we need more heroes doing some self-sacrifice to save other people’s lives in Uganda

This is so heartbreaking. We all need to take action to better the service quality in our country.

scare-a-hero

UCI Building Photo from http://socialjusticeblog.kweeta.com/

OVER the last couple of weeks Uganda has talked a lot about the deaths of two celebrities, and the sensationalism around their passing.

Over coffee with the BBCs Alan Kasujja and Kinetic’s Cedric Ndilima this week, they pointed at the front page of Daily Monitor that day and their lead story about the death of Simon Ekongo (22).

My eyes were first drawn to the part of the caption that read, “Simon died at the weekend…” which caused me some mild anxiety for obvious reasons. 

Then I imagined the acute anxiety of the people who are actually related to Simon, and changed perspective because of the reality they were facing.

I have said a prayer for Simon Ekongo, and hope his soul Rests In Peace, and that his family finds solace at this trying time.

The comment about Simon Ekongo that caught me was: “See how this story…

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A Noble Vocation

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It goes without saying that teaching is one of the most noble of life’s vocations, yet it is one of the least appreciated professions worldwide, and even worse, the least rewarded.

“Teaching is a very noble profession that shapes the character, caliber, and future of an individual. If the people remember me as a good teacher, that will be the biggest honour for me.” ~ A. P. J. Abdul Kalam

In Uganda, out of all the registered teachers, I think only 10% are really passionate about teaching as their profession and give it their all. The rest are motivated by something else, or have settled into teaching because they were unable to achieve their intended career goal. This is either because they could not afford the tuition fees for higher education, which would guarantee a better career or they didn’t pass well enough to qualify for their intended course in an institute of higher education. Worse still, the culture to stretch beyond the visible obstacles is still alien to us. This has left our schools with the poorest quality of teachers, which in turn has affected the quality of our education system. In the end, it has only bred half baked graduates with no vision, motivation or the zeal to work, because all they have seen through school, was a bunch of older people who settled for less and have no push whatsoever to aim higher in life, an example that the youngsters embrace as the norm.

“I like a teacher who gives you something to take home to think about besides homework.”  ~Lily Tomlin as Edith Ann

In 2015, I visited my former school, where I spent the entire six years of my secondary education and was shocked to find that not only has the school environment deteriorated, but the same teachers I had left there nine years back, were still the same. They had never advanced in any aspect of their lives, personal or professionally. I returned later the same year with a friend of mine, a motivational speaker and sales expert, who shared his story and how he had risen above multiple setbacks to achieve his best life yet. At the end of the short session, many had reformed in their hearts to start taking action and indeed, a week later, the Headmaster called to share a testimony. One of the teachers who was well known as a drunkard had abandoned the bad habit and was now helping his wife start a small business, something he had previously banned her form doing. I am still following up with him. We will be going back for another thorough session this year.

I have visited several schools, giving talks to students mainly, but I couldn’t help but notice that the most important person in this picture is the teacher. And we always left them out. I could easily waste a full hour pumping the children with career guidance but should the teacher walk in after me and tell them to abandon it or lose their marks, my message will be long forgotten. Because he/she holds the power, and in my opinion, I would achieve twice as much if I engaged the teacher instead.

“I never teach my pupils, I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn.” ~ Albert Einstein

Parents have also continued to entrust the grooming of their children to teachers, with some being bold enough to put a child as young as three years old in a boarding school. This has also caused an imbalance as to what the actual duty of a teacher is. A child in kindergarten requires special care and attention, because they are learning everything for the first time, but these teachers, being torn between teaching and baby sitting tens and sometimes hundreds of children at once, cannot accord each child enough attention as they deserve. In the end, the teacher is spread thin and comes off as uncaring, and very tough on the innocent babies. Such a child will never know real love and care and this affects their development, which in the end creates a huge gap in that entire generation and their offspring, because they will do the same when they become  parents. That is what they know, and therefore, cannot start to raise a family themselves.

A popular saying “Charity begins at home” summarises the above point. We pass on what we know, what we were taught at home and if that teacher didn’t experience as much care and love growing up, they will in turn not give it as adequately as it is needed. And the trend continues, just like the quote below says;

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We are all teachers, just in case you were looking at it as something unrelated to you. No matter how old you are, you have something to teach somebody. Even a new born baby teaches a great deal to its parents like patience, unconditional love; (no matter how much it poops or pees in your face, you will still love that baby. Haha). So we all have to embrace that God-given grace. And now you might wonder what the the benefit of being a teacher is, especially in our setting here in Uganda. But I believe there are multiple benefits, some I may not know myself. I am still investigating/researching/digging up more information on this, and will gladly share at a future date.

“To teach is to learn twice over.”~ Joseph Joubert

This quote sums up why teaching is an amazing vocation. It reaps twice as much. But to earn the benefits, you must be fully invested as a person. You must have the love for learning and a hunger for personal improvement every single day. But unfortunately, the teachers we have in our schools do not read beyond what they teach in class, which is also a repeat of the same information year in, year out. Something I would rather they challenged, because they have the power to do so. You’re all contributing to the same nation, I don’t see why one school should shine while another is shunned. And this brings me to the point of sharing thoughts on what a teacher should be doing to make their job more fun and rewarding for themselves first and then, (especially) their students.

  • Self Improvement

“If a man is to shed the light of the sun upon other men, he must first of all have it within himself.” ~ Romain Rolland

Oprah Winfrey once commented that if you are not full, then you cannot give’. This was after she had been struggling with being referred to repeatedly as so full of herself, something we’ve always found somewhat offensive ( in our society). Well, now you know its actually a good thing. And similarly, I believe that if you are giving the same thing to everybody year in, year out, then you have nothing worthy of sharing anymore. Which is where our teachers stand today. The same syllabus I was taught in high school, is still the same they are teaching today, despite the immeasurable change in trends that has happened over the ten years since I left high school. What value are they adding, if I may ask? Every week I see a post on social media about the subjects people say were a waste of their time in school because they now find them inapplicable.

I challenge the teachers to invest in themselves. If you started your career with a diploma, upgrade to a Bachelors degree and beyond. Step out of your comfort zone and say, take a course in public speaking, after all, that’s how teaching is mainly delivered. Pick up book on a subject other than what you teach. Many teachers of English and Literature have never read a book that is not on the syllabus, let alone about anything else. You could take an interest in Conflict resolution, read widely about it and practice what you learn. Who knows, you could be the consultant on such issues in your area and these days, almost everything makes money. be an expert at something or two or three. You just have to know how to apply it right.

Know something outside your profession that will push you beyond mediocrity. Have a mentor and meet with them regularly. And equally mentor someone else other than your students. It’s all about you and how great you are. That’s where your money is.

  • Exemplary leadership

“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.”  ~ William Arthur Ward

It is a common thing in our country that the leaders do the opposite of the rules and regulations they impose on others. A sick trend, I must say. No matter your position, you have those who follow you and look up to you and cannot afford to sell yourself short. This begins with how lead yourself.

Do you keep time? Do you respect the rules and regulations and the law? Do you dress appropriately? How about your speech? Is your message something the students and fellow teachers look forward to? Or the one everyone dreads listening to because you will leave their spirit wounded? Your influence runs deep,and therefore, taking your place at an assembly and calling students names is unforgivable because you are duplicating yourself right there and then. We played those games, mimicking teachers and trying to act like them, and those who ended up in that profession, act the exact same way, as if it was never distasteful for them too. How exemplary!

So, you want your school to excel? It starts with you. Have a vision beyond the students passing. What kind of influence do you want your students to have when they get out there tomorrow? Or is it about bringing you an A, your school’s name making headlines, and tomorrow that ‘A student’ doesn’t amount to anything in their life? What matters the most? I believe producing students whose values and character has been groomed right is a far better achievement than all As. But guess what? While you groom their character to make a lasting impact, they will deliver on the marks automatically. Because you have instilled in them excellence, given them a vision and set them for the future.

You will be remembered forever.

  • Ambition

“We never know which lives we influence, or when, or why.” ~ Stephen King

What ignites you as an individual? You ought to have it. Do you love art, and maybe even teach it? Then create masterpieces and share them with the world. Is it Physics, what are you inventing? Bottom line, shine in another field. Your students will be inspired by your ambition to succeed beyond the classroom. Maybe like me, you love to write. What do you like to write about? Share it with the world. For some it could be sports, let it drive you and participate in as many tournaments as you can, involve your students as well, it is very motivating for them.

It’s very mind blowing how we have teachers of Geography and History, among other subjects, who have never visited the historical or geographical sites they teach about. Not even those in a neighboring district or village. And I wonder, if I, the student, visited one of those sites and what your telling me in class doesn’t match what I saw or in the exam, I write down exactly what the historical/geographical site looks like in present day, will I have failed your test? It really pays forward for you to check out what you teach in class and confirm its relevance or see how it can be reformed or updated.

Reach for more and your students will shine even brighter, because you inspire them.

  • Innovation

“In learning you will teach, and in teaching you will learn.” ~ Phil Collins

In addition to having that ambition, let it fuel your innovative side. You have the freshest and most creative minds in your classrooms, all it takes is a great idea and your encouragement and they will pour themselves into it and before you know it, something new is invented. It is called positive engagement. Our curriculum is too theoretical for our own good and we need to get more hands on. We have the best minds on paper but when it comes to implementation, we lag far behind. Why not have activities as a school that will fuel your students excellence beyond the normal passing of UNEB papers?

Have healthy competitions for your students. Team up with other schools in the region and create amazing results. Fuel the change we need as a country, it starts with you. You have the ability to expose your students to the most amazing minds and ideas. They too are very talented, bring it out of them and forge partnerships that will give them a platform to grow. You could get that child employed in that moment and set for life, because you saw their gift or talent early enough.

I recently learnt about exchange programs, these can be arranged for both teachers and students, starting with other schools that are currently better to mentor you and also pick one school to mentor. eventually, you can spread your wings to other countries and continents. Like I mentioned earlier, you are all contributing to the same human capital market, why not join arms and make the country proud?

This is my contribution to the start of a revolution that will take us to the top, I sure hope you the reader will add your voice.

  • Hobbies

When our students fail, we, as teachers, too, have failed.” ~ Marva Collins

I have emphasized that you ought to shine in other field. It starts with your hobbies. I understand this is an area that is so underrated in our society. Hobbies are suppressed so much because they are that; hobbies, things you do in your free time. Yet some of the most paying professions today are more or less hobbies. From sports, to fashion, to medicine, everywhere. So do not overlook yours and especially those of your students.

I have a serious grudge with schools today, for over pumping the students with class work and almost no fun time. My niece told me last night that I may not see her at home again until December when she finishes her final exams because she is in a candidate class. I looked at her and couldn’t imagine being in her place. She has a pretty tight reading schedule while at home, and we force her out to have some fun and relax. What will happen over the next six months of total seriousness and no break? And the school has nothing majorly exciting that you could say will help the students balance their books with sanity. I am really worried for them. And this is because the teachers themselves have no hobbies to look forward to.

