Long Post Alert!
“Hmmn. Stella, Did you say you want to study abroad? Na wao. As if there’s no Unilag (University of Lagos)? Some people get big eye sha”. You know your father cannot afford abroad for you…And you’re looking for £1k. Do you know how much that is?” And I said, Yes I know, it’s N100k. Some years ago!
And my friend laughed. Ignored me and didn’t say a word to me again. After some quirky moments of silence, I left her shop. A few months later I got a Scholarship to study abroad. I got a paid scholarship to study in Denmark. Oh wow!
Now I laugh thinking about these words. Humans have a way of discouraging others around them from aiming high in life. Some people trivialize other peoples goals forgetting that God may be directing such a person to aim higher in life.
One thing life has taught me is that people need encouragement from time to time. Every person you know needs to be encouraged at one point or another. We all crave to be encouraged in moments of need. We all pray to be surrounded by people who will motivate and inspire us to better our lifestyles. Humans want to have people who would listen to their stories and encourage them one way or another. Even simply telling someone that you love them, or that you understand their plight or what they are going through is an encouragement.
Memories are flooding back to me now as I write this post. And I can remember vividly some of the most tender moments of my life. Then, I would sit and think about my life and how best to make it better. It was in Lagos and I was working at that time with very little salary. And I knew I’ve always wanted to travel abroad and the best legal way to get myself abroad was to go through education/studies. Suffice it to say that I truly wanted a foreign degree. So my search for a school began. I would tell all my siblings that I see myself in one University overseas… And they would all laugh.
Now, I guess I took this far when I began to try same ‘joke’ to some of my friends at that time. People see things differently. One or two of them had good words to say. At least they supported my vision but warned that it’s no child’s play to study abroad. That I know very well even before I began to dream big dreams. I was filled with faith that God will make a way for me. How? I can’t tell. Regardless, I had my trepidations. But first, I needed to tell people about my dreams and see if there is anyone willing to support me.
My search for motivation took me to one of my ‘besties’ at that time, and the above words came out of her mouth. I listened as she underrated my ‘big ambition’ as she called it. After she finished her sermon and narratives of how I should jettison such ambiguous plans, I thanked her and left. Within me, I knew it wasn’t impossible. It was achievable. I enjoyed the fact that I could flip through all the University brochures sent to me by the various Schools I had applied to in the UK. Oh wow! Such beautiful and captivating study environments fascinates me. Who no like better thing? I beg I must study abroad joor. 🙂
My cognitive lenses were overwhelmed. I admired the exquisitely well-groomed school compounds. I fantasised myself walking in those posh gardens. I thought about how it would be like to sit in those beautiful and modern classrooms with other foreign students receiving lectures from the Oyibo lecturers. Hmmn, will I understand that their oyibo english sef? Will I fit well into the society? Yes na, all kinds of mind-boggling thoughts enveloped my curious mind. And I wished and I desired and I clamoured for a better life. Because Naija was all shades of gloom then. All shades of bad. All shades of frustrations and all shades of no hope to the common man at that time and even now so to speak. And I needed to change my location before I get entangled in the web of confusion. I needed an enabling environment where I could flourish better. And my gut feelings pushed me further into working towards my goals.
Well, I listened intently to everyone I took my plans to. Although, it was extremely difficult to believe what my ears heard as I thought that those were my very good personal persons. But how rudely wrong I was? Their depictions opened my eyes to those type of people I should be wary of. Those dream killers. Those people who call your dreams petty and trivialize your big talks and goals. I was thankful I didn’t listen to their vain talks. I was happy they didn’t talk me out of my vision. I was happy I followed my gut feelings and continued to apply to other Universities around the world.
And my big day came when I received a scholarship to study in Denmark. My moment to laugh at petty talks came, and yes, I laughed at those who mocked my belief that it was impossible to study abroad without having a wealthy father. That it was impossible to dream big and aim high without coming from an affluent background. While I was armed with the assurances that it was possible to have faith in God and work hard to achieve my goals. Yes. God proved himself that when you profess your trust and faith in him and work towards your goals, HE steps into your case and do his own part.
Let’s not waste the opportunities God had given us to express our love for one another. Is there someone who has come to you for help? Or for encouragement? Or to seek your idea about his or her plans in life? Is there someone asking you to assist them in their goals. My friend, if you have nothing good to offer such a person, just a kind word will suffice. Simply, appreciate the person and tell them you’d be praying for them to succeed with their dreams. I ask again, is there someone who would benefit from your kind words or listening ear? Try to listen and be sensitive to the emotions of others when you need to respond to whatever they confided in you about.
Do you know that sometimes, all the other person needs is only a kind word? Only your care and compassion and not even your financial giving. They only need you to support their goals. by saying, yes, I know you can do this. So be careful with your utterances. Words spoken can never be retrieved and the mind knows how to store and process such info.
Be guided on how best to minister to those people who come to you for help or for moral support. Learn not to spite their small beginnings or denigrate them in any way simply because they choose to unbutton their fears to you.
To all those moral boosters. To all those who try to encourage others in various significant ways. To all those who encourage a friend and instil hope into them. Know ye this day that you are influencers in your world. You are world changers when you help someone else live their dreams and become better.
To you, I say Thank You for your acts of humanness. Be rest assured that your random acts of kindness will have a powerful rippling effect if not today, but in due season.
Thank you to those people who are influencers. You know yourselves. God bless you all.
PS: This piece was inspired by Olubunmi Mabel, who made a post on facebook that I commented on – She asked – “What is the most insensitive thing that has been said to you?”.
The opening statement was ok for my FB audience but if you need clarification, say in the comments and I’d willingly oblige.
Peace and Love!
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