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SKIMPOLO: SOME THOUGHTS ON SKIMPY DRESSING

Skimpy

Sometime in 2002, I attended a very good friends wedding. I was very excited about this event because a lot of old friends were going to be attending and it would be some sort of a great reunion of friends and foes alike. Friends to refresh our goings and catch up with old gist, while the foes will be for making amends. I arrived early so as to get a prime spot where I could mingle well. But this was going to be a fateful day and one I will not forget in a hurry. My first female friend arrived and sat by my side and we began talking, but I was first struck not by her smile or her beautiful makeup, or even her natural beauty, but on the construction of her attire, especially around the chest region. I however kept my calm as a cool headed young man and made it an eye-for-eye contact, but the conversation however was not devoid of the constant temptation to deflect my sight a few inches further down her anatomy.

My woes were further compounded when three other ladies joined us on the table and sat directly opposite me. What they wore tore my sight into shreds and a sudden hastiness came over me and I knew I wouldn’t last on that table. It became worse when, due to the exciting conversation we were all having, these ladies were in the habit of projecting downwards when laughing, therefore exposing their fragile protuberances. After I bore this mental challenge for a pretty long time, and being a very raw and blunt speaker, I decided to safely arise from the dire circumstance and proceed to where the air provoked internal peace. So I whispered to my friend beside me that I was leaving, and with light jocularity told her thanks for the great experience.
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WOMEN: RULES OF ENGAGEMENT – Part 2

ROEThe next rule of engagement I would introduce here is something very new. This was inspired in my heart by critical observation of the goings of young men, especially as they battle for relevance in demanding society. It is called the Law of Equation. In mathematics we say an equation is a statement that two expressions are equal. By using an equal sign, it informs that what is on the left side of the sign is of the same numerical value to what is on the right side of the sign. I simply adapt this law to two part of the male life in society: inner expression and outward expression. The inner expressions are those things that flow from the inside of a man. Things such as his speech, his reasoning, his decisions, his choices, and his values are all representative of the internal configuration of a man. The outer expression consists of all a man does to showcase his body. His wears and gears (Baffs like we would say in Nigeria), his machines and his crib. All this make a statement about the taste and preferences of such an individual.

However, the law of equation simple advances the simple principle that whatever in on the outside should equal what is on the inside. If your outer expression spells big things and a touché tang, then it is your place to ensure that the inside is imbued with an equal administration of the beauty. There is nothing as upsetting as a handsome man, with all the bling-bling yet with a barrel like amplitude. With an earring on your ear, better be sure that there’s a hearing to your heart. With a chain on your neck, better be sure that there’s no drain on your head. When flashy men have no substance, then they do not qualify to engage a woman. Women may be attracted by the outer displays, but they are engaged and sustained by the inner replays. This is why my mum told me a long time ago to have some substance on my inside, and that even if I looked like a Gorilla, I will still be attractive to the opposite sex. So guys, make the equation balanced as a rule to engagement.

Dr. Gary Chapman does a great job of breaking down what he calls the five love languages. These languages are Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch. It is speculated that all humans understands one of these languages more and respond to a mix of others in varying degrees. Therefore, the next rule of engagement is to understand what the language of love is and to know which the woman responds better to. A while ago some guy told me the only language all women respond to is Physical Touch. While that may hold some truth to it, it is not entirely true as some prefer more that you listen to them or that you spend time with them. Quality time is really a proof of love. One way I know that two people love each other is that they can sit down together and say nothing to themselves for hours, yet stand up feeling fulfilled. No matter what the language of the woman is, you must fully learn how to speak it before you can engage her, for she is like an unending story of varying scenes provoked by the skill and creativity and imagination of the story teller. Some men are stingy with words, while some are stingy with their time or resources. Stinginess is the same as losing your speech in a communication of love. If you can’t give of your resources, it means that you cannot speak the language of giving and so on. The rule is: find her language and learn to speak and perfect it.

The final rule I bring up here is one dear to my heart. I do not know what to call it, but maybe when I am done you will give a name for what I refer to. There is a beautiful story in the good book found in Isaiah 5: 1-2. Though with a sad ending, it carried great meaning for the point I raise here. The owner of the garden, who cultivates it and manures it with great care, and then later does the weeding, does all these with a great expectation that the garden will yield a great harvest. There is thus a natural law set forth that when you plant in good grounds; you reap a good reward for your labour. A woman therefore is like a garden. Whatever you plant is exactly what you will reap from her. This is why God sand that song in the story saying he had invested so much into the vineyard and expected a reward from it. So this rule simply tries to explain that as a man, you must be able be a capable cultivator of a garden. You must be able to see what kind of ground you are standing on, and what kinds of plants will flourish thereon. This way, you will provoke an unprecedented harvest from the woman you cultivate.

