Lessons from a 10-year-old

By on December 11, 2017

When you are over thirty years old and talking to fellas under thirty, you regularly volunteer pieces of unsolicited and often half baked advice on matters such as relationships, finance, personal growth, career and whatever other areas of life you feel a guru at. Most times, the under thirties will listen with intent and even though doubting looks will be thrown at you by one or two Thomases, there will be a general sense of respect and belief accorded to you.

Naturally, the equation changes when you are hanging with your older friends. Some of them will equally volunteer knowledge, advice and wisdom and others will simply speak at you like you are some kind of teenager, even though they themselves may be just a few months older than you are.

This is the undeniable circle of life.

Up until recently, I knew that if was going to learn life’s fundamental lessons, I was probably going to want to hang around my older friends. And this, I have done quite a lot. This was until recently when my little brother Sammy underwent a complicated surgery that just shattered my opinion on learning life’s lessons from older people. Before I venture into the specifics of this little brother of mine, grab a mob and wipe away the sentiment and emotion that might be dripping off this blog post as you read along.

We proceed.

So anyway, my little brother Sammy has been due for an operation for several months now. However, certain tricky procedures and lengthy processes had to be completed before the young man could go under the knife. He has had an issue with his digestive system since he was little and he has not led the most comfortable life thus far. So over the years several procedures have been performed but none has quite rectified the issue.

After years of study and research, a few months ago, some brilliant doctors figured out the specific problem and even ventured a permanent solution. The solution involved a tripple surgery procedure which would last nearly a year. And a few weeks ago, little Sammy got the first of three surgeries he will have over the next twelve or so months.

The purpose of this blog post is not to outline Sammy’s rather eventful medical history and future. The purpose of this blog post is to share some lessons that I have learnt from Sammy over the course of this condition of his. Sammy was born on 17th October 2007 and just a few weeks ago he made 10. One would assume that since he has led a less comfortable life than most kids his age, he would be quite a sad little boy with little purpose and/or reason to smile. Far from it! This young man has taught me and the rest of the Olupot family several lessons and even as he recovers from his first surgery (and awaits the second), we marvel at how much a 10 year old can turn out to be an inspiration, source of pride and center of life’s lessons.

Courage and Bravery

In all honesty, if any doctor told me that I needed three surgeries over a one year period, I would slit my wrists, hurl several insults at the doctor and abandon my belief in God right away. I would probably just sit tight and wait to die. But Sammy has shown everyone that not only is he going to face these operations head on, he will face them with a smile. Every time you speak to him about anything, whether it be his complicated medical condition, you will be hard pressed to see any hint of fear on his face. The fella will look you in the eyes and tell you ‘Bring it on’. Every morning when I wake up and I feel like the world is crushing me down because I have all these troubles, I remember Sammy and his courage and right in that moment, a renewed sense of gusto and zeal overtakes me. If a 10-year-old can take on a situation as pathetic and horrible as this, why can’t I adopt this mantra for my life?

And now I know that if I can take on whatever responsibilities await me, as long as I have just half of Sammy’s courage and bravery, I will be good to go.

Sammy and dorsThe two youngest ones in the family – Doris and Sammy. They bring so much life (and Swag) to the family!

Blood is thicker than water

During the entire time Sammy has been undergoing this medical process, the one thing that has stood out for the little man is the value and closeness of family. No matter where Sammy might be or who he might be with, he will always zero back to his family. The day he underwent the operation, there was actually a bit of drama at the hospital. You see, when you are fresh from the operation room, not everyone will be allowed to see you right away. Your closest family will have the opportunity but even they have to be eased in. Sammy demanded to have his family right there with him – almost against the wishes of the doctors. Of course we had to be eased in slowly but the little man kept calling out nearly all his people’s names – as if to run a random roll call and see who is still around. And over the next few weeks that followed, Sammy’s condition galvanized our entire family. No matter how far apart we may be, everyone checks in to see how the little dude is doing.

Sammmy newEven when the mother, the father and their three sons are together, you can tell who will be the excited one.

There is always time for a smile

I come from a family where people smile quite a lot. Most family photos are filled with a sense of joy and happiness one would never know what troubles we are having. But even amidst all this, the one smile that seems to be brightest and most genuine is Sammy’s. When he asks for something, he looks up at you and smiles as if to cast a spell on you and right in that moment, you find reason to give him whatever he is asking for. Sammy is a happy little ten year old who despite everything, always manages to have the brightest smile while making sure that the contagious nature of his smile is unmissed. And quite naturally when you have spent countless hours on Sunday with the little man, you are bound to head into the week with one strategy – to smile. As fate would have it, many of my clients are quite impressed by someone who smiles as they speak to them.

IMG_20171203_185153_331Sammy’s smile makes me smile 

Most of life’s lessons are learnt in the strangest of places and from the strangest of people but I will confidently and proudly say that the lessons I learn from my 10-year-old brother are lessons I will cherish in this life and the next. And even as we await the second and third surgeries, the one thing that remains consistent about Sammy is his attitude towards life – Always smile in the face of danger!

“It’s the children the world almost breaks who grow up to save it.” ― Frank Warren

a.k.a Beewol
The Talkative Rocker
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Beewol – The Talkative Rocker

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Baldie. Ailurophile. Social Media Junkie. Blogger. Pluviophile. Fixer. Sober Drunkard.
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  1. Kwehangana Hamza

    December 14, 2017 at 5:39 pm

    Sammy’s story is so touching. Imagine living and knowing the next time you’ll have a surgery. 🙁
    At the end of it all, we have to appreciate our lives always. After reading this story, i reflect on my daily complaints about traffic jam or having lunch late.
    We should indeed be more thankful than complain.
    I must say that Sammy is a strong young man. The Olupot family is yet another strong foundation for him.
    Thank you for sharing Beewol.

    • beewol

      December 16, 2017 at 10:08 am

      Thank you for the kind words Hamza. And yes – we ought to be more thankful for the things we have in life. Sammy inspires our family to be better, stronger and to support one another more.

  2. @CharlieBeau Diary of a Muzungu

    December 18, 2017 at 9:54 am

    You’ve caught me between tears and SMILES!
    Wishing Sammy all the best with his next operations.
    With love from the muzungu X

    • beewol

      December 18, 2017 at 10:00 am

      Thank you Charlotte. I will pass on the love to the little hero 🙂