Is Hope the Future? Lessons from a Class Eight Dropout.
I am intrigued every time there is a discussion about the future. If there is anything that every human being worries about, it is tomorrow. You may wonder why the poor and rich alike, the white and the black, the commoner and the powerful should worry about the future.
The rich guy for example is always worried about the safety of his riches. He is often thinking how to protect his wealth so that he doesn’t lose his power and position in society. He is also worrying about death. What will happen to his properties after his death?
Additionally, in the words of the ecclesiastical teacher in the Bible, the rich man worries about how his kin will spend his wealth once he is gone to the land of no return. He is often worried that they may end up wasting the riches he/she amazed at such a huge sacrifice and cost. Anyway, it is termed as vanity.
The poor man on the other hand is worried about whether he or she will find a meal for the next day. Because he/she lives on the mantra of one day at a time, his status doesn’t allow him/her to amaze properties and resources for the future. He/she understands far too well that all the survival is by chance. So, the greatest worry often is, will I survive this one more time tomorrow?
In other words, we all worry from time to time. We fear. We get worried. We are often unsure about what will happen next. But one conclusion is for sure, there is often little we can do about what we worry most.
A few weeks ago, I spent quite some time in the company of a class eight drop out. He told me that he couldn’t proceed any further after his primary studies due to school fees challenges. Having lost his father, and his mother left with the bulky work of raising a couple of children, survival for the day superseded the thoughts of toiling to find secondary school fess for her children.
What my friend did was to think of what next. He informed me that it is true we are all worried at all the time, but does the worry and fear solve anything? The truth to the answer is nay. Worry and fear only ensures that we are doing nothing about the situation at hand.
One of his brothers resorted to drinking and he has largely been unresourceful. For my class eight drop out, life had to go on. He found an apprenticeship with a technician and started learning while helping the master and before long, he had mastered the art himself too. He told me that he wouldn’t complain because he was meeting most of his needs.
‘But how come you speak a relatively polished queens’ language for a class eight drop out?’ I found myself asking him. He went ahead to tell me that his secret was that of slowly teaching himself. He watched English programs and read books in English.
I also recall him telling me something to the effect of having a dictionary to help him along the way. Nevertheless, the point is that he hasn’t sat back and watch himself cry foul in his misery. But most importantly, what has been his biggest secret so far? He told me it was hope.
Lose hope and you have lost all. Hope is something which is abstract for sure. For him, he is always expecting something will be better. In the philosophers’ words, whatever he can be able to change, he most certainly does something about it. The rest that he can’t change, he lets them be and hopes that morrow brings good tidings with it.
It is important we understand what hope is. The dictionary defines hope as the general feeling that some desire will be fulfilled. In other words, it is the belief that circumstances will get better. Thus, hope comes with some positive energy which if harnessed well can mean results.
Remember, when we expect circumstances to get better, it means that as at that moment they are not good. Hope becomes hope when we are in a situation that only faith pushes us to move forward and it is that faith that makes us expect better results when for sure the opposite is true.
The bible denotes faith as, ‘…faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.’ It is the confirmation that hope works hand in hand with faith. Our feeling that things will get better often points to an expectation from a higher power. In this case, we do our part and in a positive energized way look forward to a better situation in days to come.
We could be here worrying about the future but realize it is but dimly lit. Talking about 5G, AI, machine learning, augmented reality, blockchain, cultured meats, quantum dots, carbon nanotube transistors, elevator to the space and many more technologies being the future is okay. But is the ultimate future?
For my good friend, the class eight dropout, none of these does he know in details. Well, when the technologies come, he will use them to ensure his survival. Worrying about their actualization and the development involved in their making is none of his business.
The optimism of the researcher that he will take great strides towards making some of these revolutionary technologies a reality will become the joy of my friend who is only optimistic on his part that tomorrow will be better than today and will bring good tidings along.
We may worry and worry and fear. But does it help us in any way? Does the worry and fear make tomorrow a better day? Nay, it is the hope that keeps us going. Those who lose hope, lose life itself and constantly remain behind or at worst fall off the cliff. It is the optimist who doesn’t give up. And it is him or her you can’t beat.
Like matters of faith, hope keeps us on course in our belief for that better tomorrow that awaits the faithful. And that is the most important thing for us. It is our future. Let make sure that whatever we lose, hope may not be one of them because it is the ultimate future.