It is so common to be told ‘think outside the box’ especially in times like these but what does that mean? Which box? Who created the box? What colour is it? How big? How thick? How heavy? Can it be lifted? Does everyone have the same box, or does it vary? Can we share the box and thrive? Does it really work?
In slang we say, ‘Aliingia box.’ This means that the person was convinced to do something. It is most often used in reference for a guy flirting with or courting a girl and she accepts his advances or the process of striking a deal about something. Yet I still wonder what does that really mean?
The final one that comes to mind is ‘this is how we have always done it.’ Of all the crazy statements…this is one of those I totally detest. So, what if you always did it that way? Are you saying there is no other way or possibility? Are we so linear that we cannot think about things from different dimensions? Do we even know why thing are done they way they are done? Have we ever asked why?
That box is the height of bondage.
Think outside the box has been presented as a break from the past but in essence nothing has happened. All one has done is looked or got out of the box and then try to make something different as you focus on what the box had or did not have before. The simple reality is that nothing much has changed because the box is the point of reference…it is the control specimen. It is the standard so even though one may have expanded their thinking; it is by a relatively small margin.
‘Kuigia box,’ means that you have come to an agreement however, in many instances, it is in a deal or agreement that favours one party more than the other. The winning party usually has an ace up their sleeve that isn’t revealed at the beginning, but it will definitely shock the other party when revealed.
Let’s take this a little further.
What do you do today that is all about the box you were born in or find yourself in. Now, before you say you are truly free, think a little bit deeper. What has limited your self-belief? What has affected your identity? Do you think you are living in your fullness? What is holding you back? Have you heard people say, it has always been like that or in our family we do not do those things, or I have never seen or heard of that? There is the proof of being boxed in.
You could even be boxed in by ‘good’ behaviour. Many believers and caged by the things they do that sound righteous like going to church, bible study, choir practise, missions etc. The greatest boxes of bondage are found in the body of believers because of rules and regulations that have been passed down through the generations that many imbibe and embrace but they do not have the power of the Holy Spirit to translate into life giving lifestyles.
The box is even more present that you think.
As governments grapple with the pandemic and needed interventions one thing that has suffered greatly is education. Children have been home for a while now and people are frustrated. In Kenya, we have ‘lost’ a whole academic year that has people worried about how to recover but have we? People are saying the children will repeat a class if they don’t go back soon, but will they? School opened on January 10th and closed on March 16th latest…exactly 9 weeks. That is not enough time to complete the year’s curriculum, do exams and fail. A repeat is only when you complete a course and get bad grades or miss a whole year and must go back. There is no repeating…please understand that.
Has the system been change and disrupted? Yes! Are there challenges of the children at home? Yes. Have they lost time? Not if we have been intentional as parents. The focus on book learning is only half the tools the young ones need for life. Academic institutions are all about head knowledge and grades, which help open the mind but do not teach character, values, work ethic, thinking, focus, tenacity, financial management, project management, street smarts etc. If all we focus on is academics, we have failed our children.
This is one of the biggest boxes we live in but do not see.
A child could be a straight A student but be unable to apply all they learn in school, that is the path to joblessness and the inability to serve the purpose they were raised for. Another child could be an average student but they are exposed to real life scenarios and they learn to be adaptable and become problem solver which enables them to progress further with less and in time rise higher. Education is a box that needs to be bashed to smithereens and burned to ashes.
We tell our children the same line we were told. They said, “…go to school, study hard, get good grades and you will get a well-paying job.” Our lives have proved that it is not true, yet we still hold onto it and spread it. We want them to get jobs so they can take care of us in our old age; but we don’t tell them that part yet…they will get it when we are older and they as working to ‘settle’ and we begin to ask for support. Since only a fraction of the jobs needed is created, we develop a generation of young people who have been given lifestyles they cannot maintain and get frustrated because they cannot pivot therefore lose heart.
We should be training them to use their knowledge not just work in the field of their papers.
Tuliiingia box, when we accepted and have failed to update an education system that produces workers and repeaters not thinking or problem solvers. We have solidified the madness with the sense of entitlement that a paper makes you worthy of a good salary not the ability to accomplish your assignment well and on time. If only we raised our children differently.
This is just one example of a boxes we are in and must get out of soon, smash, burn and stay out. Why smash and burn? If we are to have a new way of thinking we must dissociate from all references to the past. We can look back to see how they did it but must ask why they did it that way? What worked or not? Then change and remain agile and free to adapt. We must get comfortable with change, transition, deep thinking, reflection.
We are in the midst of a major transition on all levels of our lives.
We cannot afford to be disconnected or unaware. We must be present and actively growing into this new season.