One day it rained for hours. It is the kind of day that you know it is better not to venture outside and it is safer to just stay home. Mwanza is a beautiful city on Lake Victoria but some of its suburbs are backward. They have no paved roads and generally underdeveloped. So, when it rains in those areas it is a pain in the neck and the major nuisance is usually the mud. After hours of heavy raining, the rain suddenly stopped, and the sun shone back as if no rain had poured. As soon as it stopped, my then five-year-old daughter started pleading and begging me to take her for a walk. After a few nods of refusal, I obliged and placed her on my shoulders, and we went for a walk in the muddy alleyways.
I was not enjoying myself at all as each step I took had to be negotiated. But the cargo on my shoulder was ecstatic. Each time my feet hit the puddles, she would cheer and laugh hysterically. All the while I managed to walk through the slippery mud-filled pathways without losing my balance. Then I managed to reach a bigger but unpaved road that had less puddles. I gained a bit more confidence and started walking with lesser care than I had when I was in the alleyways. What distracted me more was a famous landmark of the city, a rock called Bismarck, that could be seen from a distance. Just moments later, that laid-back approach to the muddy situation I was dealing with and my focusing on the beauty of the Bismarck rock led to a slip that sent my daughter flying through the air and falling onto a puddle.
My fate was far better. When she fell, after wabbling for a few seconds, I managed to regain my balance without hitting the ground. I quickly picked her up as she was crying in pain. I checked her carefully but didn’t see any visible injuries. So slowly I made my way back to the house. After she was washed, I checked her again asking her where the pain was. As it turns out her fall was broken by her right shoulder and she was now starting to experience serios pain. I took her to the hospital where she was x rayed and luckily the results showed that there was nothing broken or fractured. She was prescribed some pain killers and we left. It took about a week for the pain on her shoulder to fully go away.
The Moral: When we slip, they may fall
Sometimes, those we carry on our shoulders end up falling when we slip. We don’t have to make a full fall ourselves for people depending on us to get in some serious trouble. A slip from our part could be all that is needed to cause lifelong disasters for them. Usually, this slip comes in a form of flowed parenting. As parents, vigilance is critical as errors or moments of indifference could have dire and irreparable consequences on those depending on our guidance and protection.
Along the same theme, I recall a discussion between Caesar and his son Lucious as portrayed in the movie The Gladiator that highlights the same point.
As the emperor Caesar got old and sick, he was agonizing about who to pass on the throne to. As he saw it, his son Lucius was unfit to rule. As he was informing his son that he wished for Maximus (His army general) to take over after his death, being the natural crown prince, Lucious was enraged. As he sobbed, he asked his father: why don’t you love me? Why don’t you see good in me? Why would you prefer strangers over your own blood?
“Your shortcomings as a son are my failures as a father” was the candid reply Caesar gave his son. In a sense, the emperor was admitting to his son that his parenting slip is to blame.
The same is true for anyone in position of leadership role. Be it political, spiritual on in any other capacity. Far from full falls, slips alone could be costly.
The question we must now answer is: Once we slip and they fall, what then
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