In 1986, Professor Geoffrey Lungwangwa had just returned from his PHD studies in the USA. He was assigned to teach us ED110. My foot, the Dr. then had bombastic words surpassing George Mpombo. Words like pedagogy, panacea, demagoguery for first year students from Rural Secondary Schools were a challenge to most of us. There was no google, no Britanica, no smart phones, no Ipads, no tablets, no mobile phones. The only 22 PCs at UNZA then were reserved for NS students doing Computer Mathematics Course. It was another World. No internet to search for such big words. We had to look to Oxford Dictionary later to confirm what we had suspected during the lecture could be the meaning of those bombastic words. In NELT 1 (New Lecture Theatre 1) , it was really NEW that time.
One day a professor (then Dr.) entered the classroom and asked us – his students to prepare for a surprise test. We waited anxiously at our new desks for the test to begin. The professor handed out the question paper, with the text facing down, as usual. Once he handed them all out, he asked all students to turn the page and begin.
To everyone’s surprise, there were no questions.. Just a black dot in the center of the page. The professor seeing the expression on everyone’s face, told us the following:
“I want you to write what you see there.”
The students – FRESHERS – confused, got started on the inexplicable task. At the end of the class, the professor took all the answer papers and started reading each one of them aloud in front of all the students. All of US with no exceptions, described the black dot, trying to explain its position in the middle of the sheet, etc. etc. etc.
After all had been read, the classroom silent, the professor began to explain:
“I am not going to grade on you this, I just wanted to give you something to think about. No one wrote about the white part of the paper. Everyone focused on the black dot – and the same happens in our lives. We have a white paper to observe and enjoy, but we always focus on the dark spots. Our life is a gift given to us by God Almighty, with love and care, and we always have reasons to celebrate – nature renewing itself everyday, our friends around us, the job that provides our livelihood, the miracles we see everyday, the good things which happen everyday.
However we insist on focusing only on the dark spots – the health issues that bother us, the lack of money, the complicated relationship with a family member, the disappointment with a friend, and so on..
The dark spots are very small compared to everything we have in our lives, but they are the ones that pollute our minds. Take your eyes away from the black spots in your life. Those are minor and most of the time inconsequential. The fears they bring don’t happen in most of the times. Enjoy each one of your blessings, each moment that life gives you. Life is short. No one gets out of it alive anyway. Focus on the positives than the negatives. The negatives saps the energy and power from you.
Stay blessed folks and look at life with a positive mind and the bigger picture.