MONEY AND RELATIVES!

As I write this I fully acknowledge the importance of family. In fact I am a strong believer in close family relationships. Sometimes friends are closer than a brother, but it is family that will struggle to foot your hospital bill when all else is gone, it is family that will bury you when you die and of course blood is thicker than water.
Money and relatives don’t mix well in most cases. Many are the times you are at a family gathering and a family member is busy trying to extort money from you if not borrow. The sad bit about the latter is its likely you may never get your money back. There is always a story as to why it can’t be paid or why they need more time to raise the money. How annoying!
Friendships with these members can be strained as a result. Truth be told relatives are the worst to deal with. However there are times the need is genuine, so what to do? I am strong believer in giving what I can afford to lose. Simply put I give the money without expecting a return. If I cannot afford or raise the amount requested, I come up with some good lines like “oh you should have brought it up last week I would have been able to assist.”  “My budget does not allow.”
Sometime back a relative walked into my office and gave me a well drafted story of how they needed money for an exam which was to determine the securing of a certain job. The good me, quickly bought it and gave the money after the agreement of a refund within a month. A year, two later it has never been refunded. See what am talking about?
Remember when you meet everything is supposed to be “normal”? At some point we engaged in a verbal exchange. I decided that was the first and last time I was going to be in that kind of situation.
We all know of the so called notorious and chronic borrowers who keep coming back even after forfeiting the last lend. Burning bridges is not good after all family is here to stay. So I decided to craft some rules for the game:

1.    Do not lend or loan money if I am able to foresee trouble
2.    Lying is bad, but come up with a good excuse that cannot be questioned.
3.    Invest my money in whatever profitable entry there is like a fixed deposit account, chama and equities, after all I have worked so hard to get it.
4.    Relatives have been there for as long as I have , a bad one will always have the  symptoms drawn on their face
5.    If I lend, then I change the word lend to give so that I do not have to stress over it and perhaps tell you not to ask again.
6.    For the serial borrower I shall consider asking them if they could also lend me now that I am always lending. (By the way I did that with a street urchin once, it worked! But be careful)
7.    Document the agreement and have a witness to the borrowing and of course some interest to it will ensure discipline
8.    As a rule the borrower becomes a servant to the lender (proverbs 22:7) meaning if I am the borrower I will always feel the need to please my lender so I do not want to put someone else in that situation as I don’t like it either.
9.    There is never any “free” money floating around so I will consider it for emergency instead of been a lender all the time.
10.I will simply say NO keeping it firm and polite.
11.I will not make promises that I cannot keep
12.Consider suggesting alternative ways of making extra income to the borrower. After all the Chinese proverb says: Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.
 
There is always a way out!
 

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THE VALUE OF A TEACHER…

With the recent teachers strike, it got me thinking about the value of a teacher to a nation.

Education is the greatest way to build a nation; therefore a teacher provides a very important service. Imagine the task of training a child from baby class to read, spell and write. I am not sure I could have the patience for that.

A student’s success is the pride of the teacher.

Primary school teaching is the single most important profession in the world. A teacher passes on knowledge and values to children, prepares them for further education and for working life and are a main contributor to good education. This profession however in the recent times has not received the recognition it deserves.

In the past the teaching profession was highly regarded and a primary school teacher was well respected in the society. I strongly believe that teachers must love their career in order for them to pass enthusiasm, to assist and provide a warm environment to the students. I also regard teachers as “second parents” as they spend a lot of time with the students. In addition, years of experience and training in the field make a real teacher.

Kenya as a developing country has not done much to improve the situation. It is unfortunate that many citizens are no longer motivated to take up the profession as a result of low and poor remuneration. This has resulted in poor motivation and has in turn lowered the quality of education delivered to our children.

Teachers are one of the main pillars of a sound and progressive society. They bear the weight and responsibility of teaching, and, apart from parents, are the main source of knowledge and values for children. The younger years of a child form the very foundation of the life ahead hence the saying you cannot teach an old dog new tricks.

To attain the goal of universal and good education, teaching has to become an attractive profession again. The books, the pencil, the pen and the black board are important, and so are the chairs to sit on, but if there is no motivated teacher in front of the chairs, if there is no teacher to write on the blackboard and to teach reading, math and how to pick up knowledge and values, the goal will never be achieved.   

