It Matters How You Get There

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By Paul Ejime

This title is among the several Point of Sale (POS display) messages that welcome users to the very busy Miami International Airport (MIA) in Florida, the “Sunshine State” of the United States. As expected Florida, Spanish for the “land of flowers” boasts a multiple cultural inheritance including African, European, indigenous, and Latin American.
Miami for its part is a major centre of commerce and finance with a strong international business community. The MIA is a major gateway between the United States and Latin America and has the largest concentration of international banks in America. Famous as a tourism hub with glamorous nightclubs, beaches and historical buildings, Miami is also home to America’s National Hurricane Centre and headquarters of the United States Southern Command.

But despite its many accolades, including being ranked “America’s Cleanest City” by Forbes in 2008, Miami according to the US Census Bureau, in 2004, had the third highest incidence of family incomes below the federal poverty line in the United States, making it the third poorest city in the USA, behind only Detroit, Michigan and El Paso, Texas.
With this contrasting history, Florida is worth exploring. But the hassle of catching a connecting flight from MIA often leaves a visitor with little or no time to interrogate the reason behind the inspiring message of why “It matters how you get there!”
Even so, dear friends, as 2017 races to an end and we all look forward to the coming year, I wanted us to reflect on this deep message and draw some abiding life lessons from it.

Whether in the family setting; community or corporate existence and even in our religious life, there is something to take away from the critical self-examination in humility on why we are where we are and how we got there!
In our society of today governed by instant gratification and vainglory, family members no longer ask hard questions of themselves about the pervasive instant prosperity or unusual crazy acquisition of wealth. A politician who becomes rich overnight does not only escape family or peer scrutiny, he/she is even celebrated by the society. Ditto for a bank teller, who acquires the latest car brand in the market, organises a society party for house warming, and the cleric, who boasts a private jet a few years after starting his “Ministry” in a car garage. ###

But even when outsiders fail to raise questions about the sudden, inexplicable prosperity, wealth, or “miraculous” progress and promotion, what about our own consciences?
Interrogating how we got to where we are is a mark of humility, which will also enable us to remember where we are coming from; where we are; and therefore; where we are headed.

The idea is not that our past should define/determine our future. But wisdom teaches that climbing to the top so rapidly and through undue process, means that the only way to go after an unmerited flight is downwards!
A humble person will always be self-aware of his/her beginning. He/she will consider the present as a gift and therefore treat the future with caution. It is the height of pride/arrogance not to care about how we get to the top, or in the common parlance, “how we make it” in life.

We often hear people say that the “end justifies the means.” Really! This might be true in some cases, but not always. For instance, can a public servant truly justify the fraudulent methods applied for ill-gotten wealth, any more than a kidnapper will applaud the criminal tactics deployed to exhort ransom, or how can an armed robber ever justify the devilish method of dispossessing his victim/s? Or, will a cleric in all honesty, boast about the use of ungodly methods to rob the congregation of their “widow’s might” in order to build his empire on earth or sustain his ostentatious lifestyle?

On the occasion of this Special Season, my dear people, I thought it would pay us to spare a moment to ask and answer the critical questions about how we make progress in life – in our families, politics and relationships, in our private, corporate and religious lives. “It Does Matter How We Get There! If we fail to ask or provide a convincing response to this question now, sooner than later each one must face the consequences of their actions or inactions.
It is not late to do things right or do the right thing!

Happy Holidays to you all

Enjoy A Merry Christmas and A Happy, Blessed and Prosperous 2018 and Beyond.
Ejime Family