I want to pass this message across to the youth out there. You need to know that the society doesn’t expect much from you even though it claims to.

People want you to be who they want you to be rather than being who you were meant to be according to God’s purpose and plan.

They want you to be “classless and clueless”, that way they can keep being in control of your life.

Classless people are almost always surrounded by people like them who enjoy their company while they whine and complain about what they themselves failed to do something about. They’ll not vote during elections and neither will they make their voice known about any candidate, they’ll rather mock those who did.

A classless person is he/she who does the barest minimum to change their condition or status, they only did the little they did so he/she can say “I tried but it didn’t work out”. My question to such people is “what about trying again and again until something happens?”.

Classless African youths are those who engage in illegal and immoral practices to get rich quick, their excuse is the failed government policies and poverty. They portray us (black) as corrupt, liars, lazy, and cunning.

What happens to been different? What about being in charge of your life rather than let situations around dictate what you do. What about the understanding that gold had to go through fire for its beauty to reveal!

Just in case someone is wondering whether I have tried any of these… Well, I was once a civil servant who decided to not take public money even when others were enjoying it and I was struggling to meet basic needs, I once saw 1,000 dirhams ($360 USD) on the floor when I desperately needed money for my wife’s visa but I choose to give it to the authority of the country where I lived – I saw as an opportunity to say we’re not all 419’s and plus it wasn’t mine.

I currently live in a place where Africans are expected to: do drugs, smoke, womanize, tell lies, cheat, etc. Most of them are disappointed because I have proved them wrong about us, I got a call this evening and one of them said I am too principled, that I need to be a little flexible… that’s what the society wants us to be – to lower our standard when we actually should be raising it higher.

Fellow African Youth, have you ever heard that God or Nature will one day lower His standard because men think it’s too high? I don’t think so too, and if He doesn’t I don’t think you should. Even if you don’t have anything, you can maintain your dignity and one day it will be a requirement and someone will recommend you.

Finally, I want you to take a clue from the lifestyle of an eagle – an eagle does not fly with other smaller birds, it doesn’t eat dead meat, it doesn’t fly too low unless it’s going for its prey. Be focused on your life, help yourself – people will be forced to help you when they notice you’re serious about your vision, spend quality time developing yourself, read good books, add value to yourself – your life is a product (it’s worth/value is solely dependent on you and how much efforts you invest in it?), don’t expect things to be easy, don’t be part of the problem – be part of the solution, be sincere to yourself. Trust me, these things work like fire – they are principles I have learned as I embarked on a journey to study what successful people know that I didn’t.

It’s ok if they don’t like you because your standard is too high but they can’t prove you wrong. I encourage you to be the change in leadership and followership that Africa needs!

(By Fadumo A. Paul; A teacher, writer, Speaker, Youth Mentor & Advocate as well as a Social Entrepreneur)