It is a unique privilege to address this gathering of children at the primary school level. You are at the starting line of life journey. From this starting point, you will continue to learn and explore the world around you and will meet with lots of people on this great journey called life.
Many of these people you will meet will influence and impact your life one way, and you’ll do the same. One fundamental wisdom to hold on to is that every action has its opposite reaction and life is 10% of what happens to you and 90% how you react. Because, Whatever rules in you, when it is according to nature, will always adapt itself and change like water to that which is possible and is presented to it (Marcus Aurelius, 1909-14).
If you apply yourself to the task before you; follow the right path seriously, uprightly, vigorously, calmly, without allowing anything to distract you, looking not to the left nor right but keeping your eyes on the price, you will achieve your goal. In all that you do, keep your divine part (spirit) pure, as if you might be bound to give it back immediately and if you hold this, expecting nothing, fearing nothing, but satisfied with your present activities you’ll live happily, and no man can impede your happiness (Marcus Aurelius, 1909-14).
My speech will address five groups that will influence your life in one way or another:
C. Peer Group
A. The Family: - Mother and Father (Parents), Brothers/Sisters (Siblings), Uncles, Aunties, Cousins, (Close-relatives). The most impactful people in a child's life are his/her parents. Children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children (Proverbs, 17:6). Both parents stand for goodness and love at all times. They shower their love and acceptance to help them succeed in life and build self-worth. Parents stand for authority and self-assertion. They both re-enforce the right traits and assist in the developing stages of a child’s life and most importantly, come to their defense when it is needed. By and large, the close-relatives will influence their nieces and nephews in one way, even if it's by showing them what not to do in life [by living the example]. To you, the pride and joy of your parents, hide their advice in your hearts as a diamond treasure and always remember to tell them I love you.
B. Teacher /Instructor: - This group equips the children with the information and skills needed to survive in the cooperate world and to have scouts mindset (liberal/open to new behavior or opinion and willing to discard traditional values) and not a defender mindset (opinionated/dogmatic in view). This group also impacts the child for good. Children, listen to your teachers and let none of your activities be done without a purpose, nor otherwise than according to the pure, perfect principle that is the foundation of one’s life.
C. Peer Group: - This group encompasses the people you’ll spend most of your time with. A dominant influence in the life of anyone. They influence everyone, directly and indirectly, and the only way around it is to have a mind of your own, always seek the truth, apologize when you have done someone wrong, don’t be passive with your gift in life and most importantly be kind to everyone around you. Now, this! Three things remain faith, hope, and love. But the strongest—and the greatest of these is love. I call on everyone to promote love as a way of life because that’s how we win not by killing or fighting.
D. Neighbors: - We live in a global society in which many of our neighbors are strangers to us. We do not know their background, belief system, and values. We cannot even trace many of our neighbors to their states of origin or hometowns. The best action plan is to build bridges with all our neighbors; invite them for Thanksgiving dinner, October 1st celebration parties and most importantly to your church. This is how we win, by sharing the good news of love to people around us. Love always wins, little children. Don’t let any person tell you otherwise. For there is no giving that is richer/freer and more wholesome than love.
E. Strangers: - The advice here is, they stop being strangers. As I walked into your school, I was no longer part of your future; I slowly started to become part of your past, but at this moment as I’m speaking to you now I get to share my present with you, and I get to share yours and these present is the best present you and I can ever give anyone. So, when you see strangers, take the time to know them and be kind to them. Like Mrs. Eloho Osiobe always says, no one carries how much you know, till they know how much you care. And in the words of Abraham Lincoln, I don't like that man. I must get to know him better.
Life is beautiful because God created it to be so. Life is not fear, but God is. Live in love with all your friends and schoolmates. Respect your elders; obey your parents and teachers, and be kind to strangers. Above all work very hard and also play hard and enjoy your journey because the destination isn’t all that counts.
Be the change you want to see. Be a miracle to someone in need, honor your parents and always report any challenge you have, first to Jesus Christ (a silent prayer) and then your parents.
I believe and declare in the name of Jesus; I see future Doctors, Professors, God-fearing Senators, Legislator, Governors, Investors, and Philanthropists in this gathering of children.
Believe in yourself, obey your parents and teachers, work hard, fear God and love your neighbor. I can see a bright future for all of you.
The back to school materials that we are giving out to pupils today is our little way of encouraging you, and it is the expression of our foundation belief of spreading hope around Africa.
Ane Osiobe Int. Fdn.