Let me apply this to make it easier understood. Siad is a great friend of mine and was in a great relationship for which I introduced the two principals. But after a while I sensed a growing tension in the relationship and later discovered that the lady was already having longer conversation with her Ex. This became of great concern to me and I asked my friend what was the health of their relationship, and he said they were cool but her reactions have been growing cold. Later I found out that my friend was so purpose driven that all he spoke to her about was purposes, plans, and the future decisions they would take. He always wanted to know what her dreams where and how she would work towards them and how he could help her. Sweet ain’t it? But my friend was planting the wrong seeds in the right soil. Yeah she was appreciative of his concerns, but that doesn’t bring out anything from her. She was the kind of woman that didn’t want to over formality ion her relationship, but the informal approach where things were sorted on the basis of friendship. The short story is that he lost her to the other guy, who knew how to provoke the right responses from her. My friend is a wonderful guy, and I had to tell him this way back in 2002 and he got the message. Happily married now, he still gets the message from that time and we joking say to each other: “are you cultivate her?”

A good cultivator must know what kind of soil the woman is and know what exactly to plant there. Some have planted money and reaped a female mammon, while others have planted friendship and reaped an Angel. It is always your choice what you plant, but be sure to make an informed decision what will give you a bountiful harvest from the woman. Women are God’s gift to this world and can be anything you want to be, you just have to be well trained in the art of cultivation. It starts with being able to see the woman beyond her façade and know what she truly carried. Then target her real worth and help her bring forth the loaded virtues she is blessed with. Then she will love you and give you the very best of her and make you drink from the deepest part of her well.

To wrap this, I will humbly submit that everything I have said here is what I practice. God forbid that I say the things I have not seen, tasted, or handled. For I will be a thief and a robber, declaring the things I haven’t been authorized to say. A caveat to my musings is that though these rules are universal, every man’s path is different and you must still find your secret place where your inner conversations and deliberations about these matters are resolved. But I daresay that for any man to engage a woman, there are rules of engagement, and I certainly hope I have added one more device in your toolbox as you explore this wonderful life God has given you. So young man, be clean and pure at all time, let truth be your friend and let your head always lack no oil.

Cheers

Reggie ‘09

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WOMEN: RULES OF ENGAGEMENT – Part 1

Rules-of-EngagementNow I turn attention to my brothers whom I have ignored in my previous commentaries. If I felt less qualified to write to the female-folk, I am at home talking more now, since something in me resonates with something in my focus audience.  This resonation plays not along the lines of the typical, but on deeper issues we seem to have abandoned for a more worldly perspective to our views on relating with the opposite sex. We men have been so celebrated out of reality that we seem to already be imbued with the inner ability to deal with women right from birth. It may amaze you that a boy child at the terrible-two age may already show signs of masculine megalomania when relating to mummy or some other species of humans. This psychological state of illusionary or delusions of masculine grandeur play out when little boys try to manipulate their way through mummy’s heart. Or sometimes when they begin flexing muscles and bullying even their older sisters, we smile at this and praise their rapid growth. A pastor once said he saw his two year old son squeezing his five year old daughter. He ran to her rescue and corrected the little boy. But when he walked away, he did the victory hand thing saying “yep! That’s my boy!” Silently, we love to see young boys growing up strong and exerting such energies on their environment including a display on their relationships.

An elderly man once told me how his father used to put him in the line of ‘male duty’ (whatever that means). He could never return home to report a case of bullying in his school. His dad will get him ready and stand on the corner of the street to beat up the bullying boy when he passes that way. My dad also had his mum silently encourage him to tolerate no opposition in school, so he grew up with a form of belligerence that defied even bigger buddies in school.  We sort of love it when young men grow up strong, and not just a docile kind of strength, but also the ability to outwardly command attention with the display of such. The reverse is that we tend to refer to men who do not follow this pattern as women. The one thing a man doesn’t want to be called is a woman. However, much of what we grow up knowing as basis for the male character derives from a faulty foundation and erroneous belief that has strained the blooming beauty of male-female interactions. I am not going to attempt at discussing in-depth such wrong foundations, but will do so impliedly in the crux of this discourse. My concern here is to simply advance to my male friends what I call the rules of engaging the female. These rules, which are by no means exhaustive but indeed sacrosanct, will do a few things. It will first establish your unshakeable position as a man indeed, give you better understanding of your relationship to the opposite sex, and then finally provoke the best response from the women you relate to.

I have a little nephew who is ten years old, and he has two older brothers. There is a sharp contrast between the older two and this young guy in that he is ‘absolutely without deceit’. He doesn’t know how to pretend and neither can he tell a lie. While his brothers conspire on how to con mummy, he simply just pulls out. When discussing with him, he uses few words which are characterized by bluntness and truth. He once spoke out loudly on the dining table in the presence of his grandparents, “Why doesn’t grandma have teeth, it’s not nice!” As impolite as that was, he spoke his mind and kept on eating. I have learnt something crucial from this ten year old man that every other man should adopt the deportment of ‘be yourself!” His character has never reduced his value in the eyes of anyone who comes across him; rather, we all have a healthy respect for him. We men put up way too much show and think that the positive responses we get from the opposite sex is dependent on how much theatrics we can stage. Unfortunately most genuine women can read through the ugly story and see through the dark shades, and all we end up looking like is acting through a series of Johnny Bravo. There is true value in simplicity and worth in originality. One false foundation we must knock down is that men must rise to the occasion at all times, and this leaves us scrambling to wear robes that are ill fitted while also making an utter mockery of our maleness. Pretence is absolutely intolerable with women and no other species is an intuitive as females, for they can easily exfoliate your false appendages and deploy their gut feeling in defining you. Except of course such a woman is gullible. I tell you it is much more expensive to maintain who you are not, while it costs you as little nothing to keep your true self alive. Truth be told; who you are, is your most important tool for interfacing with the real world. If you are not yet what you want to be, WORK AT IT! So the first rule here is just to be yourself, as it makes it easier to attract your type.

