What’s Your Nature?

20 05 2018

A wise old man was sitting at the river bank.

He saw a cat that had fallen into the river struggling to save itself from drowning.

The man decided to save the cat. He stretched out his hand towards the cat but the cat scratched him. He pulled his hand back in pain.

However, a few minutes later he stretched out his hand again to save the cat, but it scratched him again, and again he pulled his hand back in pain.

A few minutes later he was again trying for the third time!!

A man, who was nearby watching what was happening, yelled out, “O wise man, you have not learned your lesson the first time, nor the second time, and now you are trying to save the cat a third time?”

The wise man paid no heed to that man’s scolding, and kept on trying until he managed to save the cat.

He then walked over to the man, and patted his shoulder saying:, “My son… it is in the cat’s nature to scratch, and it is in my nature to love and have sympathy. Why do you want me to let the cat’s nature overcome mine?_
“My son, treat people according to your nature, not according to theirs, no matter what they are like and no matter how numerous their actions that harm you and cause you pain sometimes. And do not pay heed to all the voices that loudly call out to you to leave behind your good qualities merely because the other party is not deserving of your noble actions. So never regret the moments you gave happiness to someone, even if that person did not deserve it.

Jesus treats us according to His nature, just think where we would be if He were to treat us as per our nature… That is why He saves us in spite of ourselves





How to Ask a Question by Peter Wood

12 05 2018

Here’s how.
The best reason to ask a question is to contribute to the quality of the discussion that has already begun. You can do this if you can draw something more and perhaps unexpected out of the speaker you are addressing. “Mr. Rasputin, I admire your tunic. Do you consider fashion to be a revolutionary statement?”
Think of yourself as someone who seeks to enhance the occasion, rather than as an opportunity to show yourself to advantage. “Mr. Darwin, your description of odd wildlife in the Galapagos Islands is fascinating. Do you think evolution works differently on large continents?”
You have not been invited to give a speech. Before you stand up, boil your thoughts down to a single point. Then ask yourself if this point is something you want to assert or something you want to find out. There are exceptions, but if your point falls into the category of assertion, you should probably remain seated. “Mr. Nixon, you are unworthy of being president,” is not a question. “Mr. Nixon, what else would you have done as president if Watergate hadn’t gotten in the way?” is a question.
Question periods are not really the right time to ask for factual details. You are not interviewing the speaker. “Mr. Hillary, what brand of shoes were you wearing when you topped Everest?” is a real question but not one that is likely to enhance the discussion. There are exceptions to this, as when the fact you ask about evokes a larger meaning. “Mr. Hillary, what do you consider was the most important piece of equipment you carried in your assault on Mt. Everest?”
Likewise, never offer up a roll call of your own facts or belabor them into a Perry Mason pseudo-question. “Mr. Malthus, are you aware that as economic development proceeds, birth rates decline, and that crop yields can be multiplied by a factor of x with the proper use of fertilizers, genetically-enhanced hybrid species, and market-based incentives?”
Weigh the usual interrogatory words in English: who, what, where, why, when. If you can begin your sentence with one of these you are more than half-way to a good question. “Who gave you that scar, Mr. Potter?” “What is a black hole, Mr. Hawking?” “Where is the Celestial City, Mr. Bunyan?” “Why are you wearing that letter, Ms. Prynne?” “When will our troops come home, Mr. Lincoln?”
You will discover that, if you think in terms of these simple interrogatories, you will be able to skip right over the prologue. The right question evokes its own context. If, having formulated a question, you still think you need to set the stage for it, try again.
Don’t engage in meta-speech. “I was wondering, Ms. Steinem, if I might ask you a question that I am really curious about.” Go directly to the question. “Ms. Steinem, who is the man you admire the most?”
Look at the person you are addressing. Speak your question directly; don’t read it. Wait for the answer before you sit down. Don’t try to ask a follow-up question. If the speaker evaded your question the first time, he will evade it again. If the audience applauds your question, you are grandstanding and have failed an important test of civility.
The best questions are poised between attentiveness to what the speaker has already said and the chance to deepen the discussion. That means you should not try to introduce a divergent topic. “I appreciate your analysis of the space-shuttle disaster, Mr. Feynman, but are you not morally troubled by your work on the atomic bomb?” attempts to wrench the discussion to a new place. But, “Mr. Feynman, your analysis of the space-shuttle disaster shows the frailty of human judgment. How do you think that bears on other areas of advanced technology?” builds on the theme at hand.
A few people have a gift for witty, memorable questions. You probably aren’t one of them. It doesn’t matter. A concise, clear question is an important contribution in its own right.
If someone ahead of you asks a similar question or if the speaker gets to your point before you ask, sit down. The audience doesn’t need to hear it twice.
Keep your autobiography to yourself. This isn’t the occasion for a memoir. There may be exceptions. If you are the Count of Monte Cristo come to settle the score with the man who unjustly sent you to prison for 20 years, then have at it. The audience will enjoy the show. Otherwise stick with the topic.
But don’t imagine you are there to right the grievances of humanity by shaming one of the oppressors. If you try this, you will annoy people, look like a fool, and most of all cast discredit on your cause. “Mr. Carnegie, aren’t those ‘free’ public libraries you keep building just meant to distract the workers from their exploitation?”
If you are tempted to speak “as” the representative of some category, resist. “As a native of Pittsburgh, I find your characterization of the open hearth Bessemer steel process historically uninformed and offensive,” accomplishes nothing. “Were there any viable alternatives to the Bessemer steel process in the 1860s?” would suffice. Declarations that begin, “As a woman…” “As an African-American…” “As a Christian…” all carry the same instant discount in the audience. They claim a privileged form of knowledge that no one need grant you. Other people in the same category may have quite different views. Who appointed me to speak for Pittsburgh or you to speak for all womankind?
Lastly, you have a duty to be interesting. Brevity can’t repair a truly dull question. Knowing the difference between powerful concision and powerless vapidity is a matter of discernment, and the same words could be either. “What caused the Civil War?” asked at just the right moment in a debate about civil rights could be a brilliant question, but “What caused the Civil War” in a discussion of the Civil War would probably come across as tedious. If you aren’t sure which it is, silence is your best friend.

THE AUTHOR
Peter Wood is an anthropologist and former provost. He was appointed president of the NAS in January 2009. Before that he served as NAS’s executive director (2007-2008), and as provost of The King’s College in New York City (2005-2007). Dr. Wood was a tenured member of the Anthropology Department at Boston University, where he also held a variety of administrative positions, including associate provost and president’s chief of staff. He also oversaw the university’s scholarly publications and served as acting university librarian.
Dr. Wood is the author of A Bee in the Mouth: Anger in America Now and Diversity: The Invention of a Concept which won the Caldwell Award for Leadership in Higher Education from the John Locke Foundation. These books extend his anthropological interest in examining emergent themes in modern American culture. In addition to his scholarly work, Dr. Wood has published several hundred articles in print and online journals, such as Partisan Review and National Review Online, and he blogs twice weekly for the Chronicle of Higher Education.
Copyright � 2012 National Association of Scholars





Pregnant at 18, girl deos something wonderful

21 04 2018

Kelly Clemente found out she was pregnant when she was 18. She had just finished her first semester of college, and up until then, described herself as your typical “all-American girl.”

She got good grades, was a member of a sorority, and ran on the track team.

When she saw that pregnancy test, “My life is over,” she thought.

“I was like, it doesn’t even matter. Nothing matters anymore,” Kelly told The Daily Signal.

Kelly, unlike most girls her age, was familiar with the implications of an unplanned pregnancy. In high school, she volunteered at HOPE in Northern Virginia, a nonprofit that creates gift baskets for mothers faced with an unplanned pregnancy.

Although she shared compassion for them, Kelly had bought into the stigmas about birth moms. “I’ll never be one of those women,” she thought.

But she was wrong. At 18, Kelly became an unplanned pregnancy statistic. “I was no better than these women that I was creating baskets for,” she said.

After crying and feeling nothing but noise and chaos, Kelly thought of her little sister, who her parents had adopted into their family from Central America.

“I thought of the joy she brought into our family, and for the first moment after hours of crying, I felt calm, and I felt peaceful,” Kelly said. “I knew that I needed to make the decision that my sister’s birth mom had made.”

Kelly would carry her baby to term, and place him—or her—for adoption.

But first, she’d have to tell her parents.

‘Parents’ Worst Nightmare’

Within days upon learning she was pregnant, Kelly had to figure out how to come clean with her parents. “I expected them to be angry,” she said. “Parents’ worst nightmare, right?”

First, she called her mom from school to say she wasn’t feeling well.

“I was concerned enough to go to school to see firsthand what was going on,” Susan Clemente, Kelly’s mom, said.

The two went grocery shopping together, but Kelly avoided sharing the news. Sensing something was wrong, her mom invited Kelly to come back home.

“That entire ride home, I never once told you that I was pregnant,” Kelly said, speaking to her mom about that day. “You told me later that you just knew.”

“I did,” Kelly’s mom replied.

