Why We Should Be Humble
A True Story
on May 22, 2023
Much has been said about the virtue of humility and the vice of pride. You've definitely heard of the biblical verse that says, "Before his downfall a man's heart is proud, but humility comes before honor." What you may not have heard is that humility is the only virtue Satan can't imitate.
As for me, I have always preferred being humble. It's just like me to be meek. One of the reasons that motivates me to remain humble these days is the uncertainty of the future. The fact that I don't know what may happen next week keeps me from becoming conceited. It also makes me dependent on God.
This is how I reason it out: I may boast today that I am healthy and full of life, only to be involved the following day in a road accident that leaves me physically disabled. Or I may be proud of owning a nifty Samsung Galaxy smartphone, only for it to fall in water while preparing a meal in the kitchen.
Another reason that motivates me to remain humble is the vast amount of knowledge I don't yet understand: in Medicine, Calculus, Economics, Accounting, Aeronautical Engineering, just to mention but a few fields. I also don't know how to speak French, Arabic, Chinese and many other languages. Neither do I possess skills in masonry, carpentry and tailoring. Lacking such knowledge and skills keeps me from boasting about what I know.
I wish everybody could follow my example and embrace humility. But unfortunately, I have seen so many proud people. For example when I was at JKUAT and at the University of Nairobi, two local institutions of higher learning that I attended but didn't graduate from, I encountered lecturers who were proud and arrogant. They acted as though they knew everything there was to know.
At JKUAT, one Chemistry lecturer was so proud of his achievements that he asked us to google his name on the internet so that we could get a glimpse of what he had accomplished. He also talked pejoratively of Indians and verbally attacked a male student who had plaited his hair.
Then at the University of Nairobi (UoN), we had this Political Science lecturer who trash-talked a private university in downtown Nairobi, saying it was no match for UoN. The lecturer was so arrogant that he once commanded a female student to get out of his lecture for committing a minor infraction. During another lecture, he furiously tore a student's textbook because it was photocopied.
Another UoN lecturer, who taught us Economics, also exhibited similar levels of pride and arrogance. He was fond of speaking so highly of Europeans and so lowly of Africans. And I will never forget the morning he castigated a fellow student for coughing in his class. When he tried to enlist my support in castigating the student, I refused to join in.
Far be it from me to judge those proud and arrogant lecturers but I wish they could realize that even though they possess a PhD in one or two fields, there is much they don't yet know. And not that I detest education but I think they should also realize there are college drop-outs who are richer, happier and more successful than some PhD holders. Such realization could humble them.
This world is full of proud and arrogant people for shizzle. And they seem to know everything and to be in control of the world. But the truth is, it's God who is in charge of the world. And He favors the humble. I just like how the wonderful hymn of faith "Tell Out My Soul" puts it this way in its third verse:
The uncertainty of the future, the much that I still don't know - these facts have made me resolve to remain humble should I attain my dream of becoming an internationally acclaimed blogger. Never will I boast of my success or parade my achievements on social media.
Tell out, my soul, the greatness of His might!
Powers and dominions lay their glory by;
Proud hearts and stubborn wills are put to flight,
The hungry fed, the humble lifted high.
My beloved reader, I exhort you to also abhor pride and embrace humility. As author H. Jackson Brown Jr. quipped, "Be humble. A lot was accomplished before you were born." And always keep in mind that it is pride that caused Satan to fall from heaven, according to the Bible. That's all I am saying.
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed the above story on why we should remain humble, you might also enjoy another one on "Developing Hope & Optimism" which I wrote about three years ago. Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.
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Understanding Our Parents
A True Story
on May 17, 2023
Former United States senator John Demint once quipped, "One of the greatest titles in the world is parent, and one of the biggest blessings in the world is to have parents to call mom and dad." Mmmh, that's a great gem of wisdom coming from a politician, isn't it?
I don't know about you but for me, I am lucky to have parents I can call Mum and Dad. As the world prepared to celebrate Mother's Day last Sunday, I thought long and hard about the nature of my aging parents.
My Mum is extroverted but very forgetful. She likes sharing stories and has a tendency to talk to everyone in Kikuyu, our native language. Sometimes when she addresses a non-Kikuyu farmhand in Kikuyu, the farmhand has to mumble something in Swahili to make her switch to a language they can both understand.
Perhaps due to her poor mastery of the English language, Mum always refers to apples as pears, to TV remote control as charger, and to her bathroom faucet as chimney. I have tried to correct her several times about the real names of those things she misnames but my correction hasn't yet registered in her mind. That's how forgetful she is.
I first started noting Mum's forgetful memory in the year 2011 when she was a physically able shopkeeper in my hometown of Kiserian. Back then, she would sometimes call me "Njinju", then "Noru", then "Boti" before suddenly remembering that I am Thuita. (Njinju, Noru and Boti are my siblings.)
Since she was crippled by a stroke a decade ago, Mum claims she can't recall much of her past. She has sometimes had to rely on us in order for her to remember events from her past. There was a time she used to ask me if certain relatives attended the funeral of my Dad's sister in 2012.
About three months ago, I began instructing Mum not to tell me that I am sleeping when she calls me during the day. Despite warning her several times that she annoys me no end by telling me that I am sleeping in my room, she still forgets my instructions and asks me to wake up during the day.
Last Friday but one when she again vexed me for asking me to wake up at around noon, I commanded her to be telling me that I am reading, not sleeping. Given how forgetful she is, I wouldn't be surprised if she repeats the annoying habit of asking me to wake up when calling me during the day.
I however don't fault Mum for occasionally asking me to wake up because I used to doze a lot in my room during the day, a bad habit I struggled with for years and which I did away with this year. (Oh, there I go again - talking about my struggle with the emotion of sleep!)
Unlike my Mum who is extroverted, my Dad is more of an introvert. He rarely laughs. Neither does he share stories from his life. I always feel Dad has a lot of wisdom locked up in his head that could benefit people, especially my siblings and I. If only he were more talkative and outgoing like Mum!
Different though they are, Dad can be as forgetful as Mum. There was a night in 2016 or 2017 when he came home and absentmindedly poured milk into a container for a toilet-cleaning chemical. Both Mum and I laughed a lot about it, not understanding that Dad was just having one of those senior moments that are characteristic of old people.
Dad's forgetfulness has cost him money, for he has had to buy new cooking gas sooner after forgetting to switch off our gas cooker. Early this year for example, he left some tea warming on the gas cooker and forgot about it. 40 minutes or so later when he suddenly remembered tea was on the gas cooker, he went to the kitchen, only to find the tea had evaporated, leaving the sufuria (metal pot) as black as coal.
Recently, Mum informed me that Dad would have another surgery which was more serious than the one he had on his heart about two months ago. When I asked Mum which part of Dad's body was to be operated on, she declined to divulge more information to me. And I found it wise not to prod her into telling me more.
Dad had the surgery on the morning of last Saturday but one. The surgery made him spend three days in a hospital. And to this day, I am yet to know which part of his body was operated on. Suffice it to say that I was jazzed to see him come back home looking a bit healthy.
Because both my parents are sick and have pace-makers in their hearts, I have come to understand them when they become slow on the uptake. I have taken to heart the advice in the book of Sirach not to look down on our parents just because we are strong and healthy.
My beloved reader, I beseech you to also understand your parent(s) if one or both of them are still alive. Don't get so caught up in your own affairs that you forget they are also growing old. Honor and help them in any way you can. Belated happy Mother's Day!
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed the above story on understanding our parents, you might also enjoy another one on "Honouring Parents" that I wrote more than four years ago. Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.