To My Child: 12 Commandments for Your Difference in 2014: Keep Life Notes

My dear child, sure you are doing well today. It has been one of my greatest pleasures doing this conversation with you, knowing that it is adding exceptional value to you, your present and future as a child of destiny.

My dear child, I hear things in our world of today, which makes my ears tingle. That is why I am always telling you to remember the child of whom you are and that you are God’s child. I trust God for you that you are destined to reign in life by His grace.

I will share with you today another commandment, which I believe is very important for your difference in this beautiful year.

11. Keep Life Notes: my dear child, I charge you keep Life Notes. Some people call it journal. It is to help you keep record of your own progress. There you will record your ideas, your dreams, lessons from victories and defeats. I have kept a journal for over 20 years of my life and it has been very interesting.

My dear child, I do not keep record of peoples’ wrong against me. That is excess luggage; I do not need that for my destiny. I made up my mind many years ago to travel the journey of life very light. To travel light is to only take the things that I need. Keeping record of wrongs, doesn’t only shrink the size of a person’s mind but also thickened it. If people have wronged me, I believe I have wronged people too. I may have wronged more people than people may have wronged me and I may have wronged people more than I have been wronged, I do not know. This tells me, I am not perfect and I must not expect perfection from the best of men. I have my issues as others have theirs. Every man, who knows he is not perfect, must always desire to be forgiven. If you desire to be forgiven, you must desire to forgive others. If you desire, to be shown mercy, you must show others mercy too.

Keeping Life Notes has helped me to call to remembrance important things to this interesting journey of life. There are things I would have forgotten forever, if I had not written them down. There was a time I was keeping record of every new word I come across with their meanings. If I read the story of an interesting personality, I would write down his/her name and what he/she stood for and the lessons, I have learnt from his/her life. I write down my own thoughts as a teenager. I write down in prose and in poetry. I didn’t know, I could write poems until I began to try my hands on writing down my thoughts in lines. I also write down interesting quotes when I read a book or other publications. When I also listen to interviews of great people on radio and television, I write down their quotes, which speak to me and teach life principles and refer to them when I need them. On June 10, 1988, one of my articles was published in The Punch newspaper. I was eighteen, my dear child when I wrote that piece. It was unbelievable for me. I did not know that the thoughts, I was scribbling in my Life Notes at the private corner of our face-me-I-face-you apartment, number 1, Okedasa Street Ondo could become something the public would read. Since then, I have not stopped writing. It was said of our own Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie that she began to write since she was young. Today, the stories, she was telling to herself in her journals have become the delights of the whole world.

Life Notes helps you to tell your own story of victories over your struggles as a child and young adult. And when defeat stares you in the face, you will call to remembrance by the use of your notes, how many times and how many things you have conquered in the past, which appeared as if it was impossible. You will encourage yourself in the Lord and your confidence will receive a boost to dare a seemingly insurmountable situation.

Another thing I keep in my life notes is the record of the promises God makes to me and how He keeps them. I keep records of the testimony of the faithfulness of God to me and my family. I think this has been a good practice dear child. It shuts the door against murmuring and complaints, when things sometimes do not go as planned or expected. Keeping a Life Notes is good, please buy into it. Human’s memory can be limited in how many things it can call to remembrance, please help it with your Life Notes.

My dear child, I beg to end our discussion here today. We shall continue tomorrow by the special grace of God. I charge you to remember the child of whom you are, you are God’s child. Do have an INSPIRED day.

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I Honour God’s Finger

This finger fed me when I didn’t even know I was hungry, not to talk of feeding myself…
This finger pointed me in the right direction when I didn’t know my way…
This finger laboured until maturity be formed in me under GOD…
Today, claiming to be wise, claiming to know better, I bite the finger, which once fed me…
I claim I’m now wiser than the finger as if he didn’t feed me, I will live to see his so-called weakness…
This finger isn’t perfect like I’m not…
I should be an improved version of him, hence I see what I believe he may not see today, therefore I’m not superior…
I’ve vowed never to bite the fingers who GOD used to feed and nurture me…
Through them the foundation of my destiny is laid under GOD…
With all humility and deep respect, I will reason with them and seek clarification when I don’t understand their deeds or omissions, but I will not criticize them in private and public…
To their Master they stand or fall, surely, He is able to make them stand…
I’m proof that they are standing today…
I honour God’s FINGERS in my LIFE…
Do have an INSPIRED week.
Taiwo Akinlami Sober on his knees on the LORD’s Day.

