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Cherishing life

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Mr.Chairman, Principal, Teachers and Students. Special thanks today to the RBTT Bank for another year supporting such an innovative Young Leaders programme as this.

Today I speak to you on the topic “Cherishing life”. But, without first understanding what life is, and why we are here in the first place, we should not even attempt, or venture into a further understanding of what it means to Cherish the very subject that we have not fully grasped, grown to understand, express or even appreciate. {{more}}

What then is life?

For those of us who have a deep-seated trust in the conventional methodology of finding meanings, then the Dictionary defines life simply as “being alive, or the ability to function and grow”.

However, to fully appreciate our function in society, we must extend the definition beyond just “being alive”. Our life is our past, our present and our future. Our present, we see, is a product reality of what has been hammered into shape by our past, yet it acts as the very foundation for the future. That is what makes the present that important. The present is a juncture between the “To Come” and The Gone”. We must be on guard.

Where then does this lead us?

Shakespeare captures it best when he said, in the play “Twelfth Night”, Act one scene one: “If music be the food of love, play on; Give me excess of it, that surfeiting, the appetite may sicken, and so die.” But, life, and reality, is more than music, food or romantic love. I may be contradicted speaking to you a mere 10 days after Valentine’s.

Firstly, I must point out that despite your circumstances, you can still be a leader. Naaman was described in Second Kings Chapter 5 as being diseased; he had within him what it took to rise above the odds, not disregarding that he may have appeared one scorned by many, but his forthrightness was so complete. We need to adopt such an approach in our personal lives today as students.

A similar forthrightness was outlined in Nelson Mandela’s “Long Walk to freedom”. It is so simple and easy to give in to the ever-present temptation of giving up. Nelson Mandela’s walk to Freedom would have been incomplete if he had lacked endurance. So we must endure.

How much more endurance do we have as students?

It must be noted that Naaman was sent to be cleansed in the river Jordan; this was not the best river in Israel. We must take that statement to its logical conclusion. In fact he asked whether he could not be washed in the rivers of Abana and Pharpar, which were considered better than Jordan. We see reluctance here.

Disobedience is the term I will like to introduce at this point. Had Naaman gone and dipped in another river, I am almost certain that he may not have been healed. We must be obedient.

We must therefore have the energy to motivate ourselves and others to fight harder, study for longer hours, and raise our ambition through obedience. There is always room at the top.

In our circumstances as youth, we must be admonished by what is right. I say this to say that we need to listen and take counsel. Although it is human nature to err, in the event that we err, we must err on the side of caution.

Despite many warnings, many of us act as if we are on a doomed path to “Sherpherdlessness”. Becoming pregnant and having to leave school is not death, but it can be a serious obstacle in your way. Being arrested, charged and convicted as a youth is not death, but it will act as a barrier to your positive development and progress. Issues concerning HIV/AIDS and drug addiction and the like are but a few of our modern plagues, to be avoided at all costs.

The change however begins with you and me. The future is our home, and we must begin to set the foundation today. I live my nights trying to figure out why many youths would have acted in the way they did, and endured the longest walk in any man’s life, the lonely walk to the prison cell. To be foretold is to be forewarned. To have life and waste it is more than a blatant disgrace to humanity, it is a disbelief in God and the purpose for which we were born.

To our Young Leaders, reality knocks loudly on your heart, ambition begs at your doorstep, you must reach out, yet search within for that inner courage. Drawing on your inner strength, do not allow the wondering ponderances of “TO BE OR NOT TO BE” and the “What is to happen will happen” infect your daily conduct. Instead, that must be traded for the “I Will make it happen” approach.

As I come to an end, I must warn that there are those who will attempt to clip our wings. Pamenos Ballantyne has been a recent youthful recipient of such a grave injustice. Yet, I see a great day coming for us as Youth. Those of us who are shattered and have lost our symmetry must embark on a very urgent rebuilding. Being a modern day prototype of the seeds mentioned in the Bible which fell by the way side should be avoided at all cost. Together let us lead the move ahead taking our Blessed nation into 2020 and beyond. “Let us set aside every weight, and the things which so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.”

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