Sometimes a teacher’s caring attitudes could have a long positive or negative influence on students. John Maxwell and Jim Dornan in their book “ Becoming a person of influence”, tell a story of students who had worked so hard on a new mathematics concept all week hence become frustrated and edgy. The teacher in the classroom realized that she needed to stop the crankiness before it got out of hand. So she asked each student to list the names of other students in class ,under each name they were to leave a space in which they were required to write the nicest  thing(s) they could say about each other. At the end of the lesson each student submitted their list. The teacher then wrote down the name of each student on separate pieces of paper and listed what everyone had written about that individual. On Monday she handed each student their paper. Some of them ran two pages. Before long the entire class was smiling. “Really? I never knew that meant anything to anyone!” “I didn’t know others liked me so much!”

The group of students moved on. Several years later, the teacher attended a funeral for one of her former students, Mark who had died in Vietnam in combat.

She describes how the church was packed with Mark’s friends. After the service Mark’s parents approached her enquiring if she was once his maths teacher as he had spoken fondly about her. They then presented a piece of paper that had been torn, taped, folded and refolded many times. It was obviously familiar to her. When Mark had died, they had found the paper in his wallet. His classmates started to gather and began to confess how they still had their pieces of paper with them. That’s a teacher who left a mark.

 

A teacher moulds the next teacher, doctor, Member of Parliament, chief Executive Officer and other powerful positions. Due to the success of teaching we gain increased knowledge and expertise in various fields.

In September, 1997, while in my first year of high school, the first teachers’ strike was declared. We were forced to go home for one month. At first we were excited that we had an extended vacation but after a week, I suppose the excitement died and reality hit. By the time school resumed there was so much reading and learning to do with so little time and exams around the corner.

15 years later, the syndrome is back. Teachers have downed their tools for the same reason, poor pay, and empty unfulfilled promises. I think that this profession has seriously been taken for granted. Have priorities become misplaced?

It is clear that the decision makers have missed the value of the TEACHER!

 

References: Callezee.net & Csun.edu

FOND ,FOND MEMORIES…

Last year a time like now we were reminiscing how the Naivasha facilitator’s retreat had faired. When we arrived at the fisherman’s camp the final touches of the Rift Valley festival were just winding up.With loud music and powerful systems.

Our agenda was different though. We had two days to make the best of it all. We had carried two big tents we commonly refer to as Tom Mboya (name of a kenyan politician and one of the biggest social halls built inthe early 70w) because of their ability to accommodate at least 8 people and the luxury of been able to stand inside. As we were pitching tent we realized the guys had forgotten the top part of their tent which was hilarious considering we had asked if they were sure they had carried all the parts.Now Naivasha is a beautiful place but the weather can get extreme inthe night especially now that we were metres a way from the lake itself.

Saturday morning we were up at six doing some warms up as usual Andy is the walking gym ,he always knows what work out is the best. A hot shower and cooking breakfast.It was a weekend with many campers so there was lots to see and learn. From simple to very advance camping equipment.

We rented bikes and cycled atleast 12 kilometres into the Hells gate national park.Sadly we forgot to carry our IDs and they couldnt let us past the reception. Not to worry,we cycled back .

We were so tired i am not sure any of us were able to walk “normally for at least one week after. When we got back to camp site we  went in to an hour of swimming..the energy wow.

 

Next was preparing dinner and we settled on Chapati. How convenient and the rain decided to pour so heavily we were forced to cook inside the tent!! a record breaker for sure. The guys were hoping the rain would subside but it never really did till the following morning.They opted to play pool and other games to keep the night going however by 11pm ,they gave up and decided it was time to sleep. Earlier one of us had suggested we share our big tent but they were adamant. Of course we were all smiling as we heard them outside the tent asking if they could squeeze in.

Happily we created space and the night came to pass.

Day three time to pack up and go home. The guys made breakfast  as we chatted and waited for out ride home.

It was time to get back to the big noisy city ….i was genuinely hoping for another weekend out  this year but well times are different…

Take a look and decide if you want to give it a try…

http://www.fishermanscamp.com/?page_id=18

MATURITY COMES WITH AGE & EXPERIENCE

Looking back over the years , I realize that I handle situations differently. Some get simpler,while others get more complicated with age.

Take love for example,when we were younger we would run to mum or dad because that was our best understanding of love. Now as you grow older from a teenager and you begin to experience different emotions, the boy  or girl next door you just couldn’t stand is suddenly so attractive and you wonder what changed! you grew up, chemistry happened ha ha ha..

You also have to make hard love decisions,commitment and loyalty.

