Why Family is not Only Important but Everything.
“You can kiss your family and friends goodbye and put miles between you, but at the same time you can carry them with you in your heart, you mind, your stomach, because you do not just live in a world but a world lives in you.” These words were said by one Frederick Buechner and they made sense to me last week as I contended with the death of Safaricom CEO Bob Robert Collymore.
In earlier interviews, Bob always hinted on family as a key component in his successful corporate career. He mentioned of his mother and wife any time the word family rang through the airwaves close to his hearing proximity. Family is what we find when we return after traversing the whole world trying to find what we left behind. It is for fact that family will always be there no matter the length of time. They will be there in handy to over a shoulder to lean on should it be needed.
As Bob recounted on his over nine month stay in the UK for treatment, he missed his family a lot. Of course there was a company to run back at home, but there is nothing that was so close to him like the family that he will come back to for support as he recovered. These are the people he was going to depend on for help and motivation at his lowest moment. It is the same family that was closest to him even as he breathed his last on the morning of first July. No wonder I love a famous quote that says, “Family is all we have after everything else is gone.” This statement holds true season in and season out.
So as I deliberated on this sorrowful happening that opened our month of July on a bad note, I asked myself what role family plays in our daily lives. As we all know, there is the extended family that on the periphery, associates superficially with us on most instances. Then there is the nuclear family that is closest to our hearts especially in terms of association and personal connections. These mostly include our wives, husbands, children, brothers and sisters as well as parents.
These individuals play a very important role in our lives as they encourage us in our struggles, help us where they can and support us in our diverse endeavors. Most important is the fact that they are the people who stand on our death bed to give us assurance on the journey we have taken together and the hope we have for the afterlife.
With a deeper consideration, I discovered that if we have to count on family and amaze all the support they offer us in this life, forgiveness has to be deeply engraved in our DNA. To forgive is not an easy thing especially when we get betrayed by family. Yet in “an unnatural” man, which we must assume in our family relations, we can easily forgive them because they are what we have at the end of everything. Rich people can lose everything in material possessions and get it all back. Yet when we lose our families, hardly can we replace them and find their exact replica in our lives. Forgiveness is key in marriage and in our families.
What drives the need for us to forgive is the aspect of commitment to the relation and associations we have with our fellow family members. Commitment means keeping to trust, agreement, sincerity and being bound as such one to another. We realize and appreciate the fact that the family is greater than any of us and is the thing to care for as much as possible. We have to compromise for the sake of the family. The family association reigns supreme as opposed to our self. In the family we give and make ourselves freely vulnerable the most. At the end of the day, we make ourselves known to others within the family even in silence.
We are able to be understood even when we can’t talk. Someone is able to look at us and understand our pains and sufferings. That is what family is able to do. And the very reason we should devote our time to building good family relations for posterity reasons with all people close to us so that when we need them most, they will be right there with us.
The Chinese understand the need to hold family supreme and treat them well. One of their proverbs proudly says, “Govern a family as you would cook a small fish – very gently.” This wise saying makes a lot of sense especially to young families. How we need to treat each other while we are developing as a family determines how we will associate as the years draw on. We wish to proudly stand in front of people and talk of how our spouses, parents and siblings mean a whole world to us.
After we commit ourselves and learn to forgive, we need to master the art of unity. This peculiar ingredient is developed through fellowship. We come together and spend time with our families to bond and sow seeds of oneness. In our land, we are driven by values of nationalism in which Unity is Strength defines us.
This strength borne in unity gives us the power to stand against such things as diseases, fights, wrangles and all that is aimed at destabilizing our families. In the spirit of Harambee, we ensure that unity is fostered in our families. If we can’t have at least 30 minutes of uninterrupted family time, let’s make sure we do things together and meet often.
Perhaps the greatest regrets we develop on our death bed are not those of not having owned planes and power but having lost precious time in things that didn’t matter. Having given our time to things that would not stand with us as we neared the end of our lives. We regret having not loved enough, having not spend enough time with those we loved and having not forgiven the people who mattered to us. Let’s give our families the golden gift of time and we will shine all our way.
This is in loving memories of my friend Bob Robert Collymore who succumbed to cancer on 01/07/2019 and also my loved big brother Geoffrey Ratemo who died on the morning of 06/07/2019.