by: Fabian Chinenye Adili-George
from Lagos State University College of Medicine, Ikeja
as at the time of writing this piece he was the National Ex-officio FECAMDS, NIGERIA; 2014/2015.
“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success” –Henry Ford
If I ever have the opportunity of being questioned about my most inspiring moment of life, i bet I would say; it’s whenever I see the wonder of every new day, after the quiet dark of the night fades, and a new day is birthed. That which is most amazing is when I have the opportunity of witnessing that very moment when the skies bow in a slowly fading fashion and separate the night from the glow of a brand new day, and then the morning is etched with the echoes of faraway whistling birds. Wow! Is all that comes out of my mouth accompanied with this deep sense of reverence of the Almighty.
Science would tell us that my above description best fits the word “dawn” i.e. the time that marks the beginning of twilight before sunrise, recognized by the presence of weak sunlight while the sun itself is still below the horizon- the depth of knowledge behind this phenomenon is endless as many postulations on how and why it comes to be fills the air spaces and in the dotted lines of bulky textbooks, but if I was asked to explain that which happened, I would likely simply say ;”it’s a miracle born out of the works of the only creator of the universe who is God”.
One would surely be tempted at this stage to wonder where all this actually leads, but do not be alarmed as this write up is about “the FEDERATION OF CATHOLIC MEDICAL AND DENTAL STUDENTS, (FECAMDS) and her twentieth (20th) year of existence” she should be likened at this age to this “dawn” I speak of and is to blossom forth into her full blown “day” if we (her members) come to the understanding of some germane facts. Hence, we would be discussing twenty (20) steps we must all consider at our 20th year of existence as a nation of God’s chosen children. They are as follows:
- Our existence is hinged on the work of the almighty creator:
Like every dawn that comes to be; the intricate workings of the trinity is that which has propelled us thus far with our twentieth (20th) annual national Convention in view, we as a family ought to celebrate the unity of the eternal God-head and hence appreciate the gift of our collective unity as a people thus far, rising and towering above all our past (and present challenges), forging ahead has never and would never be the products of our fragile human senses nor the sense of purpose exhibited by our founding fathers or the quality of work at our meetings nationwide-it’s been purely his own making and no one should take for granted his many works in and within us.
- If our creator’s attitude towards work is team work, we his children must do the same:
Team work is the ability to work together towards a common vision; it directs individual efforts to the organizations’ objectives. I dare to say that the creator himself is a team player, little wonder God said, “let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion”. Hence, our attitude at all levels must change if we want our dawn to become the day we so much seek. Our leadership at both chapter and national levels must recognize that Gods plan for leadership is teamwork even Moses who was called the friend of God, who parted the sea and did many extraordinary things, needed a team of Aaron and Miriam as the book of Micah tells us.
Jesus who is the most successful leader of all time needed the help of a crew of twelve (12) men, and whenever he sends them out he sent them in groups of twos. I must state that the most interesting thing about those who are team players is the attitude of not caring about who gets the credit, which we must all imbibe for a brighter day for FECAMDS.
- We must possess the spirit of excellence:
This spirit distinguishes us from the others, He separates us from the crowd, He identifies us in the midst of millions, He makes us special; this spirit makes all your doings (I mean your words, actions, studies, planning etc.) excellent!. I speak of no other spirit than the Holy Spirit the spirit of our lord and master who we all possess but many have left dormant and have been living below par. You must raise the bar of your existence, like Daniel who possessed this spirit the bible says in Dan1:18-19, “When the king conversed with the boys, among them all he found none equal to Daniel.” The holy writ even goes ahead to tell us that Daniel and his friends where ten (10) times better than their teachers; this is the spirit we must possess and make manifest in our actions.
- We must make a habit of study:
They say Leaders are readers. A favourite writer of mine would say “it is not what you do once a while that shapes our lives; it’s what we do consistently”. We must make a habit of study, study of God’s word above every other thing, it is the daily manual of our daily living, because without Gods word in you daily, you will yield no good fruit. It is important that we understand what a habit is; a habit is an action or consistent pattern of behaviour that is repeated so often that it becomes typical of somebody, although he or she may be unaware of it. We must replace every slavish habit of sin with the winning habit of study of his word, little wonder Apostle Paul advised his son in faith Timothy; ”Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a worker man needeth not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” 2 Tim 2:15. We should also apply this to our academics and place of purpose.
- We must live a life of obedience:
Ps 19:7 says ”The law of the lord is perfect …” to understand the word law, think of governing forces by which things like gravity, aerodynamics and physics and mechanics work. When you deny or defy these laws you suffer; when you operate according to them you succeed, but either way they are always in force!. So is God’s word. It cannot be improved upon, added to, or taken from; it is adequate to accomplish his purpose in your life, hence obedience is key to our success story.
- Don’t despise the gathering of brethren:
The book of Hebrews surely does spell it out with outermost clarity in Heb. 10 24-25… don’t despise (Dislike, Disregard, absent or treat with contempt) the gathering (prayer meetings, fellowship, Mass etc.) of brethren…”, for there lies our source, which is the word of God; which is Christ personified. Please read Heb. 4:12.
- Agree in prayer:
There has never been any greater gift in history than the gift of prayer handed over to us from our lord and master because whenever we pray together his presence overwhelms us “….. Where two (2) or three (3) have gathered in my name there I am in their midst” and he goes further to assure us that ”whatsoever you bind on earth is bound in heaven, whatsoever you loose on earth is loosened in heaven.” (Mt 16:19.) Oh, what great power lies in our collective gathering nationwide , we must begin to see the place of prayer as where we must love to be, not a place of scorn and as some would say boring. We must wake up to the spiritual realities! Our slumber must end! We must now start building our lives, academics, future, wants and places of purpose with the bricks of daily prayer.
