How do you know what the future holds? What is your attitude towards those that you meet on a daily basis? How do you treat people who do not meet the standard that you have set?
Above is a picture that set me thinking. Somebody posted the picture on Facebook, and it caught my attention because I used to be one of the children in the picture. It is a true picture and represents the human spirit that triumphs against all the odds.
The children are elementary school and wearing the same blue shirts and khaki shorts that I wore when I was their age. They are using a hammock bridge made from cane to enable them to cross the river below because it is the rainy season in this part of Cameroon and these rivers usually rise to dangerous levels and have proven fatal to many on separate occasions.
The first time I got on one of these cane hammock bridges, it scared me to death, because of the swirling action of the bridge. When you get in initially it is ok, but as you get further towards the middle of the bridge, it starts rocking back sidewards, and the intensity gets to an almost unbearable pace in the middle of the bridge forcing you to hold to it tightly for your dear life. Usually, you have no option than to use the bridge because the following fast river below will not be too kind to you if you ventured into it.
These hammock bridges are seasonal and last about three months; by the end of the raining season, the cane has decayed to the point where the bridge started falling about and becomes increasingly unsafe to use. Fortunately, as the bridge is falling apart the amount of rainfall is decreasing, and the level of the river is falling as well. Eventually, at one point the level of the river is low enough for the children to cross the river on foot. Each year a new bridge is constructed after the rains start and the rivers rise to dangerous levels.
When you look at this picture what do you see? How do you feel about the picture? Is it possible to see beyond some of the stereotypes that such pictures bring up? My challenge is that we learn to see deeper than the images that we are bombarded with daily.
I see children full of determination study and risking all to ensure that that they keep going no matter what. I see the power of making use of what you are already having and making the most out of it. I see future leaders that will bring forth solutions to some of the challenges the world is facing. What do you see?
The picture is a picture of me standing in front of my sixth-grade classroom. Could you have told me what the future held for me?
It is going to take a deliberate effort on our part to learn how to see beyond the stereotypes and distorted views we have of the world around us. Add your voice to the conversation if you want to be part of the solution.
Dr. Eric Tangumonkem was born and raised in a Caldera on the Cameroon Volcanic Line in Cameroon. In addition to being a geoscientist with extensive experience in the oil and gas industry, he is a teacher and an entrepreneur. Currently, he teaches for Missional University, Embry Riddle, and West Hills College. He is also the President of IEM Approach a premier personal growth and leadership development company based on the infinite wisdom revealed over the ages. On a mission to inspire, equip, and motivate people from all work of life to find their God-given purpose, pursue, and possess it. He also educates people on, life Insurance, Disability Insurance, Annuities, Long Term Care Insurance, Wellness Programs, and Tax-Free Retirement Plans.
The IEM APPROACH is a holistic way of life; the physical and spiritual must be in synergy for real, lasting, and sustainable success.
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