A young student was waiting to meet his brother at the airport when he observed a man returning from someplace being met by his wife. The man was all smiles as he and his wife kissed and canoodled and giggled playfully.

They refused to let go of each other, even as they maneuvered his overloaded baggage trolley through the Arrivals gate. As the clearly smitten couple passed by him, the young man couldn’t help himself. “Excuse me”, he said, “May I ask how long you have been married?”

The couple stopped, but the husband answered without breaking eye or body contact with his grinning wife. “Twenty years”, he said with a chuckle (and children, I’ve always wanted the opportunity to teach you this: a chuckle is a quiet, suppressed laugh. It is NOT the sound you make when you suck your teeth in annoyance, Okay?).

“Twenty years of marriage? Wow”, the young student was suitably impressed. And for how long were you away on this trip?” 

“One whole day!” they both exclaimed together.

At this point, the young student was blown away. “My goodness! All this affection because you’ve been separated for a day? I hope one day, I can have a marriage that’s as loving as yours after twenty years”.

Suddenly, the man turned to face the student and grabbed him by the shoulders. He gazed piercingly into the young man’s eyes and said in a quiet voice, filled with steely purpose, “Don’t hope. Decide”.

My friends, I’m sharing this story with you, not only for the benefit of married couples, or those planning to wed. They are definitely not the only people who need to stop hoping and decide. We all do. 

You listen to your favourite presenter, you watch your favourite show host, you dance to your favourite musician and you hope you can be like them one day. Don’t hope. Decide. You have an exam in a few months’ time and you hope you will pass. Don’t hope. Decide. 

You just became born again or converted to the Islamic faith, and you hope you can abide by the rules and commandments. Don’t hope, decide. You have been given a project, and you hope you can deliver on time. Don’t hope. Decide.

As a nation, we have talked and talked about the need for a National Development Plan, and these two political parties have taken every opportunity to play tennis with this crucial blueprint of our nation’s future. Today, it’s 40 years, tomorrow, it’s 7 years – meanwhile, nothing is actually being done to develop the nation. We just go and vote every 4 years and hope each new choice will be better than the last. 

Well, I woke up today with a different attitude. If you are not tired of living in an impoverished, backward nation without a strategy for its own salvation, or even the faintest shadow of a clue how to drag itself out of this 62-year-old pit we have been digging, then I am. But if you are tired too, then for the sake of our poor, suffocating nation, and for the love of our good God above, let’s not hope to develop. Let’s decide o, toom!

For so many years now, we’ve heard those in charge of our economy “hope for good cocoa, gold and oil prices”. We’ve heard those in charge of our power “hope for more rain in the Volta River”. We’ve heard those in charge of our education “hope for better results this year”. We’ve heard those responsible for our health “hope the ambulances arrive on time”. 

Now, I don’t know when hope became our national strategy, but I can assure you, it won’t take us far. We all need to understand the pivotal role we each play in our own destinies, and stop leaving our very survival as individuals AND as a nation to chance.

I’ve never met a billionaire who hoped their way to success or an athlete who hoped their way to victory. Achievement and progress come to those who DECIDE to make it. They consider all the potential hardships and possible pitfalls that might stand in the way of their advancement, and they DECIDE to proceed regardless.

They DECIDE to make it, and so no matter what comes their way, no matter what shakes their resolve, no matter who pulls them back, they still make it.

A decision is a powerful thing. It eliminates all other options. And this is a good thing, especially if you’re faced with only two options; success or failure. Best to decide on success, don’t you think? 

My name is Kojo Yankson, and I have DECIDED to make a difference.

GOOD MORNING GHANAFO!



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