To My Child: 12 Commandments for Your Difference in 2014: Always ask the question, WHY?

My dear child, it gives me great pleasure that I am here again today. I am sure glad that we are making progress. It has been so long a discussion. It reminds me of a book we read in school, ‘So Long a Letter.’ I wouldn’t know if such books are still being read in the schools today.

I think we should get on this commandment right away. As I have said to you many times, February must not meet on this discussion and from the look of things January is not about to slow down. Of a truth, time waits for no one. In fact it does not only fly, it soars. It therefore means there is no time to waste; no time to gaze endlessly into space, living on the island called fantasy. Let us proceed to the commandment of today:

10. Always ask the question, WHY? My dear child let me begin our discussion today by telling you that you are a reasoning being. You are created to ask questions. I tried to shed light on this when we were discussing respect for priority, but now, permit me to instruct you on this critical matter that is able to help you make a difference. The most priceless question you will ever ask is WHY? It puts you and anybody you are relating with on check immediately, I must tell you. It takes the pressure away from you and put it on the other person, who seeks to convince you on a matter. Do you know what I have found my dear child? This is sad but it is true. Many people do not know why they do the things they do. They are not informed as to why. The unfortunate thing is that they have many followers, who have never asked why. They just follow blindly. So many of the people you follow always have easy ride on your mind and character because they are not asked the question, why. I must tell you that many of the vices many young people are involved in today is because they cannot ask the question, why from the one, who lured them in.

Why did you choose to discuss this with me? Why are you doing this? Why are you doing this now? Why do you think you are right? Why do you think this will benefit you in the immediate and in the future? Why are you doing this in secret? You see, my dear child, the why question is infinite and elastic. There are many queries you can put in front of why and it will carry it well. I charge you today to use the most powerful three-letter word that I know, why?

You must also learn to ask yourself why. Why do I do the things that I do? Why am I thinking the way I am thinking? Why am I close to the people I am closed to? Why do I attract the people I attract in my life? The question, why removes you from living by instinct to living by reasoning. It is the most effective tool of self evaluation, which leads to self improvement. It introduces you to sound mind and brings caution into your life. It separate you among your friends and people are careful what they bring to your table because they know it must pass the almighty formula, called, why before you approve or disapprove. Asking the question why also helps you to the fair to all before you take a decision. Since you do not only seek to ask why but you are genuinely interested to know why, you are patient to sieve out the truth of the matter.

Permit me to say my dear child that you must not only ask the question why? You must be interested in finding the answer or answers to your why. You must not only be interested in finding the answer, you must make up your mind to be bold enough to follow same even when it may be a tough call for you to make. Know this my dear child that those who find it hard to make tough calls, will always find it easy to make regret calls, mark my word. What I have found is that for many people, asking the question why has become more of a reference point of regrets than it has been of help in preventing unnecessary pain. It occurs to them to ask the question why. They do ask and they are not patient enough to find the answer. So they go ahead with whatever they want to do with a lot of questions in their minds. When they finally crash land, they begin to say things like, ‘it occurred to me to ask why o and I did but I was not diligent or bold enough to find the answer.’ For some people, they ask the question why and found the answer but they are not bold enough to implement. They think they have gone too far to retrace their steps. They forget that it is never too late to reverse an error once you detect it.

Let me say this to you my dear child, the answer to your why is not always with you. That is why you must learn to seek counsel. Seek counsel from others, who share your values. Seek counsel from your parents. Feel free to discuss with me your whys and be sure we can arrive at an answer together under God. In the multitude of counsel, there is safety, says the Holy Writ.

I think I am through for today. It has been an interesting discussion for me but it sounds a bit technical. I charge you my dear child, please feel free to call my attention to areas, which may be too technical. Thank you for listening. I do not take your listening and interest in this discussion for granted. I love and appreciate you my dear child. Always remember the child of who you are; you are God’s child. Do have an INSPIRED day.

To My Child: 12 Commandments for Your Difference in 2014: Go for Meaningful Relationships:

It is a beautiful day my dear child. It is the day that the Lord has made and it comes with this inscription of good news, ‘we WILL rejoice and be glad in it.’ I am very glad to be here with you my dear child. I have come to know that being glad is a decision. It does not depend on circumstances. That is why you see, with me there is no dull moment.

