Whenever I get the opportunity to connect with young people particularly teenagers and children, I always ask what dreams they have about the future. Their responses have always been amazing. I always hear these young people say they want to be artistes, teachers, politicians, lawyers, doctors, pilots and even the weirdest things you can imagine.
I know their dreams come from various sources. Some have a colouration of satisfaction with parental successes and a desire to become like Dad or Mum. Others just imagine that anything is possible and they flow with it. Somehow, there is a faith in every child that makes dreaming big possible.
But what happens as these kids grow up? Suddenly, they are not as lively and enthusiastic about life as they used to be. Someone said, childhood is the time to dream but adulthood is the time to wake up and face reality!
So when I talk to those children, I am tempted to say, “Don’t worry, I give you 10 years and you will just want to marry, have a job and live a quiet life.” But then, I think there is no harm in letting a child hope, so I tell him to believe in his dreams and I silently walk away.
Joseph had a dream at the tender age of 17 and you can tell, he was super excited so much that he could not stop talking about his dream, even over dinner. But soon, the mischief of his brothers landed him in Egypt as a slave. We will expect that he was just going to say bye to his dreams like most adults have. But NO, Joseph held on. He held on to God, who alone could bring his dreams to pass.
Whatever juncture you are in the journey of your life, this week, I encourage you to hold on to the God-given dreams in your heart. You may be in the Egypt of a job you hate. You may be in the prison of so much lack and your desires and aspirations seem impossible, just hold on. God will fulfill His purpose for your life.
And if you have a child around you, kindly cultivate the habit of helping him know that his dreams are possible. Let Him know that life may throw all sorts of darts at him, but with patience, persistence and a complete dosage of diligence, he can become all that God has planned for him to become because dreams come true!
One of the most remarkable attributes of children is their ability to dream. Ask a child what he wants to become and you’ll be amazed at how great his dreams are. What happens to these great dreams as many of us grow up is perhaps, product of our matriculation into the University of life.
Bruce Wilkinson says in his book, The Dream Giver, “No matter where I travel in the world- whether among hard changing Manhattan urbanites or villagers in South Africa- I have yet to find a person who didn’t have a dream. They may not be able to describe it. They may have forgotten it. They may no longer believe in it. But it’s there.”
Every great accomplishments and movements starts with one person who had a dream, vision or goal. Paul says God is able to do exceedingly above what we can ask or dream about. This means that God wants us to dream big with the assurance that he will do greater than we dream. So how do we get to be able to dream big? Here are some thoughts. Your additions are welcome. Please leave a comment!
1. Know your God.
Scripture says, those who know their God shall be strong and will do exploits. Exploits are first dreamed before they are done. When you know God and make him your partner, you begin to dream big because He is limitless and you can trust his pool of resources to bring your dreams to pass. It is as you know God that faith is built in you.
2. Read biographies, be inspired!
Paul was blind yet, in his dream, he saw that he could see. Your dream is only limited by the quality of your sight. When you read books, you are elevated to the shoulder of others and thereby enabled to see farther. When you read, your heart is connected to the impossible feats men of like passion and circumstances have accomplished and you are inspired to dream beyond yourself.
3. Let God dream for you.
This is not push away your responsibility to dream big dreams of a better future. I believe it is your duty to capture the picture of a better future but the truth is, no matter how big you dream, God’s plans will always be bigger. David probably dreamed to become the world’s best Shepherd. God made a king out of him. Mary probably just wanted to be the virtuous wife of a diligent carpenter but God made the blessed mother of Jesus out of her. The list goes on. In all your dreams, let God’s purpose and plans be your desire, nothing will be greater!
Joseph had a dream at the age of seventeen. His mind was soon full of it that could not stop talking about it, even at the dining table. He had the first dream, his brothers turned him down and said very harsh things to him. But Joseph dreamt again. The fulfilment took a while, but it came pass that he became a leader who made great impact for God, serving His purposes in his generation. At his death, Joseph dreamt yet again. He saw a people plenty without count. He saw them in occupation of a land flowing with milk and honey. He saw the prosperity of God’s people and wanted to be part of it. He asked that his bones be taken to Canaan on the people’s departure from Egypt. Can our generation find another Joseph in you?
No matter what your story has been, you can dream again.
On the whole, dreaming big is not about the quantity but the quality of your dream. Dreaming big is not actually about the size but the significance of your dream.
So, I want to challenge you to let go of anything that may be holding you back. See with your eyes of faith. Give yourself the permission to dream big. Let the impossible become Himpossible and with all your dreaming, pray, work, meet people and let your goal remain always to make God famous!
His name is Joe. He is an eleven-or-so year old boy. He is from Bayelsa. My name is Kiite, a medical student. I am about double of Emmanuel’s age. My place is in Ogun, far from Bayelsa. Sure, you would agree that many things could have brought us together despite the differences but would you have thought of this…
First time I saw him, I did not think of it too. I thought he was the owner’s son. His mien was such a joyous one. He was all over the place laughing with everyone, you’d think he was really the owner’s son just helping out until you notice he never sat down between parking plates and cleaning tables. And no one ever asked him if he had eaten. You’d find out again that he was always there no matter the time of the day. Whether it was school time or not, so long as the cafeteria was open, he’d be there like a roster. When we spoke, I asked if he had any dream; he replied, he wants to become a doctor like me. Yet, he does not even remember what class he was before he dropped out of school in Bayelsa not to talk of the books he read. He only remembers being chased away for not paying the school fees. His father had many wives and children. ‘Even the tishas sef don tire to dey chase us comot’, he said.
