I am honoured to be a participant in this occasion which honours the city of Eko@50 – Eko, a special place which embraces all who choose to make it home and today we celebrate the children of the city.
These children gathered here on this auspicious day represent the future and the continuity of humanity and, as adults, we strive collectively to provide the best for our children and future generations.
I believe the best gift we can bestow on the next generation of Lagosians is knowledge. I know it is challenging when we live in the digital age…quick access, quick responses, quick likes, quick answers YET no quick answers on HOW TO LIVE.
You see children, childhood is a special time in your life. It is a carefree time when you explore, ask questions and live with amazement and wonder.
Please use it wisely and focus on what is important – YOUR EDUCATION, time with family and friends…good friends, whom you shall hopefully have through adulthood. Make the right decisions and when unsure ask your parents, teachers and other trusted adults. Yes, you should be curious but not so curious you make the wrong decision which results in severe consequences.
You reside in a place and time where you are celebrated. Your rights as children are recognised and upheld but you must also understand you have a role in fulfilling those rights.
You have a right to live to your fullest potential but you must seize the moment and focus on your studies. Your sole job right now is going to school and making the most of the opportunities provided by your parents, community and the state. This is the time TO LEARN, TO OBSERVE, TO LISTEN, TO WATCH, TO INVESTIGATE, TO EXPLORE and TO ASK QUESTIONS.
You have the right to live securely as you go about your daily business.
ASK the children: What is that business?
RESPONSE: (Going to school). Whilst you are in school you must abide by the rules as well as respect other students and adults. No fighting, No bullying, No Violence.
ASK: Otherwise what happens?
RESPONSE: Can you imagine what will happen if your parents went to work and disrespected others and started fighting.
ASK: What do you think will happen?
RESPONSE: That is correct..arrest, no money…no food. Therefore, you must behave and focus on learning.
You must speak up if you see or hear something that is wrong. It is your responsibility to bring the matter to the attention of adults. It is part of GOOD CITIZENSHIP. We are collectively responsible for ourselves and others. We must OBSERVE the rules at home, in school and in society. Otherwise ..
ASK: What happens when we break the rules?
RESPONSE: Consequences, punishment, chaos.
Children, your childhood is a happy time in your life which can never be repeated which is why it must be celebrated.
ASK: Have you ever heard of ‘Adults Day’?
RESPONSE: No, but why? Adulthood is filled with responsibilities and duties to oneself, family, state and the nation.
Please, take the time to discover your future career. Research and ask adults about their jobs. If you already know your area of interest, then explore further and read online (you are all better apt at this than we are). It is important to have a plan for your future and work towards it. Find a mentor who inspires you and a protagonist who will support your vision. Make sure your vision has goals. In other words, be strategic and diligent in tackling all matters, from reading to homework, to tests… to researching your future career as all these build the foundation for work ethics.
Remember, the most successful people in the world have a vision, a plan, multiple goals along the path to attainment but most important, perseverance. It is okay to fail but the key is NEVER GIVE UP.
Think of life in the same light as you view riding a bicycle. You start with a tricycle, then a bicycle with training wheels which over time are eliminated in place for a fast bicycle.
ASK: Do you ever return to the tricycle or training wheels?
Same thing with life, once you have mastered the skill…the lesson…you move along except for when you fall of the bike.
ASK: What happens when you fall off? Do you get on the bike again or walk away? Do you walk away when you fail a test or the test result is lower than expected?
Response: Children that is the perseverance… getting on the bike again….with determination to keep it in motion. Keep learning and expanding your knowledge base and it leads to success.
ASK: When there is a flat tyre, do you throw away the bike?
RESPONSE: No, those represent the obstacles in life. When you don’t understanding the concept in class or the the school test, it means you must study to comprehend or seek assistance. Don’t pretend you understand what you don’t understand because you will be lying to yourself and denying the opportunity to
ASK: Do you fix the broken chain so you can cycle along perhaps faster?
RESPONSE: That is analogous to you applying more effort to your work…projects so you can move further along in your studies.
ASK:Do you personalise/decorate your bike so everyone knows it is yours?
RESPONSE:That is the same thing as a earning report cards, certificate, …successful results
ASK: Do you take care of your bike? why?
RESPONSE: Then you must take care of yourself and like yourself. You must respect yourself and have self-esteem so you are not swayed by others. You must speak up when necessary because something doesn’t feel right for you or another.
Children, it takes time to develop from childhood to adulthood, there are no quick steps and/or solutions … be patient with life …savour your childhood and create fond memories. We must make the best choices for ourselves as our actions affect others.
I commend the genius of our esteemed Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode who has an astute concept for our metropolis and is dedicated to making a difference in Lagos. We are grateful for this precious space under a bridge which celebrates the diversity of Eko, a space which is accessible to all and frequented by many every day, as they get on with their lives regardless of their gender, socio-economic status or physiological difference. This is what life truly is about a chance to respect, to believe, to have faith, to know, to learn, to create, to celebrate and be grateful for our city and our co-citizens.
My sincerest gratitude to my friend, Polly Alakija, for generously, selflessly and fearlessly sharing her gift with all us. Through her work, we are all connected and reminded that our precious mega city Eko is committed to not just to the arts but to the source of life…WOMANHOOD.…THE PILLARS OF STRENGTH.
I thank all those who laboured to make this day possible because you see the vision is key but the path to birthing this grand monument to Womanhood…the Pillars of Strength took dedication, skill, goals, focus and perseverance.
Finally, as we continue our celebration of Children’s Day and Eko@ 50 in this unique setting, let us remember to respect yourselves as well as others regardless of gender, ethnicity, religion, socio-economic and physiological differences.
We must make time to connect with each other particularly our children and ask simple questions, “How are you? How was your day? With whom are you friends? What happened in school today? Let me see want you are reading, watching? Where are you going?
Yes, our lives are busy with much to accomplish but life is about the moments of connection with another. The connection… the mentoring with a child could inspire them, teach them, redirect them when they going down a questionable path, a moment to remind them their lives …their future matter.
Dear Children, remember your future and the future of Eko rest in your precious hands. I want each of you to become mature, well-respected women and men able to positively contribute to the mega city of Eko.
I thank you and I wish Eko another Fifty years. Itesiwaju ipinle Eko lo je wa logun.
Copyright 2017 – Dr. Ama Onyerinma Live Abundantly® Empowerment Initiative
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