Author’s Comment: A few days back, I published a mini blog post about an image that stirred up a wave of thoughts in me. While sharing it on facebook, I decided (on a whim) to dedicate it to a few guys. This post is in fulfillment of the promise I made to one of the guys who commented on that facebook post. I dedicate it to every young man out there.
You’re young. That’s a good thing; in fact it’s one of the best things that could happen to you. You’re young. Vibrant. Strong. Agile and wide-eyed. That is good. Very good.
You have your whole life ahead of you- literally. Countless opportunities, each promising the good life, stand at their corridors, urging you to come in. Your toughest call today may be which to follow and in what order. Therein lies my first worry.
Jo, you must understand that ‘opportunities’ are two-sided coins. They can make you eternally or damage you irreparably. You must choose wisely. There are a thousand great opportunities, but you must crave only God’s way for you. It may be good; but not necessarily God.
How can I tell the difference?, you ask. I am sorry boy, but I cannot convey the answer to that in this letter. My knowledge of your peculiar situation is much too vague to tender such pointed counsel. Forgive my limitation.
In the days of your strength, remember boy, that life will not reward what you can do; but what you have done. Therefore, you must deploy your energies in definite pursuit of worthwhile tasks. You must realise that to do nothing is to be nothing.
You must understand that the best way to thank God for an open door is to walk through it. You must stay vaccinated against analysis paralysis – the insidious disease that keeps young men ever talking but never doing, tricking them into a false sense of intelligence by their ability to eloquently articulate problems. You must commit to being a man of thoughtful, resolute and deliberate action. Talk doesn’t cook rice. Remember that.
Your strength is enviable young man. The ease in your strides call up memories of times when men were boys and boys were unborn. But you must decide to build on that strength. You must understand that as a man in the making, the future of a family will rest on you. A woman will come into your life. She will require top-notch leadership and cultivation towards her best self. So will your offsprings. You cannot give what you do not possess. Now is the time to possess.
Jo, you must build capacity to bear burdens today. Sound decisions and principled actions must become your trademark. You cannot be lazy.
You cannot be lazy spiritually. A man of strong faith, deep convictions and a thriving God-connection you must be.
You cannot be lazy mentally. A man of relevant, updated knowledge and critical thinking ability you must be.
You cannot be lazy physically. Agility, strength and stamina you must possess.
You cannot be lazy emotionally. The proverbial shoulder to cry on? Yes, that will be you.
You most definitely cannot be lazy financially. The ability to make, keep and multiply money you must develop today.
You will assume the office of the family priest, king, teacher, leader, cheerleader, lover, defender, and chief giver. There will be heavy demands on you. If you faint, fail, run away or give in to tantrums on that day, you only display your incompetence on a grand scale. Tall order I know. This is no place for weaklings. So I urge you to get started today for tomorrow awaits. You cannot fail.
Being young, gorgeous and ambitious has its perks.
And pesky troubles too.
The daughters of Eve, skilled in the art of detecting man-potential will sniff you out. They will instinctively know you’re a diamond in the rough. They will come for you. But swell, your head must not; for that will be the start of your rot.
You must learn to treat them with kindness and firmness. Your hands of steel must don gloves of velvet in this matter. You must know when to smile and when to refrain from smiling. You must understand that ‘affection’ need not be reciprocated – that you reserve the right to not be interested in interests you’re not interested in. But you must remember she has same rights too. Therfore, be ready to take it in good fate when the coin falls the other way.
Some will come after you with everything they’ve got – and I mean every thing. With soft words and a softer touch, they will seek to crack your resolve. Cleavages will be flaunted and backsides will be taunted; and yes, your body will want a piece of that action. But you must refuse. It may be hard at first to say no, but you can. You must.
Some will indeed question your manliness and seek to draw you out. But you have nothing to prove. You know you’re a man and that’s what counts.
Your battles will be many and yes, some will be bloody. As you slaughter personal inefficiencies and trade-off inherent weaknesses, it won’t be all smiles and sunshine. Events and people will arouse your hidden monsters. You will be shocked at what you could do when angry, hungry, jealous, tired, lonely, offended, ignored, excited, irritated or horny. Your monsters will surface.
Be grateful for such days. And do not deny your monsters. Face them. Do not justify, trivialize or worse, deny them. Kill them all. Else, they will show up in later days and hurt you in many ways. In one monster-moment, years of dedicated effort will be eroded.
One more thing Jo’.
Despite your best efforts, there may be days when you fall short. You will make mistakes. In those moments, you must realise that no amount of guilt can change the past. You must ask for and receive forgiveness. You must learn the lessons. And you must move on. Feelings of guilt and remorse are healthy – but only to a certain point. Beyond that, they become self-built prison cells, strong enough to keep you from your higher purpose. You may fall; but you, Jo’ must promise that you will get back up again.
Promise this Jo’, promise this.
That you will become the man.
God designed you to be.
Live by Design.
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N.B: Jo’ – A generic reference to young men.