Being Patient With People
A True Story
on Mar 3, 2023
When I got into Form Four in January 2005 during my high school years at Starehe Boys' Centre, I became position 27 in the 'index' exams we had sat for at the end of the previous year. Becoming position 27 in the index exam was the best performance I had hitherto attained since I began my high school education. And I was determined to do even better in the exams that were to follow. I especially wanted to emerge the top candidate nationally in the results of 2005 KCSE exams.
In order to achieve my goal of emerging top in the results of our KCSE exams, I read a lot. Really a lot. Not a day passed in my entire fourth-form year without me reading something related to schoolwork. But guess what! In spite of my heavy reading, I didn't make it in the list of top 100 candidates nationally in the results of 2005 KCSE exams.
Later on after I did an analysis of the Starehe fourth-formers who emerged among the top 10 students nationally in KCSE results, I concluded that only those who were among the first 7 students in index exams managed to appear in that list of top 10 students nationally in KCSE results. Mark you, the Starehe index exam was done a year before KCSE, meaning that no amount of reading in a whole year could make one leapfrog from position 27 in index exam to position 1 in KCSE exams.
A year after I received my KCSE results, I noted an abnormality in the 2006 KCSE exams. There was a little difference in marks among the top 100 students nationally in the results of that year's KCSE exams. If a candidate who was number 99 nationally could have improved by only 8 marks, he would have emerged top. The results of the 2006 KCSE exams just didn't follow a normal distribution curve, the sign of a fair and well-set exam.
I also noted that some 2006 Starehe fourth-formers who were among the first 7 students in index exams didn't make it in the list of top 100 candidates nationally in their KCSE results. One of the fourth-formers was Paul Byatta who went on to get accepted at Harvard. I don't understand how Byatta, who was index 6 or 7, failed to appear among the top 100 students in KCSE results. Surely, there was something amiss with the 2006 KCSE exams and I don't know why nobody raised an eyebrow about it.
Anyway, coming back to the impossibility of Starehe's index 27 of our time topping KCSE exams, there is an important lesson we can draw from that fact. And it is that we shouldn't expect sudden improvements from our spouses, children, parents, workmates and church colleagues. We should therefore be patient with people, something I have learnt while dealing with my Dad.
Well, my Dad is a very hard-working person but organization is not one of his strengths. His home office is full of books, newspapers and other paraphernalia that are strewn higgedly-piggedly on the floor. It is really a chaotic office. And the same goes for his bedroom which he shares with Mum.
Some of my siblings have criticized Dad for his lack of organizational skills. But I think they are being unfair to him. Since Dad has been disorganized for years, expecting him to be orderly within a month is like expecting a Starehe index 27 to emerge top in the results of KCSE exams. It's impossible!
I have also been guilty of expecting much from Dad. A couple of years ago while walking in a certain mall in Nairobi, I saw a book with a cover-photo of a 74-year old man. The man, who was the author of the book, was in fine fettle with his six-pack and well-toned muscles. And his book was about staying alert and vibrant despite advancing years.
After I saw the book, I thought of buying it and showing it to Dad who sometimes attributed his age to his tendency to doze and forget things. I imagined telling Dad, in the presence of my siblings, that here was a man older than him who was still alert and vibrant at 74 years.
Come to think of it, I am glad that I never bought the book and compared its 74-year old author with Dad. Why? Because he is different from Dad. Maybe the author didn't hail from a humble background like Dad. So expecting Dad to suddenly become alert and vibrant like him is a superhuman feat tantamount to expecting a Starehe index 27 to emerge top in the results of KCSE exams.
I have therefore resolved to be patient with Dad and all the people in my life. My beloved reader, I beseech you to also do the same. Refrain from being critical of the people in your life who are below par. Be patient with them and allow them room to be themselves. As for teens and children, give them time to grow. I hate to sound redundant but again, I beseech you to be patient with people. Ciao!
