Tag Archives: relationships

Women are their Own Worst Enemies

A couple of years ago I went for mass on a Saturday evening, and while I don’t remember much about that mass, two things stuck in my mind: the priest who celebrated that mass, and what he said. The reason I remember that priest, is because a few months after that Saturday, he got kicked out of priesthood by the Pope because of involving himself in some very shady business.

That notwithstanding, I remember the theme of his sermon that evening, because though his personal conduct said otherwise, his words made so much sense. “The Holy Spirit speaks to each one of us,” he’d said. “The only difference is, not all of us choose to listen”.

“Today is Saturday, yet you’re here, when you could be out there doing something else, like watching a game or relaxing after a busy week. Why did you come to church?” He’d asked.

He went on to explain how God talks to every one of us. “That nagging voice in your head telling you not to do something because it’s wrong…or the persistent voice telling you do to something because it’s the right thing, however hesitant you feel about it? That’s God talking to you, through your conscience. Difference is, some of us choose to ignore that voice”.

As he continued talking, I realized how right he was. I hear that voice too, and while sometimes I listen, sometimes I don’t. Lately I have been thinking an awful lot about that. This rumination has been brought on by an unpleasant encounter my big sister has had with one of her former lecturers.

Three years ago, my sister graduated with a Masters degree, then this year she decided to further her studies and she went on to identify the university she wanted to do her Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) studies in. One of the application requirements is that two referees submit letters of recommendation in her favour.

Given how active she was in school, it didn’t take her long to identify her two referees. She talked to both of them, and they were glad to write her the recommendation. As procedure demands, she went on to submit the names of her two referees, and the university sent them the submission links.

However, something interesting happened. Of the two lecturers, one of them ‘got cold feet’, and decided to bail on my sister. We’ve tried coming up with some rational explanations as to why she’d bail last minute, but we haven’t been able to come up with anything reasonable.

Maybe I’m wrong, but I’m attributing her hesitance to one unsightly reason; jealousy. See this lecturer is a doctor (PhD) herself, and up until recently, she was so fond of my sister. She even referred to her with very sweet endearments. She came off as motherly.

She always told my sister how smart she was, then this one time she found my sister in class reading and she was like, “I wish my children read as much as you do”. My sister was one of her favourite students. Then going by the date the other referee rung my sis confirming he’d received the link from the University, this one turned hostile.

Firstly, she never called to confirm she had received the link; and secondly, when my sis called to ask about it a few days later because the submission deadline was fast approaching, she said she had not received the link and she frostily asked my sis to stop nagging her.

My guess is, it had not occurred to her what university my sister was applying to, but when she received a link from the acclaimed prestigious university, it dawned on her that my sister wouldn’t just be getting her PhD from any local university, but from an internationally renowned institution. Like I said before, maybe I’m wrong, and it’s just my mind working overtime.

Frustrated, my sis sought further directions from the University and they said they don’t resend links, but they kindly gave her an alternative email address where the letter of recommendation can be sent. Subsequently, she texted the lecturer, asking if it was ok to call because she figured the lecturer could be having a class. Obviously, the lecturer did not reply.

Later in the evening, my sis called her, hoping she would pick up at least. She did. Nonetheless, she only shouted icily, “I’m in class!” And that was the end of it. Now my sis is stranded… Time’s ticking…every item on the application list has been checked, except that lecturer’s recommendation letter. Worse still, now we’re worried what kind of recommendation she would make, given how she seems to abhor my sister; for reasons best known to her.

This had me thinking… it is true what people say, “Women are their own worst enemies”. The way I see it, this lecturer would have been so ready to write a letter of recommendation if it was not being addressed to some fancy institution. However, it appears she just can’t stand the thought of someone else going to possibly a better institution than she did, and to get a PhD, like her.

Furthermore, this has me wondering whether her conscience is ok with what she is doing. Is she suppressing that inner voice telling her what she’s doing to my sister is wrong? When my sister called, why didn’t she call back later if she knew she was genuinely held up? If she really is telling the truth about not having received the link, wouldn’t she be the one asking my sister for alternatives if she really wanted to help?

From a lawyer’s perspective, her actions are screaming, ‘Consciousness of guilt!’ That’s a concept in criminal law where, someone runs when they see police officers even if the officers are not necessarily after them because deep down they know they are doing something unlawful, so they might get arrested. It is tacit self-incrimination.

There’s that saying, “A candle does not lose its light by lighting another candle”. I couldn’t agree more. We don’t lose anything by helping others.

