When I first applied to four top American colleges in 2006, I did some plagiarism in the essays and recommendation letters that I submitted. Imagine I extracted one recommendation letter from a wonderful book titled How to Get into Top Colleges, edited it a little and then sent it to the colleges I was applying for admission. How foolish! I am sure some admission officers must have discerned what I had done. Little wonder that I wasn't accepted into any of the four colleges.
Having grown wiser, I tried to submit essays and recommendation letters that were original when I re-applied to the American colleges in 2007. I remember writing in the essays that I wanted to be, among other things, a faithful husband and a loving father when I grew up.
As it happened, I didn't get accepted into any of the colleges I applied for admission in 2007 despite having tried to submit original materials. But what I wrote in the essays to the colleges had a lasting effect on me because over the years, I have tried not to engage in behaviours that would compromise my desire to be a faithful husband and a loving father.
Today, I am proud to proclaim to the whole world that I have refrained from pre-marital sex, so I have no out-of-wedlock children. I have said that with some pride because the ability to hide "illegitimate" children is what distinguishes men from women. You see, a man can sire a child with another woman and keep it a secret, even to his wife. But a woman can't hide the fact that she has a child to any new man she meets.
So I can guarantee my future wife (wherever she is) that the children I will have with her will be my only offspring. And I am planning to be a faithful husband and a loving father, just like I wrote over ten years ago in my essays to top American colleges.
My role model in raising children is Theodore Roosevelt, an American president who presided over an era of unprecedented economic expansion that saw America emerge as a world power. I find it interesting that despite all the pressures he had to face as president, Theodore still found time to write letters to his sons. In their gaiety of spirit and charm of manner, Theodore's letters to his sons have few equals in literature and no superiors.
Theodore offered advice and encouragement to his sons In the letters. A loving and understanding father, he ensured the letters matched the intellect of each of his sons. When they were young, Theodore wrote simple letters spiced up with drawings. And as they grew older, he progressively made his letters more intellectually advanced. Besides writing letters, Theodore also played games with his sons, even when he was President of the United States.
Such is the kind of loving father I would like to become. Like Theodore, I also want to be there for my children when they will be growing up. I would like to inspire them to be life-long learners who excel in academics, music, sports and personal relationships so they grow up to be responsible global citizens. I would like to encourage them as they pursue their dreams and revitalize their spirits when confronted with challenges.
My beloved reader, if you have children or are aspiring to have some, I beseech you to also be there for them. Listen to what they are saying, praise their smallest triumph, tolerate their chatter and amplify their laughter. Even though you sometimes scold them, tell them that you love them. And let me warn you that if all you tell your children is the bad you see in them, they'll grow up exactly how you hoped they'd never be. That's all I am saying.
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Four Quotes That Inspire Me
Ever since my days at Starehe Institute in 2006, I have always loved reading quotes by great men, living and dead. I remember one night in 2007 during my time in the institute, I came across in a computer a document full of quotes that someone had downloaded. And wow! How inspiring the quotes were! They really bolstered my morale. My only regret is me not saving the document somewhere in the internet for future re-reading.
So much did I come to love reading quotes that some time in 2007, I harboured an idea of compiling quotes and then publishing them in a book. I shared the idea with two of my Starehe Institute classmates but they didn't buy into it. Eventually, I gave up the idea. But my love for reading quotes did not diminish; I continued devouring them. Like when I matriculated at the university in JKUAT, I downloaded hundreds of quotes from the internet and printed them into several booklets for reading in the comfort of my room.
I still love reading quotes to this day. In my home library are nine exercise books containing inspiring quotes I have read in the past four years. And in my laptop are nine PDF documents of quotes and wise sayings. They tell of how passionate I have become in collecting quotable quotes. My goal is to internalize most of those quotes into every fibre of my being so that I become a better person, in expression as well as in self-esteem.
And because I love reading quotes, let me share with you, my beloved reader, four quotes that have been ringing in my head over the last few months. Only four quotes.
The first is this one by Joel Osteen:
You may have made a lot of wrong choices but you've made a lot of choices that were right. Focus on your good qualities. Focus on your victories. Get off the treadmill of guilt.Over the last couple of months when I have found myself caught up in the miasma of guilt, I have turned to that quote above by Joel Osteen for strength. Today, I have committed it to memory word for word so that I can use it as a weapon in fighting the feelings of guilt that torture me every now and then.
The second quote is this one by Maya Angelou:
I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.That quote by Maya Angelou expresses my writing journey in a better and more comforting way than I could tell. As I have said before in this blog, when I first began sharing stories earlier on this decade, I used to lie and exaggerate as well as plagiarize other people's writings. I also used to say some things I would later regret saying. Even today, I still cringe every time I think of some of the stories I have written in the past.
But I have now resolved that should I again feel remorseful over some of the stories I wrote in the past, I will turn to that quote by Maya Angelou by reminding myself that "I did what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better."
The third quote that has been ringing in my head over the last few months is this one by William Penn:
The secret of happiness is to count your blessings while others are adding up their troubles.I have found myself remembering that quote above a few times recently, especially when feeling guilty. It has helped me put things in perspective.
The fourth and last quote that I will tell you about is the following one by my friend David Mwakima in which he reflects on the faculty he met and interacted with during his undergraduate studies at Harvard:
I am grateful to have met faculty who were very supportive and interested in my progress not only in academics but also in life more generally. Among the things I admired is that in spite of being so successful in their fields, they don't take themselves too seriously at all. That they reveal their human or approachable side inspired and reassured me.That quote by my friend David Mwakima has inspired me not to always take myself seriously as well. So I have purposed to laugh at some of the stupid things I have done. That's all I am saying.
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed this story of mine on some of the quotes that inspire me, you might also enjoy another one I wrote sometimes back on "Inspiring Adverts". Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.