Because you make a difference!

The past week has been full of lessons for me. Life has always been the best of my professors. I keep on learning and I know you are too. Let me start by sharing a story with you.

A professor was in the habit of giving his students a little gift at the end of the school year – a blue ribbon with the words “Who I Am Makes A Difference®” printed in gold letters on the ribbon.
As he gave each student their ribbon, he explained why he had appreciated teaching them, and why his course had been different because that particular student had been present.

One day it occurred to him to see what effect this little custom would have on the community. He gave each student 3 blue ribbons instead of one, and told each of them to give one ribbon to someone they knew who, in their opinion “made a difference.” He also told them to give the two other ribbons to that same person, with instructions to hand them out to others who had made a difference. After that the students were to come back and report what happened.

One student who had a part-time job gave his ribbon to his boss, a grumpy fellow who nevertheless appreciated the honor.

“I admire everything you’ve done,” the student said to his boss. “I think you’re a creative genius and a real fair guy. Will you allow me to pin this blue ribbon on your shirt as a sign of my appreciation?”

The boy’s boss was surprised but also pleased. “Yeah, sure, why not?” he said.

“And will you take these two other ribbons,” the student continued, “and give them to someone you think makes a difference, like I did for you? It’s for a project we’re doing at school.”

“All right,” the boss replied.

That night the boss returned home wearing the purple ribbon on his shirt. He greeted his 14 year old son and said, “Something strange happened to me today. One of my employees gave me this ribbon. See what’s written on it? ‘Because you make a difference.’ He gave me another ribbon just like it and told me to give it to someone who’s made a difference for me, someone who is very special and means a lot to me.

“I had a pretty hard day, but on the way home I said to myself, ‘There’s only one person I want to give this ribbon to.’ I know I tell you off a lot because you don’t work hard enough at school, because all you think about is going out and having fun with your friends, because your room’s always a mess… But tonight I want to tell you that you are very very important to me. You and your mother make all the difference in my life, and I’d like you to accept this blue ribbon as a sign of my love. I don’t tell you I love you very often, not nearly enough, I know. But I do love you, and I think you’re a wonderful kid!”

As soon as he stopped talking his son burst into tears. His whole body shook with sobs. His father took him in his arms and held him close, saying, “That’s okay, it’s all right. Did I say something wrong?”

“No Dad.” his son replied, “It’s just that… I decided I was going to kill myself. I was going to do it tomorrow. I had it all planned out. I wanted to kill myself because I was sure you didn’t like me, even though I tried hard to be good. Now that’s all changed…” 

Now these are the three things I would like to share with you from the story:

 

You are one lucky fellow!

You may not know this but you are very lucky.  At this moment, there is someone somewhere who is wishing to be like you. Don’t be surprised. That’s how the world is. You may not like what is happening in your life. You may be depressed and all that but someone is wishing to be in that very position you are in. Have you ever thought about this: what if I was born in Somalia? You wouldn’t have been able to do anything about it. Famine, drought, hardship would have been your pals. Wherever you are, whatever situation you find yourself in, count it all joy.

 

You make a difference!

And yes you make a difference in someone’s life. You may not know it but you are a role model to someone. It could be your niece, nephew, son, daughter, a facebook friend or a follower on twitter. Someone somewhere draws inspiration from you. Someone somewhere gets a smile on the face as soon as he/she sees you. Whatever you are doing, put it at the back of your mind that it is affecting the life of another…… so do the right thing! There is inside you all of the potential to be whatever you want to be all of the energy to do whatever you want to do. Imagine yourself as you would like to be…. doing what you want to do and each day, take one step towards your dream. Though at times it may seem too difficult to continue, hold on to your dream because you make a difference in someone’s life.

 

 

You don’t have to give up!

Stressed, depressed, sad……add the rest. We can go on and name all the negative things that come our way. These are part of life and we cannot avoid them. We always face them and will always do as long as we have life. We get rid of all these emotions when we are in our tombs. Until then, you will lose a family member and get sad….you will lose that job or contract and be depressed….you will be heartbroken and feel like the world is coming to an end BUT the message is clear….DO NOT GIVE UP!

Entertain not the ideas of suicide. Embrace hope and face the future because you are born for greater things! There may be times when you feel as if you have taken a million steps towards your dreams, and acted on your plans, only to find yourself in the same place that you began from. At times like this, you must not give up. You must continue on. Though you may feel lost, bewildered and alone, continue to believe in yourself. Do not allow discouragement and doubt to blur your vision and wash away your dreams. Visualize your way beyond the detours, standstills and obstacles.

You will realize your dreams.

 

Share with us what you learned from this post. God bless you!

6 things we learned from the UK riots

I am at it again. I always pick positives from the worst of situations. Here are 6 things I learned from the UK riots.

