Excerpts from my autobiography: Once ERASED…Now RAISED…
Take Responsibility: No Story
I am Taiwo AKINLAMI. I come from South West Nigeria and I have lived in Ikeja, the capital of Lagos State for 32 years. Lagos is a land of language and much slang. We hardly make a sentence here without introducing our own slang. Thus if you are a Johnny-Just-Come in Lagos, you may be lost in the wilderness of slang, understanding not a thing, until you are sold and the proceeds of your sale is deposited in the nearest bank.
‘No story,’ ‘forget story,’ or ‘leave story’ in Lagos parlance, means there is no room for excuses. It means you are expected to take responsibility for a desired outcome in a situation.
As I tell this story, I insist, ‘no story.’ I mean, it is not a call to story. All I urge is for us all to take responsibility and take our destinies into our hands and move in the direction of positive change, first in our own lives and that of our immediate families and neighbours.
My Story-the beginning
This book is my story of wrong upbringing and how I found hope to move from a victim to a helper. Having assumed adulthood, I realised that resident in me was an untrained childhood. It became like chameleon faeces, with an indelible smell that does not answer to the best of sanitation exercises.
A Warning to the Society — My case is no peculiar!
In my research and observation of our society, I found that my case was not peculiar. The custodians of the soul of the child in this part of the world lack self-awareness and knowledge of the requirements for moulding into productive and fitting shape, the minds of the young ones. The situation is worsened by the painful truth that the erring custodians have the full backing of the society.
Painfully, we have accepted the wrong model of childhood training as a celebrated norm. Unknown to us, the foundation of a society, which transit to adulthood wrongly trained children, cannot reap the harvest of right thinking adults. The truth is, ‘if the foundation is faulty, what shall the righteous do?’ Therefore when a nation becomes serious about the future it must address the past.
Impact of wrong childhood training is often hidden to the victims
The tragedy again was that I did not know I was malfunctioning, not to talk of seeking remedy. I actually thought I was doing well until I encountered superior knowledge in 1997 at the age of 27. Taking stock of my life, using the template of my new-found knowledge, I had in my hand the discouraging score sheet of the impact of wrong upbringing.
The truth of the matter is that most of us are malfunctioning and we are not aware. In most cases when we become aware of our malfunctioning state, we do not know the source and we are afraid to trace it. Thus we are not ready to ask ourselves some questions, even when they stare us in the face. To buttress th of ofe foregoing submission, I share with you the thoughts of Laura Schlessinger in her book, Bad Childhood Good Life: ‘I believe that many people don’t even realize that their childhood history has impacted their adult thought and behavioral patterns in unproductive ways. They don’t realize that some of their less pleasant or destructive adult emotional reactions are reflexive responses forged by their unfortunate childhood challenges. They don’t realize that much of their adult life has been dedicated to repeating ugly childhood dynamics in an attempt to repair deep childhood hurts and hurting.’
The first response to the discoveries of negative Impact of wrong childhood training is often despondency
Considering the enormity of my discoveries, I was naturally tempted to conclude that my state of existence was a fate accompli. The adage that ‘you cannot teach an old dog a new trick,’ surreptitiously found its way into my mind and meditation and was gaining considerable grounds.
I was seriously tempted to simply abandon myself to the avoidable mercy of our upbringing.
A Warning to YOU — We are not excused from the demands of life because of wrong childhood training!
As the voice of despondency and discouragement gained grounds, it occurred to me that life does not have a special arrangement for us because of our wrong childhood training. The demands of life and standards of human behaviour are fixed by life itself and do not come with an inbuilt capacity to lower the bar for any human on the surface of the earth.
For example, if you were brought up in a home, where you were not trained to speak your mind; when you relate with people at any level, you embrace the ‘suffering and smiling’ theory. Both your private and public relationships are endangered. Why? No man is designed by God to live or die in the prisons of their minds (often built from childhood), shutting down their voices within the confines of their souls, a barging sacrifices to please others and remain in their good books.
