How I'll Raise My Children
A True Story
on Feb 1, 2023
Ever since biblical times, some marriages have been rocked by infertility and childlessness. Among the biblical heroes who struggled with barrenness were Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, Hannah and Elizabeth. And their inability to conceive a child distressed them a great deal. Hannah had to go to the Lord's temple where she repeatedly pleaded with God to grant her a child.
In modern times, among those who have had trouble getting a child are former U.S. First Ladies Laura Bush, Michelle Obama, and Hillary Clinton. After trying several times to have a child to no success, George W. Bush and his wife Laura were preparing for adoption before they happily discovered that Laura was pregnant with twins.
Barack and Michelle Obama also had difficulty conceiving a child. Michelle had a miscarriage. And when she was unable to get expectant again, she resorted to IVF (in vitro fertilization) through which she became pregnant and gave birth to two beautiful daughters.
As for Hillary Clinton, she too had trouble getting pregnant - a setback that made her visit fertility clinics together with her husband Bill Clinton. When she finally became pregnant and gave birth to a daughter, Hillary must have been elated, for she described that as one of the greatest miracles in her life. And I surmise it was infertility that made Bill and Hillary Clinton not have another child because I don't think any well-meaning couple would deny their first-born child a brother or a sister.
From the experiences of those who have struggled to have a child, we can conclude that the Bible is right when it says in Psalm 127:3 that "children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from Him". So if you are a young woman and feeling broody, let me tell you that carrying a baby in your womb is not a right; it's a privilege.
Having realized that children are indeed a gift from God, I have resolved that should I ever get married and have children, I will treat the birth of each of my children as a miracle worth relishing. And I will go out of my way to spare them from the heartaches I've gone through. One of the heartaches is mental confusion.
During my high school years at Starehe Boys' Centre, I was often accused of being confused - something I have written about many times on this blog. Back in my Starehe years, I didn't understand why my schoolmates termed me as confused since I was neither conscious of the confusion they saw in me nor did I understand its root cause.
I found it sickening to be described as a confused lad. And unfair too. When other schoolmates forgot to do something, others would take it as part of being human. But if I forgot to do something, they would attribute it to my confusion.
What I find even more puzzling is that I had a better memory than most of those schoolmates who were clear-headed, was more organized than some of them and out-performed quite a number of them in exams. It really was puzzling.
As I have already said, I didn't understand the cause of the confusion that my Starehe schoolmates saw in me. With time, I have realized it was caused by the poverty-stricken environment I was brought up in and the constant criticism I was subjected to. The intensive reading I did in primary school also played a part in making me confused.
So as to spare my future children from a similar confusion, I will bring them up in a heavenly home with well-lit bedrooms, a space-age kitchen and a well-manicured compound where they can play. To borrow the words of one of my Facebook friends, I don't want my children to claim they come from.a humble background. That must end with me.
I will also smooth the way for my children by buying them plenty of books to read. Because not all books are well-written, I will plow through all the books I buy and hand over to them only those I think will interest their minds. And I will set a good example by inviting them to my library to see me read, the way President John F. Kennedy used to have his son in the Oval Office as he worked.
Perhaps most importantly, I will teach my children early what I learnt late. And some of the things I learnt late is the importance of having a healthy self-esteem and excellent social skills. I will cultivate in them a positive self-image by having meals together, during which we will swap stories and share ideas, and by imploring them to play musical instruments, especially the piano.
Don't get me wrong: I don't mean to say that I'll make life too easy for my children. Even though I'll try to spare them from the heartaches I've gone through, I'll make them do chores at home such as cleaning the house and making their beds. After they turn 18, I'll encourage them to get a part-time job. And I'll have them earn and pay part of their university education. That's all I am saying.
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed this story on how I'll raise my children, you might also enjoy another one on "Visualizing Success" that I wrote more than four years ago. Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.
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A True Story
on Jan 27, 2023
During my primary school years, I used to read a lot - something my siblings can attest to. I would basically study the same stuff over and over in an effort to excel in the exams we had at school. But even with all that reading, I was never considered a bright boy, both at home and in school.
Recently, as I was mulling over my past, I realized that primary school education was very easy. Which makes me wonder why I had to read a lot. All I did by studying intensively was complicating life.
The intensive reading I did in primary school must have been the cause of the confusion that people saw in me when I proceeded to Starehe Boys' Centre in 2002 for my high school and college education. Believe me, I would be bombarded with one remark after another about how confused I was. I just wasn't as bright as I would have wanted to believe.
At Starehe, I continued with the habit of complicating life. I immersed myself wholly in schoolwork, hardly sparing time for reading storybooks and for developing my social skills. Not surprisingly, I never had throughout my Starehe years a girlfriend with whom I could exchange letters.
Due to my habit of complicating life, I left Starehe in April 2007 as an over-ambitious teen. I wanted to start a business, become a music teacher, entertain people on the piano in 5-star hotels and apply to four top American colleges while I was a first-year student at JKUAT, a local university where I had been admitted to pursue an engineering degree.
At one time in April 2007 as I was preparing to matriculate at JKUAT, I came across a newspaper advert of a certain church in Nairobi that was looking for a choir-master. I thought of applying for the position. Mark you, I was just a 19-year old teen wanting to teach a group of grown-ups how to sing. How ambitious!
With such lofty ambitions, it's small wonder that my confusion never cleared up when I was at JKUAT. Some people at the university did accuse me of being as mentally mixed-up as a Form One student.
Because old habits die hard, I continued complicating life well into my adulthood. I would set very high goals that would leave me depressed when they failed to materialize. In 2010 for instance, I came up with numerous goals that I wanted to achieve in my life. They were:
- to write great books and articles
- to produce beautiful songs
- to start a business or an organization
- to advance my web-development skills
- to be a compelling speaker
- to have a successful political career
- to be an inspirational teacher
To tell you the truth, I haven't become a roaring success in any of the fields I wanted to excel at. And it has dawned on me that my lack of success has been due to my habit of complicating life by chasing many big goals.
In recent years, I have simplified my life. How? By whittling down my goals to only writing inspiring stories and composing scintillating hymns, and then share them on this blog which I constructed using the KISS principle (Keep It Simple, Stupid!).
I believe that I can own a sleek car, build a magnificent home, have a colorful wedding, travel overseas and give my future children a decent education just from the earnings generated by the adverts on this blog. What I need to work on is growing my blog audience to hundreds of visitors each day.
My beloved reader, I urge you to simplify your life as well. Don't complicate it by chasing too many big goals like I did earlier on in my life. If you are a student, don't over-read the way I foolishly did in primary school; spare some time for exercise and socializing. That's all I am saying.
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed the above story on simplifying life, you might also enjoy another one on "Setting Goals" that I wrote about three years ago. Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.