The second rule here calmness and confidence. Have you seen a fretting man who has lost his confidence? There is nothing as pitiful as that. Calmness and confidence exudes strength that is unspoken and that has a powerful effect on your environment. Growing up as a kid amidst a lot of women I was never calm. I always had something to say and a comment to make all the time to the point that my mouth was extremely watery. You have heard that it is said: “Empty barrels make the most noise.” This is so true in the life of a man, as a woman will find it hard to relate to a noisy man that is devoid of calmness. I have often seen and met guys who talk all the time and use bogus language and curse words, but a closer assessment reveals utter vanity in thought; absolutely no depth.  Every woman wants their man to be calm as this shows control. Not just calmness, but also confidence which is an internal assurance based on knowledge of who you are and where you are going. Confidence makes your countenance to exude an unusual boldness that points to your internal health. A man who is not confident simply shows that the inside is in trouble and his thoughts are not coordinated neither is he in assured of a life direction.

So here is it, confidence is the root, while calmness is the fruit. Confidence produces calmness. When a confident man comes into a place, he doesn’t strive to be heard because he knows his onions. I like the way the Great Book puts it: “…in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength…” (Isaiah 30:15). Somehow, when we see a man who is calm and confident, we associate that person with much power, sometimes more than necessary. This is because some air of mystery surrounds that one and it will take a level of curiosity to open the box. And I cannot say this too much: women are curious. They want to know that their man has something unknown about him. They love it when they step into a place with their man and he remains confident and calm. So this rule says to engage a woman, be calm and confident.

Let’s deal with some substance here. During my Youth Service in Northern part of Nigeria, I had two ladies gist me of their experience in Lagos sometime. They had been introduced to a very handsome young man who appeared to be very calm and confident, and they longed for a discussion with him, perhaps something be allotted to anyone. But on engaging this outwardly handsome, calm and confident young man, his words were like the dropping of a boulder into a calm stream. He had not the appropriate words to engage in a proper conversation and the ladies were condemned to a time of a harrowing rain of oral bombshells and dirty language. They mocked how he sounded and the best way to describe that was a Jamaican born in Ghana, raised in France, but speaking patuá with a Chinese accent. Two things matter as a third rule of engagement: bind and mind your language. The importance of words when relating to the female cannot be overemphasized. When I say bind your language I mean package what you say in a way that becomes pleasing to the ears. I have found in my own experiences that women are also attracted to well spoken men. This is because when you speak well, it speaks well of you, does it sound like an irony? Maybe, but it’s the irony of life how little things give credence to your personality. Yes you were born in the village and raised by an uneducated family, and worse still taught by a misplaced farmer in the classroom. There is always room to up your game. You will have to associate with people who speak like what you want to and listen closely to them. Very soon you will start sounding like them and I tell you it doesn’t take much from you to get this done. I particularly coming from the South Eastern part of Nigeria where we battle with pronouncing ‘y’ and ‘j’, or we swap them from time to time (Yellow becomes Jellow and John become Yohn), had to do some extra work with how I pronounce words. I was endeared to documentaries like those by David Attenborough of the BBC Wild Life series and Dr. Ali Mazrui of the African Historical documentaries. I simulated talking like them and it had a great influence on how I turned out. May I announce to you if you don’t work at it, you will get worse. Some people are reading this and feeling good now that they speak well. Wait till your environment changes and you encounter new friends who challenge you, then you will pick wisdom from this.

On the other hand you must mind your language, meaning that you should scale your words to reflect what you are. God bless your soul if your inside is corrupt, nothing can be done about that until you clean you up. However, if your confidence of your inner beauty is firm, then scale your language to reflect such. You cannot afford to use curse words and dirty language, then think you appear sexy. Many ladies just cannot stand dirty talkers, including the women who use such language themselves. They prefer their man to be of the Polish tribe. These days, they way young men churn out garbage language is amazing and troubling at the same time. I have had so many females mention to me that they the men that talk thrash, neither can they date such. I have sat with some of my men folk and after a discussion I felt internally corrupted due to the choice of language. Man, even when you are angry one key amiable trait you should posses is your ability to have mastery over your words. This rule is never too much to counsel on. Words are like drugs. They can heal the hearer but can also intoxicate as well. This is why Proverbs 25:11 say “Timely advice is lovely, like golden apples in a silver basket.”