Lets look at school , assignments were so hard that you probably wondered how could I have solved such a problem,ten years later you could solve the same maths problem eyes closed.In high school I think I had a very difficult time with science subjects and the teachers made us feel like we were in the wrong place if you couldn’t get the concentration of the chemicals. I could easily admit that even today some of those chemical equations would be tricky but  I would try to solve them with the confidence of a recent student.

Relationships are probably the area that one really gets tested . This vary from family,friendships,work,lovers and acquaintances.

Family is the one place you can easily call home or be yourself without anyone judging you. But family members also come in different shapes and sizes as well as personalities.Admit it,there is that one or more family member who really get on your nerves. Here is a fact: we do not get to choose the families we are born in to hence when it is family you forgive them  for what you kill others for.(Dolly Parton said it well.) When dealing with family I have learnt to have an extra string of patience because today they will make me mad and tomorrow they are the ones I will be running to when I am heartbroken.Its truly a thin line but am willing to balance on it. I probably get on their nerves too!

A friend is sometimes closer than a brother so the great book of Proverbs says.Think about been in a foreign country all by yourself. Reminds me of a young exchange student who went to America and had little knowledge of the English language. His language instructor advised him ,when he went to a restaurant he was to order ” Hamburger,fries and coke” for three weeks that was his meal and he got tired and decided to try something new. His instructor told him to ask for breakfast “Eggs,toast and Juice” excited he placed his order and the waiter asked ” will that be scrambled egg,fried eggs,poached eggs,over easy or eggs Benedict? and do you want white toast,rye,or wheat? and will it be orange juice,apple,grape,prune or grapefruit juice? He looked up at her, paused a minute and said                              ” Hamburger,fries,coke”

Friends hold you together in times that family cannot be there,sometimes they can be the mediators of a difficult life situation.They keep you accountable. In the same way to survive in any place as no man is an island it is important to have a support group better known as friends. Now friends come in different categories. There are those that tell you the truth in love and want the very best for you…I keep those as close as I can..because I know they will not tell me what I want to hear rather it is what needs to be heard and said.

The there are those that are there for a season,they serve their purpose and leave,we tend to hold on to this but reality is ,if they stay past their sell by date,the really are not adding value and  that’s just life.

Then there are those who claim to be your friends but in essence they are always talking behind your back and claiming how they are the reason for your success or great step and yet they have not contributed anything.These ones remain behind my back especially since they do not have the courage to tell it to my face so their value remains behind my back which I cannot see. Sometimes acquaintances fall in this category perhaps because they could be work mates who are just negative about everything. 

I refuse to have negative minded people around me,or shall I call it negative energy. see if you are concentrating on positive things ,it soon becomes an effortless thing to concentrate on the good and the opposite applies.

Choose your friends so wisely and carefully that you can go up the success ladder together without wishing you had dropped someone on the way. Friends also serve as a reflection of who you are.No wonder the English man said ” show me your friends and I will tell you who you are.”

When I was younger,my mother used to say  that as you grow older you have fewer friends.For some reason I took offence in this statement but 10-15 years later it is so true. Growing older makes you refocus on things that add value,help you grow towards your goal.Your time also becomes limited hence you can only accommodate what is of importance. Some of us learn this faster than others.

Wisdom also comes with age, as a teenager I remember how I needed a reason for everything. If I was told to stop doing something, I needed to know why. Here I am now,my brain can decode faster and come up with the reasons to do or not to do something without posing questions.

When in a fight , I would probably get so worked up and say all the wrong things  and later pray for the ground to open and swallow me as a result of the embarrassment.Now I know better,no matter how hard it gets, I have tried to keep my calm and that way I am able to see the situation from a clearer perspective.A gentle and calm answer can calm a man in ways beyond understanding. 

Imagine you have an evil boss, this is the same person who gives you your pay cheque.The way you respond to him even in the most difficult times will determine whether you get to keep your job, a promotion or even a pay rise.Sometimes you are so right but for the sake of the bigger picture,you play cool and sometimes stupid.( Once a manager accused me of having lost an important file, I tried to reason with him that he had taken it. He went on to insult me and convince me how I think he doesn’t know his job ,and oh he talked , I just stood there listened and when he was done, I walked back to my office. Five minutes later he found the file in his office!! he couldn’t even face me so he gave another colleague the file to bring me instead. I was jumping up and down in my office,literally!) we are good friends by the way..

There are two things I know that get better with age: Wine and a violin. Whichever you choose just get better. Like a caterpillar tends to be very ugly while in its early stages and we pay little attention to it.However it requires time to break off the cocoon and when this process is over,out comes a beautiful butterfly…

Be a butterfly with age…