 

#1 When a neighbor’s beard is burning, fetch water and protect yours

Ok, do you remember what the British press said before the world cup in South Africa? Africa was deemed a jungle… where people eat each other. A place where civilization is nothing to write home about….. a place where no football match could be held. Some people even still think Africa is a country. Hmmm…. South Africa was lambasted for all the wrong reasons. In less than a year, the London Olympic Games start. Need I say more? When your neighbor is down, don’t kick him but rather help lift him up. The UK press should take a cue from this. It’s a lesson. A very important one!

 

#2 Nothing is as it seems

Do you also remember the Royal wedding? It drew the attention of people far and near. The whole world was glued to television sets. Everyone, especially ladies, marveled at the sight of the wedding. My timeline was blazing hot on that very day. You would have thought that everything was perfect in London and in the UK as a whole. A glamorous wedding and one of the most watched in the history of the world. Then there was the phone scandal. That dominated the newspapers and television stations for a while.  As soon as that ended….  BOOOOM….  a riot in Tottenham spread to Manchester and many parts of Britain. The bottom line is, accept who you are. Don’t wish to be like any other because nothing is as it seems. We all have our fair share of skeletons and problems.

#3 Quest for money + web 2.0 = Virtual communities!

Bills + Taxes = Hustling! Parents have a lot of bills to pay. As a result they leave the house very early in the morning and forget about their children. Children do not get the best of upbringing. They don’t learn anything that would benefit the society from their parents. The family system is almost dead. Facebook, twitter and Blackberry messenger are the lecturers of the modern generation. The internet teaches a lot. Time is spent on the web more than with parents or family. Our traditional communities are fading away giving room to the VIRTUAL. I could have 5000 friends on facebook but would really know about 500 of them personally. Attitudes are picked. Most of the people who rioted were children, teenagers and young adults. By 2020, there will be more virtual communities in the world than real ones with the advent of web 2.0 so your guess is as good as mine. Social media is awesome but it is about time parents and governments also joined in. E-government and I think e-parenting will go a long way to help curb certain situations. We must be responsible.

#4 Be prepared always because anything can happen

Life is full of surprises. No one knew this was going to happen. London is regarded as one of the most civilized cities in the world. You don’t expect people to be looting shoes and flat screens. Why on earth would someone loot a TV in London? But it happened. People whose shops have been looted are crying. I heard one man who said he doesn’t know how his family is going to survive because his shop is their only source of income. You never know what will strike so it’s imperative to prepare wherever you find yourself. I have this friend who always carries a toilet roll in his bag. Hope you understand what it means. He is always prepared because he has a very delicate stomach. Diarrhea is his friend.

 

#5 What happens at the North Pole affects those at the South

I was really sad when I read tweets from some people on my timeline. They didn’t care about what was happening in the UK. These people claim they don’t have families over there. You shouldn’t have a family before you know it’s going to affect you. Football fans were “rocked” last week. No EPL matches. I bet some of these unconcerned people on my timeline are football lovers. Ghana vs. Nigeria match was cancelled. Again, we never got to see the greatest rivals on the African continent “slaughter” each other.

Radio presenters, fans and footballers who left Ghana and Nigeria to witness the match lost a great deal. How much is the air fare again? Anyone? Now let me talk about this: Immigration is a political hot potato in British public discourse and always an important and sensitive election issue. These riots, which many allege were carried out mainly by young black men, clearly will feed into this narrative, with dire implications for race relations in the future. There will be extra security in the country now.  Police would be vigilant on the documentation of foreigners. Ghanaians who live in the UK illegally will be in trouble.

 

#6 Rise when you fall

After the riots, some volunteers have come together to clean up. It portrays a sense of togetherness. Life will throw things at you. Some of them could be insipid but your reaction matters more than anything. Don’t just stay on the ground when you fall, rise…. You are a star. Your downfall is not the end of your life. Rise and clean up!

Let’s keep on sharing. Tell us what you learned from the London/UK riots.

₵20 “Kufuor dollar”…… the day daddy made it change my life!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

 

When my dad called all his children to his room, I was a little bit perturbed. Why? Because I hadn’t finished reading the book he gave me. Once in a while the old man will give his children books to read. When you are done reading, he will ask you questions on what you have read. I thought it was going to be a similar experience. I have been playing FIFA 11 with my younger brothers and a friend all day.

 

We went to his room, made ourselves comfortable and that was when I started making up all the excuses I was going to give should he ask about the book.  My mom was seated on his left. I have three other siblings now (the eldest went into Abraham’s bosom some years ago. May he R.I.P)
My dad started off his speech by holding up a ₵20 note. He asked: “Who would like this ₵20 note. This is a real Kufuor dollar?”

Hands started going up. He said: “I am going to give this ₵20 to one of you but first, let me do this.”

He proceeded to crumple the cedi note up. He then asked:  “Who still wants it?”

Still the hands were up in the air. “Well,” he replied, “what if I do this?”

He dropped it on the ground and started to grind it into the floor with his shoe. He picked it up, now crumpled and dirty.