It’s important to have hobbies. My love for reading earns me money as an editor. What if I had ignored it? You too have something that makes you happy and could make you money as well. Music is one of those. A sport keeps you healthy and helping others stay healthy will pay you too. The ball is in your court. Make your life exciting, because it has a direct impact on what becomes of your students.

Travel and see new cultures, then come back and tell your students about your adventures. Document them and share with their parents and explain the benefits of the parents doing the same with their children. Challenge what you studied and what you teach. I want to go back and ask my teacher of Geography if he has ever been to New York and Canada. He taught me about those places. How about the Rift Valley of East Africa or Fort Jesus in Mombasa? Huh? It is a challenge on every single person. Be more than you are now and everyday. I shared on this in my article Love to ‘Be More’.

It will transform your life and that of those around you.

  • Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish

“Education is the key to success in life, and teachers make a lasting impact in the lives of their students.” ~ Solomon Ortiz

I cannot emphasize this enough. You just cannot stop learning as a teacher. You have to sharpen your curiosity. You have to constantly be feeding your mind and heart with new knowledge.

Read, read, read and read.

Travel! Travel far and wide. Many opportunities exist to make this easier and cheaper.

Be curious. Be creative. Love your students and bring out the best in them.

I could go on and on about this subject. And I will take more action on empowering the teachers in my beloved country. I just started.

#BreakingLymyts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Puzzles of Life

As I ironed my outfit for today, my niece told me a story about her friend whom they left at school. She had to stay there while the rest of them went home for the two weeks school break because her father was punishing her for hanging out with boys at her former(mixed) school. I am also told that she is one really pretty girl. Clearly, the boys aren’t blind and let’s also keep in mind that she is a teenager. Both boys and girls are human, children of God and destined to start families of their own, they should be shown how to relate with each other, right?  I find this punishment unrealistic and rather appalling.

I was not there, and therefore, cannot defend her. I do not even know her name. I probably never will. But honestly, what crime did she commit here? If anything, her father and family should be happy that she is a very desirable young lady and ought to start grooming her on how to respect herself and not fall for the little excitement that comes with being a teenager, especially when boys start hitting on her. They ought to seize the opportunity to teach her how to aim higher in life. It really shocks me why the world is against what God himself created. He did not create male and female for it to be a taboo. We are meant to relate, everyday, because we need each other’s strengths. Intimacy comes in only at a time when we have matured, something our seniors refuse to talk to us about but rather have created such unacceptable beliefs and stereotypes around it.  This only builds a surge of curiosity and guess what excites teenagers? That’s right; curiosity. The same parents who lock you up so that you do not relate with friends, especially those of the opposite sex, are the same ones who will harass you if you do not find a spouse as soon as possible. Girls suffer this injustice more.

The boys are, mostly, not held back from relating with girls but they also experience stereotypes connected to this kind of relationship. They are not taught how honorable it is to be in the presence of a woman or how to respect and treat a lady right, and so they do whatever they please, cowardly, behind closed doors. And guess who gets punished? Yes, the girl. The girl is told about what a privilege it is to be desired by a male, and she is told all sorts of things that are exclusively meant to please the male. And the boy? All he knows most of the time, is that the woman is meant to serve him. Boys and girls should be allowed to relate, so that the limits are made clearer for them.

This is worse in schools. Secondary(high) schools especially. I love teachers, and passionately so. My parents are teachers by profession, and they provided for me that way. But visit any secondary school and see how the teachers treat the students. It appears to me sometimes that what they are taught is that the children in your care are the worst of their kind and don’t deserve a shred of inspiration or grooming for the next life. It is in secondary schools, that a headteacher, who ought to be a true leader, will stand in front of a class and call all the kids fools, abusing them till they feel worse than worthless, while at the same time expecting them to excel academically like they are most inspired lot. I remember my high school days vividly. I wasn’t particularly picked on for bad behavior, well, partly because I did my best to steer clear, but it was the most uninspiring phase of my life. I only looked forward to leaving school but with no proper goal to aim for. I was in a mixed school and, therefore, had male friends. After class hours, we would obviously mingle and talk about things teenagers like to talk about. And very naturally too, you will always warm up to a particular individual of the opposite sex. And as if they were never your age, or particularly because they were, the teachers would harass you for being human. They had all the sneaky tricks, praying they would find an unsuspecting couple and pounce on them with all the tiger they had sleeping inside them. They prey on your emotions, strengths, weaknesses, anything on you can be used against you. At least, that’s how the student sees it. And it matters how they see it by the way, because it influences so much about their choices.

What I will never forget, is how much hate you felt in every corner at school. It always felt like the teachers were there not to add value to your life but make it as miserable as it can get. I had friends who were beaten every single day. We had teachers dedicated to spying on your every move. And did you ever notice that they rarely have a good report for your parents or guardians? Even worse if they felt any slight distrust for you from your parent/guardian, they would fuel that fire like their job depended on it. And because of all this, plus I am older and wiser than back then, I do not agree with the whole idea of punishing kids for relating with each other. After all, they live in a shared space called EARTH! If anything, every adult should be dedicated to helping a teenager make it through that phase without major hiccups.

At this point, I want to share a few thoughts on leadership for a parent, teacher or anyone older than a teenager on how I believe we should relate with, work with and groom them in this day and age, where we think they are difficult and/or complicated. What am sharing is based on my own experiences and how I felt about them and especially what I think would have been a better way to relate with my teenage self. Plus all that I have learned from my interactions with parents, students and all the wisdom I have read about parenting. And most importantly, what my faith as a believer in Christ Jesus has inspired in me, as I have teenagers in my care at the moment. Bear in mind that there are extremes but we all think differently. Feel free to disagree with me. But this is what I believe.

Parents

“Children are like wet cement, whatever falls on them leaves a mark.” ~ Dr. Haim Ginott

You should be your child’s number one fan, because your their biggest influence. Do not wish they were any different or compare them to someone else’s child or any of their siblings. Do not even compare them to yourself. This does not only kill their self esteem but it cripples them forever in ways you will never foresee and the effects are most evident when they start their adult life. In the workplace, in their relationships and/or marriage. It is visible in the smallest things like a decision about what to wear. There are days one adorns the worst outfit not because they lack a sense of fashion but because they were never encouraged to look their best or were always scolded for trying to look different from others. The results are always disliked by you, as a parent, but truth is, you are only reaping what you sowed.

And the best you can do for your child especially when they become teenagers, is not to suppress them or try to control and oppose their every move and choice. But rather show them that they have your support. At this stage, they are in formation for the adult you will either like or dislike. Let them blossom and create for them an environment where they can express themselves freely, especially to you, so that you can see where to encourage or advise accordingly. But do not impose your beliefs on them. These beliefs may have worked for you but this child is a completely different person, who does not have to be like you but rather themselves. And it is your job to nurture that in them.

Help them realize and release their gifts and talents. Connect them to the people with whom and places where they can be positively inspired and motivated to make the right choices. But even more importantly, do all these for yourself first, for them to learn that there is more to life than just what they see now. It is this vision that will set the bar for them. You can only try to control someone, even a child, when you have nothing better for yourself to do. But if they see that you’re about more than them, especially for yourself, they too will start thinking bigger, beyond where they are now.

Parents have a tendency to pause certain aspects of development in their children’s lives,  and unknowingly causing damage. I have experienced this personally and are grateful that I met the right people to set the record straight for me in time. I am talking about preventing your child from participating in extra curricular activities because you think it is disruptive for their academic life. It is not about academics, school is just a stepping stone to where that person will end up and where they end up is determined by the activities they partake in today, in their young life. Be it sports, music, fashion, anything that excites them and motivates them to invest their mind and skills. It is never too early to start. That goes for lessons about money too, let them start making money. Try building a business. This will benefit you more because they will see early enough how hard it is to make the money and will not waste yours. Most parents who complain that their children are ungrateful and do not know how hard it is to raise them, usually have not involved them in how they make a living. And if you don’t know where something comes from, you will abuse it. It is only natural.

Be their first inspiration, their first role model, because your their first mentor, example and life coach. Let it be your goal to show them that life is more than what your given, it is what you create and it is okay to reach beyond the ordinary. Teach them that to be different and more ambitious is more rewarding than settling for the usual. Show them that the best solutions are still unknown and that they should be as innovative as God has gifted them to be. Do not delegate this to anyone else. Your busy schedule is just a lame excuse, no matter how well you try to argue around it. Be there for your children.

Teachers

Your the second parent, and should aim to be as inspiring as you can be for every single child. One thing a teacher gets wrong, is thinking all children are the same and treating them that way. See each child for who they are and help them accordingly. It may seem like a lot of work, but when they come back to thank you and/or do something unexpected for you, it is the greatest reward you could ever ask for.

You are not teaching them to pass today, you are preparing them to handle tomorrow. So much as you expect the academic results today, help them nurture a vision for tomorrow. And like the parent, invest in your own vision. Read beyond what you teach in class, develop your self as a person and pass it on to them. You have the power to build or destroy a nation, make use use of this golden chance God gave you positively. It doesn’t matter where a child comes from, because if you believe in them, you have changed the world. Who knows if they are the future world leader, huh?

Travel!!!! Please step out of that classroom and see the world. In Uganda, this is something teachers do not do. Your teaching children from wealthier and/or more exposed families. While you stick to the old syllabus, they are visiting the historical sights during holidays and taking note of the changes, and when they challenge you by sharing their experience, you will be angry and hurt the child either physically punishing or emotionally by saying what you could avoided. This only makes them withdraw because they are not sure if it is allowed to contribute. Later in life, it is a major issue because they cannot participate and actively be involved in discussions and decision making, for fear of being wrong.

Have the courage to question the relevance of what you teach. Does it still apply? Would it make a difference for you if you were the student? Lead the reforms in the system, what doesn’t apply should be updated. Why not let it start with with you? Who said you have to stick to the old and obsolete methods when you are smart enough to create new trends?

More will be shared on how you can be a teacher to remember, in one of my next articles.

Elders at large

In this category are the on-lookers who talk and gossip or even worse try to act like the parent they are not. You do not have the right to judge anyone and/or paint a bad picture of them. This is especially the children, the teenagers. Should you notice something wrong a child is doing, call them aside (if they know you too) and advise them accordingly but never get physical. If your first admonishing is ignored, approach the parent. There is a limit. If ignored, you have done your part. Let it go. Do not make it the talk of the town about so and so’s child.

Be one who prays and defends families. Advocate for positive influence in the lives of children. Contribute to a worthy environment to raise teenagers in. Engage parents where you see a gap and encourage them. Some are struggling quietly, which is seen in their children’s behavior. Pay attention and you will see where the problem is and offer a solution or find who can. Teenagers’ behavior is only a mirror of the environment they live in. If you do not like it, address the issue but do not just talk about it in the sidelines.

We all have to come together to build our nation and it begins with your family and the one next door. Work together, you too are inspiring to a certain child. Be the best version of yourself always.

Conclusion

We all want to see everything running smoothly. Systems that work, children who are obedient and leadership that delivers. But it all begins with us, how we respond to calls to duty, respecting the law and our fellow man, and how we live as a family.

How you choose to punish or rewa a child will either draw you closer or far apart as a family. I don’t believe this girl had to literally be disowned to make a point. All she needed was to be shown that there is a better and more respectful way to handle herself at school. And given reasons why, in order to inspire in her the best of discipline and character. I believe she feels hated and rejected and will fall for the first person to make her feel loved. God forbid if it is a selfish man, especially a teacher at that school. I will honestly hate to hear that she was taken advantage of because she wanted to feel loved and cared for.

Love your children unconditionally, not only when they display good behavior or a good report card.

#BreakingLymyts

Poverty

“Poverty is not an accident. Like slavery and apartheid, it is man-made and can be removed by the actions of human beings.” ~Nelson Mandela

Honestly, poverty is one word that I now think has the wrong definition. Its not lacking what you need and sleeping hungry because your broke. Leave alone those in disaster stricken areas, real poverty is not utilizing the resources available to you. My faith has grown so deep that I now know that being alive alone is reason enough to hustle my butt off.

We all go through stuff and life is unfair to us, but hitting a pothole, knocking a bump or wall doesn’t mean the end of the road. Real poverty is allowed by us through our limited thinking, less actions and lack of creativity or innovation. We tend to wait so much on others to make things happen for us, forgetting that it is us who really know what we want and the others will never know. They can only guess. Some of the habits or things that truly lead us into poverty include the following. You can add to the list, share your experiences. But these stand out for me.

Not reading

“To acquire the habit of reading is to construct for yourself a refuge from almost all the miseries of life.” ~ W. Somerset Maugham

This habit has brought me so far, and taught me so much. Like I mentioned in my previous post My obsessions: Reading, it has availed me so many opportunities and exposed me to new worlds and cultures. Reading opens your mind and enables you to think broadly, which in turn could make you a fortune. There is a book for every idea or subject out there, you just have to find it and read it. The internet has all those notes, e-books are accessible and audio books also came to us. There is no excuse for not reading. And it’s a very worthy investment. The quote below summarizes it well;

“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.” Saint Augustine

Not travelling

“Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.” ~ Andre Gide

Trevor Noah, a famous stand up comedian, in one of his shows in New York said that;

 Traveling is the antidote to ignorance, that’s so true. It changes your mind, your perspective, how you believe, what you believe.

This is so true indeed. You realize how small you are in a big beautiful and diverse world. Those who feel like they are the best in their communities and far greater than their peers haven’t seen anything yet. They just need to step out and they will appreciate the little they are. Travelling has shown me how privileged my life has been. In Karamoja, where people have never seen tarmac and men still walk half naked, with one village so many kilometers away from its neighbor and the only accessible food is posho and rice, I couldn’t thank God enough for the simple things like water flowing from my tap, electricity in my house, the phone in my hands and the clothes on my body. I appreciated life. Whenever you feel that life is unfair, travel to a less privileged town and you will appreciate what you have. If you think you are the best, there are places to humble you as well. Just step out that door and go where you have never been, where they don’t even speak your language and you will be thankful to your creator.
Being unteachable

“Poverty and disgrace come to him who ignores instruction, but whoever heeds reproof is honored.” ~ Proverbs 13:18

This is the worst form of poverty anyone can subject themselves to. No one knows everything and everyday is a day to learn something new or better than what you knew. You can learn from anyone; from the smallest baby to the eldest person you meet. It’s exciting to discover something new or a truth you didn’t know or simply more about something you know. When you despise certain forms of learning or shun some people as unworthy to teach you anything, you are subjecting yourself to an even greater deal of poverty than the one who has no food. At least they know they have no food but you do not know how poor you are if your unteachable, and you can never go far in life.

“The unteachable man is sentenced to being taught only by experience. The tragedy is he reaches nothing further than his own pain.” ~ Criss Jamie


Broken family ties and no friends

“Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty” ~ Mother Teresa

Ever heard of the saying; No man is an island? Yes, you can never do anything on your own. You need that bodaboda guy, you need that purified water to drink, you need that house built for you, you that plane flown so you can get to the next country and most certainly, you will need someone to marry and have a family with. Even in your sleep, you need someone maintaining your security.

We are advised to choose our friends wisely and to treat them fairly because in turn, they will do the same for us but you cannot choose your family. I know they can be a tricky lot to deal with and may give you a hard time for some but at the end of the day, you need their blessing no matter where you go. There are exceptions of course, but generally you have to always know what is happening with your family members, pray for them, check on them if you can. I have shared with a lady friend whose brothers continued to be so dependent on the family especially the sisters who were more ambitious and did their best to be better in life. In such a case, help, yes, but don’t over help them that they will not learn to do something for themselves. Help them find their own path in life, they will appreciate you even more. Like one saying goes;

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. 

Your network

“Your network is your net worth.” ~ Porter Gale

Am a living testimony of this. If it weren’t for the people in my life, including you who is reading this, I would not be here today. Friends have gone so far to make me confortable, strangers have given me counsel I can never thank them enough for and so many acquaintances who continue to pour wisdom in my life. The testimony is long but am grateful for the people in my life. The lessons both bitter and sweet are invaluable. I couldn’t be more grateful.

You too need to have those people who inspire the best in you. Whom you can learn from and even those you can teach or share with. They will take you to places you may have never thought you would ever reach and leave you with experiences so rich you will never be able to thank them. Sorround yourself with the right people and let go of those who hold you back.