Being Herod: Part 2

Months down the line, my young cousin unknowingly enrolled into the same university as my big sister. They bumped into each other one day as they were heading to their respective classes. Boy was she gobsmacked! They had not thought we could afford being in such a prestigious institution.

I suppose that’s why we are told to think the best of others. Clearly she went home and told her mother, who was not so pleased about it because she stopped making her routine calls in a futile attempt to figure out what we were up to.

Couple of years later, she called my sister one evening, asking for directions to our house because she and my cousin were ‘in the neighbourhood’, and wanted to say hi. Obviously we figured they had purposed to visit because our homes are numerous miles apart.

Given that they had not visited in close to five years, when they came they found we had done a couple of renovations, replaced most of the furniture. Unknown to her, my big sister had been doing some research job, which was bringing in some good money.

I don’t know what they expected to find…maybe they had thought we were living in deplorable conditions since they had not heard from us for a long time; and, members of my family are known to brag when they are making achievements in life…rubbing it in people’s faces.

They only stayed for twenty minutes tops, and each of those passing minutes was characterized by forced smiles, fake giggles…feigned pleasantries…but for the most part, it felt like we had just sat through an impromptu interview: what have you been doing? Are you guys dating? And judging by my aunt’s facial reactions, all our answers rubbed her off the wrong way…

We were not rude to them…nor were we snobbish or anything of the sort. However, it was unmistakably clear; all the raw disdain patent on her face. She had thought we were suffering, but to her utter dismay, we were actually doing alright. The one thing she had dreaded all through.

Since my aunt paid us that unannounced visit, she dropped her charade about loving us to bits and all. To her we were adversaries, who should be plunged into the chasm of desolation. All ties with us were unofficially severed, and it’s not until recently we bumped into her at my uncle’s wake. Even then, she was unable to mask her displeasure with us behind her characteristic ‘charming’ façade.

As usual, our conversation with her was more like an interrogation: whether we finished school; whether we found jobs; were we dating… To a third party, those questions might feel relatively harmless. Nonetheless, in this case, they are usually meant to gauge how my sisters and I are doing, and whether we are doing better than her children.

I can bet all my money she would sabotage us if she knew how. The way I see it, my aunt and people of her ilk are no different from the Biblical King Herod; people who use their power and influence to cripple others; people who would go to the ends of the earth to ensure others’ downfall.

As this year was starting, a recently ordained deacon in our church gave a beautiful homily. “In this new year, do not be someone’s Herod”, he said. “Do not do things or make omissions that will put others at a disadvantage. For instance, if you know someone who’s struggling with alcoholism, do not buy them alcohol, lest you’re faulted for derailing them. Build other people, inspire them”,

He went on to preach about the Magi. King Herod had instructed them to go back to him with news of the whereabouts of the new-born child once they saw him. No one would have guessed what his intentions were…but deep down he wanted to kill the baby, afraid he would dethrone him.

Our human nature predisposes us to the green-eyed monster; to envy. If we’re not too careful we get carried away and act on it, hurting the people we are envious of. We are called to be like the three Wise men. Once they saw the Star of Bethlehem, they did not go back the same way they had come. They used a different route. This is symbolic of people not sinning once they accept Jesus Christ.

Like the deacon preached, we should all aspire to build others, not destroy; our religious affiliations notwithstanding. If we are offering to assist others, let it be the type of help that arises from compassion; from empathy.

There is really no need of helping a hungry person with food, in the hope that the same food will kill them or incapacitate them. People can do without such kind of help. If the desire to help a person does not stem from love, do not do it.

Being Herod: Part 1

Sometimes we come across people who seem so kind and caring…they offer to help us out of whatever predicament we might be going through. However, unknown to us, their assistance/good deeds are nothing more than a ploy to set a greater stage for our downfall.

A story is told about a king, who sought to dim a newly born child’s dreams. He wanted to have the baby killed because he knew the baby was destined to become king; and that, made him pretty apprehensive. Kinda reminds me of some male animals, which kill young ones of their kind, as a way of taking out competition for the role of the pack/pride leader in future.

King Herod and the three Wise men

Personally, I have met such people who pretend to help someone out but it is never with good intentions. For instance, I have this aunt, who for the longest time, when my sisters and I were growing up seemed to have our best interests at heart. I remember this one time when we were struggling financially. My mom was unemployed and she offered to help her get a job.

Eventually she got her a temporary job at their office; one my mom would not have taken under normal circumstances, but which at the time felt better than staying home penniless, and at the mercy of my stingy dad. Needless to say, my mom was grateful for the job.