- Respect of our institutions and Authority:
All persons placed over us as leaders (both spiritual and temporal) are chosen by God and he enjoins us to accord them the needed respect and cooperation due to them (Heb. 13:17), this would help us build rather than tear down, make us better followers and mostly empower us towards leadership. For it is only those who know how well to follow that would be the best of leaders.
- The need of unity of values:
We’ve been able to identify the core values of our family (FECAMDS), nationwide they are; oneness, family and excellence; our inner yearnings as a people are what these ideals represent but my question to you my dear is how much are you currently contributing personally towards achieving the above? Your personal contribution is all that makes the difference, for it would affect another and create a ripple effect far greater than that which you’ve given.
- Internalize the vision and mission:
Our vision statement reads: “Building a gathering of Gods faithful children, born in the spirit of love, guided by sound catholic principles, made manifest in selfless service to humanity, leading all to salvation”.
While our mission is to bring the reign of God into the lives of all men through holistic healthcare delivery”
These are mighty words begging for our understanding for when we are able to understand them we would surely internalize (adopt as beliefs, values, and attitudes either consciously or unconsciously) them.
- Never lose your identity:
One’s name truly speaks volumes about who, where and the antecedents of such a person. So is our catholic identity; it tells the story of who we are (children of God) of the true church of his son, where we are headed (heaven), our antecedents ; which is to live a life worthy of all round emulation, through the workings of the sacraments and the wholesome teachings of Christ’s bride; the holy Roman Catholic church. This is our pride, this is who we are and we must never allow anyone or any situation rob us of it. Rather, we must seek to grow daily ( …like new born babes all your longing should be for milk- the unadulterated spiritual milk- which will help you grow in salvation…1 peter 2:2 ) via a culture of seeking him.
- Seek out our lost brethren:
We must strive towards restoring this most holy faith into the hearts of our brothers who have strayed, many have waivered mainly due to lack of knowledge. We must seek them and through love, prayer and groaning win them to the house of their saviour once more. It is our duty and in fact the marching orders of Christ; to “go into the world and preach the gospel ….” Mat 28 18-20
- Invest in the future:
Through the love and pursuit of wisdom with the days of our youth our future is certain to be bright. Solomon, one of all times most prosperous personalities sort after wisdom, he loved her and in fact resorted into making her his first bride, he prided her as sharing Gods life and the secrets of Gods knowledge (Ws 8:1-9) There is a need to invest hugely in search of wisdom, we must accept the power of self and collective empowerment, this is a call for us to seek for investments in knowledge as the returns on such investment are humongous when they accrue.
- Conquer new grounds:
To succeed as a people there should be a realization of the fact that Progress is impossible without change and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything. This is embedded in creativity which involves breaking out of established set patterns of thought and reasoning in order to look at things in a different way and realise new outstanding results day-in, day-out.
- Partner with others:
The inherent reality of our humanity is the fact that we cannot exist in isolation, for isolation keeps us from multiplying our efforts which results into low productivity. We must partner with like minds, a partnership of a shared sense of purpose and passion is the most effectual of result oriented relationship.
- Shun Hypocrisy:
One of the easiest paths to take is that of pretence. To feign high moral and spiritual standards could be surprisingly easy but how far this takes us is where the problem lies. You cannot go far if you are only an actor and not a doer, our religiousity must not be a surface show of mere actions and words they must translate into heart felt deeds, which are born out of a consciousness of God and true love for him and humanity. We must make conscious effort of correcting such tendencies when they do crop up.
- Be open to criticism:
It was Aristotle who said; “to avoid criticism say nothing, do nothing, be nothing” I guess we won’t give in to doing nothing. We should understand this simple fact; anyone can criticize, anyone can complain and condemn- and most people do anyway, but it takes a man of character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving. Our attitude towards criticism must be that of restraint while still learning from our critics.
- Be Disciplined:
Jepthah in judges 11:35; echoed these words (“…I have opened my mouth unto the lord, and I cannot go back.”) in a vow he made to God; this pushed him into winning a great victory for Israel and his promotion as their leader. Discipline is embedded in commitment, saying a huge No to all forms of distractions which would come, living the life of a soldier, burning the bridges we’ve crossed just to get to our goal ….this is the life we must live.
- Take stock regularly:
Life goes by very fast, time is the burden of our history as she doesn’t wait for anyone, although she is just and fair to all. We zoom past many seconds, minutes, hours living through them with our many unending activities, but it is of dire importance that we take a collective sigh and stop to take stock of how we’ve lived out the past so as to know our place in the future. Regular practice of this solemn activity prepares us, corrects our past errors and aids in proper planning.
- We must love:
“..Through love serve one another.” Gal 5:13 “owe nothing to anyone – except your obligation to love one another…” Rom 13:8, “…love covers a multitude of sins. “ 1Peter 4:8, 1 Corinthians 13:13” ….and now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love” our existence is built on love, our nature is to love, our actions, thoughts, deeds and words must be based on love. To love selflessly is our first and last calling.
Now that we’ve completed our twenty (20) significant steps I am assured we are already in the “day” for we’ve transited from our “dawn”. My prayer is that this family shall continually rise to the marmot heights our creator designed for her ….twenty (20) happy cheers to FECAMDS, NIGERIA!
P.S: This piece is dedicated to the 20th year of existence of FECAMDS, NIGERIA; an umbrella association of catholic health trainees resident in over twenty–five (25) universities in Nigeria with partner bodies in Africa.