If person, who is under the siege and plague of ‘suffering and smiling’ theory, gets to the workplace, the need for you to speak your mind, particularly when there is conflict will not be waived for you. When you do not speak your mind, you habour resentment, you become disenchanted, your creative ability is eliminated and you become unproductive. Your fate in the workplace becomes dim and you are shown the way out. The fact that you were not brought up to speak your mind, though very true and most painful, will not be strong enough to cause a change of decision. You are out in the cold!
Consider Adolph Hitler, the author and the lead executor of the Second World War and the attendant holocaust. The problem of Hitler has been traced to his childhood by many historians. While the veracity of their findings is incontestable, the question is, has the facts of his wrong upbringing exonerated Hitler from the judgment of history about the darks years he subjected our world to during the Second World War?
I again received the understanding that an incomplete child cannot transit to a complete adult. A person cannot give what he does not have. It dawned on me that if I continued living my life negatively and using my wrong upbringing as an excuse, I was headed for the deepest side of oblivion.
I further understood that at the end of life, we may have countless excuses for our being irrelevant to our generation, but we would not have one tenable reason. For every of our excuse, life and its forces will confront us with the profiles of people with similar or even worse experiences, who against all odds broke loose of the chains of their past and make the best of their lives.
I found as an invaluable truth the conclusion of Laura Schlessinger about adults with abused childhood, ‘they’ve reduced to believing that neither they nor life matters much anyway, not understanding that they have the power and the choice to make a good life…You are not a simple product of your experiences, you are a product of what you make of and do with those experiences.’
Here, I found that, I was just a conscious decision away from taking steps to redirect my life in the positive direction. The foregoing thoughts jolted me into reality of embarking fast on the healing program.
Reaching out to an ever-present hope
The voice of hope soon sprang in me and led a victorious battle against pessimism. I began to understand that a living dog was better than a dead lion. I met and accepted the principle that breath is a sign that conquering is a possibility. It dawned on me that the situation may seem insurmountable, but it was not so under a God-ordained program, instructing me to pursue, overtake, and recover all. I also found a big push in the words of John C. Maxwell that ‘a worthless past is resolved by a present that works.’
Restoration to a complete being: An exercise in discipline and consistency
The Holy Writ’s warning: ‘train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it’ is ever true. Another name for parenting is modelling. Someone said, ‘children do not do what you say. They do what you do.’ I make bold to say that except through divine intervention, which provides the foundation for rigorous mind reprogramming and debriefing, once a child is not properly brought up, he has the cross to carry till he returns to the creator.
As a victim of improper upbringing, I started making deliberate efforts at the age of 27 to remedy the impact of my upbringing. Today, twenty-one year down the line, I have seen tremendous progress, but I must say it is an on-going process, which requires tenacity and vigilance.
Where do we go from here?
In this book, I want to share with you what I have seen, touched, and handled. I am not given to cunningly scripted fables. I do not come to town to write; I think anybody can write, and therefore it is not strong enough reason why you should fellowship with my thoughts as expressed on these pages.
I come to town with a doubtless faith aimed at imparting us with new thoughts and creating impact that remains with us forever. My faith is fuelled by the simple truth that I have seen so much drastic, dramatic and seemingly impossible changes in my life in the last twenty-one years, that it is impossible for me to believe that change is impossible. I am here with a sense of mission. Burdened with love for humanity, I am sold to disseminating the simple message of change.
I am on these pages today with a vision be part of our history of change permanently and tell us the hard and neglected TRUTH that Change is a CONSTANT POSSIBILITY.
I am compelled by a high sense of duty and passion to share my transformation model with us. See, every day is a usual day until something happens; something does not happen until people like you and I make it happen. I therefore urge us to get ready for a revolution of a lifetime. This is history in simple language. It is called a watershed.
This message is from a heart freed from every pain of bitterness. I will share with you in stories, sense (principles and lessons) and stones (action points). The stories are the schoolmasters, leading us to the principles and lessons and thereafter, the action points. The principles, lessons and action points are our anchors for meaningful actions in finding healing for our souls and defending the noble cause of blessing our world with complete children.
I shall continue this conversation next week and I know it may take us 18 weeks or more.
Do have an INSPIRED and SAFE week.
I am Taiwo AKINLAMI and I remain Sober on My Knees this LORD’s Day.