After high school, my big sister took a short business course in college, while waiting admission into university because at the time my dad said he did not have money to pay her tuition fees. My aunt was quick to jump to her rescue. She offered to find her a data collection job in one of those neighbourhoods where a caring parent would not let their daughter set foot in, for fear they could get mugged or raped…

My sister was so desperate to get a job, but after taking everything into consideration, we figured her going to collect research data in an unsafe neighbourhood was extremely risky, thus worse than her staying home. Subsequently, she turned down the job.

Over the years, my aunt tried getting us jobs, all of them relatively modest. We did not think much about it until much later when her own children, who are slightly younger than us, finished high school. Whether it was just their good luck or not, I cannot say for sure…but her connections got them very good jobs. When we realized she was deliberately trying to put us in a situation where we would not be more successful than her children, we started avoiding her.

Eager to keep tabs on us, she would call often to find out what we were doing…and we, having figured her out, would withhold all the pertinent information. However, as the saying goes, ‘A team is only as strong as its weakest link”, my dad, who tends to be a loose cannon when inebriated would call her, giving her every intricate detail about us. That is how, my aunt has managed to stay informed about us over the years.

We did not know what dad was doing behind our backs, until my aunt started calling, gloating about how privy she was to our personal affairs, courtesy of dad. Consequently, we started withholding personal information from him since we knew he would share it with anyone who asked. It is even worse that generally my sisters and I are very private people. We felt unsafe, knowing dad was our weakest link.

Like we had imagined, once we stopped briefing dad on our progress in school (we are not very tight with him therefore we don’t share much with him regarding our social lives), everyone was submerged in the dark, such that whoever wanted to know what we were doing would have to find out from us.

Still, we did not want to come off as unfriendly, so if my aunt invited us over to her place we would decline politely, citing financial hardship or any reason that would sound believable. The thought of our constant impecunious state seemed to bring her great comfort and as such, she wouldn’t insist. The less we had, the more she loved us…

Out with the old and bad…

Seeing as today is 30th December 2020, it means this dreadful ‘Corona year’ is finally coming to an end. Did I hear a sigh of relief somewhere? Yeah, this year has been an exasperating one. People have been tried…and tested… I can almost bet, as this year comes to a close and the New Year dawns on us, some of the things most of us want to turn our backs to are the hard times that have characterised this year.

However, I am of the humble opinion that it is not just the pain, anguish and hardship occasioned to us by Covid-19 that we need to let go off… Come to think of it, I would say Covid has taught us, or rather reminded us of some key things; for instance, how to be humane. One of the things I have found so poignant is the ability of people from different walks of life, to come together for a noble cause; to help those in need; those hardest hit by Covid.

As we usher in the New Year, we could purpose to ditch the deleterious habits we’ve been indulging in. For instance, I realize that in this era of social media, many people want to be famous/popular; and, that’s the hardly the problem. The issue herein, is that as it turns out, majority do not seem to mind how they get the likes/follows…

It is with great concern that I note, that slowly we’re forgetting how to be ‘human’. What I mean by this is that humanity is expressed through compassion for one other, empathy, acts of kindness… However, all this is being overshadowed by the desire to be famous/popular.

Nowadays a person will see another tripping and, instead of rushing to help they will be busy pulling out their phones to take pictures, so they can share them online. Sometimes I see pictures online and I wonder, who took that pic?

I remember once I saw this video of a man battering a woman on some deserted road, and I couldn’t help but wonder, who had the time to record it because ideally, empathy would have dictated that the woman be rescued first. Assuming whoever took it had good intentions, they could have helped the woman first, then continued to take photos, or a video of the perpetrator.

Later on I saw photos of the woman and she was badly bruised. That had me thinking, had she been rescued sooner, the injuries would not have been that extensive. By choosing to help instead of recording such sorrowful incidents, one might miss the ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ moment to share some trending photo/clip, but helping a person in need could be much more beneficial.

That aside, ‘netizens’ have been branded, ‘social media in-laws’, because it appears one’s followers will have a say in everything the person does. The ‘in-laws’ have an opinion about the clothes one wears…the food one eats…the people one dates… Worse still, couples pretend to fight so they can attract their follower’s sympathy.

In some cases, the cited breakups are real but the ‘in-laws’ seem so heavily invested in one’s personal affairs that they get to call the shots, with regard to whether a couple should reconcile or not. Last I checked a couple of weeks ago, celebrated singer, Cardi B, had fallen victim to this. She had to deactivate her twitter account just to keep meddling fans away when she decided to get back with Offset.