Let me proceed to continue to discuss the commandments, I believe will stand you out among your many peers this year:

9. Go for meaningful relationships: my dear child, it is a common saying that a tree does not make a forest. That it is common does not make the wisdom it promotes common. In fact the earlier you come to terms with this wisdom, the better for you my dear child. What does this wisdom really say? It says we are created for relationships. It says we will never advance above the relationships we are committed to. It says the most profitable venture in the world today is what I call the business of people. Let me break it down, Zig Ziglar says you get what you want by helping enough people to get what they want. You see, my dear child, everything you want in life in the hand of someone. You may be wondering that I always say everything is in the hand of God. Yes, that is true my dear child. It is God, who empowers men and women to give to us. But if we fail to relate with anybody or learn how to keep meaningful relationships with people, how do we intend to receive what belongs to us.

The question now is what is meaningful relationship? A meaningful relationship is the one, which add value to you and the one you add value to. It is a relationship, which counts as important what, is important to you. And when your friend does not agree with you, he/she does not pull you down or make you an object of ridicule.

Do you know what I have discovered in my interactions with many of the people in your age group? Many of you do not understand the real meaning of relationships or friendship and this is very sad. You relate with people, who brings nothing to your face but tears and nothing to your emotion but sadness and nothing to your heart but sorrow. Yet you call them friends. I remember the story of a thirteen year old child, who I counseled at the instance of her parents. She said to me that her friends have a way of saying unpleasant things about her to the point that she now believes them that she is a mistake. She told me she believes that God can make a mistake and she is a perfect example of God’s mistake. The first question I ask her is that if the people you call your friend make you feel this way, how would your enemies make you feel? I told her that with friends like these you do not need enemies. I was able to show her that friends come into your life to make you happy and not to make you sad and give you a name God has not given you. Friends come to add value and colour to your life. I was able to convince her that she should disengage from those friends and believe God for meaningful friends. I told her she does not need to go and meet her so-called friends to tell them she will not relate with them again. She should just take her decision and stick to it in action. I also told her as I told you before that she must not allow hatred and prejudice to set in. She should consider her experience as a lesson in life, take responsibility that she was the one who either chose or allow those people to be her friends and keep the lessons as instructions in choosing or allowing people to be her friends in the future.

I told a group of young people that there are no permanent friends but permanent interests. One of them asked that if I was saying they should get into every relationship with interest and I said yes. I further said that the interest must not be selfish but it must be mutual. You may get close to a friend because you want to help him/her in a subject he/she is struggling with. That is an interest. You may see certain habits in a person, which you want to imbibe. That is an interest. It may not be the best idea to get into a relationship without knowing why. Myles Monroe says when the purpose of a thing is not known, abuse is inevitable. Do you understand my dear child? Mutuality means parties in the relationship are also fully aware of the reason why are there and are not ashamed of it.

Well, let me say my last few words about friendship. I believe that the foundation of any friendship is compatibility of values. You attract the kind of people you are. I guess that is why a popular adage says, ‘show me your friend and I will show you who you are.’ I will show you in another of our discussion how to be a person of value. I believe the discussion on values will help you to be the kind of person who desire to see in others.

I think I should round up this discussion by talking about relationship with the opposite sex. I think the same principles apply. I do not suggest you run away from the opposite sex. I suggest you learn to build healthy relationships with them. Having a healthy relationship with the opposite sex will help you to relate well with all. By the time you flip back to our discussions on respect for priority and live to love, you will have better understanding in this area and how to create the necessary boundaries. May the Lord, who gave you to me and assigned me a custodian, continue to grant you wisdom in all these things.

One last thing my dear child, do not hide your friends of both sexes from me. Please feel free to introduce them to me and allow them to come to visit. Be sure that I will observe them and tell you my candid opinion about them.

I think I should end our discussion here today.  Do have a beautiful and INSPIRED day. I am very proud of you.

To My Child: 12 Commandments for Your Difference in 2014(8)

My dear child, sure you are doing great today. I have missed our discussion for so long. I am grateful to God that I am able to make it here today. I must apologize deeply for my absence. Thank you for all the reminders you sent to me about this discussion. I am glad that you have really learnt a lot from this whole parent/child chat.

