I was reading a post by Doctor Ben Carson about Tiger Woods on Facebook this week; it was a motivational post, reminding us that whatever happens in our lives, we can still rise. I couldn’t help but remember my mother saying, “the media couldn’t rest until they destroyed him.” This she had said when Tiger’s life unravelled and he was not winning any golf tournaments. He has worked at getting back on top, and this September, he has achieved a win once more. If the quote I have shared is any indication, you can see that my mother doesn’t like it when the media splatters people’s lives out for the world to consume. She prefers hearing about the highs of their lives, like when Tiger wins tournaments, or when Celine Dion had her babies, though she only glances at these happenings.
This week, the fact that we people are quick to judge and move on has been highlighted for me. There’s a video that has been circulating on the net about the keep Zambia clean campaign, where a man asks a woman carrying a baby and water for sale on her head, to pick up discarded empty sachets. I was initially upset, but I’ve heard and watched things that have added some context to the conversation and that calmed me down. But reading the comments online, you find that even people who once supported this man, are now up in arms and boycotting the Facebook page, not to mention the name calling that falls in the category of things we as Zambians don’t do.
But in these interactions it is clear that people only like you when you do things that fit their mould of acceptable behaviour; I guess we all pick and choose, however, I like to think of myself as a person who decides who to associate with based on a track record, and not on individual moments or a few events in a space of time; but we all do it, form ideas about who people are and refuse to give grace. Sometimes though, we are as harsh as we are because we recognise a part of ourselves in them, and that sparks a defensive response on our part, and in an attempt to feel better about ourselves, try to make “the other” worse than us. It is clear that as we walk through life, we must make choices with the best intentions but not with the aim of pleasing people, otherwise we live our lives dancing to whichever piper plays, like puppets pulled in all directions, forgetting what we stand for.
Live your life, fighting for whatever it is you stand for, applying wisdom, but not swaying whenever people leave you or question your value. Live based on your convictions, hopefully stooped in truth and not just some shadowy candyfloss philosophy. Tiger rose and conquered again despite the media’s assertions that he was a “had been.” So always remember those who cheer you on when you have nothing for them to gain, and if you should ever fall, pray that there are people around you who can tell you how far you fell but are still willing to stay with you and walk it out. If you should fall, don’t stay down, fight! Fight for the life you want.