A True Story
on Mar 26, 2019
Famous inventor and entrepreneur Thomas Edison once said, "I have friends in overalls whose friendship I would not swap for the favour of the kings of the world." I, too, have some people I treasure in my life whose friendship I wouldn't swap for the favour of the kings of this world. And among them are my parents with whom I have come to share a unique bond.
My parents are humble and hard-working folks. They have brought up my brothers and I to be educated, responsible, God-fearing and law-abiding citizens. When we were growing up, they had us go to church every Sunday and work hard in school. Their greatest desire was for us to get good grades and stay out of trouble. They sacrificed the little they had so that we could have a decent education. And tell me, what greater gift than education can parents bestow to their children?
For me, I can never thank my parents enough for all they have done for me. They have always been there for me for as long as I can remember. My mother carried me in her womb for nine good months. Then she endured 57 del (units) of pain when she was giving birth to me on 31st December 1987. It is said that those 57 del of pain are similar to 20 bones getting fractured at the same time.
I am thinking that had my mother been careless in her pregnancy with me and during my birth, I would have been born with such serious congenital diseases as cerebral palsy. But I am grateful to her and God that as I write this story, I am as healthy as an angel and feeling as frisky as a lamb.
And then after I successfully emerged into this world on the last day of 1987, my mother was always there for me in the first two fragile years of my life. She had to breastfeed me whenever I cried and change my nappies whenever I wetted them. I must have disturbed her from her sleep and duties on numerous occasions.
When I grew old enough to feed and bathe myself, my mother was still there for me by ensuring I had proper clothes to wear and food on the table. Day after day, I watched her wake up in the morning to go run her modest grocery in my hometown of Kiserian. Thanks to her efforts, I never went begging for food and money in the streets.
My father has also played a pivotal role in my life. When I was in primary school, he tutored me in maths right from Standard One so that I could excel in school. He also encouraged me to be a writer by making me pen compositions and read novels. I guess it is from those humble efforts in penning compositions and reading children's novels back in the '90s that I developed a love for writing and storytelling.
When I joined Starehe Boys' Centre in 2002 for my high school education, my father regularly visited me just to check on how I was doing and leave me with some pocket money. And I noted during my last weeks in high school in 2005 as I sat for the mighty KCSE exams, he visited me more frequently which revealed how deeply he wanted me to ace the exams. He was so proud of me when I scored an 'A' in the KCSE exams; so much that he bought me a quality polo-shirt as a reward.
Then when I entered Starehe Institute in 2006 to pursue a diploma in Information Technology, my father encouraged me to apply to top colleges in the United States. He paid for my SAT exams that are a requirement for applying to those top colleges, and he bought me revision books for the tests. Unfortunately, I didn't get accepted to any of the four colleges I applied for admission. I remember when I received the heart-breaking rejection letters from the colleges, my father tried to lift my spirits by reminding me that I could still make it in life by pursuing my university education locally.
And then when I went astray at a local university called JKUAT in 2008 and again at the University of Nairobi in 2011, my father always accompanied me to the universities' clinics when I went for regular check-ups. It speaks volumes of how responsible he is, doesn't it?
Today, I am blessed to still have my parents alive. My mother has long since stopped running her grocery in Kiserian after she suffered a stroke in 2013. She stays at home where she is still recuperating from that stroke. But my father still works as a free-lance accountant in Nairobi where he commutes to during some week-days.
Because I am now more tech-savvy than my parents, they usually ask me to help them in operating their smart-phones, especially my mother. And my father sometimes requests me to assist him when he gets stuck in his computer. To tell you the truth, I never get irritated or tired of helping them because after all they have done for me, I feel it's the best I can do for them at the moment when I am still staying with them at our rustic home here in Kiserian.
My dear reader, if one or both of your parents are still alive, I challenge you to also honour them in the best way you can. Don't wait till they die to do so. Why take their bodies to a mortuary when they never saw a hospital while sick? Why suits when they are dead yet they wore torn clothes when they lived? Why buy them comfortable caskets when their beds were a punishment? Why hire a limo for their caskets when you never even bought them a wheelbarrow? Why cement their graves while they lived in leaking houses? And why last respect when they never knew it while alive?