Privacy is a guaranteed right in various international legal instruments, but the instant one goes sharing their personal information willingly, they waive the chance to claim infringement of that same right. While I understand why/how people end up sharing so much information on social media, I also find it an unnecessary risk. Not every intricate detail about someone’s life should be publicised.

That said, I’m of the humble opinion we should evaluate our choices so far, see the things we need to do away with, because even without Covid, there are things we engage in that are injurious; either to ourselves…or to our loved ones…or to someone somewhere; whether we know it or not, because social media has made this vast universe a global village.

Moreover, seeing as this year has been so hard on most of us we should not let the hard moments weigh us down… This coming year gives us another chance to dream again…a chance to work on our resolutions.

I had this conversation a short while ago with my big sis, where I was expressing my frustrations about writing down New Year’s resolutions. Nowadays I don’t bother writing them down. I get so discouraged looking at my unachieved resolutions because they are a reminder of unachieved dreams.

Therefore, I just do a mental note of the things I want to achieve… all through the year I try to achieve them… and in the event I don’t achieve them, I won’t have a written note to remind me of my ‘failure’. However, my sister pointed out something I had not thought of. Even if I don’t achieve all those set goals within the year I had planned, I might achieve them later God willing. At that point, my resolutions’ notes won’t be a reminder of failure, but lists of achieved goals.

What makes all the difference is our ability to remain hopeful and resilient; our ability to see our glasses as half-full. Year 2020’s resolutions might have been frustrated by Covid, but let’s not despair. 2021 is nigh…and with it comes a chance to rewrite our goals, and work towards achieving them. With 2021, it’s out with the old and bad… and, in with the new and good. Believe it!

I wish you a Happy New Year 2021; a year full of joy, peace, good health, love and success in all your endeavors!

Don’t despair… There’s hope!

When this year started, I had so many dreams… Dreams of getting admitted to the bar…moving out (can’t wait for the day)… I could see the light at the end of the tunnel…and I was so excited, like a child anxiously waiting for Christmas morning so they can unwrap their gifts.

Then Covid-19 happened! Next thing I knew, the World Health Organization was declaring it a global pandemic. I remember feeling a shiver run down my spine. I’d watched enough news to know what cataclysm Covid portended. It was like one of those horror movies where there’s an inexplicable wave killing people, and the best one can do is pray and hope that God will contain the situation soon.

This year has been one of a kind; a dreadful kind no one would have foreseen. The phrase, ‘The world is just a global village’, could not have felt more spot-on than it does now; for the first time in my lifetime, everyone, everywhere, in every continent has to walk around wearing a mask. Working from home has become the order of the day. States across the globe are imposing one lock-down after another in an attempt to break the transmission cycle of the virus.

When we’re about to celebrate because infections have gone down and the harsh containment measures can be relaxed, infection rates spike again and we have to revert to the containment measures. Everyone I know is suffering from ‘Covid-fatigue’.

Most people have grown weary of wearing masks every time they are in public places…and this whole business of sanitizing hands every two seconds is tiresome… Furthermore, nowadays one has to take a moment to consider the pros and cons of getting into physical contact with people, especially the close ones whom we would instinctively hug/kiss before. Covid has made us grow sceptical of our dear ones… and basic handshakes have become a dreaded thing of the past.

Now we’re all contending with what has been dubbed, the ‘new normal’. A ‘normal’ which has crippled businesses…led to mass lay-offs and reduced wages/salaries… This ‘new normal’ is hard. I miss the days I could comfortably get into a commuter bus, or walk into a crowded place without fear of contracting some deadly virus…

I miss the days when I could sneeze or cough without a care in the world…or hear someone else cough/sneeze and not think that could be Covid… So much has changed these last couple of months. Still, I believe there is hope… All is not lost!

The other day I saw this quote, “When you see babies being born, just know God has not given up on mankind”. It made me think a lot about the situation the world is in today. If God has not given up on us, why did He allow Covid to ravage the earth?

I was talking to a friend of mine a few days ago… Normally he’s very funny because he will make jokes out of every situation. However, that evening he sounded downcast… I tried probing and he told me he felt alone, and empty inside. because he’s had very many losses over the years…

My normal reaction was to tell him to trust in God because He knows why things happen the way they do., and his reply was, “I gave up on that shit!” That kinda shocked me, because I’ve always known him to be Catholic, although last year he’d told me he’d not been going to church for the last couple of years.

Honestly, I got concerned. His problems had pushed him over the precipice of faith. I didn’t know what to tell him. I felt he’d made a drastic move, but at the same time I tried walking a mile in his shoes. Sometimes it’s hard to believe in God when one has lost so much. Then, I remembered the Biblical story of Job. He lost everything!

