What we do today matters tomorrow

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Mata'afa Keni Lesa

A bright future awaits those who prepare for it. And since we known that today holds the key for tomorrow, it’s imperative we plan the kind of future we want for our children so they don’t grow up in poverty and terrible want.

Looking at the problems of today, the terms to think about from here onwards are legacy and hope. What legacy do we want to leave with the young generations of today? And what can do to instill hope in a generation where some people seem to know very little about it.

We know this much. To determine the kind of future we want, good leadership is critical. Good leaders, we believe, not only leave a last legacy, they inspire hope. They ensure that those under their care are nurtured, protected and empowered to be blessings to many others – far more than the people they are actually responsible for.

Most importantly, good leaders strive to ensure the work they do is remembered, not just because of the positive impact it’s making today, but also how it will shape lives tomorrow.

From our standpoint, we believe great leaders embody the words empathy, vision, care, ethics, forgiveness, compassion and love. For sure, through the embodiment of these words, this is how we want to be remembered. Who wouldn’t want such a legacy?

There is also much to be said about the legacy to empower the generations of tomorrow. Yes we need to educate, inform and equip them to face the challenges of tomorrow so that they will not become overwhelmed and succumb to abysmal failure.

Looking at the world today, there is chaos everywhere. The economies of the world are struggling. The environment is deteriorating as a result of mankind’s negligence and recklessness. There are pestilences left right and centre with the fear that they are getting worse by the day. What’s scary is that even at a time where we have so many bright people in the world, it’s almost like we are clueless to address the problems of today.

So where are we to go from here? What are we to do?

Naturally, we look for guidance and leadership. The problem is quality leaders are hard to find. That’s because their motives are found wanting. Their actions are not driven by a desire to leave a long lasting legacy and instill hope. Instead, it is motivated by greed.

So they resort to name calling, silly political games and plenty of excuses while the poor people under their care continue to suffer.

The truth is that in most cases when push comes to shove, the leaders of today bury the real issues under the carpet while they come up with excuses to justify their existence and why they are wasting the people’s resources and monies.

This is all so common in countries near and far. 

And the result? Well, we don’t need to tell you. You’ve seen the destruction it has caused. 

What about Samoa? What impact is the leadership of today having on this country? What legacy will they leave with our children?

To be fair, it’s important to give praise where it’s due. In saying that, we must acknowledge the fact that as a country under the current political leadership we have come a long, long way. 

There is no denying the fact the leaders of both the past and today have played a major role in the development of this small country we call home. And for that, we will forever be grateful. 

In most areas for example, Samoa has punched and continues to fight well above its weight. Priceless peace and political stability – at a time when there is much trouble near and far – are achievements to be mighty proud of.

But let’s be honest with ourselves also. 

Don’t you think that there is a lot more we could be doing better at. It’s hard to ignore the feeling that at times, we’ve taken one step forward and several backwards. Which leads to the question: how is it possible for a country to slip backwards when people think it’s making “progress”? 

Well, the answer is simple. 

We’ve become complacent. We’ve settled for mediocrity. It’s nice for sure but it’s not the best. It sure glitters but it’s not gold. It’s an empty feeling.

Take all those wonderful buildings in the Apia Township as an example. For every new multi-storey building that’s erected, our foreign debt climbs with it. And from what we’ve been told, the figure is now closing in on the two billion tala mark.

Ladies and gentlemen, that money has to be paid. And guess what? It will not be paid in this lifetime. Which means your children, my children, their children, their children’s grandchildren will have to shoulder this burden years from now.

Is that the legacy we want to leave?

What about valuable land?

According to the government, our customary lands are protected. Well that’s good, isn’t it? But let’s say a lease agreement is 99 years plus another 99, who lives that long? It means entire generations of some families will have nothing to do with that particular piece of land. And that – in our opinion – is just as bad as losing it completely. What’s the point of having land you cannot touch forever? Is that a legacy we want to leave?

What about jobs? The truth about this particular issue is a badly kept secret. There are hardly any jobs. That’s why our people have resorted to being street vendors, beggars and thieves in some cases because they have no other option. Foreigners have flooded our country; they’ve taken over the shops and restaurants so that many of our people today are slaves in their own country? Is that a legacy we want to leave?

And then there is the disturbing issue of family violence.

We’re talking about the endless abuse of women and children. How is that possible in a Christian country where people go to church every Sunday? Come to think of it, what are some of our men being taught that makes them think it’s okay to abuse their spouses?

We don’t need to look far. In our homes today, we shut our children’s eyes from a kissing scene on TV while we allow them to watch an Adults Only movie where one human is happily hacking away at another’s skull. Is that a legacy we want to leave? 

We can go on and on but we will stop here. What we do want to remind the leaders of today is that what they do now, matters tomorrow. The fruit of their labour – bitter or sweet – will be reaped by our generations in the future. What are we doing to ensure that fruit is sweet? 

Share your thoughts with us. 

Have a wonderful Thursday and God bless!

© Samoa Observer 2016

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