Baba* was a very wise man. I have been lucky enough to learn these life lessons from him and wanted to share them with you.
1. Women are much stronger than they think, they just don’t know it
Mothers carry their children during 9 months. A woman is always someone’s sister, daughter or mother, that is why they should always be respected, he used to say. Baba was convinced that a mother was the most precious person in a child life. Although, I thought that a father was equally important, I think what he wanted me to understand is that the bond between a mother and her child is special and like no other bond that one could have with someone else in his life.
In many African societies, women are the ones who raised their children the most, feed them, buy them clothes and school supplies. Besides, they also take care of their household and work at the same time, whether it is in the field, in a traditional commodities market or a boutique. They take upon themselves without complaining. So yes, women are strong, they do things without even realizing how outstanding it is. Also, because we don’t give them enough credit, Baba said.
2. Try, fail and get back up again
Life will put obstacles on your way not because it wants you to fail but because it wants to show you how capable you are. Indeed, it is okay to try things by yourself. A failure is only when you stop and quit at the first challenge you encounter. You should always get back on your feet, he told me. That is the way life teaches you the lessons you need to learn in order to achieve your purpose.
3. Be kind to others be even kinder to yourself
Kindness is free. Don’t change the way you are just because you have met mean or sad people. Be kind to everybody, you will get more with this mindset than you could possibly imagine. Also, treat yourself the way you want people to treat you, with respect and gentleness.
4. You’ll never be perfect but you can be the best version of yourself
You are just a human being. But you have a purpose to accomplish on this Earth. It can differ for each one on a deeper level. The general idea behind it is to become the best person you could ever be. In all the dimensions of your life – spiritually, financially, socially, professionally and so on. Don’t try to be perfect though, allow yourself to do mistakes, since it is part of your learning process.
5. You are your biggest asset
Invest in yourself. Your brain and your body are your strengths, so you should take care of them. Without health, one can bearly do anything. You should hence stay active and eat healhy. Also keep exercising your brain, not only at school. Like any “muscle” it can learn and improve if you give it the right fuel.
6. Family is everything
One doesn’t choose his family. But when you have one that love and support you no matter what, do not take it for granted or underestimate it. If for one reason or another your family situation is complicated at the moment, build your own. There are friends that are almost like family members. Surround yourself with people who want the best for you.
7. The simpliest things in life are the most amazing
Enjoying a walk in the nature, a homecooked meal, laughing with your loved ones. Those are the simple presents that life offers to us. It might not sound amazing to you but it is indeed the most precious things and memories you could have.
8. Death is not the end of it all
Whether your are spiritual or not, remember that death is part of life. We can’t avoid it, even if we would love to be eternal. Also, your loved ones still live in your heart. You can honor their memory by living your life to the fullest, knowing that they are watching over you and resting in peace.
*Daddy in Fulah, a West African dialect