And when he was at the verge of giving up on God, God came through for him, and He gave him back everything he’d lost in double. Given the hard times we’re living in, it is easy to despair. Like my friend lamented, “I’ve lost so much, yet I believed in God”.

I know there are so many people like my friend, who gave up on God because He’s let them go through untold suffering. And just like I told my friend, do not give up on God, because He will never give up on you. When we’re suffering we tend to think we’ve hit rock bottom, and there’s no hope of getting back up. That is not true.

Jesus died on the cross to give us hope. If we see how he suffered, we will be encouraged to persevere, when we’re going through tough times. Count your blessings…every small one…starting with the gift of life…and by doing so you’ll realize just how much God is present in your life.

Most importantly, Pray! The Bible (Philippians 4: 6-9) says, “Don’t worry about anything, but in all your prayers, ask God for what you need, always asking Him with a thankful heart. And God’s peace, which is far beyond human understanding will keep your hearts and minds safe, in union with Christ Jesus”.

Don’t get tired of praying…and don’t give up on God. He has not given up on you…and He never will. Believe it!

What do you want?

Half of the time we walk around…going through life, fumbling…uncertain of what we want. Do I want to go to law school? Do I want to write? Sometimes we have everything we want…but we don’t realize it…so we go through life, searching… and searching for that perfect thing…perfect job…perfect partner…perfect house… perfect family…

Question is, what d’you want? Second question is, is there such a thing as ‘Perfect’? Earlier today, my small sis and I were talking about happiness and success… which of the two would you pick? She picked happiness…then, being the ‘devil’s’ advocate, I told her it’s hard to be happy when you’re hungry… I mean, we should know that better…hunger has been the one constant thing in our life. Smh!

So agreeing with me, she rephrased her earlier statement. “I’d want just enough, to enable me to be happy”. I couldn’t agree with her more. Sometimes we get derailed by thoughts of grandeur… so much, that we become blind to the beautiful things happening around us.

A short while ago we were watching the movie ‘Permission’, starring Dan Stevens, Jason Sudeikis… It’s about a man (Will), who wants to propose to his college girlfriend (Anna), but on the night he intends to propose, he is discouraged from doing so by Annna’s brother and his partner. They suggest that Anna should try dating other men before she finally agrees to be tied to Will in nuptials.

Will seems reluctant because he is sure he loves Anna. She, on the other hand, is open to trying out new relations. The movie focuses primarily on these two trying to date different people, while they are still together. Sometimes, the focus shifts to Anna’s brother (Hale), who desperately wants to have a child but his partner (Reece) is opposed to the idea.

Towards the end of the movie, Will realizes he loves Anna and does not want to lose her. Therefore mastering enough courage, which he did not have at the start of the movie, he goes down on one knee and pops the question. Unlike the first time when they were in Hale and Reece’s company, this time they’re alone. Anna says yes, but later in the night, she changes her mind and retracts her acceptance.

Hale on the other hand, realises that while he loves Reece, he cannot continue being in a relationship with him because they clearly have different desires. He wants a child but his life partner won’t support him. Eventually he packs his clothes and leaves.

At the end of the movie a dejected Will is left alone in the house he had personally constructed for himself and Anna, as she sets out on her quest to find her happiness. Hale and Reece go their separate ways. I did not like the movie’s ending because it did not have the proverbial ‘happily ever after’…

However, it is a reminder that such is life. We do not always have everything figured out, and even when we do, we don’t always get it. As I watched the movie, one thing stood out: sometimes we spend so much time, trying to find that perfect thing… that perfect moment… those perfect words… For instance, at the start of the movie, Will knew what he wanted; to propose to Anna, but he was too nervous.

I’m thinking, if he had followed his gut then, and made that proposal, he would have known then, if she wanted to be with him or not. Furthermore, his woes began when their friends suggested they try dating other people before settling down.

In my humble opinion, the company we keep is crucial. Sometimes our friends/family mislead us unknowingly, therefore we have to be strong enough to stand by what we want, even if they do not agree with it. If one knows what they want, they should be ready to fight for it even if means they will swim against the tide.

Furthermore, we need to appreciate the things we have and the people in our lives, so we can treat them with the love and care they deserve. Sometimes we take them for granted, waiting for the ‘perfect’ ones to come along, until we find ourselves at the verge of losing them.

That’s when we realize just how much they mean to us, and ‘perfect’ is pretty much a figment of our imagination. In essence, what we need to do is to figure out what we want… and once we identify it, we should fight for it, no matter the odds.

