16 December 2008

Under His Wing

Tribute to Brian Mpanzha:

There’s a man at church who I consider to be my older brother. Years ago, he did something that caught me alittle of guard but has helped me tremendously in my life.

I remember that afternoon distinctly.

Brian enjoyed playing basketball and I loved playing too, so I’d join him (I havn't really played in ages though!). Well, one afternoon after enjoying a game, Brian escorted me back home. He told me that he wanted us to develop a close bond were I could, in essence, come under his wing. We would begin to talk regularly and I would tell him what issues I was going through etc. He told me that at first it would be difficult for me to open up to him but that in due course I would.

Now, I am a very closed up person, I love my space and I love my privacy. I like my small circle of close friends and I always find it hard to meet new and bond with new people. Brian told me that in due course I would open up to him. I laughed inside almost saying, "Don’t hold your breath Brian!"

I thought it was just my luck. I mean, why me? Why'd he pick my life to disturb by trying to enter in? Little did I know that Brian's friendship would mean a lot more than I could ever imagine.

Well, Brian led us into our first talk, he asked me, I was a young teen at the time, what changes were taking place in my body, you know, the whole “teen talk”. I was completely shocked! I was thinking, "Is he serious? Does he really think I am going to have this conversation with him?" I was totally quiet, giggling here and there but saying absolutely nothing.

He tried to ask a couple more questions but to no avail, I’d just giggle and shyly and look away but never answer. So he decided to pick it up on his own, he talked and talked about sexuality, girls, cleanliness etc. When we got home, he told me that we would speak again soon.

Brian’s predictions were right on the money, in no time, I opened up to him like a lady to her prince charming! And to my utter amazement too!

He no longer had to initiate discussions anymore, I would go after him myself and start talking and asking and sharing. I was completely free with him.

When he got into University, he’d invite me over for the weekend and I’d let it all out.

Over the years, we gradually stopped meeting as frequently as before, spending time rarely and yet even now the effects of that friendship he offered me remain. To date I am completely free with him and the advice he gave and still gives me is still helpful to me.

We did lots of things together from going out for lunch, to weekends at his room, to places where we could swim and all that, it was great.

I recall asking him about music. A friend of mine had introduced me to a pop group that sang "love songs". I immediately consulted my older brother when we met. Do you know this group? What do you think of it? He discouraged me from listening to the group.

He had become, to me, someone I could tell my worst sins and not expect him to condemn me.

I think every boy and girl needs a "Brian" to take them under their wing. Someone godly with whom they can form close ties and in whom they can confide. Someone they can trust with their issues great or small, serious or not. If you are in a place where you have people younger than you, befriend them, take a deliberate step to enter their lives. Be an older brother or sister to them and watch your relationship with them grow to such heights that they confide in you totally. Imagine the positive voice and influence you can have over them replacing the voice and influence of this sinful and corrupt world, just imagine...

You may worry that you might be taking the place of that young persons parents. Don't.

I remember Brian mentioning in our first talk, that when I have "teen talks" with my parents, they may be suprised that I've already talked to him, but that did not worry him at all. The combined input of both him and my parents would only help me more.

But also, during teen years, I've found that teens around, open less to their parents the older they grow. Obviously, parents are to blame for this and its something they need to work on. Its no wonder that it is at that time of their lives that they begin to wander. Its because they turn to their peers for guidance. Parents only see the results of peer pressure, a pregnancy, a child comes home drunk, a child runs away from home and in the worst instances, the sudden death of a child. The build up to these tragedies is discreet. The older teens and young adults can help in this area by befriending the young stars.

I bet Brian had other things he would have preferred to do and yet he took time to invest in me, an ordinary kid. I will forever be thankful to God for him and to him for his sacrifice.

I must mention Graham at this point.

If there's one thing I remember about my relationship with Graham, it was that he was always there. When I went into secondary school, when I went into high school, when I left home, he always took time to advise me and I never ever requested either! He'd just say, "hey, whats new?" And I'd say, "Well, am getting into high school." "Oh," he'd reply. "You know, high school this and high school that... He'd just get into it. I was not as free with Graham but I really enjoyed stopping by his place. I'd be walking past his place with my buddy and we'd both just stop by. He was a couple years our senior but he would still give us time and hang out with us. Thanks for your friendship Graham!

Let me just share a secret in closing on how to make younger guys open up. There is a friend of mine who had "data" on every young person in the church because everyone opened up to him. He knew who was liked by who and who was eyeing who. He knew it all and he got this information from the sources themselves. How did he do it? I figured it out! He opened up to everyone else! That was him by nature. He is such an extrovert and talks to strangers like he has known them for years. If you are struggling to get your young star to open up to you, tell him what you went through and who you liked at his age and where you made mistakes. Before you know it, he'll open up-I think.



Theresa M Bowa said...

Thanx for the writeup. I have learnt a lot. I shall introduce my girls to your site. Am sure they can learn a lot too.

Mrs Theresa Bowa

Mwindula Mbewe said...

Hi Mrs. Bowa, Thankyou so much for visiting!


1 of 8 / 1 de 8 niños said...

Thank you very much for the advice Mwindula! I will find it useful. I have been finding your posts helpful and have forwarded the link to all my friends.