The Dignity of Labour
A True Story
on Aug 3, 2021
"The children now love luxury, they have bad manners, contempt for authority, they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize over their teachers."
It seems like the words in the quote above were spoken by a disgruntled parent or teacher complaining about the children of these days who have grown up with some knowledge of how to surf the internet. But would you believe me if I told you that those words were actually uttered by the ancient Greek philosopher Socrates in 500 B.C.? Yes, it's Socrates who uttered them those many many years ago. So it's true that human nature and human challenges don't really change.
Just as Socrates accused the children of his time of being hedonists, so are we - the youths of today - often derided as preferring pleasure over work. We are accused of spending too much time on the internet chatting on social media instead of engaging in meaningful labour. I have actually been at the receiving end of such accusations. Okay, let me tell you more.
About a decade ago when I took up writing as a hobby, I began sharing my writings with my friends via email. I found it fun to email my writings to my circle of friends, believing that I was entertaining or enlightening them. But alas! One day in 2014, a friend of mine named Christopher who had once complimented me for having a natural flair for words, suddenly turned against me. Christopher accused me of spending all my days glued before a computer instead of working. He bluntly told me that I would never achieve my dreams if I kept spending my days that way.
To tell you the truth, I was disheartened by Christopher's caustic remarks. The remarks depressed me for a day or two but I brushed them aside and soldered on with my writing hobby. With time, I have come to treat writing as my full time job. And if there is anything I have learnt about writing, it is that it takes a great deal of hard work and discipline to be a good writer - something my friend Christopher didn't understand when he accused me of spending my days glued before a computer screen.
Writers have to read a lot to expand their knowledge base; they have to set aside time for exercise to keep their minds in tip-top form; and they have to listen to music regularly to loosen up their mental gears and think creatively. I once read that Dan Brown, the best-selling novelist, wakes up as early as 4.00am to do some writing because he finds the atmosphere serene in those early hours of the morning.
As an upcoming writer, I usually spend my days doing lots of reading while taking breaks to meditate, exercise and listen to my favorite music. Sometimes when I feel like I am reading a lot, I remind myself of the manual labourers who wake up early in the morning to go build houses, till land or repair roads and then tell myself, "Thuita, you have to work hard too!" That encourages me to keep reading diligently. I have taken to heart the proverb in the Bible that says diligent hands will rule but laziness ends in slave labour.
Because of the hard work and discipline that writing requires, I am of the opinion that writing is a noble profession - as honourable as aeronautics engineering. I believe there is as much dignity in penning an uplifting story as there is in designing an aircraft engine. And like all honourable professions, writing can save us from boredom, vice and need. I have therefore vowed to continue working hard as a writer.
My dear reader, I urge you to also work hard in your chosen profession since there is dignity in labour. I challenge you to remind yourself often in your thinking that both your inner and outer lives are based on the labours of other men, living and dead, and let such kind of thinking inspire you to give in the same measure as you have received and still receiving. It's a challenge that I will take up as well. So help me God.
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed this story on the dignity of labour, you might also enjoy another one I wrote about three years ago on "Sustainable Creative Thinking". Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.
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Clinging to God Who Never Changes
A True Story
on Jul 29, 2021
For quite a number of years, I have been longing to build my own home here in Kiserian. I have visualized fencing the home with neat kei-apple plants, drilling a borehole, doing some farming and cooking meals using biogas extracted from farm manure. It's a dream that is taking longer to achieve than I had anticipated. But I am not giving up on it; I will keep visualizing and working till it comes to pass, God-willing.
I have especially been challenged to fight for that dream by the changes taking place in my neighborhood. You see, the road that leads to our home is being expanded. That expansion has led to demolition of houses, cutting down of trees and pulling down of fences - changes that astonished my sister-in-law Diana when she visited us a couple of weeks ago.
Then the owner of the land to the north of our home is planning to convert the land from a farm to a children's recreational centre. If he carries out that plan, I expect a lot of changes to take place on the farm, such as uprooting the trees that have given our neighborhood a relaxed, countryside ambience.
And then the folks who bought pieces of land to the west of our home are constructing mansions. In recent weeks, the silence of our neighborhood has been disrupted by the talks of workers doing the construction and by the roar of lorries depositing sand, bricks, water and murram on the construction sites. As I pen this story, I can hear the sounds of men chiselling bricks.
With all those changes taking place in my neighborhood, I am feeling left behind that I am yet to build the home of my dreams. And those changes have brought to my mind the following lines from the wonderful old hymn "Abide With Me":
Just like the composer of that hymn, I am witnessing changes all around me. And like him, I have chosen to cling to God who never changes; the powerful, all-knowing God who created the Earth and all that is in it.
Change and decay, in all around I see;
O thou who changes not, abide with me!
I have realized it is very easy to believe that God exists. What's hard to believe is that God hears our prayers. Unanswered prayers can puncture our faith in God and lead us to doubt whether He listens to our petitions. It has happened to me a couple of times.
Following that realization, I have resolved to deepen my faith in God by studying the Bible on a regular basis and relating its wisdom to what I observe in the modern world. Lately, I have been reading in the newspapers of people evading taxes, committing murder, stealing from banks and engaging in marital unfaithfulness - sins that the Bible addresses. Hearing of such grievous sins taking place in the modern world makes me think the Bible is true.
And if the Bible is true, why not believe it when it says God is faithful and loving, slow to anger and quick to bless? That we shouldn't be afraid of sudden disasters? That He has wonderful plans for our future - plans to prosper us and not to harm us? And that whatever we pray for in faith, we shall receive it from God?
Apart from studying the Bible in an effort to deepen my faith in God, I have also been reading spiritually-enriching books. About a month ago, I re-read Rick Warren's The Purpose Driven Life which inspired me to memorize verses from the Bible and meditate on them instead of worrying. And I am currently reading Selected Sayings and Examples of Saints, an ancient book which has encouraged me to practice such biblical virtues as diligence, meekness and confidence.
Reading such spiritually-enriching books has made me believe in God more. I will therefore continue approaching Him in prayer not only after I wake up in the morning and before I go to bed at night but also throughout the day as I go about my daily work. In the same way a female dove hatches eggs to please her mate and leaves it up to him to care for her needs, I will be doing my work to please God and leave entirely to Him the task of caring for me. That's all I am saying.
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed this story on clinging to God who never changes, you might also enjoy another one I wrote about three years ago on "Visualizing". Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.