My Heroes - Reflections of a Young Man™

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My Heroes

Someone once figuratively said that eagles don't take flying lessons from chickens, his point being that we need to learn from great people if we are to be successful like them. I try to follow that advice by seeking counsel from people who have been where I want to be. And since I don't know my heroes face-to-face (some are dead), I have had to glean their wisdom from books. Oh, how I love books!

And who are my heroes? They are many but let me discuss a few who have most earned my admiration.

First is King David, the pioneering King of Israel as narrated in the Bible. I found him a role model because we share similar passions for God, music, writing, farming and political leadership. David followed his passions as a result of which he lived a long life of wealth and honour. Such is the example I am trying to emulate.

Second is George Washington, the first President of the United States. A man of humility who rose to greatness reluctantly and led America into infant nationhood. What I admire most about Washington was that he didn't get corrupted by power. He only served for two terms and handed over the reigns of government to another person.

Third is Abraham Lincoln who is considered America's greatest president perhaps after George Washington. I admire Lincoln for having overcome a humble background to rise to greatness. He grew up in a log cabin that resembles the wooden house I grew in. I also admire Lincoln for having overcome a mental illness to become a clear thinker and a great writer. His story has inspired me to overcome the bi-polar disorder that I was diagnosed with at the university, not by medical drugs but by studying.

Fourth is Theodore Roosevelt who is considered among the top five greatest American presidents for having guided his country to a world power. His image was sculpted on the iconic Mt. Rushmore together with three other great American presidents. I admire Theodore for having been an avid reader, a great family man and a lover of adventure.

Fifth is Franklin Roosevelt, the American president who led his country out of economic depression to World War II victory. That was in spite of the fact that he had been crippled by polio, a disease that made him more sensitive to the problems of other people.

Sixth is John F. Kennedy who ran for US presidency as a wise, young, handsome and charismatic candidate. I admire Kennedy for his reverence for courage - a trait that he so revered that he wrote a best-selling book about it: Profiles in courage.

Seventh is Ronald Reagan, the President who led America to Cold War victory. I admire Reagan for his eloquence, patriotism and wonderful sense of humour. But what I admire most in Reagan was his love for meeting and interacting with people, something I am trying to develop. And he once said, "...the future doesn't belong to the faint-hearted; it belongs to the brave."

Eighth is Bill Clinton whose autobiography I read as a freshman at the university. I admire Clinton for his charisma and positive outlook. And I admire his philosophy of living that he learnt from his mother: " get up every day and keep going; to look for the best in people even when they [see] the worst in me; to be grateful for every day and greet it with a smile; to believe I [can] do or be anything I put in my mind to if I [am] willing to make the requisite effort; to believe that, in the end, love and kindness [will] prevail over cruelty and selfishness".

And my last role model I will mention here is Barack Obama who looks more like a relative because of his skin colour and short hair. I admire him for following his passion for politics and his proper selection of a good spouse. To be honest, I haven't come across such a well-matched couple as Barack and Michelle Obama.

Of course those role models have had their weaknesses. So as I try to emulate their example, I am careful not to commit their sins and to develop my own individuality.


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My Favorite Mottoes

This is the inspiring crest of Starehe Boys' Centre, my Alma Mater, which is the other thing that touched me most about the school when I enrolled there in early 2002 besides the eloquent voice of the late Dr. G. W. Griffin, the institution's founding-director.

I love reading mottoes of learning institutions because of the immense wisdom they carry which I try to practice in my day-to-day living. But of all the mottoes I have come across in the past, only a few have stuck in my memory. Okay, let me enumerate and expound on them.

First is the motto of Starehe Boys' Centre: Natulenge Juu (Let Us Aim High) that is beautifully engraved on the school's crest which was one of the first things I admired about Starehe when I enrolled at the school in January 2002 as I have pointed out in the caption of the crest photo above. I love the motto because it resonates with my ambitious nature that I have possessed for as long as I can remember.

Second is the motto of Rose of Sharon Academy in Nairobi where I taught piano for a year in 2015: Nurturing Excellence in Spirit, Wisdom and Grace. It is borrowed from a verse in the Book of Luke. A wonderful motto, isn't it?

Third is the motto of Harvard College: Ve ri tas (Verity and Truth). I have tried to apply that motto in every area of my life which explains why I am always truthful in my words and deeds. So even though I was rejected at the college when I applied twice for undergraduate admission, I am glad to be living the Harvard motto.

Fourth is the motto of Patrick Henry College: For Christ and For Liberty. I love that motto because it resonates with my belief in Christ and in respect for other people's faith: be they Muslims, Buddhists or atheists. And that explains why even though I believe deeply in the Bible, I have never tried to impose my beliefs on anyone.

Fifth is the motto of Liberty University: Knowledge Aflame. I have been inspired by that motto to re-read all the books that have moved me in the past. So once I get enough money, I will reacquire books such as Physics by A. F. Abbott, Calculus and Analytic Geometry by Thomas & Finney, Think Big by Ben Carson, Economics by David Colander and The River Between by Ngugi wa Thiong'o. Talk of keeping knowledge aflame.

Sixth is the motto of the United States which is poetically well-stated in her national anthem as follows:
Then conquer we must,
When our cause it is just;
And this be our motto:
"In God is our trust"...
So much do I love those lines of the United States anthem and their accompanying melody that I usually find myself singing them out loud when walking and showering. And that's why I trust in God a lot these days.

Last but not least is the motto of the Scout Movement: Be Prepared. I try to follow the motto by dressing well even when going to buy something in a nearby kiosk because I never know: I may meet my soulmate! That's why I also read regularly, why I carry three business cards in my wallet and why I try to nurture the strength of my spirit to shield me in sudden misfortunes such as the loss of a loved one. I advise you to be prepared as well.


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Benefits of Drinking Water

This is me sipping something nice. I love drinking ... drinking water, that is.

Of all the evening talks delivered to us in the assembly hall during my close to six years stay at Starehe Boys' Centre, I only remember the ones I delivered myself and another one given sometime in 2004 by Mr. Kinyajui - our junior high school Agriculture teacher. I recall the ones I delivered myself of course by virtue of having been the one who prepared them. And I wouldn't be surprised if most Starehians of my time can't remember me or what I said.

Mr. Kinyajui charismatically delivered his talk about the benefits of drinking water. He outlined several of those benefits but the only one I remember is that drinking water makes us look more handsome. His talk inspired me to take water on a regular basis, a habit I have maintained to this day which explains why I usually look as radiant as a Hollywood movie star.

As I have said, I forgot almost all the benefits of drinking water as Mr. Kinyajui propounded. So I decided to google them up. And to my delight, Google directed me to a website that lucidly states that drinking water:
  • Relieves fatigue
  • Improves mood
  • Treats headaches and migraines
  • Helps in digestion and constipation
  • Aids weight loss
  • Flushes out toxins
  • Regulates body temperature
  • Promotes healthy skin
  • Relieves hangover
  • Beats bad breath [1]
I have felt encouraged to continue drinking water after reading those benefits and I hope you are too. So I have decided to avoid alcohol and instead take water which is sometimes abundantly provided for free by God through rains. I will emulate John Eliot, the Indian apostle who drank water and said this of wine, "It is a noble, generous liquor and we should be humbly thankful for it but, as I remember, water was made before it."

[1] With permission, I have extracted the benefits of drinking water from a website titled Top 10 Home Remedies. Copyright © all rights reserved worldwide.


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