…to be continued (part 2)

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FINDING YOUR GOOD MAN – Part 2

goodmenThere are certain plants that you could plant anywhere and they will grow. Take the cactus plant and put it in an arid and harsh region, it will grow. Put it in fertile soil it will grow. That’s how it is made. But there are other plants that will simply not grow except they are found in the right environmental conditions. What am I saying? Location is so extremely important that if you are displaced, you may get disgraced (..I like that). In whatever you do, you must strive to be at the right place at the right time. This is something that no one can explain better to you, as I found out that we all know at every point in time where we ought to be and anything other than that is a willful refusal to do the right. Some people are “lonely Londoners” and go solo, yet they expect to meet someone Joke? Location-wise, you are in an island, and will only encounter creeping and creepy creatures. You need to come out of your walled life and interact with people on a regular basis. We were created relational beings and we function maximally that way. Whatever situation you had faced before; because you don’t want to get hurt again, is no good reason to separate from people. You will allow yourself fall into imaginations that warp your thoughts and further deepen the hole of your disenchantments.

Get involved with something and people who believe what you believe. Join a great church, a unit in church, a non-profit organization, a voluntary service organization, or any such groups where you will meet people who have a heart for and believe in something. I have heard people complain that church is the worst place to get involved with someone. But guess what, human go to church not angels. So you will always have to contend with what is peculiar to humans. Clean your mind, get up and strive on, for your time is on the way. Church is comprised of the good, the bad, and the ugly. But the truth is that the good today, were the ugly of yesterday, and the fact that there is the ugly, doesn’t preclude the existence of the good. So get busy doing something beyond going to work, parties and night clubs. You can even start something new if you find nothing. When you find nothing, it is usually an indication that you can start something, so become proactive with your life and be busy doing something interesting with your life. Where you are is vital to who you meet, so get yourself in the right place, especially at the right time.

I made mention of a point above that God created us relational beings. This means that we were created not just to function in relationships and communities, but to initiate and maintain them. For relationships to exist, someone has to initiate one, and for it to continue existing, someone has to maintain it. Women have often shied off when it comes to initiating a relationship with a male. I guess this is culturally bound although these days that is rapidly changing. But I must state clearly here that as a lady, you should never shy away from initiating a good relationship whenever you have a chance to. Many women have seen what they like and never made an attempt at starting a friendship until it became almost impossible to. We have to unlearn all the things that growing up has burdened on us. When we were children, we could talk to anyone at anytime we felt like it and didn’t feel any sense of shame. I tell you truthfully, that is one of your greatest asset as a lady. Put on your childhood again and start making good relationships. You see a guy you like, create the opportunity for a chat, and never feel uncomfortable around him, for that’s when he will have ideas. Your boldness is your loaded weapon, and let’s face it, bold and calm omen are admirable.

Most of us spend time trying to figure out what is in the guy’s head before we think of making a move. And the real truth is that 90% of the time our imaginations are wrong, because people really have a lot on their minds to be thinking about who or what you are you know. By the time we are done analyzing, we would have given ourselves more reasons why not to take a step. Even if nothing amounts from it, you have created one more link in the world and you have further helped in shrinking the human differences, after all nowadays we hear of six degrees of separation. So note here that being shy is not a virtue neither is being silent of any value. I am not saying you go outright and tell a man you want to date him or marry him, but that you be proactive in initiating relationships when you identify a good man. It doesn’t take anything from you except that which you imagine, rather it adds to you what you didn’t have before: one new friend and one step closer to your good man.

Finally, I will share here something my mother gave to me. Not that she said this to me, or wrote it down somewhere, I merely gleaned it from growing up in her protective arms around me. This is crucial, important, vital, and very essential. BE A WOMAN! I will say it again: BE A WOMAN!! And one more time: BE A WOMAN!!! It is just amazing how these days, women are becoming like men in almost everything. While I do not subscribe to the erroneous “what a man can do a woman can do better” philosophy, I still believe that women can do anything they want to and should and can never be restricted. However, I still hold dear to the fact that a woman should be a “woman” in every sense of the word without the cultural approximations. A woman is the other side of a man and makes a man’s adventure complete. For what we don’t have as men, women do and they fill our emptiness and have their peculiar characteristics and nature that defines them as so. Please don’t try to be a man. That is extremely ugly! Cry when you have to, gossip when you have to (ha ha ha), love at all times, smile all the times, and do those positive things that come naturally to a woman.

The world is messing things up and turning it wrong side up. Today women are trying to be what they are not and squaring their shoulders to other men. No man wants to marry another man, even gays want there to be a fair balance between the male and female virtues in their relationship. Somebody has to lead and someone has to follow. Someone has to protect and someone has to be protected. There is the Ying and there is the Yang. Be who God made you to be for therein lies your beauty. Do your thing ladies. Wear your jewelries and your fine make ups, wear the best and don’t regret anything, for you are the wonder of the Most High and He himself appreciates the work of His hands. Look at what God says in Ezekiel 16: 9-14:

Then I bathed you with water and washed off your blood from you and anointed you with oil. I clothed you also with embroidered cloth and shod you with fine leather. I wrapped you in fine linen and covered you with silk. And I adorned you with ornaments and put bracelets on your wrists and a chain on your neck. And I put a ring on your nose and earrings in your ears and a beautiful crown on your head. Thus you were adorned with gold and silver, and your clothing was of fine linen and silk and embroidered cloth. You ate fine flour and honey and oil. You grew exceedingly beautiful and advanced to royalty. And your renown went forth among the nations because of your beauty, for it was perfect through the splendor that I had bestowed on you, declares the Lord God.

