Getting Out Our Dreams…

You might have at one point or another come across this slogan…but if not, then you can from today say you’ve come across it. G.O.O.D is the imprint of an egomaniac whom we’ve come to adore or at least hate more over the years…Easy to figure out of whom I’m talking about, right? You can call him someone who is full of himself, a megalomaniac, an arrogant idiot, a jerk, a jackass, or whatever adjective you may (which might be true to some extent), but one thing that cannot be doubted or undermined though is his passion for the often ridiculous dreams he has. In a society like ours where conventions are applauded, which extends to music and “art” – two major things he’s passionate about, he breathes for the sole purpose of breaking those molds. He’s almost become the first to take a particular route;  and then everyone else follows suit.

Me thinks by now you should really know who I’m talking about….and if you don’t, well I’m sorry!

Now what does this have to do with this blog? It should be clear since this is a blog about DREAMS after all. As I said in the post before this (click, you’re welcome),

Life is too beautiful not to dream. This is the purpose of this blog, to document those dreams, and the deeds that are being done as I journey to achieve them. However, I am interested in not only documenting mine, but others’ as well

So, it is in light of this that I’ve decided to create a section on this blog called G.O.O.D which would document the dreams of others…since I’m not the only dreamer here. It would be a great delight to share the dreams of others, and the deeds they’ve done (or are doing) to achieve them.

“You, you may say  I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one I hope some day you’ll join us And the world will be as one” – John Lennon

So be on the lookout for amazing friends of mine who will come here to share with you the things they are passionate about. For the most part, it’ll ease me from having to bother you guys with what I have to say (what a relief that is!)

And if you’re passing by here, and think you would like to share things of which you’re very passionate about – your dreams!, send me an email @ ofdreamsanddeeds at gmail dot com so we can share with the rest of the world, and they’ll hopefully find your deeds towards achieving your dreams helpful enough to emulate as they journey to achieve their dreams as well.

We are ready, to Get Out Our Dreams. The world is ready to hear us (or at least I think this enormous cheering sound is indication enough that it’s time for your voice to be heard…so speak on!)

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Change Happens…Accompanied by Growth

I’ll make this short…or at least attempt to 🙂

Believe it or not, Change Happens is actually the name of a Non Profit Organization here in Houston. I was opportune to take a tour of their facility today. It was arranged by my Coordinator in Justice For Children, the organization where I currently intern.

Anyways…

The building is located right there in the middle of Houston’s Third Ward…it’s pratically the only good-looking building in the area. Third Ward if you don’t know is grappled by the infestation of drug and pretty much everything else that is to be expected of a community of such reputation!

We (2 other interns with myself) approached the door, and pressed the intercom, the door was opened for us and we sat in this serene reception area, with two marble angel sculptures adorning the corners to our right. “It looks like church”, one of the intern remarks.

And then we were directed to this conference room – named Gabriel – where we watched a video that summarized what Change Happens does. The founder, one Rev. Leslie Smith took it upon himself to start a rehabilitation project in the neighborhood – and it’s been 20 something years since then. He is said to have named the two conference rooms in the building after Angels (the one on the 2nd floor was named Michael)

Now what do they do? In summary, since I promised to not make this too long, they are involved in the community by providing outreach services – like helping families to apply for CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program), Medicaid, Food Stamps, etc; helping youth prevent engaging in risky behavior – teaching abstinence , prevention programs; Mentoring Programs for juvenile offenders to transition into the community; Homeless Services Programs, where they provide housing for homeless individuals, and help them transform their lives such that they can apply for jobs, etc; HIV Prevention and Education; Summer and After School Programs for the kids…

Now what really attracts me is the facility itself!

As we continued our tour from the Gabriel room, we walked into the LIBRARY! Yes, they had a library which contained a lot of books, and a reading section for the kids. By now, I had already started noticing on the walls that there were artworks, only I didn’t know that they were going to appear everywhere…even up to the  third floor. We were shown the classrooms where the kids studied, and there was a transparent window, where they said parents could peek to see, smile and wave at their kids and stuff…

Especially in the break rooms, the artworks there were specifically from Haiti where the founder goes about twice a year…and these are original artworks from painters and artist there!

Another thing I loved is the open space of the facility. We were told that because everyone was really involved in the field, they don’ really need an “office” as much… I love that!

I’m excited about this today because I have a reassurance that my vision is doable! Read the about section if you’re not familiar with it. It is very similar to my vision, and to witness the beauty of something that started from two crack houses, which were renovated, energizes me! They started their offices there – 20 years ago! And today, totally a different story!!!!!!

That’s what growth is about…and GROWTH happens to be one of my core values. I believe we never stop growing! Growing for me is accompanied by these other supporting values; knowledge and learning – which is what I’ve tried to spend the most of my life doing! It’s the end of the first half of the year, and I’m somewhat proud of myself that I’ve read about 20 books, some of which are completely antithetical to beliefs I’ve held strongly for a while – all for the sake of growth. I’m also grateful for opportunities to grow, like this internship for example, and even something as simple as attending some local event, volunteering, etc! It’s not something I take for granted! Life is a learning field, and I’m willing to learn as much as I can before I pass on to the great beyond! – hoping before I do, I get the chance to use what I’ve learned to impact the world in some way.