When they got home, they sat on the living room couch and talked so intently that the sun went down without anyone noticing. When her dad, Mark, arrived home from work, he asked, “Why are you all sitting in the dark?”

At that moment, Kelly had to confront one of her biggest fears—telling her dad she was pregnant.

“I could tell something was going on,” he said of the two sitting in the dark.

Almost in the same breath, Kelly broke the news that she was pregnant—and going to place the child for adoption.

Instead of responding with anger or disappointment, Mark told The Daily Signal, “I just remember being so grateful and proud.”

“We’d hoped that we had raised you that way,” her dad said, speaking to Kelly. “So the fact that you didn’t even entertain that thought [abortion], to be honest, it was a very proud moment.”

After that, Kelly moved back in with her parents and set up an appointment with Bethany Christian Services, an organization that facilitates private, faith-based adoptions.

‘Little Treasure’

Walking into Bethany Christian Services, Kelly was expecting “the wrath of God” to be on her.

“I’m going to an adoption agency, and I’m going to be judged,” she said. But when she walked in there, “I never experienced any of that,” she said.

“They showed me what it was like to walk with someone through the hardest time of their life when they are feeling so down on themselves and so alone, they were there.”

Shawn and Dave Hansen were the second couple Kelly and her mom met with in the adoption process.

“It was so obvious that these were the people that would have her little treasure,” her mom told The Daily Signal.

But finding them was the easy part. Kelly was 18, in college, and still pregnant.

‘Where’s My Choice?’

“Being pregnant and being in college is never really a great thing,” Kelly said. “I found out very quickly who my true friends were.”

At one point, she told a friend on her track team that she was pregnant and placing her child for adoption. His response was less than supportive.

“If you don’t get an abortion, I will lose all respect for you,” Kelly remembered him saying.

“I was horrified,” Kelly said. “You call yourself pro-choice, but where’s my choice? It’s my choice to choose adoption.”

Then, two weeks before the birth, Kelly got a phone call from the baby’s father’s best friend informing her the father—Kelly’s boyfriend at the time—wasn’t being faithful.

“I was devastated,” Kelly said. “This is someone I knew for eight years, this is someone I trusted. I’m having his baby. We had conversations about getting married.”

Hearing that news was the second hardest news to take over those nine months, Kelly said. Her entire identity had already been shattered, and her relationship now was, too.

At a low point, Kelly walked out to her parents’ driveway in the middle of the night. She laid down on the road, in the dark, and prayed that a car would come run her over.

“I want to die,” Kelly remembered thinking. “I can’t handle this. This is too much for me.”

At that moment, Kelly said she heard a voice from God telling her to get up. So she did.

“I got up, and I said, ‘OK, I know that this sweet baby did nothing wrong, so I don’t want him to get hurt, so I’m going to have this baby and then I’m going to take my life.’ Because I was so broken, I didn’t think there was any meaning left.”

But then the voice came back and said, “No, I’m not done with you yet.”

“At that moment, I knew that I was loved by a really big God who had a really big heart, that didn’t judge me by my pregnancy and still loved me so much,” Kelly said.

A few weeks later, her water broke, and Kelly gave birth to a healthy baby boy.

‘An Answer to My Prayers’

“Those three days I spent in the hospital, he was mine,” Kelly said of her birth son, Alex. But after those three days, it was time to place Alex with his adoptive parents, Shawn and Dave Hansen.

“I don’t sugarcoat that because it’s real life and I loved this child so much, but I couldn’t give him a father, I couldn’t give him brothers and sisters for a long time, I couldn’t provide him with what felt like anything he deserved.”

She then walked to the hospital chapel, said a prayer for everything to be OK, and at that moment, Dave and Shawn walked in.

“I was like, wow,” Kelly said. “They truly are an answer to my prayers.”

Handing her baby to another family wasn’t going to be easy, even though the family was the living embodiment of her prayers.

“I thought the hardest day of my life would be finding out that I was pregnant,” Kelly said. “It wasn’t.”

“The hardest day of my life was driving away from that hospital without a baby. I had never felt more empty in my life. I was physically empty, and I felt so alone.”

Kelly made a decision that in today’s society, few women do.

In 2014, the latest data available, 18,329 women in the U.S. chose to place their children for adoption. That same year, more than 900,000 women chose abortion. According to the National Council for Adoption, a nonpartisan group that advocates adoption, for every 1,000 abortions and births to unmarried women, there were only 6.9 adoptions.

‘It’s Over Now’

Kelly gave birth in September 2008, and returned to college in January. Much like the pregnancy, the transition back wasn’t easy.

