of children are suffering from low self-esteem because of the unrealistic expectations and pressures from their parents. ‘Have you seen Linda’s results?’
Why can’t you come first place like Jonathan?’ This is all the child hears and gradually, his self-esteem completely gets eroded and he starts seeking for validation from external sources. He begins to have envy, hatred and unhealthy competitions as part of his everyday life.
This begins to manifest in his behaviour towards others. An example is the case of the seventeen year old boy that was left to drown by his friends because they were jealous of him. There are multiples of examples to buttress the fact that we must go back to the basics.
Parenting must be done right if we want to see this generation of children do better than us. There is a vacuum that must be filled. We must listen to these young ones. We must try to create time for them. Our values must not be thrown out, they must be instilled in our children. We can love our children without necessarily giving them everything they want. There should be discipline
in parenting. Sometimes, giving them all they want is not to their advantage. We must learn to know when to draw the line.
Their strengths should be celebrated while their weaknesses worked on. Unhealthy competitions are really unhealthy for them. We must know that every child is unique and is created differently with a special gift to change her world.
Prayer is an inevitable tool in effective parenting. Every word of prayer said on our children’s behalf is a seed that will germinate and yield fruits, good fruits. This said, prayers must go hand in hand with hard work as even the Bible admonishes us to intentionally, train up our children in a way that they should go and when they are old, they would not depart from it.
Thank you for reading this, I hope to get your feedback.
Dr Nimi Stephanie Ekere is a wife, mother and Family Physician. She enjoys writing, reading and attending to her patients. She is a life coach and teacher, who is passionate about children and young people walking in the right course and path to achieve their full potential.
Her Foundation, Ekom Charity Foundation mentors young people and also cares for the less privileged.
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