And to understand why this tour today is huge for me, Change Happens is directly connected to most of my core values: Growth, Service (which I wrote about here –>), Creativity, Balance…

Don’t know if this is too long already…but I’ll end with what would be my theme song for this CORE VALUE of mine – GROWTH!

Baby steps Ayokunle, baby steps…and soon I’ll get to that PLACE I LONG TO BE!

Father’s Day

First, I’d say Happy Father’s Day.

Now, on to the purpose of the post.

And I’m sure you’re probably wondering what in the world this blog about “dreams” and “vision”, and all that good stuff have to do with Father’s Day…Well, if you’d give me a few moment of your time, I’ll go ahead and tell you how.

Crucial to any kind of vision is building bridges to help you get to your destination…as opposed to burning said bridges. These bridges refer to our relationships in day to day lives. Build a sub par bridge, and the consequences are all too glaring. Therefore the strength of those bridges is highly important.

The most basic of relationship is the familial kind, it’s the first form of relationship one is introduced to when when opens one’s eyes to the world. It also has the capacity to determine how the course of one’s life will be. It’s pretty much very important, and without a shadow of doubt, the importance of the Father’s role in this familial setting cannot be overemphasized. Statistics will show you the devastating effects that the absence of this role in any family have on the society at large.

At LeaderShape, the first thing we learned about, on Day 1 was building community. This involved deciding what you’re going to do to get along with these people you haven’t met before in your life…who might I say, you’re stuck with for the rest of the week, in some obscure woods. Sounds exciting, doesn’t it?

Well not so much, because then you realize that there are people who are different from you; in their approach to life, their values, their backgrounds, etc (What a shocker! Who knew, right?), and you had to learn how to not step on anyone’s toes…at least not intentionally!

This gave us, I believe an opportunity to share, and to accept and value the beauty and strength in diversity; that if we were all the same, we’d be better off as robots. However, this involved being open and willing to find similarity even in the midst of diversity…we’re human…at the very core at least! This allowed us to be vulnerable, to tell our individual stories, which I must admit was pretty tough. I mean, you’re sharing your life with strangers who you’re meeting for the first time! Awkward!

But no, really, this vulnerability, over the next few days we learned is a quality a leader (an effective one anyways) just has to possess. It is very needed. However interesting is the fact that most people see it as a sign of weakness… What was amazing about this experience was that I saw people who were rigid as a rock, and who saw crying as a weakness, open up and let the tears flow as they told their stories. It was amazing!

Now about Father’s Day. I have a lot of stories to tell really. I’ll admit that the bridge, which I was talking about earlier, between myself and my Dad is not that strong! And the little strength it had has over the years been weakened due to a boat load of factors, one of which is resentment. I have a lot of things I don’t want to forgive him for. It’s not like my Dad wasn’t present, he was there…but really I’m just like that was about it. At a point, I referred to him as figure-head father, who is just taking up the role because my real father wasn’t around…

Fast forward, and now I can see where he’s coming from with the help of my Mom who made me realize that a lot of his approach to life can be retraced back to how he himself was raised. That new understanding made me appreciate things I never did. My Dad I would say definitely didn’t get the chance to fully experience childhood…He was robbed of that due to the amount of responsibility he had while growing up; sending himself and his siblings to school, having to take care of them due to the fact that he was raised by parents who did not even get the chance at a decent education. The biography from my grandfather’s obituary says this word for word:

He could not complete his primary education because he was withdrawn from school by his father so that he could help him in the farm.

Now something I can definitely appreciate is his hard-work, and sacrifice. He made something out of himself, became a Psychiatric Nurse, and in an attempt at a chance for better opportunities in the United States, left all of that! Now would I have wished that he did not, absolutely…but if nothing else, for that I respect him. He made an attempt!

And if anything, I’m actually grateful I have a Dad!

This post has been in the draft folder since morning, and I was about to edit this to finally post it, but my Dad and I started having a conversation just now about how in the Northern part of Nigeria, if the child is a son, they are left to fend for themselves from a very young age…but if a female, they are taken care of in hopes to marry them off (and receive dowry) at as young as the age of eight! The mothers pretty much are responsible for taking care of their children, and the father who usually has more than four to five wives doesn’t feel any sense of obligation. I am nothing but grateful!

But anyways, present day: June 17, 2012, I’ve learned a lot, I’ve grown a lot…and all those crap that has built up over the years on this bridge can now be removed, and dumped where they belong…in the incinerator! It actually clears the space in other for one to journey to one’s destination…with ease too. From the book, The Art of Possibility, accompanied with the lesson I’d learned about being willing to be vulnerable (I didn’t mind being “soft”), I learned about the technique called “giving an A.” I talked about it here —->

And that is exactly what I decided to implement for Father’s Day, as a gift to my Dad.

And the interesting thing was that I actually did say the words: I LOVE YOU to my Dad, for the first time ever! It’s interesting because the culture I grew up in is the sort where words like those are not vocalized. Love is to be expressed through deeds as opposed to mere words, I admit, but sometimes saying those words does make a huge difference. By the way, my Dad responded with a Thank you …maybe the next time I say I LOVE YOU DAD, I would hear as a response, I LOVE YOU TOO, SON?

One cannot help but dream!

Just because I love to tie whatever I have to say to music, and plus the fact that I learned about love today at church… I’ll share below this awesome song that was recommended to me by an awesome friend of mine: