John and his three friends were gunned down by Kenya police after a botched robbery somewhere on Waiyaki Way. They were all in their early 20s yet they had terrorized Nairobi residents for years. They were ruthless and did not hesitate to main, kill or rape if a victim did not cooperate with them.
What pushed these young men into a life of violent crime? Shouldn’t they have been at the university or at least some other college like their age mates?
John was born in a small town just around 50 kilometers from the city of Nairobi. He was the first born of five siblings. His father was an advocate in the city while his mother was a high school teacher in their home town. Their family was an ordinary Kenyan family.
Rose – John’s mother – was a hard working but humble woman. For as long as John could remember, his mother was instrumental in ensuring that the family was well provided for.
Rose was very organized. Planning and budgeting were her strengths. She had taken education policies for the children, to secure their future. She would also invest her money wisely in her farming venture.
David – John’s father – was a difficult man. He was forever in financial problems, always in debt. He abused alcohol and had a chain of women he was sexually involved with. It was as if his money all got wasted on women and alcohol.
John did not have any good memories of his father. He preferred not to think about the man who forever criticized him and his siblings, telling them how stupid they were and that they would never amount to anything in life.
Rose was a staunch Christian. She practiced her faith. She attended fellowships faithfully, tithed, volunteered in the community and helped the needy members of the church whenever she could. She believed in being a submissive and obedient wife.
Many were the times John’s family suffered from financial problems because David would demand money from his wife which he would misappropriate. He seemed to have wrong priorities.
Rose was frustrated in the marriage and sought advice from her pastor and his wife. They gave her a long lecture about how the Bible says that the husband is the head of the home and a wife submits, obeys and respects him as her head.
Everyone – her parents, siblings, in-laws and friends alike – all echoed those words. They would warn her that if she failed to take care of her marriage, her husband would leave her for someone else who could respect him.
The last straw that broke the camel’s back was when Rose discovered that her husband was having an affair with one of her friends and they were expecting a baby.
She lost her confidence and her self-esteem was torn to shreds. It did not take long for her to slide into depression. Her projects fell apart and she was barely managing to hold on to the teaching job.
Family Home Auctioned
The worst was yet to come. The family home got auctioned because of a bank loan that David had taken years bank and defaulted on payments.
Life was never the same again for John and his siblings after their mother’s death. His father moved in with the lady he was in an affair with before the death of his wife.
John was in the first year of his secondary education when his mother died. By age 16 he had run away from his grandparents’ place and into the streets of Nairobi.
That is how John found himself in a life of violent crime at a very young age.
What is Leadership?
Leadership is the action of leading a group of people or an organization. The leader is not all knowing and neither does he micro manage everyone in his team.
Leadership has nothing to do with one’ position or status in life, seniority in terms of age or position in an institution whether an organization or a family.
Leadership is not even about titles; “I am the mother, the father, the husband.” Institutions that do well recognize the important gifts and talents every member of the team brings on board.
Every member of a family is gifted differently. Given the right support, every member can contribute to the success of the family. A family notices that a son or daughter is very good in managing a business.
There are cases where the wife is very good at planning, budgeting, organizing things or something else and her skills could benefit the entire family. Sabotaging her and killing the gifts that ought to benefit the family is not wisdom.
The Major Attributes of a Leader
1. A leader has a keen sense of fairness and justice. This means that people are recognized and compensated according to the contributions they make.
2. A leader knows his role and understands how to play it. He has clear and definite plans about how to play that role. He does not operate by guesswork or taking advantage of other members of the team.
3. A leader takes full responsibility for the results his team gets. That is why he cannot afford to relax and allow the team to lose the vision.
4. A leader is a servant-leader. He is ready and willing to render service when required to do so, to sacrifice for those he leads. He leads by example, not by commands. A leader is not a boss.
5. A leader views the entire team as members of the same body. He does not view them as competitors but as assets. It is only competent team members who can be effectively delegated to and who can play their roles effectively.
6. Selfishness is not an attribute of a leader. By allowing the team to get the honor and recognition for achievements and also appreciating and rewarding them for what they do for the team, he energizes them to do more.
A leader knows that every member of the team is important. He appreciates the role each plays and does his best to bring out the cooperative effort of all members for the good of the institution as a whole.
This article is written by Susan Catherine Keter; life coach, personal development mentor, motivational speaker, freelancer and blogger.