I am desirous that we finish this discussion this January so that you will have the rest of the year to put them into practice. I think without taking too much of your precious time, I will proceed to continue to discuss the commandments:

8. Live to Love: love must be our motivation for all we do. Love and respect go together. When we love we respect. Love here talks about loving every man or woman you come across for who they are. Love them because they are made in the image and likeness of God and respect their dignity of human person. Martin Luther King Junior instructs, ‘I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.’

You may not accept what a person is saying, but I think you will have to respect their right to say it as long as it does not infringe on other people’s rights. The truth is that even when it infringes on other people’s rights that does not give you the right to hate. Hatred is toxic. So is prejudice. I think prejudice breeds hatred. With the twin plague of prejudice and hatred, a young boy or girl has not future. He/she will be shortsighted and he will never seek or have the full picture of life enough to have sound judgment of the affairs of life. And once a person lacks sound judgment, his/her opportunities are limited. The English dictionary defines prejudice as ‘preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience.’ I charge you my dear child, relate with everyone you meet with a free mind. Do not have preconceive opinion about people because of their race, colour, ethnicity, sex, background, physical disability (which I like to call THISABILITY) etc.

Give every person you come across in school, places of worship and other places, the opportunity to show who they are before you form your opinion about them. When you form your opinion about them, even if it is not the best of opinion, do not hate them for it and do not go to town with it. It takes a person, who has no sin to cast the first stones. In my years of living, my dear child, I am yet to meet one. We must be careful and even if we must correct a person, it must be in love. What does it mean to correct in love? It means we must never attack the dignity of human person of the one we seek to correct in the process. Correction must make its object a better person and not a bitter person. To correct in love is to avoid labeling, to address the issues and express confidence in the person we are correcting to turn a new leave. It is also important that before we correct, we must seek the consent of the one we seek to correct because nobody made us a judge over the other person, no matter how right we think we are.

My dear child, I am not saying, you should be close to everyone you come across or even anyone, who seeks to be your friend. All I am saying is that do not habour ill-feeling against anyone. The truth is that you cannot be close to everybody. You can and should only be close to those who share same values with you. I will share about meaningful relationship later.

My dear child, please note that when I talk about love, I am not talking about lust after the opposite sex. The love I talk about here gives and preserves your present and future. The lust between children or teenage opposite sex, which is today erroneously defined as love only destroys. It takes lust, inability to delay sexual pleasure until when it is due for you to be engaged in sexual relationship at your tender age. That is not love, my dear child. Love does not empower you to submit yourself to be violated, to give your body cheaply to the opposite sex, to abuse your sexuality and dignity of human person. That is what happens when you engage in youthful lust. Your sexuality is your physiological signs of difference. Your organs are given to you by God for a glorious purpose. They are not given to you to truncate your future and set you up for shame and reproach. My dear child, understand this, whatever is misused comes with dire consequences. You cannot wash your face with pepper and go free. It will not matter that you thought you were washing your face with water.   Therefore, beware my child. Love does not lust and lust does not love. Open your eyes very well and refuse to be deceived.  It does not pay to awaken love before it pleases your destiny. Remember the child of who you are my dear child, you are God’s child, made in His image and likeness.

I am proposing that we should hang it here today, my dear child. What do you think? I am glad, you agree. I will do my best to be here tomorrow. Do have an INSPIRED day.

DEPARTURE LOUNGE

This is a short Journey…
Yet it appears long…
So, many are, who are deceived as regards its length…
It is compared to a vapour…
It appears for a while and vanishes…
It seems to me we all live in the departure lounge of life…
We may not know when our flight will be called…
Therefore I charge you, live ready…
Live to apprehend fully the purpose of the One, who sent you here…
Give your stay the best shot…
Yet take it easy with yourself…
The lounge doesn’t cease to exist at your departure…
This is a short journey…
Yet, it appears long…
It is like a vapour…
Do not be deceived…
Do have an INSPIRED week.
Taiwo Akinlami Sober on his knees on the LORD’s day

To My Child: 12 Commandments for Your Difference in 2014: Think Beyond Yourself

My dear child, sure you are doing great today. We are getting close to the middle of the first month in the year. This is how time flies my child. In fact, it does not wait for anyone. It is our responsibility that we tract it and get to give our best as the day go by.