God loves your beauty and when you show it out He loves it more. Moderation is the key word and a humble spirit is the watchword. So go forth and be a shining example of true inner and outer beauty, and be excited about who you are. This will be the first attraction to many who come your way. You will notice that I have not said anything about the man, but everything here is about the woman. When you have done these things, then your eyes will be clearer and you will understand what no man can teach you, knowing your man when you see him. You were never designed to struggle and strain when it comes to getting your good man. You were designed to attract him your way and then keep and groom him for life. So this is what is most important in finding your good man. It is all about you and what you can offer and less of what you can get. Change the way you think!

Cheers !

Reggie ’09

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FINDING YOUR GOOD MAN – Part 1

Good ManA while ago I was burdened by an issue and was hard pressed to write on it. I titled that article “Where are the good men?” because there seems to be a silent question in many hearts these days on why there’s a sudden disappearance of good men. Whether there’s a disappearance or a drastic reduction, either still spells a major concern not just for young women who are at the threshold of making key decisions about a lifelong commitment, but also for those of us who are interested in the social impacts of the family. While I tried to refute the fallacy that pervades society that good men are dwindling in numbers, I also attempted at excavating the origins of a warp consciousness of societal values, because this helps us understand at what point the disconnect happened. If we are going to recover what is lost, we need to know at what point we lost it. I ended on the point that we cannot build our expectations on fallacies that are unprovable, and we cannot allow the negative to guide the ascension of truth in our hearts. In that light I promised to share on how one can find a good man since they not only exist, but abound. Therefore the central thesis of this discourse is that you can find your good man and I offer some advice on this matter (sounds professorial I know….lol)

I risk sounding like a male chauvinist in writing this piece because some would ask what the heck about men anyway. Some have even said to me not all women want a man in their lives, so I shouldn’t make an issue of this because some are satisfied just the way they are. While I cannot but scream “BIG LIE” at that assertion, I also recognize that there are a few women who get offended when we talk about how to find a good man. For whatever reasons they have, they hold their opinions dear and rightfully. So I am not here to challenge that position, neither will I insinuate anything (although I think I already did) because the truth really is out there for all to see. I am also not trying to defend men in any way, because I know some of my kind are wolves in sheep clothing. But I am a man and a good man for that matter, and can’t deny who I am. This mere fact gives me unrestricted access to the internal configuration of the male and what draws us away from our original design. I am not overly qualified, but out of my concern for truth and love, I can speak a little on how to find a good man. I am trying to speak directly to those who are concerned with this issue and to those who care to know. To those who are humble enough to hear another mans’ counsel on this dialogue and learn from another’s experience as well.

First, many book have been written on this subject and in the West, an entire academic field has been developed out of this situation, which has assumed a global dimension. In Singapore for instance, a society that is at the stage of high mass consumption, and for which much of its success lies with a virile female population, there is a growing number of successful women than men. A friend from there once shared with me some of the impacts of this trend in the Singaporean society. For instance, some young men simply become gigolos and live of that because lots of women do not find their type so just settle for sexual satisfaction. I came across a Time Asia Magazine survey quoted by BBC news on Monday, 12 March, 2001 which stated that Women in Singapore were found to be the most forward, with 18% saying they initiate sex. It also stated that Singapore appeared to be the most committed to monogamy, with 67% of men on the island saying they had never been unfaithful. Such issues, like that faced by Singapore, have attracted wide range studies and commentaries with several books churning out from secular and religious circles. Most of the secular writings focus on the problems and a mere description of the issues while offering no solutions. The religious ones go a step ahead in giving bold answers giving tips on how to find the right partner. But in all I find that they miss some vital issues. This is what I lay out forthwith.

So much is being said about how to identify or how to find the right man, but very little is said about how to be the right woman. There is a passivity we carry when it comes to dealing with our troubles. Very few try to put themselves first along the continuum of challenges to be dealt with. But the truth is that you are your first battle! If you cannot win over yourself, then you can never win over any circumstance or battle you may be confronted with. Life is full of a lot of mismatches not only because of a wrong self estimation, but covertly, because of a non self regulation. Many folks out there simply live their lives normally and expect that things will sort themselves out. But it never happens that way. Whatever exceptional thing happening is because someone worked at it, and this applies to relationships as well. The first step in finding your right man is being the right woman yourself. I am one of those who strongly believe that when you have settled on your personality; your access will be easier. Then you will be ushered into a larger room of better understanding of who your partner will be. This way it will be easier to know him when you see him, no matter in what form he appears. A key problem I find is that most ladies know what they want, but cannot tell it when they see it. This is because there is still a hindrance that prevents this. Nothing else describes this better that what Jesus said in Matthew chapter 7.

“Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, Let me take the speck out of your eye, when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”

Many interpretations can come out of this as we all know, but one truth my eyes were open to was that the reason why you can see a speck in another persons’ eye is because you have a log in yours. So who you are is what determines what you see. So if you correct your internal configuration, you will see correctly. I have heard many ladies say “But I am a good woman Reginald, I have a lot of love to give and I am well mannered.” This is also an indication that you haven’t still got a long way to go with dealing with yourself. When you feel you are most ready, give a second check, you may very well not be. Some years ago, I was having a conversation with God and I was outlining all the things I want to see in a woman. When I presented this list before God, He asked me to take a second look at what I wrote. Then He said all I had written came from the abundance of my heart. Therefore He will give me a woman whom I will impart these wonderful virtues I had mentioned into. This was a wow moment and a perspective changing encounter for me. Now I understand that though I have my desires for a person that suits me, a higher perspective is that this is way beyond me. Beyond what I wanted was what I presented. What I mean is that beyond what I wanted, was what I could give as a person. God told me then that “Reggie, if there is a woman like what you have stated, I will not give her to you! Because she will not need you in her life, she will be complete without blemish and will need no one to complement her.” I was shocked by this response from God. Past what we want, is who we are. God knows when we are ready, we don’t! He knows if we will punish the one He gives to us of if we will be faithful to care for that one. So let’s put our wants aside and rather allow God deal with our person as the first step towards getting the right man.

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THIS BABY IS TEN YEARS OLD!

naija_flag_CHave you noticed these days that there is a somewhat increasing intelligence in children, and their rate of apprehension seems to be ever expanding in a very complex and diversifying world? True. I have suddenly developed an interest in the developmental stages of children and wonder how their plain and simple minds comprehend and retain information. From age one through age five, you will marvel at what your baby knows already. Even without a deliberate attempt to teach the child, there is a natural desire to learn and to explore and experiment with something new.

In fact nowadays, what we learnt in secondary school a while ago, is being moved down to primary school level, and what our first year classes were like in University, is being passed over to higher secondary teaching. This is simply because more and more information is emerging and the world is getting more complicated. Children nowadays are born into a generation of unrestricted flow of information and a young child is saddled with the ability to do so much more than playing mere police and thief, or the famous hide and seek. The other day I heard of a 13 year old having an associate degree while still in high school.

Things are changing fast, and there’s a growing urgency for the individual to become more open minded and hungry for learning, as this distinguishes between the man living now and the man living in the past. What baffles me however is the fact that despite the rate of change and how people are taking advantage of what is at their disposal globally, some people are dying of lethargy, while others simply refuse to come to terms that things have changed and that many things have become obsolete. I laugh today when I see people carrying maps all around the streets of New York when GPS devices are all about at very cheap prices. You can even load your smart phones now with voice enabled maps that give your real time location and tell you every move that even a blind man can accurately follow. Yet some are stuck in the past.

My interest here is not on how we individually respond to these global changes, but on how Nigeria has responded to the available opportunities these past ten years. May I remind us that this baby is ten years old! This means that a child who was born on the 29th of May 1999 is exactly ten years of age today, and in the world we exist in today, a ten year old can become totally responsible for his life and choices. While it may not be appropriate to compare Nigeria’s ten years of democracy to the developmental stages of a child, as this is way too simplistic, there are certain background principles we cannot afford to overlook, as it applies to our country. Let me consider a few of the democratic ideals which Nigeria should by now possess.

After ten years of democracy, Nigeria should by now deliver the benefits of the system to its people. Democracy is simply the government of the majority, establishing the will of the people and ensuring the greater good for the greater number of people. This means that whatever the people want is the sovereign and overarching responsibility of the government. In ten years, how much of the desire of Nigerians have been fulfilled by its leaders? Rather, we consistently see a shoving aside of the greater good for the pursuit of personal ambitions. No one deems it necessary to determine and report the state of the country, so Nigerians know what we are up against. There is a silent assumption that anything goes and people will put up with anything that they are confronted with. For instance, why has the government not explained in details to us what happened to 16 Billion dollars or naira (irrespective, it’s still a mouth gaping sum) meant for the power sector in the last eight years? By this time we expect a clearly articulated path towards a recovery of the power sector, but we are still at a point where very few know what’s happening. Nigerians have a right to know, and it is the will of the people that the benefits of this system begin to deliver value. Ten years is way too much time for a baby to crawl and it seems that we still have an attraction to keeping our motion gravitated towards the dust.

Second, accountability is now a buzz word that flies around with no substance in our democratic system. So much talk began with this dispensation, yet we are still harassed by the superfluous display of corruption reborn. It seems public officials are getting more daring in their acts of unaccountability and there is a growing comfort with the fact that nothing can happen to them. We have heard of the many cases of corrupt practices and the many names that have been named, yet how many of such have we celebrated their jail sentences? The very same ones indicted for the otiose bastardization of the vehicles of public utility are gracing the pages of our glossy magazines and shoving on our faces their pin-headed conceptions of the good life. And worse still is that the nature of our corruption has morphed into prebendalism, where government officials now feel a sense of entitlement to the revenues of the Nigerian state.

