“……………… and remember to keep time and keep your word.” Dr. Matiang’i during The University of Nairobi’s December 2016 Graduation ceremony.
Those are two values which seem to escape majority of us (if not all of us). We never keep time. Even when we are supposed to meet important persons in the society. Important here means family members and selected few close friends. I have come to learn that very few persons will stick with you when your life starts going south – and that is how nature molded us anyway. But why do we get to meetings late? Is it because of traffic jam? That is partly to blame in the major cities in Kenya, Nairobi being notorious with traffic jam especially when the heavens open and bless us with rain. I keep on wondering what those chaps studying Urban Planning have been bringing up in their dissertations all these years and whether none of these has a solution to the gridlock in the city. Or they are lying somewhere in the library gathering dust?
We get to meetings late because we fail to plan well. We bring in many activities into the journey and end up being caught by the traffic jam. We need to factor the possibility of being caught up on the road and therefore leave early. See, we became conditioned to following the school bell to remind us when and where we ought to be. Graduating into adulthood, there are no bells. No prefect. No teacher. Yes, there are those in authority but they don’t herd us to where we need to be – because we have freedoms we enjoy. So, let’s plan our journeys well, let’s factor in all the timings and any unforeseen eventualities.
I read about a sad story of this man who gave a huge amount of money to his friend as a soft loan. This money led to his business being cash-strapped, eventually collapsing and him filing for bankruptcy. And the person who borrowed the money walks free. How does he swallow a potato on his dinner table? Does he feel something while swallowing that potato? Like seriously doesn’t he feel that he messed up someone’s life? No guilty feelings? Doesn’t he feel betrayal to the children when he tells them to work hard and acquire wealth – now that he didn’t work hard himself?
So, ladies and gentlemen, am happy that the new curriculum promises to not only teach good values (are there bad values?) to the students but also ensure that they live by them every day of their school life. This is very encouraging because as we stand today, nobody seems to follow rules. All of us are doing whatever we do at our convenience and never minding what the other party feels or the consequences thereof of our actions. While some of the values could easily be reinforced through the curriculum, others are a matter of choice by the individual. You can either choose to be rude or be polite – whether a cane is used by any authority to enforce either. Some vices to avoid;
Everyone seems to be in a hurry especially in town. We cannot wait for a minute to let the other person pass. We want to be the ones ahead of everyone. Take an example of those who hoot when the traffic lights turn green, while they are miles and miles away. Why hoot while you are two kilometers away from the first car at the lights? Of what use is the hooting? Will it make your car fly closer to the lights? I don’t think so. Research (don’t ask me which one) has shown that those who have formed this habit end up hooting even when they are nearest to the lights, and the lights turn green. Where are you rushing to? Heaven?
They say it’s better a nasty boss who will tell you to the face where you have gone wrong than the one who will negotiate with you while hiding some critical cards under the table. Terrible. These are the ones who never honor their words. These are the worst bosses to work under. They will agree with you in private but disassociate with that discussion in public, usually when high stakes are involved. Then you wonder, why are people so evil? Then you leave it to God to deal with them – because none will ever determine the other’s future. Nothing remains static in this world we live in today. When you shortchange someone simply because he/she is your junior, how much more is added to your take-home. Because if none is added then you remain a fool.
Manners maketh a man. That is what the wise said. It is true that a man needs to act in such a way that he doesn’t cause harm to his neighbors and gain respect in so doing. Some acts like character assassination should never come from a well cultured person. This assassination of character is where false information (propaganda) is spread with the intent of portraying you as a bad person. It becomes worse if the person spreading it is your boss or your friend. But why spread rumors without confirming the truth – is it because of laziness or foolishness? Most probably the latter.
Then there are those who hold phone conversations in the loo. Or the loo lobby. How can these people be helped? You simply cannot start a phone conversation in the toilet no matter the urgency of the call. You cannot mix business there. It is simply wrong. It is not taught in school. It is those behaviors you learn as you pass through this life. So leave your phone on the desk if you think you will be tempted to call. In any case you never know who is in the next cubicle and listening to your conversation. It might be your boss listening to you get an offer from the rival company and make life hard for you. Simply don’t do it.