My dear child, it is time to do all the good we can to all the people we can with all the resources we can. It is time to stop gazing and start being a blessing to this generation and the generation beyond. I will not preempt myself, my child. I will continue in the line of the commandment:

7. Think Beyond Yourself: my dear child, I think it is time to teach you some sociology. What is this scary big word? Sociology is the study of society, social relationships, including social and human behavior. Sociology shows us the impact of our society on us. It also shows us how much of our society that is in us. My dear child, our society today is selfish. Almost everybody wants to fend for himself and himself alone. The unwritten survival code is ‘everyone to himself, God for us all.’ This is so because, the State as represented by our Government has failed woefully to meet the need of the people as envisaged by what is called Social Contract. So the people have signed up for what is called the Rat Race of survival in seeking for their daily bread. My child, it is called the life of the jungle and the popular saying is ‘no paddy for jungle.’ It means no friendship in the jungle. You too, look at it among your peers, if someone is very good in a subject, he does not want to teach others. He does not want to share his food with others, though he may want to eat from others. The list is endless.  This will surprise you my dear child, but it is true, a six year old was asked what he would do if he is elected the president of Nigeria. He responded by saying, ‘I will buy one car for my dad, I will buy one car for my mum, I will buy one car for myself and I will resign.’ This example is yet another proof that the spirit of selfishness has spilled over into your own generation.

My charge to you today dear child is for you to swim against the tide of this popular but bad spirit. I charge you to please think beyond yourself. You remember that I always tell you from your childhood that there is love in sharing. As a matter of fact love is all about sharing. I mean the number one proof of love is sharing. I will still share with you about love in another of our discussion. I am just talking about love here as it relates to thinking beyond yourself.

My dear child, this is my point, there is nothing that we have today that we did not receive from God and if we truly agree that we receive, then it is foolish for us to boast or to behave as if we own it. The other point is that, whatever, we have received from God, we receive to share. We do not receive to use for ourselves alone. Get this point, my dear child, we are not owners of anything in our possession; we are just stewards. Stewardship demands faithfulness and just distribution. The distributor does not need to have lion share. The distributor is to distribute justly. I love what someone said, ‘do not judge the day by the harvest you reap, judge it by the seed you sow. I guess I know why the person said so, it is because we live by our seed. It means the day we stop sowing, we start dying. God created us to live by sowing. That is why He always gives us something we can sow. Look at it my child, nature has demonstrated it well, as you receive oxygen, you must give out carbon dioxide to stay alive. The more you give out carbon dioxide; the more you create a room to receive oxygen. You also know that plants live on your own carbon dioxide.  Therefore, if you do not release it, the plants will not grow and if the plants do not grow, we may have no food to eat to stay alive. So when you give your carbon dioxide to the plants, you are not doing them a favour. Necessity is laid upon you by nature and you also benefit from it ultimately.

My dear child, you always have something to sow, smile, talent, good example,, attitude, food, money, and many others. If you have eaten breakfast and you have hope for dinner, learn to give out your lunch. You can put something aside out of every money that comes into your hand as your ‘Personal Charity Fund’ (PCF). You may disburse it monthly by buying something for orphanages and other related homes. If you are good in one subject, do not hide your knowledge from other. Allow others to share your toys.

Please my dear child, take this from me, there is nothing like ‘the underprivileged.’ Nobody is created by God with the tag, ‘the underprivileged.’ It is the selfishness and the refusal of man to share that created what we now celebrate as ‘the underprivileged.’ This tag, ‘the underprivileged is a sign of our irresponsibility to fellow man.

In concluding today, I will share with you the story of a thirteen year old girl, who raised money to rebuild a public school. She was Adeife Akin-Deko. She attended a private school. She was returning from an excursion with her friends, when she was that this public primary, where the pupils sat on the floor to learn. She decided to raise money from her friends and their parents to rebuild the school. She did. She was later shot dead at a very tender age but she has left a legacy behind. It is not therefore how, long, it is how well my dear child.

I charge you my child to understand that you should be careful, how you use the word, ‘my’ and if you have to use it, know that it is with the mindset that you are holding all or part of it in trust for the one, who you are to share it with. As I have told you before what you have in your hands is not yours. You are the caretaker of it. The Holy Writ says, ‘it is more blessed to give than to receive.’ I charge you my dear child to live a more blessed life.

I am through for the day. It is time to say goodbye. My dear child, I know that goodbye is one of the hardest things to say to the person(s) we love but there comes a time when it becomes inevitable, like right now. Here is my big hug as we end our discussion today. I promise to be here again with you tomorrow and you know in our own family, promise is a debt that must be paid. Do have an INSPIRED day my dear child.