When I told him he had to go to school to become like me, he says he’ll return to school when school resumes in September. I laughed because I knew he had been here more than 2 Septembers ago and school resumed as well then. When he asked why i laughed, that couldn’t he become a doctor? I shook my head and said yes, if only his September dream could be real…
My dream is to make such dreams as Joe’s real for our young generation. What most of them have as inheritance like Joe is a fatherland with many wives, and debts it cannot repay. Their testimonies is of how they were turned down from their claim to the heritage of sound education, standard health care amongst other social and cultural amenities they deserve as true sons of the soil. Most times, they live on happily unaware of what they have lost or should have gained; but soon the eleven year-or-so old boy grows into a man and now develops the brazen zeal and sense of purpose to make it in life at all costs even though his society has not equipped him in anyway. He tries to find a way, picks up his own tools- stealing, nepotism, bribery, corruption, negligence, impunity- and soon the Nigerian factor sets in. This is the vicious cycle that has added ‘sleeping’ to our ‘giant of Africa’, that has kept countless children on the streets, sold young girls into prostitution and child slavery. This is the vicious cycle that has made good and quality education unaffordable rather than of unavoidable, the cycle that has turned common primary health care into an exorbitant luxury and access to social amenities ‘a gluttonous desire’. In short, it is the cycle that has turned ours into a hell of a country to be.
What do we do?
Nigerians have looked up, walked up, written up, cried up, cursed up, prayed up, and protested against up because they believed the power for the change was up. Yet, this power belongs even to us the seemingly powerless. In 1948, a group of young people gathered themselves together in small groups reading literature, living in truth and leading parallel lives different from what obtained an oppressive, repressive communist USSR at the time. Despite all crude and desperate attempts by the USSR troop to crush them, by November 1989,the few intellectuals had swollen in number to include members from all strata of the society; the protests increased and in what was referred to as the ‘Velvet Revolution’, Czech Republic gained its independence with Vaclav Havel as President.
In Nigeria, yes we have gained independence since 1960 but the prison break from modern day oppression from our leaders and ourselves too(corruption cuts across the social strata) is a lawful and needed one.
It is time to look down to ourselves and not up for our restoration. We have a power even as powerless masses to change our destinies. We can come together with our different tongues, fields, and beliefs to lead parallel lives and act as a force majeure for good. Martin Luther King said ‘injustice is precipitated not only by the vitriolic actions of the wicked but by the vituperative inactions of the good’
How do we do it?
Our basic tenets are History ,Culture, Leadership training and Character Moulding, Self development and Talent building. This model is not in form of a typical specialised NGO focusing on an aspect of life but rather a community-based idea where people come together to live lives that are parallel to what obtains in their community and therefore make a change. Those who are keen on education amongst them will ensure the likes of Joe get quality education( through Parallel intramural or extramural lessons, Parallel scholarships , the Parallel Library (a projected homely and well-stocked library of cultural and academic values),those who are interested in health- young doctors, health professionals amongst others will serve to see ( through voluntarism at community health centers, subsidies at partner private clinics, amongst others ) that the best of health care is given. Other social structures like cooperative societies are also engineered for self-empowerment. Joe is also told the history of his past,he is exposed to his culture and that of his nearest brothers and learns to appreciate and analyse them. Then, we teach ourselves first hand and learn the importance of values of honesty, integrity, patriotism, altruism and for ourselves and our country. These are the new tools young Joe would pick up as he grows into a Parallel Nigerian. Joe will get sound education, and when he graduates and heads a government parastatal, the virtuous Joe will rather forfeit his position than take bribe. And like our oral folk tales ,these virtues will be sung to the children from his loins. As more and more people choose to live the Parallel way, the parallel community soon becomes the real community and the parallel values, our national anthem .Our mission which is eventually to build the seemingly minority of good and powerless Nigerians into a Powerful Parallel begins to unfold.
A few efforts have been made but not enough to count yet .If we do not give up, i know the dream for our country like the September dream can be made real .All are welcome.You could contribute towards Education- via sponsoring of school fees and textbooks ,replacement of uniforms, donation of books (New and old) for our Parallel library which though still very small is getting bigger, donation of land on which to build our Library of Learning and Culture).We need amenities-clothes ,food and utilities for our young friends and many other aspects of life in the community. Regarding health, there is an awareness programme we anchor on radio where pertinent health issues, modes of prevention and management measures are discussed.
We are also about starting a co-operative credit society amongst women in a community because we realise what inestimable contribution an empowered mother can make in the life of her children. We are in dire need of funds for this. Yet, you may not find what tugs at your heart in all of the above, maybe you are burdened about other issues specifically in your community. Let us know and we will come join you and partner as fellow parallels towards change.The belief is that by creation and growth of a PARALLEL economic, cultural, educational, and even political structures, we can transform an ‘abstract moral attitude’ into a unifying factor and source of dynamism which would thus have a field of activity and a positive goal
We have no name!
Parallels is not an organisation searching for name, fame, recognition or huge grants from foreign bodies, rather, a simple community of people within a community seeking to do and set things right, influencing younger generations to become the kind of leaders we need. The scope may seem rather large but that is because a lawyer will find it easier to solve a financial problem than a doctor and vice versa. So, the import is to allow each man to solve the social challenges that directly confronts him or her in the unity of oneness in training and character.
…’send a man the way he wishes to go and you would see him at his fastest’- African Proverb
This is my dream for a a prison break that is lawful better Nigeria join me fellow countrymen to build Parallels-a nation that must move forward, a people that must live, a heritage that we must keep even for generations unborn. Together, I am sure we would move at our fastest.
The Power of the Powerless ,Vaclav Havel et al by ME SHARP,INC(PG 11)
“Václav Havel.” Microsoft® Encarta® 2009 [DVD]. Redmond, WA: Microsoft Corporation, 2008.