“I remember everybody just telling me over and over again, ‘It’s over now. It’s over. Aren’t you so glad that this is over?’” Kelly said.

But she felt differently.

“I was fine without drinking, I was fine without sleeping around. I had lived a life I was proud of while I was pregnant, and I wanted that to continue but I was feeling so much pressure to just be that fun sorority party girl that I was before my entire life changed. No one seemed to wrap their head around the fact that my entire worldview had been shifted.”

Today, Kelly is 28 years old. She graduated from college and went back to receive a master’s degree in school counseling.

“My heart is for children,” Kelly said. For now, she’s teaching preschool and hopes one day to be either a school counselor or a voice for teen moms and teen birth moms.

“I want them to know that they have value and their life isn’t over. They have their whole life ahead of them.”

She also wants birth moms to know that children placed with adoptive families “are not lacking in love.”

Her son, Kelly said, “not only receives love from his adoptive parents. He receives love from me, he receives love from my parents, there’s so much love to go around.”

Kelly chose to have an open adoption with Alex and his parents, and sees him a couple times every year.

After enjoying time together, Kelly said, “You would think that it would be this emotional thing where I’m so upset that my birth son is going back with his adoptive parents.”

“It’s not,” she said. “It’s this beautiful thing where he’s happy that he’s seen me, I’m happy that I’ve seen him. He knows who is parents are. He knows that I’m not mom. One day I hope to be a mom, but I’m not his mom. I get to be birth mommy.

And that’s OK with me.”





What is Your Marriage Worth?

18 03 2018

Many years ago I listened to a preacher share about how his wife would leave the television on at night and sleep off and they lived in a country where you pay based on how long you keep the TV on. Leaving the TV on therefore increases the television bill.

That attitude of his wife would annoy him and he was always angry at his wife for doing that yet it continued. It was obvious it was going to become a strain in the marriage.

Then one day while ruminating over this issue, I asked myself, “Is your marriage not worth fifty dollars extra at the end of the month? If this attitude of your wife will mean an extra bill of fifty dollars, is it too much to pay for peace to be in your marriage?”

Unlike me, my wife is not a morning person. I can wake up by 2:00am, work till 5:00am, go back to bed and still get up by 6:00am and start my day. For my wife, I literally have to drag her out of bed in the morning. Her day begins only after she has had her bath.

In some homes, the wife is the one who goes to the kitchen to heat up water for the family to bathe. I guess it comes naturally with women. In my home, heaven help me if I wait for my wife to do that. I will wait for a long time. So I have resolved to make that my responsibility.

Even with the kids I will still have to be the one doing that in the morning because my wife is not a morning person. If that is the price I have to pay for peace to be in my home, it is worth it. We are talking about the price of peace.

One of my friends shared with me how his wife will never monitor the fuel gauge when driving. It is when the car finally stops that she realizes the car has run out of fuel. Guess who she will call? The husband. He will have to be the one to sort out the problem.

After several of such calls he had to find a way around it. He ensures the fuel tank is full at the beginning of the week which will take the wife through the week. That way he does not get any phone call that the car has stopped. It is the price of peace for him.

When I was working on this article I requested that people share some of the prices they have had to pay to maintain peace in their homes. I got a lot of responses that revealed that no marriage is perfect. The reason we see certain marriages as better than ours is because the parties in those marriages are ready to pay certain prices to maintain peace in their homes.

Let me share a few of the responses I got.

“In my home I just have to tolerate my husband’s attitude. He has this habit of talking over issues repeatedly. He can talk, talk and talk when a situation happens and will nag you till you fall over. So to allow peace what I do is try and keep my mouth shut. No argument, no talking back or simply walk away so that peace can reign.”
-Ajo

“I usually don’t turn off the lights in a room when I’m done using it. At the beginning of my marriage, hubby will tell me to always make sure I do that when exiting the room, but after correcting me several times without change, he decided to just check back anytime I leave a room and will help turn the lights off. He just stopped complaining and started helping me do it. Eventually, I had to determine in myself to be more aware and I’ve gotten better doing that.
-Olu

“My wife has a thing for matchsticks. After using one, she keeps it for ’emergency’. This act irritates me. No matter how long we discuss this (more than 9 years now) she still does. So I decided to dispose them and then I offer her a fresh one should an ’emergency’ arise.”
-Dapo

“I don’t pressurize my husband to do or not to do anything, especially something he really wants to, or really doesn’t want to do. Putting pressure on him will only irritate him. I keep quiet and I pray instead. That way, I have peace and also get what I want. On the other hand, my husband will always hang the mosquito nets, switch off the lights and unplug my phones, because I always sleep off. He has stopped complaining. He will do the job instead.”
-Bisola

Those were just a few of the several responses I got about the price of peace that people are paying in their homes. A lot of other people were encouraged when they saw that they were not alone. You think you are the only one having an issue until you listen to others.