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go with others.” ~ African Proverb

Emotional intelligence

This is the ability to sense, understand, and effectively apply the power and acumen of emotions as a source of human energy, information, connection and influence.

“When our emotional health is in a bad state, so is our level of self-esteem. We have to slow down and deal with what is troubling us, so that we can enjoy the simple joy of being happy and at peace with ourselves.” — Jess C. Scott

“Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.” ~ Zig Ziglar

Need I say more?

#BreakingLymyts

Mom Goals

Capricorn

(December 22nd to January 20th)

You’re the classic mom.

If anybody is going to fit into the mold of a “classic” parent, it’s definitely you. You cook for your kids because you love to, you’re the kind of person who wants to be there to pick them up from school, and read them a book before bed. Whether you’re a stay-at-home mom or not is totally irrelevant, you’re going to be a quintessentially awesome parent, and you kind of know it.

I love what am reading!!! Usually, am not one to follow the zodiac signs but who can resist anything good that describes them? A title with ‘being mom’ in it catches my attention, tickles my curiosity and voi·la!!! I like every bit of this mommy description, because that is really my dream. You can find out about the others at https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/38584051/posts/1423320063

Now this has made my mind wander run ahead in time to what tomorrow will be like when I am a mom. Every girl has that dream, though for some the unfairness of life makes them detest the idea of motherhood or they delay it as much as possible but deep down, it is a beautiful feeling we all harbor. As children, we had games where we played mom and you would pretty much mirror the things you see your mother do to and for you. Of course, this didn’t favor the mean moms who shouted at and beat up their kids because that is what the children would in turn do as they played with their friends. Now you know why some kids are not allowed to play with yours, eeh? Seriously,  think about it. Your kids maybe having a hard time keeping friends because they simply treat their friends unfairly and innocently so because it is what they know.

In the news yesterday, there was a rather heart wrenching story about a six year old who was defiled and strangled by three men. Details later clarified that one of the men was her maternal uncle, whom the mother had trusted would look after her as she also went out to catch up on what was left of the Easter celebrations. It was her brother and I cannot blame her at all, there was no way for her to know that a man she had been raised with would betray her like that. Many pointed their fingers at her saying she was careless but I think it’s an unfair judgement. Why would a grown up man, look at a six year old sexually? And then, not one but three men gang up on one little girl? This is monstrous, not human. Sometimes, I ask God why such people are allowed to walk this earth. But then again, if we didn’t have such happening around us, we would not be as vigilant and grateful as we ought to be. So much evil lives in this world with us that we do not see and it smiles at us every other day. Lord, grant us the grace to see through them.

Reminds me of an episode in a series I am watching, Criminal Minds, in which two women took matters in their own hands and hunted down the monsters who raped and killed their little girls. Separate incidents that the police took lightly, leaving the families in so much pain with no closure. The women found out who the culprits were, a group of them by the way, stupid men and a female accomplice who found it so interesting to fantasize about being with a young girl, 8 yrs old to be exact. They were chained by the arms and tied to the trunk of a car, which was then driven at a high speed for a few good miles. That pain of being dragged on tarmac and gravel, and such a disgraceful way to die, all because you lost your sense of responsibility for a moment. These women were nothing but bodies of bitterness at the hands of a selfish world and law enforcers that could not protect or help them.

I have also seen mothers who are outright careless, and show little care where their children are concerned. They leave the care of their kids to others. One I know personally always preferred her phone to playing with her son. He would crawl around filthy and picking up more dirt and eating it. He is always dirty and sick. She doesn’t bathe him in the morning and dips him in cold water whenever she remembers to bathe him. He will walk around all morning in the diaper she put on him before he went to bed the previous night. He doesn’t know what a potty is and will do his business anywhere, while on his feet. Of course the neighbors never want that child in their houses because they do not know when he will pee or poop. Not to mention how dirty he looks. I look at him and wonder what kind of man he is going to grow into and what kind of woman will marry him. It is such a pity.

But I have also seen awesome mothers, who make you want to have a child as soon as possible because they make it look so cool. Their kids are always happy and looking great. They do amazing things, like my neighbors daughter who took her first steps at 10 months. She amazes me! These women are always looking youthful like they didn’t just have a baby or four. They set the bar so high, yet it is the perfect picture you would love for yourself or the women in your life. My dream has always been to maintain my youthfulness especially after childbirth. Of course your priorities change but you still can maintain a few aspects of your life, especially the social and career/business life. Nothing is cooler than a woman who doesn’t lose herself just because she gave birth. I want to be the kind of mom who inspires my children to always be the best version of themselves. What better way to do it than to look it and live it in the kids’ presence?

For those who think that this is impossible, think again. I have learned that while you think something is impossible, there is someone out there making it happen. Always do some research and see how they pulled it off. Then learn from them and emulate them until you achieve the same goal for yourself. Motherhood takes tones of patience and a lot of sacrifice but like one beautiful Country song by Darius Rucker says, “It wont be like this for long”. A child’s life changes everyday from the moment they are born. From the first smile, to the first step, to the first day at school and so much more. Each moment is precious. You cannot afford to miss any moment. God knows if I can afford the life, I would rather be a stay at home mom. Someone close to me once shunned this idea, and I just couldn’t understand why, given she is a mother herself. Yes, the husbands lately aren’t as responsible as it used to be but it takes good planning and the right career to achieve this. A flexible job or business can give you this opportunity. So many of these are available all over the world, you just need to find the right one for you and you will afford to witness every moment of your child’s life without being a slave to another human being in the name of earning a living. It’s okay to have a job but do not stop looking for a way of earning the same money while having time for your family.

