Intellectual Despair

More than 100 secondary schools in Kenya have been set alight… Crisis as dorms burnt at five schools Tuesday night(26th July 2016)…Four schools burn in the wake of arson probe…Itiero boys students burn down school dormitories…

Student salvaging his box after midnight fire(Courtesy:nation media)

This has been the situation in our schools for two months now.A very worrying trend.A variety of explanations have been brought forward but it is not quite clear to date, as to what could be the main reason behind such disturbance in schools.Some parents say that caning should be re-introduced,but how will inflicting pain solve the situation?…It is also said that it is as a result of the overwhelming number of students compared to the teachers,which bears more weight than the previous explanation… but the big question is,what could be the root cause of such unrest in schools?…Could it be the strict nature of the Education Minister,Fred Matiang’i who is championing for reforms in the Education system or could it be the emotional state of the students?…

What is it that has not been done that should have been done?(all this started way back when students could react to upcoming KCSE exams)

Recently, a thirteen year old was diagnosed with Peptic ulcers. This shocked me because for a Standard Seven pupil, ulcers should be a foreign concept(or so I thought).I asked him what he thought triggered ulcers in his system and he told me, “My parent told me that I would be transferred to a public school if I do not perform well in the upcoming exams”…He pushed himself too hard to a point of ulcers! I was very sorry for him,infact this broke my heart. (Learnt a few parenting tips right there)

Likewise,students are pushed to the wall.They have nowhere to vent and therefore resort to violence because when they burn their schools,then they can be heard by their parents/guardians,teachers and the world(they are no longer invisible).Just like a hot air balloon,they burst when excessive pressure is continuously pumped into them.After such cases of arson we get to hear, ” We want a holiday”…”We are never heard”…”Teachers are too strict “…” We were to watch a Euro Cup game but it was banned”…and so on.The students are able to express themselves now that they have our ‘attention’

Courtesy:The Star 

There has to be a balance between internal and external forces…Lest we experience the unexpected.

I like what Bill Ayers says…” Your kids require you most of all to love them for who they are,not spend your whole time correcting them” 

The way we behave is greatly influenced by the society.Do these students have examples to follow or people they can look up to and good ones for that matter?

Let’s  break this down kidogo:

  • The Home

How do parents/ guardians sort out their issues? Do they resort to violent behaviour or shouting at each other or silent treatments or do they displace their frustrations on the children?

  • Tertiary Institutions

‘Big brothers and sisters'(comrades).When dissatisfied with an issue(s),they strike and in the process losses are counted as a result of looting,burning property and in extreme cases lives are lost.

  • The Government

A powerful influence on the citizens of this country.Witnessing demonstrations(for example,Tear Gas Mondays) and hate speeches is not a good sign.Both those who are in government and those who are not have a huge part to play.We are looking up to you.

We have no one to blame but ourselves.We have a huge task ahead…let’s rise up to the occasion before it is too late.

All that said,what does the Bible say about this situation?

Ephesians 6:4: Fathers do not provoke your children to anger but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord

Proverbs 29:15: The rod and reproof give wisdom but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother” 

Proverbs 22:15: Folly is bound up in the heart of a child but the rod of discipline drives it far from him

Discipline is advocated for but remember not to provoke your child to anger.Again,a balance is emphasized between one in authority and the child.

On the 25th of July,I was watching the hillarious ‘Hapa Kule News’ and there was a segment where they contrasted discipline back in the day and now and goodness! The difference is veeery big!!

How you train a child determines how he or she grows to become in future as seen in Proverbs 22:6: “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old,he will not depart from it”

Remember the old adage?… ‘You cannot teach an old dog new tricks’

I came across a quote by Lisa Wingate that was mind-blowing.She says, “Your children are the greatest gift God will give to you and their souls your greatest responsibility He will place in your hands. Take time with them,teach them to have faith in God.Be a person in whom they can have faith.When you are old,nothing else you have done will have mattered as much”

It is the little things we do that create a lasting impact in our generation, be it negative or positive.

I end with another quote by Umberto Eco,an Italian Novelist…

I believe that what we become depends on what our fathers teach us at odd moments,when they aren’t trying to teach us.We are formed by little scraps of wisdom.



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