Sometimes we need to do things we don’t like for the sake of peace. If it is not too high a price then why not just do it and move on with our lives? Not every battle is worth fighting.

That is why it is important to be able to lead yourself because for these people whose reports we just read you find that either they or their spouses took responsibility for peace. That is part of what personal leadership is about.

I could have picked a fight with my wife for refusing to get up from the bed in the morning. Hamzah could have picked a fight with his wife for that thing with the matchsticks.

Fatimah’s husband could have picked a fight with her for always forgetting to turn off the lights. But personal leadership helped us to take the other route thereby maintaining peace in our homes.

Now this does not mean you will never have to correct each other in the relationship or continually be in endurance mode throughout the marriage especially when it has to do with abuse. That is a completely different matter. You don’t endure abuse. But instead of fighting over why your spouse always presses the toothpaste tube from the middle, why not buy a second one so you have yours and he has his and both of you have peace? Has that not solved the problem.





Playground Inspiration

15 03 2018
Weight Watcher

Mrs.  Rhonda is one of the 25,000 Weight Watchers

Jane Nidetch was a 214-pound housewife. She was desperate to lose weight. After two steady months of dieting, she was still 50 pounds overweight. So she invited six overweight friends to her house to share her diet and talk about how to stay on it.

Today, 28 years later, one million members attend 25,000 Weight Watchers’ meetings in 24 countries every week.

Mrs. Nidetch says she got her inspiration to help people take control of their lives, from a childhood incident. As a teenager she used to walk past a playground. Mothers brought kids there to play, and then they would get so deep in gossip that they completely forgot about the children. The toddlers sat on their swings, but no one was giving them a push start. So she gave each of them a push. And you know what happens after that: the swinger starts pumping and swinging by himself.

“That’s what my role in this weight watching has been,” says Mrs Nidetch, “I’m here to give others a push start.”





Life is a story: UNIV Nigeria 2018

8 03 2018

Special guests; Dr. Darligton Agholor, Rufai Oseni , Ikechukwu Onuoma Esq, Prof. R.A.C.E Achara

UNIV Forum draws together hundreds of university students from all over the world. They come to expand their horizons, exchange ideas and reflect on important issues affecting youth and society.

Marking its 50th anniversary this year since beginning in Rome, in 1968, more than 3000 young people the world over have had their ideas come alive and grow thanks to the forums.

 

Some University students, participants at the UNIV 

Each year, during the forum, Nigerian students meet and discuss and listen to each other and other people from different cultures, explaining the challenges facing society. This year, it was the turn of students from University of Ibadan, Pan Atlantic University, University of Lagos, University of Nigeria, University of Benin and the Industrial Technology, to rob minds and share experiences at the Pan Atlantic University.

Sharing ideas and listening to others

During a keynote address by the coordinator, UNIV NIGERIA, Ikechukwu Onuoma Esq, he said that life is a story, written in the first person, counting on the others.

 

IMG-20180308-WA0005[1]

Ikechukwu Onuoma Esq

No man is an island,” he continued, “no man is a single verse; rather, we all make up a single poem. “

Young people see the greatness of the world and its failings, and experience both wonder and dissatisfaction. They feel and desire change, along with insecurity and fear, never knowing whether they will fail or succeed, they are restless. 50 years ago, this restlessness led the student revolution of May 1968, a revolution that overthrew all authority. The protesters confused freedom with license, opening the way to a relativistic society. Yet, like all false ideologies, 68′ student revolution did not foster the true greatness of man but rather diminished it. To be effective, a genuine revolution needs reflection; it needs to listen to the deepest truth of the human heart. Otherwise, the revolution ends in chaos and debris. We all need to ask ourselves how we can build a better, more just, more human and cleaner future today.”





I gave up fighting those who gossip about me and became successful

28 02 2018

*Worth Reading*

I once asked a very successful woman to share her secret with me. She smiled and said to me.. “I started succeeding when I started leaving small fights for small fighters. I stopped fighting those who gossiped about me…I stopped fighting with my in laws…I stopped fighting for attention…I stopped fighting to meet public expectation of me…I stopped fighting for my rights with stupid people..I left such fights for those who have nothing else to fight…And I started fighting for my vision, my dreams, my ideas and my destiny. The day I gave up on small fights is the day I started becoming successful.”

*Some fights are not worth your time.*
*Choose what you fight for wisely.*








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