A bigger problem is that while we are preoccupied addressing these manifest practices at the top of the structure, the base is being wasted away by petty thieves who call themselves councilors and local officials. Even those who exercise some form of bureaucratic discretion at the community level, use that as an occasion to extract profits for their miserable living at the expense of petty services that will make life a little bit more comfortable for their denizens. The baby is ten years old and still grappling with the basics of structural and economic locomotion. What even worries me most is how much effect this has on the ordinary person who tries to survive in the midst of all this. Many now accept corruption as an incurable sickness that one has to live and manage with. The result is that prudence and excellence have been sacrificed on the altar of the convenient, and creativity and innovation have been wacked to the barest minimum in society.

Lastly, we still have not come to the point where we clearly understand what the rights of the Nigerian are. Having a constitutional document with statements mean nothing until it is translated from paper to action. There is still an undervaluation of the Nigerian person, hence when decisions are made; it is without regard for the dignity of the citizens. I heard there was a rebranding of late, and I cared to pry into the nature of the efforts and found that it was devoid of a people centered approach. Rubbing grease on the skin doesn’t guarantee that people will appreciate its beauty. Feeding the stomach however will of necessity manifest on the outer covering, and no one needs to be convinced to see the changes. Whatever our rebranding, if the rights of the Nigerian is not clearly put first, then we risk the make-the-mockery-of-me-joke again. Because I am a Nigerian, I am entitled to a good life and I am entitled to certain basic services like security, and should be free from all forms of harassment, whether by the breakers of the law, the long arm of the law, or by even the law itself. I should be free to enjoy what power my vote carries, and to demand for what my tax can pay for. We all know what these rights are, and it cannot be overemphasized. My point is that at ten years of democracy, our political system is mature enough to accord us these privileges and there is no excuse why it hasn’t at this time.

So while we are in an age where many countries are using the available opportunities and tools to give their citizens a better life and to foster the environment necessary for the burgeoning of a next generation of global interactions, we are still slow to learn and slow to walk. This is so reminiscent of those kids in your class who just couldn’t take anything into their brains. What was left was for their craniums to be cracked open and literally purged of excess puss and infused with all the textbooks. While several countries are unlearning the art of physical or human based warfare, we are still confronted with a case in our Niger-Delta that seems to be a training ground for a guerilla movement. Religious crisis is still driving our peace from us and uncertainty surrounds the state of our ethnic marriage. I sometimes begin to wonder if Nigeria’s case is as “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.”

Time is passing by and this baby is slow to grow. But grow it must. I have resolved to do my part and hope it strengthens one part of the whole. I write to discover myself and to hold myself responsible for the things I must do as time goes by. Our country is not a closed case as long as I live, perchance my very loyalty maybe the needed vitamin this baby needs to get up and run as others are. So as I wonder if there’s anything to celebrate, I am suddenly reminded that I am one reason to celebrate why my country will be great. As long as I am determined and open to learning and to improving myself daily, this will translate into the national good I so desire. I will not subscribe to faineance or allow me become hopeless in a time when hope screams out from every corner. But my greatest joy is that there are much more people like me who are greatly impassioned for the Nigerian state and are laying down their lives for the love of it. It is their course I have chosen to follow and in a little while, we will take back our beloved from them that have no dream, vision, mission, and passion. Else, this baby will crawl for the next ten years. But God forbid!

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WHERE ARE THE GOOD MEN?

good-men

I do not feel compelled to write anything about this subject, I only sense an urgency. I also do not believe that anyone has a complete answer to the stated question, but we all know in part and till the day we breathe our last, we will always know in part. All we do is to strive towards more understanding to improve the quality of our lives and decisions. However, responsibility places upon us the need to share with others the little things which we understand, have applied, and have made our lives better by. We communicate these things to help others in the choices they face, and to strengthen their wills to resolve for the best in the face of constraining choices. It is with such careful assertion that I contribute to answering this key question, especially because it seems to be a predominant issue with a lot of women, particularly those who extol virtue and value.

Every time I encounter this question, it is easy to claim that there are more women in the world today, so what does one expect? When there is disproportion in numbers, absolute pairs becomes nearly impossible. So with more women, it follows systematically that there will be a problem in finding men for each woman. This is however a simplistic argument, as no one has ever tried to explicate on this argument in any society or at any time, and to come up with satisfactory recommendations on what must be done. If so, I would be the first to suggest that cloning be used. When parents have a female child, they should promptly clone the male who would be an acceptable mate, and spare the female the horrors of searching for her partner. I guess if such a suggestion were to be carried out, people will be mistaking other men as their mates, since most clones may come from the same source of genetic composition cloned over and over. Let me wisely abandon these thoughts for those more creative in mind projections to make such future permutations.

While I agree that good men are getting increasingly hard to find, I do not subscribe to the thought that they are of a dwindling population or have become an endangered specie. I believe that certain conditions have arisen in our world to create a warping of perspectives on family and relationship issues. This has subsequently led to the acceptance of certain views that has refocused human advancements on individualism and intellectualism. These have become the defining concepts of the modern day. It is the ear of the glorification of self and intelligence, where everything must be explained in factual and tangible terms, and must be accepted and approved of by the individual to be taken as true. While this has led to major advancements in human societies, in terms of research and development, it has created a gulf in the fabric of human relationships. The emphasis on self and personal power and achievement has weakened the structures of mutual dependency on which families and communities were built. So we see the gradual disintegration of families and society into seeming irreconcilable fragments. Success and morality are now personally defined, reducing the possibilities of objective discussion of differing opinions, which is a hallmark of group settings.