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed the above story on being patient with people, you might also enjoy another one on "Gaining Wisdom in Pain" that I wrote a few years ago. Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.
Sharing is CaringLike this story? Then share it on:
Dad's Heart Surgery
A True Story
on Feb 26, 2023
On Tuesday this week, my Dad went for a medical check-up at Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi. I wasn't worried in the slightest about anything malignant being found in his aging body. But when he came back home at night, I was a bit apprehensive about the results of his medical check-up. So, before asking him about his doctor's report, I uttered a short prayer while hoping Dad wouldn't say anything terrifying.
Well, all Dad told me was that his doctor had found just a small problem in his heart. He told me so in Kikuyu, our native language that we use to communicate here at home.
Having lived with Dad for some years and known his choice of words, I was worried when he described his heart problem as small. You see, Dad has a habit of describing everything as small even when it is big. When, for instance, I ask him if he has brought a pineapple for us, he usually says "just a small pineapple" even when the pineapple is large.
Therefore, after Dad informed me that his doctor had discovered a small problem in his heart, I had a premonition that he could be talking of a serious heart ailment. And that's what worried me as I retired to bed on Tuesday night. I had to meditate on some of the Bible verses I have memorized. The verses relaxed me to a point of making me sleep soundly and wake up the following morning full of the peace that surpasses all understanding.
Sure enough, my premonition turned out to be right because on Thursday morning, I came across in Dad's room a note written by his doctor who goes by the frightening name of Dr. Murage. The note said that Dad had a severe cerazycardia (whatever that is) which required urgent surgery. (I have said Dr. Murage's name is frightening because in Kikuyu, "Murage" means "kill him!")
Dad was hospitalized at Kenyatta National Hospital on Thursday. I greatly missed him on the night of that day. Home didn't feel like home without him. Fortunately, my spirits were lifted when I phoned him and we had a short cozy chat. He informed me in the course of the chat that he would undergo a heart surgery the following day.
Since the heart is a vital organ (no one can live without it), I was concerned about Dad's impending heart surgery. As I always do these days, I cast my cares to God, asking Him to let everything go well with Dad.
God answered my prayer, for Dad's heart surgery, during which a pace-maker was inserted in his heart, went swimmingly. He was discharged on that same day he had the surgery, something that surprised me. And it was my brother Bob Njinju who drove him back home.
Soon after Dad arrived home, I was full of sympathy for him when I saw his left hand was bandaged. Then when I went back to my desk, I stared at the picture of him above while thinking of all the times I have wronged him, such as when I went astray at the university in JKUAT in 2008. Dad later on told me that all that time I went astray at JKUAT by neither attending classes nor communicating with my family, he was so worried sick about me that he couldn't work.
My Dad is the most humble, mature and responsible man that I know. He always rises before dawn everyday, never carries grudges, always strives to live at peace with everyone and never erupts in anger like me. (Okay, I turned over a new leaf; I haven't had a short fuse in the past three years and I have repented the many times I have wronged Dad.)
What I appreciate most about Dad is the way he has made great sacrifices so that my siblings and I could have a decent education. When I was admitted to a certain nursing home in 2008 after going astray at JKUAT, my eldest brother Joe Kagigite informed me that Dad used to borrow money to pay our school fees.
Dad still plays a large role in my life. He always ensures I have my daily bread and the "Nation" newspaper. And he is such a skilled chef; he cooks the tastiest omelettes and meat stew that I have ever feasted on. (I kid you not). He is also the one who photographs the pictures of me that I share on this blog.
Now that Dad is safely back at home with us, I will honor him in any way I can as the Catholic Bible exhorts me in the book of Sirach. And since we all die in the end, I have asked God not to take him away before I am able to stand on my own two feet through the work I do on this lovely blog of mine. Ciao!
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed this story on Dad's heart surgery, you might also enjoy another one on "Part 1: Appreciating Fathers" that I wrote a few years ago. Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.