It’s so honorable being a mother. I can’t wait.

#BreakingLymyts

Random Thoughts 4

Dear Diary friends,

I just wanna rant a bit. Its about the things we girls don’t get about the boys we meet. Yes, they are boys because a grown man doesn’t disrespect a woman like this. At least I wanna believe that until proven otherwise. Well, here’s what my issue is.

Every boy is the nicest person when you meet, and vice versa. Expectations are also high on either side. But for the lady, it all goes higher when the he over promises what we hope he will deliver. Case in point is promising undying love which dies much sooner than promised. But maybe I shot too far there. Let me break it down, as best as I can. We’ll call the girl Lala and the boy Dipsy.

They meet at a social gathering and appreciate what they each see, moments later, Dipsy approaches Lala. They hit it off quite well and exchange contacts. Chatting back and forth and the calls are getting longer. He visits her and as her guest, she prepares a decent meal/snack. His turn comes to host her. The excitement is building up of course, until he unashamedly states that he expects her to do the cooking, and oh! Wash the dishes and his clothes and iron them too, give his place a thorough female touch too, because why? Your a woman and I am a man. Your supposed to take care of me. Total buzz kill. What happened to winning my heart over and officially bring me home so I can do all that for you? As your wife?

Let’s start over, in another place and time. We are leaving a party and Lala needs a ride to the main stage to get a bus home. Dipsy happened to be driving out after dropping a friend and offers a ride. The chit chat is quite interesting, he extends the ride to a nearer bus stop to her destination, just to have a little extra time with her. They exchange numbers and keep in touch, though he is such a random person. Almost unavailable at normal hours of the day but gets online late in the night. He picks her up one evening and they go for a movie. He explains his timetable and it’s quite understandable why he gets to the phone late. At least he makes an effort to check in, what else does a girl want? An ice cream date and dinner another week, they are getting on well. Then she travels for a few days for work and gets back to a pile of workload and doesn’t call him. He checks in and she apologises and just when they are about to make an appointment, he states that she ought to check on him because men are like babies. Total buzz kill. What happened to a man earning the respect he deserves and all the perks that come with it by acting like a real man? A real man takes charge and does for a woman what he expects her to do in turn. As in….? Please make the late Dr. Myles Munroe your friend (through his videos and books), he will teach you how to be a real man. Step up, please!

Sometimes I experience things with guys that I just don’t get. The stereotypes alone are way too annoying and it is worse if a fellow lady believes in them and gets herself hurt, can’t listen to advise because a stereotype says *****. How do we make relationships better? Girls are groomed everyday to be good wives but the boys are not taught be good husbands but rather to exploit the good girls. Expect her to cook for you, do your laundry, shopping and so many other things your mother was doing for you plus intimacy. Where do I as a woman find pleasure in a relationship if it’s all about pleasing the man? I need a drink!

The examples are so many! Sometimes you hear what other ladies have experienced and you laugh so hard and other times you are just outright pissed off by what these sons of women are capable of. In this little bubble I call my world, there certain standards I consider basic for any healthy relationship to begin. I live everyday learning from the best examples what it takes to make a great wife and an amazing mother, goals I want to achieve. And so help me God! But first, there are a few standards a girl expects the man to meet before anything serious can commence. So dear bachelors;

Companion or House help?

If you want to have a lady in your life, decide first and foremost WHY you need her. Is it to be your life companion or you just need someone to do your chores? If the latter is true, there is so many maids for hire, who will do your cleaning and can fix you enough food for a week. Please do not subject someone’s daughter/sister to such lowliness just because you can. Taking on house chores after you marry her is an honor, because you have given her a home and she will naturally love to maintain the environment for you and herself. So please, if you have not married her yet, no matter how serious the relationship is, when she visits, she is still your guest. Give her a treat. Respect her.

Booty call?

Now why would you turn a nice girl into a whore? Leave alone those who intentionally offer themselves, by the way, they too were good girls who were taken advantage of but had no one to help them stay in line. So as you see that lady you so much want to hold and feel, think of how to make her your wife first. Then you will have all the freedom to have fun with her. I have seen innocent ladies suffer immensely because of the selfish interests of unruly men. Some have paid with their lives after getting pregnant and he insists you abort or even doses you without your knowledge or consent. This life!!! Lord, help your daughters.

Friends with benefits?

This is a different arrangement, and one I would respect but I also expect it to be agreed upon by both parties. Not a guy taking advantage of a lady by initiating this arrangement, while letting her believe the relationship is serious. I have witnessed this myself. The lady wakes up to news of a wedding/engagement of the same guy she has hopes in, but it is not her in the picture. Very devastating I must say. And this brings to life one particular proverb that says; “Familiarity breeds contempt”. The level of engagement you have with someone can easily be turned into hate of the same magnitude. So now you know why where there was so much love, you suddenly witness such contempt you wonder where all the love evaporated to. So guys please, don’t initiate what you cannot maintain and should you have good intentions but along the way wish to walk away, communicate with her. It will sting but you will walk away more peacefully, else you will be looking over your shoulder all the time until further notice. I wouldn’t want to live this kind of life.

I will say no more. Will continue to pray for a respectful and responsible future husband.

