Tag Archives: family

Unbelievable #Impact

I wonder if I am the only one but as I get older I become more reflective and introspective. Over the last few months I have thought a lot about those who went ahead of me. I have particularly looked back at my maternal grandparents and great grandparents. There is a great legacy left by them, we have no excuses.

My maternal great-grand father Munyaka inspires me. I don’t have real memories of him as he died a few years after I was born but I have been told many stories about him. He was born in Kitui and survived the greatest famine in Ukambani that wiped out their village in the 1930’s. As a young child he wandered through the plains living by foraging until he was found by missionaries who settled with him in Kangundo in Machakos. He grew up and became the African Inland Mission’s first African Pastor and thereafter Pastor of Pastor’s in the area. He remained a simple man, faithful to God and committed to excellence to the very end.

I have great memories of my maternal grandfather and grandmother. They loved God and were raised in the church all their lives. I remember Grandpa’s hulking figure and Grandma’s little stature. I remember going ‘shags’ as we fondly call our upcountry homes, and having the time of my life. Grandma embodied love and generosity. She would send for sugarcane and arrowroots from the riverside farm as soon as we arrived. She also sent for meat that was slow cooked on the side of a three stone fire with little other than tomatoes and potatoes. Saltless food had never tasted better. She prepared simple but amazing meals and taught me to love 20140602_174317traditional food. She made a basket for me when I was 14. She banned me from going to her house in trousers. She pinched me if she found me doing something she didn’t like. Grandpa was my biggest play mate. We would want to pinch me or beat me with his stick just for kicks. He would tickle me senseless. He also sought excellence in me and asked about my grades every end of term. It was not acceptable to do be below the top 5 in school. You see, he had been a teacher earlier in life. He was concerned and watchful; I often saw him watching us from the veranda of his house as we played. A smile always played on his lips as he watched his grandchildren having a great time.

They grew macadamia nuts, local apples, avocados, mangoes, oranges, lemons, maize, beans, coffee, arrowroots, sugarcane and kept two bulls. It was such a treat to drive the 45mins to their home every month. We climbed the trees, picked fruit or walked around the farm harvesting whatever was ready. Yet there was so much more to them. They both loved God deeply and set the standards for the family. We all knew that we were expected to do and be the best we could in life…there were #NoExcuses. There was never a reason good enough for doing something badly. It was give your best or nothing at all.

As I think back to those days I am thinking that this could be how the Bible was written. The Bible is full of stories or people or families living life until one incident happens and changes the way they interact with life. Think of Noah in Genesis 11. Think of Abraham in Genesis 17. The Bible tells us of how life was going on and what the people did and how God responded to the situation. In each story, there was something that needed to change and God selected one guy or a group of people to showcase this change and therefore change the face of history through his obedience. There are so many stories of other Bible characters whose lives changed the course of history. Joseph, Isaiah, David, Solomon, Ezra, Nehemiah, Mary, the Disciples, Paul…the list is endless. They met God and life changed.

I sit here thinking about my generation:

  • Can the same be said about our generation?
  • Will the stories of the goodness of God be told about us in ways that will inspire the next generation to walk closely with God?
  • Will our children and grandchildren be glad we lived?
  • Will they miss us and our impact on them?

This thought has to be turned to me to make it more personal. It inspires questions and thoughts of how I live my life.

  • Am I authentic?
  • Am I believable?
  • Am I honest about my life or do I hide behind masks and facades?
  • Who am I and how do I live?

Indeed the list of questions in my head is endless but I purpose to work through one question at a time and find a way to honour God with the life I live here.

Join me as we walk this walk of faith.

Fuelled by Family

imageMy focus today is on family.I am from a very diverse family that has come from different places and subsequently spread across the world. It is exciting to see how we all respond to the things around us. It is even more fun to watch the different personalities at work and the impact this has on family relationships. Meetings are often a riot as our personalities and styles come out when we are discussing issues. I can classify us loosely into three main categories. There are the feisty pushy ones, the quiet non-confrontational and the detached ones. Each group is well represented and needs to be handled in a manner that ensures discussion but pushes for the impact and decisions needed. Every time we sit together and that is 3 times a year at least, the mix of personalities adds such flavour to life that just knowing the agenda creates intense anticipation. One element that has created the differences is the method of socialisation of the individual family units. The mode of socialisation of respective families is the major deciding factor of how we have turned out as individuals.

A critical lesson and realisation we have come to recently and with great conviction, is the fact that “Family, is family is family!!!” Now that may sound pretty simple but take a moment and a deep breath and think about this statement. The reality is that no matter what the person has done or hasn’t done for that matter this person is family. We are not idealistic about life and no, we aren’t all successful. We have had our share of poor performers alongside greatly successful people…yet at the end of the day we all share the same gene pool and we are family. It doesn’t mean that we condone all the actions of all members, however, everyone is held to account for their actions and there are consequences for all actions.

04.08.13bThe reality that has dawned on me is that every failure is communal failure and every success if communal success. The communal is not necessarily that we split the wealth but we do split the pride and confidence of the win. Case in point, recently one of my nieces graduated with her Master’s and you should see how proud we are of her. Family is not a pot where you just dip your fingers in and take out whatever you need. Family doesn’t always give you money when you need it but they will send you in the right direction to find what you need. Family is an oasis in this world that should provide a support structure and basis for life.

Beyond my biological family but I have another family… my family of choice and association. This is made up of people who are connected to me in other ways like through common causes supported, faith-based relationships and close friends. This family provides similar support structures like my biological family. This is a connection by choice and instruction and the members change and will continue to change as I walk this road and move from level to level. This family is dynamic and over the years has evolved and changed yet it still provides a great support system

I have come to believe that Family is not:

  • A group of yes men and women
  • A free pass to a life of laziness
  • A blanket pot of love and acceptance
  • Only based on a genetic or biological connectionIMG_20130428_102053

Family is:

  • A place of safety and honesty
  • A support system to resource location and procurement
  • The connector to success and resilience
  • Critical to our personal success
  • By revelation of the people who will make your life more effective
  • The base and strength of society
  • The source of the push, nudge or kick you need to get ahead

My prayer for everyone is that we connect to our biological families and the other individuals who will push us to become the best we can be and create the value and impact we give back to the world.