Don’t allow anybody to despise your ‘youth’

Kabiyesi Enitan Babatunde Adeyeye Ogunwusi

“Pride must die in you, or nothing of heaven can live in you”- Andrew Murray

Henri Fredrick Amiel said, “The man who has no inner life is the slave of his surrounding”. Modern slavery has nothing to do with an oppressor. It is mostly self-inflicted! In his famous book, Julius Caesar, William Shakespeare said, “Men at some time are masters of their fate. The fault, O dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings”.

I did a quick check on the word, ‘underling’, and the synonyms got me thinking. The synonyms for underling are: inferior, minion, menial, vassal, subject, hireling, servant, etc. Youths are in no way inferior, we are “pregnant” with the future. We must rise up from being an ordinary observer by positioning ourselves strategically towards redesigning the nation. Youths Arise!

Prudence Kohl once said, “The search for self-worth begins by finding what is indestructible inside, then letting it be.” There is a Yoruba adage that says, “When a child washes his hand properly then he can dine with the elders”. In a clear translation, it means that when a child conducts himself properly, then he can hobnob with people that are far beyond his age. From all clear indications, the present Ooni of Ife, his Royal Majesty, Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, is a man far beyond his age in terms of maturity and in his tactical approaches to handling very knotty issues. At the age of 42, the Ooni looks 32 and conducts himself like a 62 year old!

In one of his best-selling books, The Prophet, Khalil Gibran, one of the brightest poets that the world has ever produced said, “To belittle, you have to be little.” The Ooni of Ife has shown severally that the privilege of being a king must never be abused. The face of modern ‘authority’ is not to turn subordinates to stooges but rather to serve people with deep humility. Leadership is a call to service and not to hold followers down in servitude. The legendary Spartan King, Agesilaus II said, “Royalty consists not in vain pomp, but in great virtues”.

Most times we adduce royalty to those with the so called “royal blood”, but there is a king that has arisen among us; he is not just a king by blood but a king in character, a king in spirit. The true evidence of royalty is not the blood-line but character. Royalty is useless when character is lacking. One of the greatest fashion geniuses to walk the earth, Gianni Versace said, “In the past, people were born royal. Nowadays, royalty comes from what you do”.

It is savage madness to think you can increase your stature by making others feel smaller. The Bible seriously admonish the youths in 1 Timothy 4:12:“Let no one despise your youth, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity”. In order to maintain a healthy self-image, there are three core principles that must always be upheld: “Don’t ever look down on yourself”; “Don’t ever allow anyone to look down on you”, and “Don’t ever look down on anyone”. A healthy self-image is seeing yourself as God sees you. The most secured people are those that derive their sense of worth and security from within. It is a fundamental truth of life that no man will value you more than you value yourself.

The greatest asset to have in life is a healthy self-image. According to Rev. Olusola Areogun, “Knowing your identity is the first step to overcoming defeat and failure in life”. I have come to realise that a healthy self-image is crucial to navigating through some of the most demeaning and spiteful occurrences in life. Our self-image is always a target of attack from image poachers and “emotional vampires” but we must never let down our guard. We must vehemently refuse to be intimidated. Being a youth shouldn’t be an excuse to overlook ungainly and disrespectful treatment from anybody, no matter who they are or think they are.

Brian Tracy said, “Self-esteem is the reputation you have within yourself. His Royal Highness, the Ooni of Ife has severally preached some life-changing messages through his conducts and carriages. He made us to fully realise that our value does not decrease based on someone’s inability to see our worth. Never let someone else’s opinion of you become your reality. Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Nobody can make you inferior without your own consent”. When identity has not been ascertained, abuse is inevitable.

I would like to reach out to the youths out there in the words of Mark Twain: “Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great”. When you learn how much you are worth, you will stop giving people ‘discounts’. Endeavour to surround yourself with people that affirm your worth. Tim Fargo said, “If you want to improve your self-worth, stop giving other people the calculator”. A great lesson that can be learnt from his Royal Majesty, Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, is summed up in one sentence: When you know your worth, no one can make you feel worthless. Accept no one’s definition of your life; define yourself.

Dave Willis said, “Show respect even to people who don’t deserve it, not as a reflection of their character, but as a reflection of yours.” I urge the youths to always go extra mile to honour the elders and people in authority. The culture of respect, decency and humility must never be negotiated at any cost; any culture that downplays this should be outrightly discarded. One of the Yoruba adages that I love so much captured this succinctly: “Paying obeisance to a dwarf does not, in any way, demean your height”. The Ooni has shown us all that leaders must learn to come down from their lofty height to dwell among the people, a virtue that is most lacking among the present crop of Nigerian leaders.

Spencer Kimball said, “Humility is royalty without a crown. Humility is greatness in plain cloth”. I would really like the youths out there to emulate the core values of humility and simplicity that have set the Ooni apart from the rest. Dr. Myles Munroe said, ‘’Humility is not the degrading or reducing of oneself in the estimation of another, but rather the awareness, acceptance and appreciation of one’s worth and value’’. Ooni of Ife has been exemplifying the virtues of respect and deep humility worthy of emulating at different occasion and events. Youths be humble or you will stumble.

As youths, we must vehemently refuse to play second fiddle. We must be at the forefront for change. Leadership roles are not only customized for the aged. We must rise up gallantly to the task. We must not be at the mercy of the much-awaited ‘change’, we must pioneer it. Youths should stop clamouring for change; we are the change that we have been waiting for! We are the change gladiators that the world is waiting for. I want to also encourage the Nigerian youths to be fully involved in policy-making and to eliminate myopic apathy towards Nigerian politics. The candid truth about the Nigerian politics is that we must be involved for it to evolve.

I dedicate this piece to the Generalissimo of all the Yoruba kings, Ooni of Ife, His Royal Majesty, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II. We are so proud of you in character and carriage. You are a worthy ambassador of the youth and an epitome of true royalty. Benjamin Disraeli captured your person in one of his quotes: ‘’The greatest good you can do to others is not just to show your riches but to reveal to them their own.’’ You have shown us that true riches are not ‘material’; it is all about the way we treat people.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: ‘’The only person who can pull me down is myself, and I’m not going to let myself pull me down anymore.”- C. Joy Bell C

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Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi
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