Monday, March 28, 2011

Lincoln’s Letter to his Son’s Teacher

He will have to learn, I know,
that all men are not just,
all men are not true.
But teach him also that
for every scoundrel there is a hero;
that for every selfish Politician,
there is a dedicated leader…
Teach him for every enemy there is a friend,

Steer him away from envy,
if you can,
teach him the secret of
quiet laughter.

Let him learn early that
the bullies are the easiest to lick…
Teach him, if you can,
the wonder of books…
But also give him quiet time
to ponder the eternal mystery of birds in the sky,
bees in the sun,
and the flowers on a green hillside.

In the school teach him
it is far honourable to fail
than to cheat…
Teach him to have faith
in his own ideas,
even if everyone tells him
they are wrong…
Teach him to be gentle
with gentle people,
and tough with the tough.

Try to give my son     
the strength not to follow the crowd
when everyone is getting on the band wagon…
Teach him to listen to all men…
but teach him also to filter
all he hears on a screen of truth,
and take only the good
that comes through.

Teach him if you can,
how to laugh when he is sad…
Teach him there is no shame in tears,
Teach him to scoff at cynics
and to beware of too much sweetness…
Teach him to sell his brawn
and brain to the highest bidders
but never to put a price-tag
on his heart and soul.

Teach him to close his ears
to a howling mob
and to stand and fight
if he thinks he’s right.
Treat him gently,
but do not cuddle him,
because only the test
of fire makes fine steel.

Let him have the courage
to be impatient…
let him have the patience to be brave.
Teach him always
to have sublime faith in himself,
because then he will have
sublime faith in mankind.

This is a big order,
but see what you can do…
He is such a fine little fellow,
my son!

~ Abraham Lincoln

Even though some writers are refuting Abraham Lincoln’s claim to this letter, the important thing is that it was written by someone and it was documented for all to have access to. The message is self explanatory and need not much lecturing for us to grasp the principles on which it was penned. Imbibe the values therein, teach it and preach it not just to your own children and younger ones but to everyone through your words and through your deeds. God bless you and have a pleasant week.

Love always!

Monday, March 14, 2011

What are you grateful for?

Reading through some old magazines in my rack over the weekend, I picked the January 2011 edition of South African True Love magazine. The mail page had the title ‘what you are grateful for!”. Someone said she was grateful for her son who woke up one morning, gave her a kiss and said to her “mom, I love you”. Another said she was grateful for her talents. Yet another was grateful that she knows Christ. One was grateful she kicked her addictions (drug). Another was grateful for a helper who stood with her when her husband left and her daughter decided to become a Rastafarian (and joined herself to a squatter camp despite having been through University). One was grateful for getting her degree, a job and a driver’s license and for the fact that her family was contributory to making her life as successful as it was.

As I read through each, I began to reflect on my own blessings. Not that I am not thankful or haven’t identified them before, but decided to enumerate a few of them by writing about them. Over the years, I have learnt to love myself unconditionally. This has helped me to search deep down and to apprehend some talents and strength I never knew I had. I am grateful for the gift of life and that I have remained in health for a long time now. Without good health, all that the mind worries about is getting better and little can be achieved in terms of work, self actualization or even gratitude.  I am also very grateful for my “beautiful” mind. The ability to be able to critically analyze issues in-depth and bring up ideas readily is something I will forever be thankful for.

I am blessed with a beautiful family – husband and two lovely children whom I’m getting to love more and more each day. I also have sisters and brother who are the best in the world. Very few friends I’ve got but they are as reliable, supportive and dear as anyone can ever wish their friends were. Above all I’m thankful that I am in the palm of my Father and his reassurance makes me face tomorrow with confidence.

Tomorrow is a day I may never know but hope grants me twenty-four hours and it’s up to me to maximize it. 24 hours, 7 days, 4 weeks, 1 year, the change we desire might not come as quickly as we desire it, but hope keeps it alive. Count your blessings and name them one after the other.

Have a beautiful week!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Caesarean Section (CS)

A neighbour of mine recently (about 2 weeks ago) lost her baby few hours after birth. I only got the story behind the loss the day before yesterday. It goes thus. On getting to the hospital, the woman was checked by the doctor and was advised that surgery was the best way to bring the baby out. Her husband agreed but the relatives of the woman who were there as “prayer warriors” disagreed. They argued that the God they serve did not want any evil as Caesarean section being done on their women. They said their faith and prayer will bring forth the baby naturally. The woman obviously listened more to the relatives than the husband and the doctor because she proceeded to “pushing” out the baby who wouldn’t come out (the husband was said to have gone to pick some items at the supermarket). The baby was eventually sucked out by vacuum extraction. It had grown tired and weak by then. It cried and cried and was uncomfortable until it gave up the ghost. The woman hated herself for this and she cried for days. Her sisters woke us all up in the middle of the night with wailings. We all sympathized with her and her family when we got the news. So sad indeed.

Ok, so now we have sympathized with her, but what lesson is there to learn? She had obviously been attending pregnant women’s prayer meetings in her church, speaking to her friends and relatives who may (or may not) have kids before and she got the notion that Caesarean is not a child of God’s portion. “Like the Hebrew women, so shall you bring forth your young IJN”, she would have prayed and be prayed for. We however fail to acknowledge the following questions: What has she been feeding on? What was her weight gain? What was her salt intake? Was she a fat person normally? What was her BMI (Body Mass Index)? Did she go through any form of exercise while she was pregnant? Had she had children previously? Does she have more than one baby inside her? What was her routine while she was pregnant – sit/lie down all day or moving here and there? Has she had previous surgery? All these information give the doctors (specialists) the clue as to what method of birthing will be best suitable to any pregnant woman who has carried a pregnancy up to term. I am able to know all this because I read so much (just any information I could lay hands on) on pregnancy when I got pregnant for my first child and not because I am a medical practitioner (please correct me if I’m wrong ye doctors).

So, I am infuriated with many “uneducated” pastors who tell, educate and convince pregnant women that CS is evil. I know pastors’ wives go through it; bishops’ wives, elders’ wives, deacons’ wives and even female doctors go through it. It was an unnecessary loss like so many others we experience in this nation out of sheer ignorance, carelessness and recklessness. Nowhere was it stated in the bible that surgery is bad. If I have appendicitis, I am not sure there will be an alternative to surgery. It is what has to be done for me to remain healthy. CS is just another simple surgery which eliminates the pushing of the baby out naturally. Yes it cost more than natural birth but the mother and baby being well and alive nullifies all the burdens of the cost (this particular couple could well afford it).

In the developed countries, many women opt for CS because the cost doesn’t scare them (not even a consideration as far as I know). All they care for is health for mother and child. Most women decide (along with their husbands) long before the day of delivery the method of birthing. This is what enlightenment is. We have a duty to inform people (particularly some who may not be as educated, exposed, informed or have access to information as we are). Churches (pregnant women’s groups), maternity homes and birthing centres in have this responsibility more on them.

In the practice of Christianity, the brain should not be left out. We ought to think on particular scenarios and ask God for wisdom for us, for the care-givers and everyone who will be involved in the process of bringing forth another human to life. Let us inform women that there is NOTHING wrong with CS. Only thing is to ensure one goes to a hospital with qualified surgeons (which is why General hospital is usually suggested) because quacks or inexperienced doctors/midwives mismanage even natural births. The prayer is that God be with them and that they make no mistake. I remember a long time story of a woman who had surgical equipment left inside her after a CS which later caused her death. In all, a CS child is no different from the child from natural birth. The place of faith is not that one doesn’t trust God but trust God that whatever method of delivery, mother and child should be alive and well.