By Jancan Limo
The month of April has given me more time to reflect not only on myself but also on the noise that is going on around me. Education, politics, economy, environment and more of such issues. At the end of the month, I added two things to my list of things that I want to show more concern about. One is the environment and the other is mental health. I have also adopted new grounds to support my arguments or I have entirely developed new arguments. This does not mean I have dropped the argument that poor people will not inherit the kingdom of God. No, I have not even a single inch.
I believe in change and all the efforts that are being put to realise a just environment. A society that is healthy. A society that treasures happiness and humanity. Looking back, I realise that this is my passion. To contribute towards an environment that is good for all. I told you I wanted to serve in the altar. I ended up in the chalkboard. Those are the areas that naturally beckoned me. The goal is the same. Recently, I discovered a new ingredient. A new factor that will help in working out the equation of a just society. I always believed that the church and the school were the ultimate agents of social change. There is a new one. I have three agents of change right now.
Back in February of this year, I was in Nakuru with my boss looking at the new market where we can help in bettering education. My brother took us to a few places and after a series of communicating our intentions to several schools, he loved what we are doing. Our presentation caught his attention though he did not reveal it instantly. Back in the city, I received his call and he wanted me to talk to some other person. After introductions and a bit of what we do, the man on the other side said something that caught my attention. Simple revelation yet it hard a thunderous effect on me. ‘You are in a mission of helping teachers be better at what they do. Well, build good families and you will automatically have good teachers.’’
Come to think of it. Children who are raised in healthy or happy families tend to be more aware of themselves, socialise better and are generally happy. Healthy in this context goes beyond being ill. The children who are able to control their reactions and emotions have been through a series of experiences that have helped them learn the skill. Otherwise, those children who react angrily or hide their emotions tend to be reacting to an unseen stimulus that might be arising from the way they were raised. I don’t wish to sound so much scientific that you will start imagining that I was good at chemistry. I performed poorly.
The big difference between the generation that we are in and the previous one is the commitment and the value that was put in families. I know you want to tell me about the era that our mothers and grandmothers were forced in the kitchen and nursing babies. I am using the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s when couples went to places together to display their commitment and happiness that is enshrined in their hearts. The times where a man earned respect because of the family that he has. An era where love was valued and togetherness was guarded by everyone.
This era we are in, couples are on display more than any other century but what are they displaying? Their outlook, the beauty they have, the choice of fashion they are putting on. Trendy vitenges all over, I am not against it because hatujapima na mtu, but it’s design and flamboyance in the display. The cars, the places they visit. The hotels they choose. Everything fancy. But is their marriage fancy? Or you will explain? This trend is for those who have not yet hit the mid-thirties because after that, few if none will still be on display. The sweet heaven is rocking. I have not used a capture-recapture method to study this but I am making an observation. It can be biased you will say.
Parents in this era are busy making a living. Teachers have been left as the integral pillars in helping the children navigate the future. At this information age, the internet is feeding young people with all sorts of content and peer pressure is arising from it. There are unemployment menace and landmines of vices in the society. No wonder we are experiencing a lot of frustrations that have guttered our young generation into depressions and suicide. It’s alarming that, I heard this from BBC, an average of one person commits suicide every 40 seconds globally and I don’t need to mention that the majority are young men.
Every radio station is having sessions that we can conclude how our marriages are doing of late. The marriages where two people who are enemies are living together in the same houses. Families that if one gets a chance, he or she would kill the partner without a blink of an eye. Families that cheating is the daily norm. Families obsessed with material possession such that children come last on their priority list. Families that they will stay awake to guard their possession but will leave their children with strangers all day long. Families that are living a lie outside their bedroom. Families where husbands are afraid of going home. Families that are consumed by anxiety when the time to go home is finally clocking. Couples that would drink away their memories so that they can survive today.
Our top-notch managers, C.E.Os, directors, generals, principals and key decision makers in our companies, institutions, ministries, churches are living in anxiety brought by their families. Some of them are afraid to go back home after work. Some are battered by their loved ones. Some spend sleepless nights being quarrelled at. Some are hiding from their children. And every day they show up in workplaces to be put on the stresses of the workplaces. To make those important decisions. To guide the employees on what to do. To mentor and provide a sense of direction to the subjects. What do you think are the state of their minds? What if they came from happy families?
Pupils and students are finding refuge in the hands of teachers. In a school environment, a herd of trouble souls merge together in silence. Some find peace in teachers while for some the gates of hell are opened for them. I have met boys who are saddened by the closing of schools because they will be going home to fulfil the duties of their mother’s husbands. Their mothers are the man they married in them and they want them on the bed. Girls who have been wives to their parents and they don’t like an inch of it. Children brought up by relatives and they are walking on top of burning embers of fire every day at their homes.
According to the person I was talking to, who is running a Christian Families Formation Centre in Nakuru, a happy family guarantees productivity in the workplaces, creativity in what is being done, emotional intelligence and financial fulfilment. He described to me that artificially acquired happiness will not last beyond a minute or beyond the cameras. They fade away. People can hide their frustrations in luna parks, expensive cars, on the beaches but deep down they are not fulfilled. Many are in jobs they are not loving. Many are in marriages they did not want. The only way is to help them realize how they can leave as a family.
If extremists can be taught how to be terrorists, kindness and love can be taught. I was told that love is both female and male and it is always looking for a partner. It is time we cultivate love and harmonious existence in our families. It is high time we encourage husbands and wives to look for help. We should create a habit in us that wants us to learn how to co-exist.
Looking for a marriage training institution in our country, I only see Christian Family Formation Centre. Let’s build our families, let us revisit the institution of marriage and strengthen it for the benefits that have been mentioned. Let us yearn for love in our marriages, let us yearn for knowledge that will keep us together. Let us fix every family so that we can fix society and the country. To eradicate cancer in our bodies, to eradicate mysterious diseases in our bodies, to eliminate depression, crime and injustices in our society, we ought to fix our families. If we have happy and healthy families, we will have a more fulfilled life.
Have a reflective moment. Won’t you?