The following scene has played in my mind countless times. The year is AD 2040-ish. I am huko ma-fifty something years. Proudly donning white hair and a tired semi-potbelly. After years of bribing wazee with “chai”, I am finally inducted as a bonafide member in the village council of elders. It’s an achievement worth observing a moment of silence.
By the wisdom of the gods, I am a father of three rascals. Though I am salivating to be a grandpa someday. It’s perhaps the only thing causing me to still hang on the thread of life. My firstborn is a stylish young lady who goes with a modern botanical name on social media. She curiously carries her mother’s beauty and royal elegance perfectly complemented, of course by her father’s intelligence and brilliance.
She is at that stage in life where life is good: impeccable education, great career, amazing parents and great country (of course I assume we will be in Canaan by then). Everything is going on well for her, except this one thing – she just discovered her best friends are jealous of her success, beauty, lifestyle and intelligence.
“Daddy, as in imagine I caught them maligning my name,” she says teary.
Well, since she will always be daddy’s little girl, I immediately suspend watching my favorite show: Duck Dynasty on History Channel, and give her 168 percent of my earthly time. For the next few tense moments, I patiently listen to her while imbibing my favorite ginger flavored tea.
Man, ginger tea is earth’s gift to man. I am not sure who invented it. But whoever it is, I pray that you spend your eternity in a Jacuzzi surrounded by holy wine and an orchestra of dancers from one of Koffi Olomide’s hits.
“Ooh! daddy, the world is so cruel. I thought they were my friends. How could they be so heartless and the way I have been there for them,” she is almost inconsolable.
No daddy worth his salt will ever want to see their daughter cry.
Then it’s my turn to talk. The gray hair has hidden all the gem of wisdom I have acquired over the years. It’s time to download 500GB of unadulterated on her.
“Listen, to me sweetheart…,” I clear my throat and pause a little. Its a skill I picked while watching Phil Robertson, my favourite character on Duck Dynasty. Before he speaks, he always clears his throat and pause for a jiffy. I assume it’s a sign that commands respect mixed with an ingredient of wisdom, love and authority. Therefore, in the next 15 minutes, I share with my baby girl one of the best advice life will ever teach her – how to deal with haters, and here it goes:
“Sweetheart, we all have haters in life. People who smile with us, but speak negatively about us behind our backs. My advice to you, ignore them. They are nothing more than simply a distraction to your life’s purpose. The hunter in pursuit of an elephant does not stop to throw stones at birds, goes a Ugandan proverb.
So, my dear girl, decide today to cease spending your precious energy, time and resources being concerned with what your haters say, or responding to every idle gossip about you. Trust me, there is something called the mind-your-own-business button that works wonders once you activate it. It will give you the much-needed peace of mind.”
I will then take a long sip of my ginger flavored tea, slap her with that look Joshua gave Moses at the border of Canaan before I continue:
“Sweetheart realize that haters’ work is to hate. That’s what they do best. So, don’t stress yourself trying to reason with people whose life’s mission is simply to hate. Don’t try to justify yourself to anyone. Stop explaining yourself to everyone about details concerning your life… My point is: Don’t live your life with the fear of what people will say or think about you.
If you do that, it simply means you aren’t living your own life, but are busy living your life for others, trying to please everyone around you. Live your life. Do you, let them do them. Your life and time on earth is too precious to waste it away stressing about your haters. You have more important things to do than spend your time wondering what your haters are saying or doing.
At this point, the mother will bust into the room carrying my favorite ground nuts. Haiya, you didn’t get the memo, Canaan is a land that flows with milk and honey. Popping three rascals down the line hasn’t slowed her enchanting beauty and elegance. She still rocks like the first time I laid my eyes on her that Friday evening, many years ago, when Baba was still fighting for nusu mkate. Ooh! the misery of Egypt!
“Take it from me, baby girl,” I continue, now joined by Missus for support. She has always been there for me. Supporting and believing in me. This jewel of a woman. No wonder the Good Book says, he who finds a wife, finds a good thing. Well, it so happened, just like in the movies, Missus can actually read my mind. That’s why she immediately picks up the conversation, seamlessly and effortlessly:
“Baby girl,” she sounds like a mother who just got rewarded with a vacation home in Nanyuki during her daughter’s ruracio.
“No matter what you do or how good you are to everyone. There are people, including your best friends who will always talk badly about you behind your back. There are people who will always gossip about you and try to bring you down.
There are people who will always criticize everything you do. The car you drive and the car you don’t drive. The people you date and the people you don’t date. The job you do and the job you don’t do. The clothes you wear and the clothes you don’t wear. The tribe you come from and the tribe you don’t come from.
Sure enough, there are people who will criticize your skin color, height, accent, the shape of your teeth, your parents, your church, your country, and the list goes on and on. So, get over yourself, and simply live your life. You only live once – so make it count to you and your loved ones, and more importantly to God, your Creator.”
And then without warning, she turned into the female African version of Martin Luther King:
“I dream of a day when we will have less of hateful messages on social media and around us, and more of love and tolerance. I dream of a day when social media will be dominated with messages of people determined to reach their ultimate life’s potential. Messages of hope, inspiration, and encouragement of people making a difference in the world.
We are here on earth only for a season and for a reason. So, why waste the little precious time we have hating on one another, and trying to prove to each other how we are the best people, the superior tribe, the powerful country, the super gender and race.
I don’t think God (if I was the one speaking I would have said, the Good Guy Upstairs) envisioned our existence on earth to be full of foolish competition against one another, or resentment and hatred towards each other. So, next time someone hates on you, do what I do best – simply press the ignore button. Try it today, and you will see how suddenly life becomes fun, interesting, cool and bila stress.”
She actually says bila stress like she is 21 years. Told ya, Missus hasn’t aged a day. I am beginning to think perhaps its those managu and njahi doing the magic.
WOW! Best advice ever. Of course, I didn’t tell her.
As the man of the house, I was to have the last punch line, and she took all the thunder from me. In the meantime, our girl was looking energized and motivated. She looked like she had just signed a new lease of life. Ready for the world. Ready to trump all the haters.
Well, I needed to have the last word. My brobdingnagian ego wasn’t going to allow Missus to take al the glory. I had to show my little girl that her old wise favourite daddy in the world got this. So, I cleared my throat and paused for a moment, just like Phil Roberson before he takes a shot at one of those ruminant Louisiana deers.
I was determined to deliver download the perfect punch line to all this hater thingy. That’s why I took a long sip of my ginger tea, paused momentarily, while looking at the ceiling as if I was receiving revelation knowledge from either my spirit or my ancestors. I had then slapped my little girl with that look Nebuchadnezzer gave Shadrack, Meshack and Abednego when he noticed they were actually partying in the fiery furnace:
“Baby girl, I’m gonna leave you with this: A lion, they say, does not concern itself with the opinion of the sheep. So, sweetheart, why bother with the stars when the moon is shining on you.
She was breathless, and so was Missus. Moments later I was slapped with one of the warmest looks and hugs a fifty-something old man would ever dream of, to the point I was concerned my heart would stop beating out of excitement.
NOTE: Never base or define your life by what others say about you. Everyone on earth is running a different race. Concentrate on yours. Galatians 6:4-5 says: “Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.” (The Message Bible).