Leadership is very imperative in any set of connections or systems. With a diverse focus and good intentions it can help solve many problems. How you do it /style, is what matters -that’s the added value.

One day I thought of my long journey in Leadership. The many challenges I went through. Losing jobs when I really needed them through unprecedented circumstances. You wake up one morning to get yourself fired. Why? Because someone made some assumptions/ decisions and made it look real. By the time the truth comes out the damage has been done. This happens at times when you are in a leadership position and under another leader who doesn’t get time to understand you. The question is not what has happened but the life ahead of you. Would you just sit and not wake up? No, you have to stand up and move on. This is exactly what I did. When walking through a journey you can stumble on something. It can either move you off balance or make you fall.

Apart from the tough rough road I travelled on, there are many things to appreciate especially the success or achievements of my work. As a professional teacher I pride myself with the outcomes of successful students who came back to me and told me how much they gained from my teaching them. That’s my satisfaction.

I served both in Kenya and Tanzania. I enjoyed working in both countries and had a wide experience, meeting people from different diversities and cultures.

One day during my usual duties as a head of learning Institution in Nairobi-Kenya, a parent came to my office.  This particular parent had three children in the school. Two of her own and her brothers’ son she adopted young. They were such beautiful children. For many months I hadn’t seen her. She looked frail but her voice did not reflect that. She spoke softly. I noticed her long absence when she missed school committee meetings as she was a member. 

After exchanging greetings and making herself comfortable, she explained her reason for visiting. These were her words to me;

 ‘I came over to see you because I tried to think of anyone who could help me and figured out only you could do so. I asked her how I could help. She went on ‘I would like you to help me help my children. Find them a place they can be together, school together, that’s my wish. I have two sisters and a brother. One of my sisters is married and with five children I cannot overburden her with mine. My other sister is not someone I can entrust my children due to her lifestyle. If I take them to my mother she will someday tell my children what I suffered from. She lives with my 17 year old son.

At that point I saw the dilemma she was in. The pain was deep inside. I could tell from her expression that she had lost hope of living. I immediately counseled her and told her not to lose hope. She urged me as she had requested and I promised her I would.

Several questions ran through my mind. Why did she trust me over her children? Why me and not anyone else? Considering so many things I had done for different people, children, parents and teachers /staff is when I realized that I truly was a leader, teacher and friend to all. It was not the first time I had gone beyond the normal duties to help them.

The following day I visited St. Nicholas Home in Karen, Nairobi. I met very kind people at the home. The Director of the home and I discussed about my request to have the children join the home. He agreed. I was very happy and appreciated his help to date.

I and the school nurse finally took the children to the home. The next visit to the home was with the school nurse, the parent and I. She was very happy to see her children finally in the home like she wished. She expressed a lot of appreciation.

Two weeks later she died. I many times remember her last words to me. “I don’t know how much to thank you. May God bless you so much! Again, this was my satisfaction, helping someone even though her curtains of life were drawn. I plan to visit the home before the end of this year to reunite with them and know how they (her children) are doing.

To me kind deeds matter even when we are in leadership positions. It gives me a lot of satisfaction to know that I have changed/ touched someone’s life positively. Let’s help when we can for there are many people who look up to us for the same. They need us, we need them. I keep evaluating myself as a leader to avoid hurting other people like it happened to me through my leadership journey. That’s me, that's whom I am!   ‘Good deeds go beyond boarders of any kind’.

 

        

 

This post was submitted in response to This Is Who I Really Am.

5Encouragement

Dear Rosemary, 

You evoke such strong empathy in this story. Having to give up your children is an unimaginable decision, but you describe it with such clarity. It is so beautiful that the mother trusted you enough to help decide the fate of her children. Sometimes we need to ask for help, and we shouldn't be ashamed of it.  

How do you feel your experience has changed you the most? Have you had any similar experiences rising to leadership in similar situations? 

Thank you for sharing your story!

Best Wishes

Sycamore May

Dear Sycamore May,

Am very grateful. Absolutely, like you mentioned, to give up your children is an unimaginable decision. Am very happy that the parent thought of her children and planned to help them. I sometimes ask myself suppose she kept quite about her problem. Would I have known in time to help her children. Certainly not. This is was like her last gift to her children. Am very happy that she trusted me to help them and am looking forward to visiting them to catch up with them.

You asked me how I feel my experience has changed me most. One, When I took these particular children to the home, they were enrolled in schools, meaning that their education was not discontinued. Secondly, the adopted boy had a deformed leg. He got someone, a good sponsor who took him to hospital for operation to correct the problem and again helping the parent have peace with herself on realizing she helped her children as her life's curtain closed. I feel that i have tried to change someones world positively. Third, and the most important of all to me, is the satisfaction I get after doing something good to one in need.

Yes, I have had similar experiences rising to leadership in similar situations but well sorted out and today I feel happy about my past experience. Am happy we shared this.

Thanks a lot Sycamore May,

Warmest regards,

Rosemary.