By CAROLYNE GAITHUMA
Not so long ago, Kenyans woke up to Facebook pictures of a young man who boasted on his timeline how he had slept with a Class Four child.
The comments below the screenshots were those of a public baying for his blood. The entire scenario was extremely messy, and I still cannot get over my own disappointment and anger towards this man. After all, I am a woman who was once in Class Four, a mother to two sons who will one day be that man’s age and above all, an empathetic human being.
I thought we were done with such depressing narratives concerning our children, till reports filtered in of young girls giving birth in classrooms during the just-concluded Kenya Certificate for Primary Education examinations.
At about the same time, a comedy show on national television had one of our children boldly declaring that graft is our favourite national staple.
I have since calmed myself down enough to admit to that while I may not have enough information about the foregoing, I should still be concerned about the future of our children.It is difficult to understand how, and why this has become our new normal.
In my experience as a transformation life coach, I have come to the understanding that anything I experience outside of myself is a reflection of something within me.
Taken together, therefore, the plight of our children points to a prevailing malaise within us. The wayward young man represents the part of society that has weird beliefs about sex, relationships and money that are no longer serving, but hurting us.
The young girls who seem to consensually engage in sexual acts with his ilk represent a part of society that is young, innocent and oblivious of the danger that lurks behind various disempowering beliefs.
In times gone by, we – either as perpetrators or victims – might have been similarly misled, not felt unconditionally loved and accepted by those who brought us into this world. We were conditioned to seek approval from everywhere apart from within ourselves. Having not been so nurtured at home, we unconsciously headed to seek it ‘out there.’
The degree to which we desired it and the depth of our connection to our values is what determined actions we took, and the persons from whom we sought love and attention. Now, most of us cringe at the situation across our land, and yearn for the death, castration and detention of anyone who remotely resembles the young man with whom we began this conversation. Few of us, however, will take a moment to listen to the still, small voice within us that constantly calls for introspection.
In any case, “an unexamined life” – in the words of Socrates – “is not worth living.”
Have we examined our values on money, sex and power? Which of these beliefs cause us to see others as less deserving, lesser than us, and as a means to an end? Which ones make us feel like we need to do something to be more loved, to belong, and to get attention? How might we replace them with empowering, life-giving beliefs?
It is not for nothing that American diplomat Johnnie Carson once told us that choices have consequences. It is important that we reflect deeply on the choices our children are increasingly facing. It is not enough for us to stop at the point of empathy without action, or – in the words of Dr, Martin Luther King Jnr. – “the paralysis of analysis.”
If our children can change their inner landscape, society around them will change for the better. Perhaps, the depressing headlines in our media concerning them will also subside. We have this historic and strategic responsibility to give effect to the chapter on national values in our Constitution.
Let us make this work – God’s work on earth – truly our own.
CAROLYNE GAITHUMA is a life coach. (firstname.lastname@example.org )