Seventy times seven

Cold wars are a serious problem in my family and lately they are becoming annoyingly common; for instance, for the most part of last week and the previous week, my big sister and I were not talking to each other. What’s funny is that we’d fought over something so trivial – splitting house chores. At first the conversation had been going ok, but after a while we started disagreeing and before we knew things escalated…next thing we were going our separate ways.

A day later, I’d already gotten over the anger and I was ready to reconcile. My sister, on the other hand, seemed grumpy. I tried talking to her a couple of times but she blatantly ignored me. At some point I started panicking when I realized she was so bent on keeping to herself, that she would use alternative doors, so we wouldn’t bump into each other.

After a careful examination of my conscience, I realized that even though the things I’d told her were true, they were hurtful. Furthermore, the situation had been worsened by the fact that I’d said them with my voice raised. Possibly if I had said the same things calmly under different circumstances, they would not have stung as much as they did. Granted, I had said them in response to what she had told me and that’s why I had gotten angry in the first place. Since I knew she wouldn’t talk to me, I sent her a text apologising.

Still, she did not talk to me. I gave up trying and asked God to soften her heart because I could not understand how she could carry anger around for that long. I missed talking to her, but I did not know how else to reach out. Eventually, she started talking to me after a week. Of utter silence.

Over time I have realised that when I hold grudges, they consume me from within, so if I stay angry for long I end up hurting. That’s why I try not to stay angry for longer than necessary. Furthermore, there’s that reading about not letting the sun go down when still angry; meaning, even if it is alright to get angry sometimes, we should not drag it out.

“If you become angry, do not let your anger lead you into sin, and do not stay angry all day… Do not use harmful words, but only helpful words, the kind that build up and provide what is needed, so that what you say will do good to those who hear you…

Get rid of all bitterness, passion, and anger. No more shouting or insults, no more hateful feelings of any sort. Instead, be kind and tender-hearted to one another, and forgive one another, as God as has forgiven you through Christ”. (Ephesians 4:26-31).

Those words keep ringing in my head whenever I’m angry…and I thank God for them because they keep me from holding grudges, even when I feel someone has really hurt me. Coincidentally, the Sunday readings in church the last two Sundays focused so much on forgiveness.

One thing I got from this past Sunday’s reading is that if you want God to forgive you, you must forgive others as well. That is a prerequisite we must fulfil before seeking God’s forgiveness. That got me thinking, most of the time we walk around holding grudges against people, yet when we sin, we ask God for forgiveness, forgetting we haven’t forgiven others ourselves.

Jesus’ parable about the unforgiving servant (Matthew 18: 21-35) teaches on that. In a nutshell, it is about a servant who owed his king millions of dollars, so the king ordered that he be sold as a slave, together with his wife and children. The servant dropped on his knees, imploring the king to be patient with him because in time he would pay everything. The King felt sorry for him and forgave him his debt and let him go.

When this servant was on his way, he met up a fellow servant who owed him only a few dollars. Enraged, he grabbed him by the collar, asking him to pay all he owed him. The poor man fell on his knees asking for more time, just like the servant had begged the king, but he wouldn’t hear any of it. Instead he had him thrown in jail until he cleared his debt.

Other servants saw what had happened and they reported it to the king. Incensed, the king ordered that the unforgiving servant be brought to him. He castigated the servant for not showing mercy to his fellow servant. Subsequently, he had the unforgiving servant thrown behind bars, where he’d be punished until he repaid all the millions he owed the king.

As Jesus told His disciples, that is how God the Father will treat all those who do not forgive others. We should forgive each other seventy times seven times. This is just figurative. What Jesus was trying to say is that we should forgive as many times as possible because our human nature makes us prone to sin. That way, even God will forgive us.

On that same note, we are highly discouraged from avenging ourselves. In Romans 12:17-19 we’re told, “If someone has done you wrong, do not repay him with a wrong. Try to do what everyone considers to be good. Do everything possible on your part to live in peace with everybody. Never take revenge my friends, but instead let God’s anger do it”.

One of the lessons I’ve learnt during this covid period is that being cooped up indoors with your loved ones could easily make them seem like foes, because everyone starts focusing on the small, insignificant things… We need to overlook those trivialities, because it’s in so doing that we can live in peace and harmony…and when fights inevitably break out, forgiveness is key. That way, our humanness doesn’t pull us away from God’s grace.

