Nigeria: Better Way to Think


Right now, a child is crying for food. A blind woman is walking the streets and villages of Africa and Asia asking for help at an intersection. A beggar has his hands out. A classroom full of students awaits the teacher’s entrance, but can’t be seen. Someone’s heart is breaking without a comforter. Someone is in the hospital with no trusted drugs to be used for treatment. That university graduate sitting close to you has no job.

Many families are fleeing from warring soldiers in Middle East and East Africa. Bombing and sporadic shooting could be the next. Flooding may be sweeping out many lands and cities in North and South America. No food in many tables, no good water, no good road and the bulbs are without light in many streets of Africa. Hunger, abuse, poverty, bombing, kidnapping and lack of security of lives, pollution and other dangers are all too common. Somehow, there is no future for many. Somehow no one truly cares. Somehow, we are all the cause. I feel strongly about this. I can let out tears, but no one may seem to hear me. I can let out strong feeling, but I just carried it. I need to do just more than this.

I know of no way of judging the future but by the past. I have witnessed efforts by the present and past government to transform lives. Although some laudable progress has been made, it has mainly been cosmetic, addressing symptoms rather than causes. If a house has dry rot, painting the woodwork will not prevent its collapse. Only a major structural reform can save it. Similarly, there must be a restructuring of the way we will help build this future the way we want it. It calls for good hearts, valued orientation, honest commitment, unhypocritical approach, real love for humanity, properly conducted program of activities, equal representation, giving with accelerated interests.

Well in my own little way, I can contribute at least by talking to the government. That is what I stand to represent with this honor. They have ears. I can talk to my neighbors at least they have known me for years and can listen to me when I talk. To the children because I have a measure of power over them. My subjects, because I have built some confidence they have trusted on. I can do something more than talking and thinking. I can start to do what I want others to do. It calls for personal dedication to the course and choice of making the earth a theatre of happiness and hope for our generation and those coming behind. I will make the world a better place not by advocating some new public enterprise but through my devotion and love and patience and kindness to the people around me. This I will do one minute and one person at a time. Without kindness in our lives, our world can quickly turn cold, empty and negative. Kindness gives us hope, it connects us to each other and it reminds us of the beauty that lives in each of us.

How so? Celebrate your own purposeful actions, as you participate in your homes, schools, communities, towns, states, country and the world. Your positive, creative responses to social issues matter—they and you and can change the world for the better. Granted, the world never has and probably never will be perfect, but that is no excuse not to try. You can try. I can try. We can grow to be great patriots, at least to our kinsmen and friends. You can help to create a better world for the future. The key to changing the world is finding a way to empower other people to help. Each act of kindness, love, or compassion is multiplied when paid forward. Anyone can change the world; all it takes is a little time, effort and dedication. This optimism translates my intent that with you all brothers and sisters who have come from all nooks and crannies of the world that despite all past records and heart-loads, we can still sit, dine, talk, laugh, play and hug.

Most of us lead busy, hectic lives, but we still care deeply about helping others. An important part of our growth and motivation as people lies in contributing to the greater good, being part of something greater than ourselves. Little gestures can create or strengthen our sense of community and of shared humanity, lightening our burdens for just a moment and giving us something to smile about. And that’s no small matter. This is because when we work hard to increase our own sense of mindfulness about the people around us and our relationship to them, we help to plant some senses of belonging and make them a place of refuge in difficult times. We all have the power to make a difference in others’ lives. Through our intention and actions, we choose to bring positive experiences into our lives and make them for others. We can all do something. Do what you can. Do what looks like it needs doing. Do it your own way. Do it because you want to. Do something because you know you can.

Lives are being transformed. Unity is strength. When the sand grains unite they become a vast desert. When the sea drops unite they become a boundless ocean. The conglomeration of stars in the firmament of sky soothes our eyes. The seven colors emerge in the shape of a bewitching rainbow. The unity of people makes an invincible strong nation.

There is hope. I now foresee it, a child is laughing. A blind woman is walking the streets and villages of Africa and Asia saying thank you for help at an intersection for that little push in kindness displayed. A classroom full of students is acknowledging the loyal teacher. Someone’s is smiling. Someone in the hospital is receiving attention. That university graduate made it to the interview he attended. Food in many tables, good water for all, the roads are now like beds and the bulbs are with light. The streets are fearless now. The soldiers had laid down arms and the revolts are happy with others. Trees have replaced empty lands and no fear is in sight for natural disasters and refugees are long back to their homes and many repairs have taken place. We have got it right at the end. We have the paradise here with us. It is like a life without end. What do you think? It is possible. It begins with you.


Emmanuel Ugokwe from Nigeria


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