“Now who still wants it?” Still the hands went into the air. “My children, you have all learned a very valuable lesson. No matter what I did to the money, you still wanted it because it did not decrease in value. It was still worth ₵20.

Many times in our lives, we are dropped, crumpled and ground into the dirt by the decisions we make and the circumstances that come our way. We feel as though we are worthless but no matter what have happened or what will happen, you will never lose your value. To those who love you, you are priceless.

The worth of our lives comes not in what we do or who we know but by who we are. You are somebody. You really are. Do not let anyone make you think otherwise. Yes…. there are times you will feel depressed, repressed and oppressed but stay true to yourself. See yourself as that “Kufuor dollar” that was handled badly by my dad yet all his children craved for it.

 

It was a turning point in my life. Don’t be intimidated. Don’t give up. Press on because victory is assured!

 

Who can say?….. Another version of the Chorkor Trotro!

 

 

There once was a very poor man living in a village who had a very fine horse. So fine, in fact, that the lord of the castle wanted to buy it but the old man always refused.

“To me this horse is not merely an animal. He’s a friend. How could I sell you my friend?”

One morning he went to the stable and found his horse gone. All the villagers said, “We told you! You should have sold your horse. Now he’s been stolen instead. What terrible luck.”

“Bad luck or good luck,” the old man said. “Who can say?”

Everyone laughed at him but 15 days later the horse returned, followed by a whole herd of wild horses. He had escaped from the stable, courted a young mare and returned with the rest of the herd following behind!

“What luck!” the villagers cried.

The old man and his son began training the wild horses but a week later the man’s son broke his leg trying to train one of the horses.

“Bad luck,” said his friends. “What are you going to do now without your son to help you? You who are already so poor.”

“Bad luck, good luck, who can say?” the old man replied. A few days later an army belonging to the lord of the land passed through the village and forced all the young men to become soldiers. All…… except the old man’s son because of his broken leg.

“How lucky you are,” the villagers cried. “All our children gone to war, but you’ve been able to keep your son. Our sons will probably be killed…”

The old man replied, “Bad luck, good luck… who can say?”

People ask me why I love the Chorkor Trotro TV series on TV3 in Ghana. I always tell them I learn from the awkward situations and not only from the best of situations. On the front of the Chorkor Trotro bus in the TV series is written “Let them say.” Let them say speaks volumes.

 

One day I will blog about that but what it simply means is that, let the people talk all they want but do your own talking. Never be misguided or misled or discouraged by what people say about you. The best way is to prove them wrong. Who can say? I bet no one. There are just three things I would like to talk about from the story…..not to bore you.

 

#1 What people say about you should not affect you negatively

I was at the airport yesterday and engaged myself in a conversation with a lady. She had come to wait for a friend who was coming to Ghana from Italy in a very beautiful dress. As we started talking I said something about friends that made her speak as if she was on drugs. She was talking like one controlled by a remote. Eddie Murphy could not have even spoken faster than her. She was coming from a wedding with the same dress. This lady buys clothes from a woman (Shop 1) in her neighborhood but a friend of hers advised her to buy from a different shop (Shop 2) because that shop had exotic clothes.

 

She listened and spent her savings on the new dress from the Shop 2. She went to the wedding and realized that she was the “lady gaga” of the event. Everyone including the couple had dressed in a simple but awesome way. She was telling me how her friend’s words made her lose money and also made her a laughing jackal at the wedding. If you listen to people all the time, you are bound for disgrace.

 

#2 Be who you are!

The man never changed who he was. He was a poor man…yes… but he knew who he was. He didn’t change because of what people said to him. He did not even sell his horse to the lord of the land. He valued the horse. We must value our integrity. Dignity is something thrown to the dogs lately. People don all sorts of things because of money. People sell their bodies, kill other human beings because of money but this man knew what it was to value something.

 

We have two ears. One is to listen and the other is to let the negative you hear out. All the negative things he heard entered in one ear and out in the other. He was not ready to be a different person. He was not ready to be ungrateful. He was still the man he used be. He carved a niche for himself as the man who was ever grateful. Bad luck or good luck….he was grateful.

 

#3 Don’t let circumstances change you!

I always say “this too shall pass” when I go through a difficult period. I have lived with this maxim for a long time. When I go through a bad phase of my life, I know it will surely end. No condition is permanent. When you are hungry, don’t kill yourself because eventually you will get food to eat.

When you are satisfied, don’t fool about because eventually you will go hungry.

 

Life is all about ups and downs. We just have to make an effort to stand the test of time. The poor man never made any circumstance change his belief. He believed in the fact that bad luck or good luck isn’t his to say. Even when his favorite horse left, it didn’t change him. When the son got hurt, it didn’t change him as well.
The future comes to us in bits and pieces. We never know what lies in store for us but if you always maintain a positive attitude the doors of chance remain open, and you will be a happier person.

 

Who can say? No one can say so don’t lose hope. Live by the Chorkor Trotro mantra.