The combination of the Hippie movement and the sex revolution of the 1960s brought with them the demystification of sex and its appurtenances all on the platter of ‘freedom’, although this also could be traced back to Freudian writings. Freedom was now defined as the unrestricted capacity to do what one deems fit, except of course that which is prohibited by written laws. Freedom was no longer the liberty to do what is right, but what was right in ones own eyes. Of course sexual conservativeness was promptly thrown out of society’s window. Young people especially caught the bug and began experimenting with their sexuality, and this gave rise to the unconstrained sexual behaviour. Much of youth culture centered on music and sex, and the ability to identify with this registered one as a modern being. More discreet copies as homosexuality, pornography and hard core came ad free flowing information, and many assumed political dimension.

Though these all brought to the fore the complex nature of the human personality, it also gave a covert authority to act out our sexual behaviour freely without recourse to any value or virtue. Sex was seen as a natural response of human engagement, so why repress it in the mind or confine it to relationship arrangements like marriage. Silently also women, who enjoyed the new status of the feminist movement and the ‘free woman’, were empowered in the new sexual liberation. In the late 70s through 80s, the number of young unmarried females who practiced sexual freedom far outstripped the males who were perceived to be the dominant specie in all facets. The result of this was that males became more driven by the large pool of ‘sexual resources’ they could draw from. If a man can sleep with at least one woman a day, why commit to one? On the other hand, I believe, more women prefer a steady partner although there are exceptions to the rule.

Today, what we see is that we are living out the effects of a generational shift in ideology. More and more men find pleasure in remaining ‘uncommitted and unresponsible’ to anyone, whilst still having their sexual needs met. Truthfully, men are in possession of a powerful sexual drive that takes a high sense of self control to deal with. But with more and more choices of sexual escapades, that virtue is hardly practiced. So we are faced with a situation that overfeeds the male libido and provides the right parameters for non-commitment. Women are also not left off in this wave of the free sexual choices. While many still traditional virtues of sexual conservatism, others have given into the pressure or given up on their values. Some argue, have premarital sex or multiple sex partners doesn’t make you a bad person. But I wonder if one cannot control sexual urge, what else can be controlled? In all this, I still ask if good men are a fallacy? Indeed no one can claim to be all good, for that is a quality reserved to the divine. We all struggle with weaknesses, which are meant to be conquered and controlled.

Good men are those that hold worthwhile values, and respect a woman and understand commitment. They know that sex is an honourable thing, meant to create a lasting bond with a partner. They understand the role of a family as the unit of society, and are poised to establish one, contributing positive offspring to their communities. They aren’t supermen, but they are willing to work hard to provide for their families, to educate their children, and to uplift moral excellence in their immediate spheres of influence. In my goings in a complex society like that which I live in, I have found that they abound and are fully guarding of their ways. I have found also that they are in more supply than their opposites, and this is what leaves me wondering how comes they then seem to be in short supply? Am I living in a dream land or am I interpositioning my idealisms into our tangible reality? Whatever I think, I still find the truth to be that which society refuses to believe as true. There are good men, they far outnumber the not-good ones, and they are getting hooked with mates all around us. Some women agree that there are indeed good men, but when I asked the same question on my status message on Facebook, below is what a few conclude about them:

1. In a far faraway island.
2. …in d tombs.
3. In their world of pleasure.
4. They are now women
5. Lazy, dead, gay, or married…
6. They are on leave of absence
7. What do you need them for?? Absolutely nothing.

The above shows how negative the perceptions have become, and to this end, many women are giving up on the idea of finding a good man. Standards have been lowered for anything acceptable and they assume that the perfect shouldn’t be the enemy of the expedient. Another evidence is that many women now settle for a man through which they can at least have a child. They don’t care about the outcome of the union, they just need a child. In a restaurant in New York, with a few friends, one of them resignedly stated that she was traveling to Europe for holidays, but then whispered to me that she was going there to get pregnant. She has given up hope on finding a man who is willing to settle down. How true that this pervades society, but how false to give credence to the seeming extinction of virtuous men based on these perspectives.

While I may not convince anyone about good men, it remains an undeniable fact that they abound, as every time one of them gets married, the saying arises again: “one good man down”. While every man getting married is not necessarily a good man, most good men have marriage as a major goal in their lives. Usually, when a man in his thirties tells you that he is not planning for marriage yet, often times it may be attributed to a lack of responsibility and accountability. Even when such men want to get married, they usually will not want to be accountable in their relationship with their wives. However the bigger question for me is if good men are still in plenty supply, how do we find them? This is what will form the basis for another write-up. I will simply state it here that good men can be found, and there is what attracts and repels them, just as there is what attracts and repels virtuous women. Anyone who seeks a good man must be poised to understand what it takes and be willing to subject oneself to them. Trust me, they are all around you.

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