#BreakingLymyts

 

 

 

Diamonds

I believe so much now, more than ever before that there is a diamond inside each of us. And every single person in your life intends to explore and harvest the mine you are. Some will be blind to your beauty because like real diamonds, we are each covered in earth. Those who don’t have the vision to see what a precious jewel you are will try to bury you or throw you away like dirt, they will do so much to prove you don’t shine and/or aren’t meant to. I met one of those and it nearly cost me my life. But that’s a story for another day, am not here to talk about pain and all those things that leave us feeling tarnished. Am only here to remind you of how precious you are.

Earlier today, while watching one of my favourite TV shows; The Voice based in the US, Blake Shelton, one of the coaches and also my favourite country artist, while commenting on a contestant’s performance said that;

We are each a diamond within but covered in earth, and we have to shake it off and shine.

This spoke to me. It spoke right at me and I rewound the episode a few seconds just to hear it again. It dawned on me that we spend a lot of time waiting on somebody else to be discovered, to be unearthed and shown off and not realise we can do it ourselves. Our culture, especially here in Uganda, is so anti-ambition. I don’t hear many stories of people stepping out on their own to pursue a dream, or more so be supported. And a good number of those who defied the odds often waited too long to do it. I read and watch stories of women and men waking up to a better choice of career after wasting a lot of time in a very unrewarding career. Smart brains for the entrepreneurial world are still stuck in the corporate world. They just won’t dare take a leap of faith. Of late, you will be half encouraged to venture into the business world beside your day time job, which comes with a strong emphasis on the fact that that passion your pursuing is only a side gig in comparison to your being employed. They would rather have you get laid off, than encourage you to walk away before it happens.

I have ventured away from the corporate world and I cannot say I have had much support. I am still struggling, not giving up, I have a lot to learn and I fear that I have made the wrong choices in that area of life. I believe if I had had the support when I first started, it would be different but that is just an excuse at the end of the day. It is all still up to me; it is up to me to shake all the dirt off and shine. Because a shine that you give yourself cannot ever be taken away.

You might be thinking about what kind of dirt your covered in and how to shake it off. The dirt is disguised in various forms of feelings and insecurities that surround us. The dirt could also be people with influence in our lives. Let’s explore a few examples:

  • Self-esteem is one of the heaviest dirt we are covered with. The lower your self esteem, the thicker the dirt on you and, therefore, the less you shine. And we are each totally in charge of shaking this one off. Others can influence and advise but until you make a decision to shine and push through the criticism, and all that makes you feel inadequate, you wont shine. Like Meghan Good’s character in the movie Love by the 10th Date said; I am enough, you too have to feel that you are enough always. Its the only way to summon the courage within and shine on. Read Awaken the Giant Within by Anthony Robbins for more.

 

  • Friends influence us in many ways. Great speakers and life coaches have often said, you are the average of your five closest friends. If you walk with nine fools, you become the tenth. We don’t always pay attention to who we relate with because we naturally lean toward those who think like us, as opposed to befriending those who think differently and challenge us. We all want it the easy way. But guess what? Those who make it easy for you are not helping you. Am not saying get yourself hooked up with someone who makes your life miserable, but rather engage with those who stretch you beyond your weaknesses and bring out the best in you. You ought to become better through your associations.

 

  • Family influence is by far the strongest form there is. And it gets worse if the family doesn’t help you to grow and stand out. I recently was part of a conversation and we shared about family blessings and curses. Someone said that you find a particular family always finds favor while others struggle. We have seen families whose lineage always stands out; from business, to politics, to sports, et cetera. Even in the religious life in the case of Catholics. Yet others it is one downfall after another and they always wonder why. Prayer has a lot of fixing it does, but our thinking too has to change if we are to break away from this. You have to stop blaming your inadequacy on a family curse and make up your mind to find the right associations and influences to help you achieve your goals. Some families are partially successful and those who have made it do not want others to rise up too, they want to hold the torch alone and they do so much to keep others down. I am still witnessing this around me and I do my best to help where I can but it still comes down to you as an individual.

 

  • Bullies are my worst. They just always have a trick up their sleeve to belittle and mock and discourage their targets from breaking through. They laugh at your little honest effort to make a change, they take away/deny you what you need to make the next step. They dominate your world, wanting to know your every move and thought. They usually are people with no vision for themselves and cannot bear the thought of someone they deem below their standard making it farther than they have. They are sometimes family and close friends who instead of encouraging you, oppose you. They are hard to ignore because they are loud and pushy but ignoring them and focusing on your goal eventually shuts them up, especially when your results start to show. Read The Dream Giver by Bruce Wilkinson.

 

  • Stereotypes are those limiting beliefs we have been programmed to live by. Girls aren’t supposed to do that or cannot do this, a man is supposed to be this, et cetera. We all have them and in many different aspects of our lives. But deep down we feel crippled and tied down by these stereotypes and must rise above them if we want to blossom and shine through. One I have been told many times is that I have to work for somebody (a job) until I am 40 years before I can start my own business or follow my passions. I do not believe this even for a day. If that were so, David in the Bible, who killed Goliath was a child but even God saw his ability to triumph over the mighty warrior and made a way for him. We wouldn’t have enjoyed movies like the Sound of Music, and many others with children starring in lead roles, music sensations like Justin Beiber and Rihanna in the 2000s and many more. We should learn to see through these limitations and prove our strength which is beyond what anyone thinks should be the norm.

Like Beyonce said in an interview about the top ten success principles she lives by,

“We are all superstars and were born to shine.”

Start today and work on yourself, the rest will follow and you will figure out your path. But before you do, start polishing up; your esteem and confidence, your natural talents and gifts, etc. Find what excites you and explore it, who knows where it will lead you and above all, how happy and fulfilled your life will be.

Shine bright like a diamond.

#BreakingLymyts