Dear Daddy

December 1st, 2006

We bid you farewell on this date! You had breathed your last two days earlier, but for me, it hadn’t yet sank in that you were no more. That day, now 10 years since, the reality of your transition from this life shook me to the core as they lowered your casket into the ground. Apart of me was still bargaining with the fact itself. I was just hoping that maybe, just maybe, it was a lie.

A week earlier, I had written my last exam to complete S.6, and was super excited to come home, watch and help you recover and be the same person I knew before you suffered the stroke in July. But alas, God had different plans. Today, I have been thinking about what life would have been had you not left us. I was really excited about life with you in it; graduation, marriage, and all the moments in between. Along the way, I have met people who have filled the gap quite right. They have become my mentors and I look up to them as I would have to you. One of them is Patrick Bitature, a successful business man, philanthropist and he sits at the top of so many groups as chairman. He stood out for me and here is a text quoting part of a speech he wrote recently. It brought you to mind and echoed your advice to many before me. It says;

I am here today to give you some very basic advice that just might help you make it past the many challenges and obstacles that lie ahead.

First of all let’s all agree that going to a great school like Budo is not a sure ticket to a good job and a good life or becoming a King.

In today’s world – Probably more important than going to a good school and obtaining a good degree is having a positive attitude and a good mind-set.

How can I help you achieve this in a 4 minute speech

I would like to paraphrase some of the words of Martin Luther King Jr. First of all you will need a clear road map or blueprint to guide you at this crucial and formative time in your lives. Not a physical one but a mental one with values and principles to imbibe in your life. What you do now and what you decide now, may very well determine the trajectory of the rest of your life. 

Do you have a proper, reliable, tried and tested …road map?

Let me give you some tips I have learnt along the way;

Number one, you must have a deep belief in your own dignity, your own worth and somebodiness.  No one should ever tell you that you are nobody. Always feel you are a worthy person that really matters to your community and to your country. Your life has ultimate significance. It all depends on you to build it up. One day at a time. The thoughts you have, become your word, your words become your actions, your actions become your habits, and your habits become your character. 

 The Rt. Hon Speaker Kadaga was just like you during her school days.  HE President Museveni was just like you at your age. So was Nelson Mandela. And believe me when I say, so was President Obama. It’s up to you  to rise to a pinnacle of your choice.

 (I won’t say that Donald Trump was like you…because he was from another world altogether.)

 Believe in yourself and build big dreams. Dreams of progress and change. Dreams of prosperity not just for you, but for as many people that you can influence along the way. Making my dreams a reality has been my quest in life. Make your own dreams and make them count. And chase them like your life depends on it. 

Secondly in your life, you must have a deep determination to achieve excellence in whatever- you’re various fields of work or endeavour. Be you a teacher or a doctor. Be a noble teacher and give it your very best. It was never about the money after all.

Be you an administration officer or an Engineer.

Be a bush if you can’t be tree,

 Be a marram road if you can’t be a highway,

 Be a star if you can’t be the sun, 

Whatever you choose to be doesn’t really matter. 

But be the very best in whatever you choose to be. 

Together we shall uplift this beautiful country we all call motherland, Uganda.

Today one can say we take for granted this peace we enjoy. Peace does not mean the absence of war. You must make a solemn life – long commitment to the eternal principle of beauty, love and justice for all. And remain consistent about these coveted values. Do not waiver in your values or beliefs. Half of Uganda’s problems today are because of this wavering of spineless people that has led to so much corruption with terrible social and economic consequences.

What you now need to do as an individual now is …To take responsibility for your life and your destiny. You start today not tomorrow.

It’s your choice. Your decision. You all have a special gift. Find it and use it well.

You must embrace a culture of working hard. There is no short cut to working hard for sustained success.

Develop good habits early and stick to them. …A strict savings culture. An inquisitive mind, a numerical mind – simple maths and basic times tables. Remember that Instant gratification doesn’t really work. You need Confidence but not arrogance. Humility and self-control.  A servant leadership state of mind. Honesty and integrity. Self-Discipline. You are your best friend or your worst enemy. Say that every time you look into a mirror. 

The Right attitude. Remain positive and believe in yourself. 

Take measured risks, even accept to fail but pick yourself up quickly and try again, and try doing better. Don’t miss the important lesson learnt from failing.

If you can’t fly ran,

If you can’t ran walk,

If you can’t walk crawl,

But by all means never give up. Keep moving

King’s College Budo School Speech

#BreakingLymyts

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