ONCE UPON A FUTURE




     As she entered into the street, she saw the ball fly viciously in the air, propelled by an obviously violent shot. It aimed directly at her... at her well made up, no-spot-visible, freshly-fair face. The ball, even the force that propelled it was nonetheless disappointed by the reaction it got from her. She ‘chested’ the ball then let it slide freely through her shoulder and down to meet a knee-up and further down as she bounced the ball on one foot, all the while not giving it a chance on the floor. She then went ahead to dribble herself, even to reminiscence... 

      ....”A professional footballer dad!” she had told her dad, “a footballer” her dad had repeated with a disgust that decided to ignore the modifying adjective. “No child of mine would waste my money on any stupid course or academy-whatever!” her dad said and slammed the door at her face, more like, at her dreams. According to her mum, it was worse enough that “someone” would think of being a footballer and more awkward that this child of hers is FEMALE. What was she thinking? Footballers are visionless rascals that once in a while find themselves a little fortunate to be recognised by one or two persons that eventually DECIDE their lot! Her parents probably thought she had been joking all the while since her junior secondary school when she used to ring the bell of being a footballer! They had thought she would grow out of it, that she would stop when they stopped her from seeing those friends of hers, but she didn’t, she didn’t even budge.
        The next day, her dad came to her room and dropped some documents on her bed “you won’t sign that if you’re a bastard” he said and left the room angry, as angry as he had been since their discussion the previous day. She checked it out and it was an already filled out JAMB form. She checked out the course, and it was there, in block letters, “ACCOUNTING!It took her seconds then hours and then days, before “she picked up her pen and appended her signature”; actually, that means before “she eventually gave up her dreams”. Maybe some dreams are meant to be left unrealised after all. She could become an accountant, at least someone or some people, most likely ‘the world’ would be proud.
      ‘Restored’ to the present, Ifeyemi decided to return the ball to its rightful owner, to someone whose dream can be realised. She gave a kick and let the ball travel with a shot that carried the joy and fulfilment that she had felt in that one moment handling the pig skin leather ball. The boys on the field were full of awe, astonished at how a lady that was formally dressed could dribble so well. They wanted to run to her, hungry for some tips, but she had re-adjusted her jacket and dusted her pants, picked up her bag and moved on, her mind made up never to look back. Not at the memories, not at the pain, but to look forward to feature in an already written boring script that mocks her, knowing fully well that she had no choice but to play the lead.
    Okay, Ifeyemi is ‘fiction’. I thought about her when I got out of my office only to see some boys playing football. I actually wished I could handle the ball and get all of them grovel at my feet and hail me as Lord. That however, is a dream not intended to be realised even in my next world. Nonetheless, it is not fictitious that God is not a ‘waster’ of resources!
        Victims like Ifeyemi abound in our society today. Study shows that 70% of those that are currently in the Universities are either studying the courses that their parents have picked for them or the ones circumstances picked for them. And it seems unfair, maybe not so unfair, but it gives me a peep into the future of our dear country. If eventually 70% would work ‘strange’ jobs, if parents, guardians and even the society do not trust the youth to pick a career of their own hereby making them dependent and complacent, how then can they be trusted to be leaders of the time? The world has definitely revolved so fast with some people and left some of us behind, people don’t just decide other people’s future anymore. ‘Making’ a career out of others' lives is either out of vogue or simply NOT right!
       If our photographers are defending in courts of law, our pilots are really trying to be doctors and our musicians are counting money as bank cashiers, how can we together make a Nigeria of the free? When we wake up every morning and we wish we were asleep, ‘cos it’s another day of WORK. Not everyone would become a doctor, an engineer or have the title ‘Barr.’ attached to their profile; in fact, YOUR child might not be one of those. We simply feed our children to our desires when we force them to pursue what they would tolerate for the rest of their lives.
    Our society celebrates only the icon that has a white collar attached to his neck! The question is, do we recognise a true icon when we see one?
       ‘Train up a child in the way he should go, so that when he grows he would not depart from it’ (Prov 22:6). Teach, direct, instruct, mould us when we are children, and when we grow, release us to by ourselves ‘put childish things away’ and become the righteousness that you have shown us. I, like every single youth in Christ stand on the word of God and say that we would not give up, not on our dreams, not even in believing that one day you will trust us enough and be proud of our ‘little’ dreams. We are sure though, that our diligence would birth a standing before kings and queens.
      Very important is the fact that, I have "learnt through THE book" that the "plans that God has for his children are of peace, not of evil, to give them a FUTURE and hope". He shocked Jeremiah when He said "before I formed thee in the belly, I knew thee..." Aint nobody can know a product than the maker of the product himself! The true essence of a man is found ONLY when he by himself decides to follow God and accepts his calling. It is not necessarily what parents or guardians think. Those plans may in fact look or sound awkward at times, but then I think it is scriptural - "no eye has seen, no ear has heard and no mind has conceived, what the Lord has prepared for those who love Him". The best thing indeed that you can give a child is to show him the way of the Lord...              
     My last word to every guardian or aspiring guardian, if we like a story, write the script to our children’s future based on whatever experience or expectation we have, and give it to them to act out, they become stars of that strange story and it’s like ONCE UPON A FUTURE!”

REFERENCES
I Cor 2:9, Jer 1:5, 29:11, Prov 22:6
Eph 2:10
"For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which hath before ordained that we should walk in them".       
Written by: Feyi Soetan
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