Monday, July 13, 2009

Guest Post: Tomi Akinyanmi

Tomi Akinyami is the author of A Worthy Legacy, which I reviewed on Saturday. As part of her author blog tour, she shares here her own thoughts on striving for greatness.

A few months back, I came across an elderly man by the side of the road hailing passing cars. He stood in front of a car, with its hazard lights blaring. It looked like he was having trouble with his car. The sight of that old man standing helpless on the side of the road tugged at my heartstrings and I stopped to see if there was any way I could help. As I rolled down my car window to see what he needed, for the first few minutes he muttered in complete shock “Nobody stopped! Nobody stopped!” It took about five minutes before he was calm enough to explain that he had a flat tire and his jack didn't work well. All he needed was another jack.

Also, the news recently featured the story of the attack on a man this last June. It appeared that two men one of whom carried a shot gun were lying in wait for their victim when he arrived at his workplace one morning. When he opened his van door, he was jumped by the culprit with the shotgun. Following a short struggle, the man was shot in the arm and in the torso. As his attackers ran away, the victim stumbled into the street and losing his footing collapsed rolling and bleeding on the road. He laid bleeding heavily in the street, yet car after car, trucks and even a school bus swerved to avoid hitting miss him but none of them stopped. The whole unfortunate mishap was recorded by security cameras.

From the above stories and similar stories I’ve heard from across the world, it is heart wrenching to learn that people would actually walk by those in need without noticing them or without care. Perhaps it is because people do not actually see or notice the things around them perhaps it is because nowadays most people are too engrossed in their own stuff to care. Whatever the reason, it is indeed sad to see that all around the world today people would rather walk by than stop to help. It should actually be a cause for concern. It is understandable that because most people are genuinely concerned about their welfare they do not stop to help strangers. But have we become so self-conscious, have we become so heartless that we would rather let a man bleed to death in the middle of the road, than help save his life?

Okay if we excuse fears for our safety with not stopping to help strangers, what do we say about this people rarely greeting or giving a compliments to family and even friends these days? Most of us do not even see others until we literarily run or bump into them, although there appears to be a minority out there who for some reason do not think it is worth it being nice or being polite to others. Truth is we don't have to be friends with someone before we say hello to them or stop to help when they are in need. Saying hi or hello does not mean we are fraternizing, it is just polite. So also is stopping to lend a helping hand to someone in need. Just like we would wish that we had someone to help in our own time of need.

Politeness makes for a friendlier society and with the world the way it is these days, there is no doubt that we do need our communities to be much friendlier. Here is something to consider, if you meet someone and saying hello is too much of a burden, how about giving them a smile instead of turning your head the other way or walking right by looking through them as if they do not exist. Aside from this making your heat feel lighter, think about the fact that if you were suddenly to collapse to the ground, that person you just smiled to might be the very one to save your life.

Here is what is in a smile,

A smile says hello

even when you don’t say the word

a smile speaks appreciation

and this warms the heart

everyone knows how to smile;

even a baby who was just born

the toothless grin of a child

has been known to melt hearts

a smile can brighten the day

for a desperate heart.

a smile can forge friendships

that lasts beyond a lifetime

a smile can break the ice

for a searching soul

seeking a place to call his home

to an adventurer,

a smile says I’m here to help

and what more!

A smile does not cost you a thing.

Perhaps you go around with a bold face and feel that you have no need of more friends. Perhaps you are one of those who think everyone who says hi or tries to be nice wants something from you. Perhaps you are one who would walk by when you see someone in need, too afraid to stop and lend a hand. Perhaps this is often the case with you and but maybe sometimes, you do stop to be polite. Or Perhaps you are one of those people that have come to think that the world is not a friendly place. It is a fact that everyone one at one time or the other looks out for that friendly face in the crowd to renew their hope in the promise of a brighter day.

Today as you go about your life, take time to say hello or smile at the people you meet on your way and as you do that, think on this: If you were to see a friend or even a stranger wearing their clothes inside out what would you do? Would you walk by and pretend you didn’t see? Or would you give them the benefit of doubt and alert their attention? Well just for today, try to be polite and in doing this, you might discover that the world is actually a much friendlier place than you think.

From the desk of......
Tomi Akinyanmi
Author - A Worthy Legacy.


  1. Ali, the striving for greatness is a wonderful post. I actually read when you first posted it but I just read it again. What a great lesson embodied in a simple act of kindness and what a great example to set for your children. Kudos!

  2. Great post! I really enjoyed A Worthy Legacy and I hope Tomi comes out with more books, too.