Why it matters
Corruption begins in your family [the bedrock of societal values] – that is where the rain begun beating us!
If you’ve ever had any kind of creative block, then I’m certain you will appreciate how good I felt when I got back into the flow this #MadarakaDay morning ~ that euphoric ~ dancing-like-a-crazy-person-by-yourself kind of feeling [Oh – yah, that’s how I started my morning today].
The lock removal was triggered, I suppose, by a comedy. And though I don’t rate myself as an ardent consumer of local comedy, this particular one jolted me! The question posed [and the almost spontaneous response], a shockingly calm confident answer by a ten year old in class 3 or 4 during a comedy show screened on national TV. It was hilarious – the clip like #summonsScicilyKariuki or #PsLilianOmollo was trending for sometime on social media.
Fast forward…. this is how the conversation in the comedy had progressed:
Comedian : “What is Kenyas’ gift to the world?”
Child : “Corruption? ….CORRUPTION!?
I look at the interview clip this way, and perhaps, you’ll appreciate this. The young fellows’ answer while seemingly comical, was almost a confirmation of my worst fears, on how low we have sank as a country, an innocent declaration of the sorry state of government corruption and corporate crime. And as if to further pound my fears, a member of parliament recently did some finger pointing on the widening gap [and lack] of good leadership. In an almost poetic sounding rhyme, he said, on national TV, that “kenya has more dealers in parliament than leaders.” In his view, I assume, he meant the Kenyan parliament has become a “pay-to-play” game, a caucus of “Tender-members” [not tenda mema] parliament.
“In looking for people to hire,” Buffet says, “look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence, and energy. And if they don’t have the first one, the other two will kill you.”
Look what’s going down
So while the bulk of us may have found that class 3 – 4 kids’ response comical and laughed, I continue to wonder, about his understanding of this long word “corruption.” And to ensure we all are on the same page, I used Wikipedia to illuminated the word “corruption” . And promptly unmasked corruption; as a form of dishonesty undertaken by a person entrusted with a position of authority, often to acquire personal benefit. Simply placed, Wikipedia beamed light on “corruption” as established when a person in authority acquires everything or anything through an avenue of dishonesty or an unethical approach. I was crest fallen, that a young kid could associate the countrys’ legacy [“gift to humanity”] as being that of providing such a despicable act – and we laugh about it!
Family Values – History – the great teacher
I couldn’t help recalling that once upon a time, there was a society, in which family values were not only upheld with utmost integrity and consciousness, but also celebrated. A period – in history – when young men and women transmitted to the next generation [fondly referred to as NextGen] values inherited from their parents, which as custodians they delivered to those coming after them.
seemingly-long-gone era in Kenya, the young men and women living in that period appreciated values and not ‘things’; family names were nuggets of gold and every family member [whether in the village, in town and more recently the diaspora] made a conscious effort to protect their names. A [wo]man, then, would rather die, than live and witness the family name dragged through the mud by their children.
Hence, parents [in fact the community] were involved in every developmental stage of their wards through effective mentoring and strict parental guidance. The Schools – also helped in upholding these values by ensuring there was discipline across-the-board. If any child broke the rules, the appropriate punishment would be applied regardless of the status of his/her parent – without bodily harm to any un-namable parts of the young wards’ body. Parents and guardians – were in fact agitated whenever it was reported their ward had erred in observing even the simplest of school or society’s rules. In fact, even a stranger meting out disciplinary censure was normal and acceptable.
And yes, this and all were a result of a “mental orientation” that held family names on high esteem, and the fact that the family name must always be protected. In addition, – the virtue of Contentment – was a bold word and he middle name of every family. There was no apparent difference between the affluent and the poor in the community. And that, was then.
Family Values under siege
There is no doubt that corruption disconnects us from such core social values. More so when corruption with impunity becomes rampant and resource misuse and abuse becomes, arguably, the order of the day. When the intimidating image laundering by individuals with ill-gotten wealth in the society seemingly defile all the strategies adopted to defeat corruption – and are perceived to get away scot free? The worst bit, is we run the risk of its luring effect on the vulnerable youths into becoming ‘desperadoes,’ who would rather have money at all cost – the seeds of a culture that glorifies corruption takes root, is watered well, germinates and is adopted by the NextGen as acceptable – if not, being the only choice.
That is not acceptable ~ to-the-vast-majority-of-us ~ and there is need to re-examine the approach of combating corruption in Kenya. And something had better be done soon!
A Honorable Fight
The first, and most spoken about during this week, has been the governments’ big role in all this as many nudge President Uhuru to #UKCracksWhip!. The criminal justice system in Kenya, for long, has being perceived as weak due to the fact that many alleged corrupt individuals, who should be in jail continue to fight the institutions with their ill-gotten wealth. However that is not my beef today. It’s the ignored, yet crucial role of the family, that I wish to hack!
Corruption begins in the Family
Corruption, I think, begins at home: the ideas about justice, concern for others, honesty and selflessness are grasped principally through the example set by the parents – and other significant others in the home. The Children watch whether these values are actualized in the little daily choices, made at home. The avoiding of lies, following traffic rules, the tete-a-tete in the house about neighbours, what is said in the media etc behavioural issues that play out in homes across the country.
“To believe in something, and not to live it, is dishonest.” – Mahatma Gandhi
Like second-hand smoke, the effects of disrespect and dishonesty often seep invisibly into the bodies and minds of children. Remember, your actions as parents and guardian [and not necessarily what you say] is what is learnt by the children. This impacts the bigger environment outside the home. Parents, now more than ever, ought to take seriously their role as the primary educators of virtues to their children.
If we want our society to improve, we need to look no further. Let’s start right there in our own families. To reverse these hurtful trends, families must ask themselves some tough questions about what they most value in life, then teach their children to live those values. The answer to the question “what is Kenyas’ gift to the world?” must change. And as I, for one, as I do my piece with my family, I today on #MadarakaDay stand and wait with bated breath for President Uhuru to do the honourable thing #UKCracksWhip!
What else should we do?
If not us, then Who?
If not now, then When?