I love reading mottoes of learning institutions because of the immense wisdom they carry which I try to practice in my day-to-day living. Let me share with you, my dear reader, the mottoes that have inspired me most and some reflections on how we can apply them in our lives.
First is the motto of Starehe Boys' Centre: Natulenge Juu (Let Us Aim High) that is beautifully engraved on the school's crest which was one of the aspects of Starehe I admired most during my years in the school as I have pointed out in the caption of the crest photo above. I love the motto because it resonates with my ambitious nature that I have possessed for as long as I can remember.
Second is the motto of Rose of Sharon Academy in Nairobi where I taught piano for a year in 2015: Nurturing Excellence in Spirit, Wisdom and Grace. It is borrowed from a verse in the Book of Luke. A wonderful motto, isn't it?
Third is the motto of Harvard College: Ve ri tas (Verity and Truth). I have tried to apply that motto in every area of my life which explains why I am always truthful in my words and deeds. So even though I was rejected at the college when I applied twice for undergraduate admission, I am glad to be living the Harvard motto.
Fourth is the motto of Patrick Henry College: For Christ and For Liberty. I love that motto because it resonates with my belief in Christ and in respect for other people's faith: be they Muslims, Buddhists or atheists. And that explains why even though I believe deeply in the Bible, I have never tried to impose my beliefs on anyone. I am now striving to win people to my way of thinking, which roots from my faith in Christ, through my words, deeds, humour, warmth of personality and good will towards all people.
Fifth is the motto of Liberty University: Knowledge Aflame. I have been inspired by that motto to acquire knowledge by reading, reflection, socializing and listening to music as well as by occassionally watching movies and sports. Talk of keeping knowledge aflame.
Sixth is the motto of the United States which is poetically well-stated in her national anthem as follows:
So much do I love those lines of the United States anthem and their accompanying melody that I usually find myself singing them out loud when walking and showering. And that's why I trust in God a lot these days.
Then conquer we must,
When our cause it is just;
And this be our motto:
"In God is our trust"...
Last but not least is the motto of the Scout Movement: Be Prepared. I try to follow the motto by dressing well even when going to buy something in a nearby kiosk because I never know: I may meet my soulmate! That's why I also read regularly, why I carry three business cards in my wallet and why I am always striving to nurture my strength of spirit to shield me in sudden misfortunes such as the loss of a loved one. I advise you to be prepared as well.
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Scoring in Life
When I wrote in my previous story in this lovely blog of mine about my wonderful experience in my days at Starehe Institute, I forgot to tell you that I also did watch football especially the 2006 FIFA World Cup while at the institute. I found it exciting to look forward to matches though I don't think my intention for watching the matches was for getting enough tales to show off to friends.
Of the numerous world-class footballers that I got to know back then, there was one who stood out from the crowd from my perspective. That was Ronaldinho de Gaucho.
I admired Ronaldinho not only for his good looks and dribbling skills but also for his trademark grin. He seemed to be in love with the game as some other footballers frowned on the pitch. I so much admired him that I put his image on the home window of the software I developed on the 2006 World Cup soccer fixtures.
And when the world cup began in June that year, I strongly rooted for Brazil which I fervently believed would win the cup because of its then talented and experienced attacking combo of Ronaldo and Ronaldinho. But alas! The team was sent packing after a quarter-final loss to France following a surprise goal scored by Thierry Henry. That loss to Brazil made me so heartsick that I was unable to attend church the following day.
But I still love Ronaldinho whom I occasionally watch on videos I downloaded from the internet of him in action during his heyday in which he won the La Liga and Champions League with FC Barcelona, Copa America as well as the FIFA Confederations Cup and the World Cup with Brazil - the benchmarks of a truly remarkable football career.
No wonder he was selected once as the European Player of the Year and twice in a row as the FIFA World Player of the Year. To the best of my knowledge, only Ronaldo (of Brazil) and Zinedine Zidane can rival Ronaldinho in their range of football achievements. I stand to be corrected.
Although I no longer watch live football matches these days, I treasure the lesson I gleaned from the game which happens to be the most popular sport in the world: that the performance of a football team is not judged by how well it plays but by how many goals it scores. So a star-studded team can play well by dribbling skilfully and making clever passes but if it fails to score, it is no better than that of lousy players.
And after reflecting on that lesson, I have discovered that life too is like a football game in that we have to score on the important aspects of life such as love, peace, health and wealth if we are truly to be remarkable. If we try to live well by eating a balanced diet, reading regularly and exercising physically but still struggle with low self-esteem, loneliness, poverty and hatred, then we are no better than alcoholics.
Let us therefore strive score on those important aspects in life: love, peace, health and wealth. Of those aspects, the most important is love just as Jesus Christ and St. Paul said in their teachings. I am of the opinion that if we strive particularly on love - to love God, ourselves and others - then peace, health and wealth will come easily to us.
Yes, let's love God, ourselves and others. And if we possess love in increasing measure, then we will start scoring well in the other three aspects of life like FC Barcelona's current prolific attacking combo of Messi, Suarez and Neymar.