 

Let’s talk about sex

How much is too much when it comes to children’s knowledge about sex? I’m under the impression some parents/guardians avoid this topic at all costs, but when you look at the happenings around us, the situation needs to be addressed. As the world is battling coronavirus, and all the untold hardships it has brought upon us, one of the glaring cons is that children have stayed out of school for longer than they should have.

You know some of those old sayings we so often take for granted? Some are proving hard to ignore; for instance, ‘An idle mind is the devils’ workshop’. Children are at home, and as it is, statistics show the number of underage pregnancies have rapidly increased.

These, have been attributed to gender-based violence, where girls are being defiled by male relatives; in some instances some naïve girls are being lured by wealthy men, who are promising them the things their parents/guardians cannot afford…then there’s the larger majority, who are just experimenting, of their own volition because they have so much time on their hands.

The latter is my bone of contention. Thousands of underage girls are getting pregnant…Question is, what are we not doing right? Something had me thinking…majority of guardians/parents are afraid of having the ‘birds and the bees’ conversation with their children; either because they are too reticent, or because in some cultures sex is one of those taboo topics everyone should avoid, except when discussing it with peers.

I’ve watched several movies on various local channels, where basic kisses are censored. Ever watched a Hallmark movie? They are the most family-friendly…they have a very intriguing storyline, which has relatively harmless love scenes. Methinks, the amount of kissing and nudity in these movies is too minimal to be censored.

Thinking of it from a child’s perspective, it feels like one of those instances where I’m watching my parents kiss…and as one would expect, it’s not one of those raunchy moments which scream, “Get a room!’ It’s the subtle type, which doesn’t focus on the physical aspect, but the intense love behind that kiss.

So, begs the question, should we bury our heads in the sand, pretend kids know nothing about sex and let things continue spiralling out of control? Should we let our innocent children get derailed by all the misleading information from their fellow friends, or the misleading pornographic content that’s easily available online?

When looking at a child, it is easy to dismiss them off as naïve, but I beg to differ. Just think of how old you were when you found out about sex. The difference between adults and children is, the former have a good amount of information to help them make informed choices, whereas the latter are still in a stage where they’ve got relatively little information that’s relevant, and ballooning curiosity.

I’ve interacted with children a lot, and one of the things I’ve picked up from my interaction with them is that a kid as young as five, has heard about sex from some older kids…problem is, the information they have is skewed…and that is where, in my humble opinion, parents/guardians should step in.

As a lawyer, one of my areas of expertise is children and the law, and as such, I could use pages expounding on the legal aspect of this conundrum. For starters, anyone found engaging in coitus with a minor should be charged with statutory rape…

However, the greatest challenge is that most of the teens are having sex with their fellow teens. In most jurisdictions, a child is anyone below the age of eighteen. So if both are minors, engaging in consensual sex, who should bear the criminal liability?

In the few years I’ve studied law, one of the greatest lessons I’ve learnt is that law does not solve all problems. The implication of this is that we need to find non-legal solutions and nip the problem in the bud. When I was a child, the one thing parents and teachers kept repeating was, ‘True love waits’.

From what I gather, most teens engage in coitus due to peer pressure. A kid who wants to appear cool needs to have sexual experience, because this is all kids are talking about nowadays…and the internet isn’t helping either. The way I see it, it’s about time we grabbed that bull by the horns.

Let’s have this conversation with kids…let’s tell them point blank of all the repercussions of teen sex…let’s not wait for them to collect misleading information from the internet, from peers… Let that vital, life-changing information come from a place of love…let’s teach them, that true love waits!

Alternatively, there’s the issue about safe sex education. If they cannot wait, there are safe ways of doing it. I know for most parents/guardians this might be unnerving, because children are angels, whose innocence should be protected. However, avoiding this topic is only worsening things.

The only way a parent/guardian can know the options available to them is by talking to their kids and gauging their position with regards to matters sex. What’s obvious, is that silence is not a viable option; because while we’re busy ignoring this, hoping our kids are still little angels, they are busy having sex…

 

Here’s to… my first legal job: Part 2

Earlier that day, my boss had arrived at the court late, and somehow thought it would be wise to put the blame on me. This was despite the fact that I had found someone to hold brief for him, requesting for the case file to be set aside. I had even notified him about it, detailing what had transpired in court in his absence, and even texted him the exact time the matter would be coming up again.

However, previous incidents of me shouldering blame for faults that were not mine had made me realize I could not continue carrying myself as a martyr. I would only, own up to my mistakes. Furthermore, stoicism wasn’t working for me, because the anguish was ravaging me, from the inside.

