“Jesus wept” – John 11:35
Is it manly to shed tears? Should a man be seen crying, or worse weeping? I believe crying is when tears flow freely from your face, and weeping when you make some noise with it, or you shake visibly in trying to muzzle the noise. I grew up believing that crying was not manly. I believed that it wasn’t masculine to show emotions. If you love, it ought to be concealed, if you are angry, you should manage it. If you are hurt, you should never cry. As far back as primary school, we measured ourselves as mature and strong, by our abilities to maintain a calm look in the midst of 6 strokes of cane, back in those days, I got beaten (I meant flogged) daily in school by my class teacher – the formula is stand still and take your medicine like a man. Real men don’t cry, so I thought. Until one day.
On this faithful day, I was in an Airbus 340, Lagos en route London. My favourite pastime in the plane is watching movies. When I’m watching a good movie, time flies. I was on the flight to London on my last assignment for P&G, and interestingly on the same flight with my recruiter to my next job offer. Thousands of feet above the ground, way into the clouds and over the seas, I sat and watched my movie of the year 2005 – “Coach Carter”. Nobody died in this film, no catastrophes, no wounded, but I got to a scene in this film where I burst into uncontrollable tears. I didn’t cry, I wept, I was thoroughly shaken to my roots.
What scene is this you ask, let me explain. Coach Carter had invested so much time in making these students not only good basket ballers, but also good people with potentials of playing basketball beyond their current levels. To play college football, you first need to get to college. He was aware that the easiest destination for a black kid in the hood is prison, and he was determined to help see that they had a balanced life. It started out rough, but gradually, he had got them into a routine, the habits were forming, when all of a sudden an opportunity for a match came up close to an exam. The students wanted to play, their parents wanted them to play, even the school officers wanted them in the court, but Coach Carter insisted that the basketball court remained locked while the students continued with their studies. He wasn’t popular for this decision, he was brought before the school council, and he lost the case. He was ordered to open the court, and let the students train. He felt bad, that the people he had labored so hard for didn’t appreciate his work. He made up his mind to leave the school. It just wasn’t worth it! He started packing a few of his things, and decided to go over to the court to pick his final items. He got to the big door of the court, and saw that the chain and padlock had been opened, he picked up the lock, and went into the court – expecting to see the students playing as he passes buy to pick his things. One of the students stood up and said (don’t quote me), they can force us to come to the court, but they can’t force us to play. They were in the court alright, but with their tables and chairs reading. One started to recite a poem – What is our greatest fear, our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate, but that we are powerful beyond measure, it is our light not our darkness that frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually who are you not to be? …. At this point… I lost control!
Why did I cry? I’ll tell you. That day I made a discovery. I was able to put my finger firmly on my passion. Whatever problem, solution, or event that moves you to tears holds a key to your assignment. I don’t know if what I’m describing has happened to you before, if it has, go back to that moment, if it hasn’t, watch out for it. What I felt for Coach Carter was joy… here was a coach, teacher or instructor who had finally come to the point where the people for whom he labors become aware. He’s going all out to prepare them for their future, and they appreciate it. The teacher and coach in me, could hold back no longer, for the first time in my life – I wept! (I secretly wished my wife was there, she would have been stunned). In that flight I took out my pen and jotter, and scribbled my thoughts. I am passionate about helping people succeed, I am passionate about people development, I am passionate about education. Luckily I was alone, but I wasn’t spared in another of such occurrences. This time around I was in the company of friends and family. The film wasn’t one that warranted any emotions – The Redeem Church Of God, that was the film of the history of that church. In the scene that shook me – The now Pastor Enoch Adeboye, as a boy refused to eat for 3 days because he wanted his father to send him to school. For me, that little boy’s life would have been completely different today without an education, he sacrificed much for it. You might not understand this, but it hit me so badly, I had to go to my room to let it all out. My bucket of my passion was rocked, and it the waters had to spill.
Enough of me, how about you. Have you identified your passion? Do you know what you are passionate about? Bill Gates is reported as saying that your only chance at greatness lies within your passion. What does it for you? When was the last time you watched a scene in a film that moved you to tears? When was the last time you saw an injustice and it made you fume? When was the last time you felt it deep down, “this is what I should be doing?” You might be good at concealing it, but deep down you know when you see the things that connect with your passion. Quit procrastinating, take time out to observe the things you are passionate about today.