UPDATE: I have updated the picture-quote accompanying a story I wrote sometimes back on "Proof That God Exists". Please click that link in blue to view the picture and re-read the story. I am sure you'll like it better the way it is now.
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Developing Good Sleeping Habits
A True Story
on Mar 23, 2019
One afternoon a couple of years ago when Mum was in hospital where she had been admitted after suffering a stroke, I happened to be alone with my father in my room. My father was doing his accounting work in a computer. As for me, I can't remember what I was doing. All I recall was that I was feeling rather excited and in a talkative mood. The mood had me talking to my father.
As I engaged my father in a conversation that afternoon, I told him that the emotions of food, sex and sleep are the most difficult to control. I am sure my father must have felt embarrassed to hear me mention the word "sex" because it has been a taboo to talk about it in our family. But that was the problem with me - whenever I was excited and in a talkative mood, I tended to shamelessly talk about such sensitive things as sex.
Anyway, I still believe in what I told Dad: that the emotions of food, sex and sleep are the most difficult to control. Why? Because they are pleasant and can lead to disastrous consequences if overdone. For today, allow me to tell you about my struggles with the emotion of sleep.
I used to have disciplined sleeping habits in the first eighteen years of my life. Back then when I was a child and a teen, I used to go to bed on time and wake up the following morning, mostly to attend school. I think the strict school rules are what effected the disciplined sleeping habits that I had.
But in 2007 when I matriculated at the university in JKUAT where nobody monitored me, I began to change my sleeping habits by going for a whole night without sleeping. Then in 2008 while still at JKUAT, I started having trouble with sleep by oversleeping in the morning and late into the day. Since then, I have struggled with the emotion of sleep much in the same way a baby struggles with walking.
In the year 2010 when I went back home after dropping out of JKUAT, Mum used to have me wake up early in the morning to milk cows, a duty I disliked. It used to bother me at having to wake up so early to milk cows in a muddy cowshed. With time, I devised the following trick of making me fill fulfilled, at least for while: I would set my phone alarm to ring at about 1.00am so that when it rang, I would feel happy that I still had about three more hours to sleep. That spoke so much of how I struggled with the emotion of sleep.
Then earlier on in this decade, I developed another sleeping abnormality: I would have nights during which I would be unable to sleep due to too much excitement. I would spend the nights thinking, reading, writing as well as listening to music and speeches in a computer.
Later on after figuring out that going for a whole night without sleep affected my vitality the following day, I thought the solution was to take sleeping pills to cure the insomnia I had in the nights I felt too excited. So I visited a pharmacy in my hometown of Kiserian with the intention of buying sleeping pills but the pharmacist asked me to produce a doctor's note. Fortunately, I didn't have one, so he didn't sell them to me.
I have said it was fortunate that the pharmacist didn't sell me sleeping pills because eventually, I came to realize that the best cure for insomnia is working hard during the day. A wonderful book I own titled Glencoe Health: A Guide to Wellness, says that physical exercises improve the quality of sleep at night.
A few years ago, I developed yet another sleeping abnormality: I would wake up while it was still dark with a feeling I had had enough sleep only to find out from my watch that it was in the middle of the night. I didn't like that. My idea of a good morning is waking up effortlessly at 5.30am, not 1.00am!
And I came to discover that the secret of waking up effortlessly in the morning is going to bed a happy man. So, in addition to doing physical exercises, I am thinking that I should develop the habit of reading something inspiring before going to bed at night so that I turn in as a happy man.
As you can see, I have really struggled with the emotion of sleep since my days at JKUAT. But I believe, with God's help, I will overcome and again develop the good sleeping habits I had in the first eighteen years of my life when I was a nice, obedient boy.
In his book Top 200 Secrets of Success & the Pillars of Self-mastery, Robin Sharma advises us to sleep less to make our lives more productive and rewarding. He says that we do not need more than 6 hours of sleep to maintain an excellent state of health. He also says that it is the quality of sleep that matters, not quantity. I will strive to follow that advice. So help me God.
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