That day, a fellow colleague and I were summoned to my boss’ office, to be reprimanded for being incompetent. The lady partner was also present, and all she was doing was fanning dying embers. That is when it became vividly clear, what her intentions were. She did not like me one bit and she would do whatever it took to make my time there miserable as hell.

Unbelieving, and unable to fathom what was happening right in front of me, I explained to my boss all the concerns I had; all of which he seemed to understand. For the first time in a while, I felt the weight on my chest ease. I laid everything bare, detailing the instances they had faulted me for their own mistakes.

Afterwards, my boss went back to how he was in January; calm, and soft-spoken. However, that was not meant to last, as I would later discover. Two weeks ago, my colleague and I expressed our concerns about going to work amid the coronavirus outbreak, seeing how fast it is spreading and our work entailed filing matters in court and serving. On a good day I would spend about two hours in the office. The rest I spent out, running office errands.

The boss’ reply was, if we skipped work without leave, we would not get paid. Given what was at stake, I opted to pass on the money, and so did my friend. We even agreed to quit because the office was becoming too toxic. As my friend had put it, even other colleagues had started showing their true colours.

One thing I’m not sure I like about the legal profession, is that there’s a hierarchy, where someone is regarded, based on when they were admitted to the bar-‘seniority’. In layman’s term, it is an equivalent to how in the society young people are supposed to respect their elders. In this case, an ‘elder’ could be a twenty six year old, who was lucky enough to join the profession early, lording it over a fifty year old, who decided to become a lawyer after completing a PhD in an entirely different field.

Therefore, due to this concept of seniority, the ones at the bottom of the chain such as my friend and I, who are merely pupils, might end up getting overworked or maltreated by the rest. That is something my boss’ partner was keen on implementing, because she told my boss succinctly, that pupils should be the ones doing the bulk of the work.

This is what made my friend and I opt to skip work, given that most of the work assigned to us was clerical work, which ordinarily would be assigned to the firm’s clerk, or a certified process server. Next thing I knew, I was reading a letter of summary dismissal. Honestly, the letter caught me by surprise because I had not done anything to warrant dismissal.

Here’s to… my first legal job: Part 1

Toast to 1

Last year December was not a very good time for me, reason being, I was so anxious about starting my pupillage. See, I went for my interview in mid-August when I was still in bar school. At the time I was still preparing for my bar exams. Ergo, the mere thought of starting on a tasking job was automatically out of topic.

My supposed pupil master seemed so eager to send me on errands, even before I formally started working. Due to this, I feared once I started working, he would overwork me. I had heard several ‘horror’ stories about other students’ horrible experience during their pupillage, so that made me very cautious. I prayed I would not have one of my own to give after my pupillage.

However, when I reported to work in January this year, everything I had worried about seemed like an unnecessary fear. The first few weeks felt like heaven. Every evening when I got home, I would go to bed eagerly awaiting to rouse early the next day, so I could go to work. My job, actually felt like a dream job.

In late January my good work relationship with my boss  turned sour abruptly, and my ‘dream job’ became the sole cause of my anguish. I dreaded going to work, and whenever I sensed my boss’ presence, I would get knots in my stomach. I hated being at work, because every encounter with my boss was awfully stressful.

I bet one would wonder what I did to damage my once good relationship with my boss? Saddest thing is, even if I went back in time, I wouldn’t be able to change a thing; because all of that was not because of anything I had done.

See during the first few weeks, my boss’ partner was still MIA. I had only met her once during an end of year party I had been invited to by my boss. Funny thing is, my instincts told me she and I would have trouble getting along. Interestingly, at the time she had not done anything specific; it was just my intuition.

When she finally started showing up at the office constantly, she and my immediate boss started having constant impromptu meetings. Coincidentally, every time they met up to discuss ‘God knows what’, my boss would become visibly hostile towards me. My guess is, she had admonished him about seeming too friendly. Consequently, he started nit-picking, invariably blaming me for everyone else’s faults, literally. Sometimes I even got the weird feeling he was getting a kick out of making me miserable.

I know this might sound like I’m trying to ward off blame, but truth is, my personal work ethic dictates that when I’m working on something, I should give it my best shot. For the longest time, that has been my guiding principle. Even at the office, everything was running smoothly, until that lady showed up. Every time I found myself at the verge of quitting, I would ask God for the grace to push on; because my completion of the pupillage was, and still is, a prerequisite to me getting admitted to the bar.

After a careful deliberation, I decided to have a discussion with my boss. He had to know my perception of things, if we were to continue working together. Thankfully, I did not have to ask him to spare me a few minutes of his time; the opportunity presented itself in a very unprecedented manner.