1PM. Late 90s. I am an extra in one of the plays of All Saints Cathedral drama team. Actually, am not even an extra. Just a friend of the team, particularly Harold Olukune one of my closest friends then and now. We are both in love with two of the girls in the team. Unlike me, Harold acts on his affections. He hunts her down and dates her. He eventually marries another girl, who was also a member of All Saints Cathedral. I am a groomsman at their wedding. What an amazing couple. They epitomize godliness and friendship.
Fast forward twenty years later and all these memories flood back after a fiery sermon by Provost Wainaina of All Saints Cathedral. Without mincing words, he declares that, “What we lack in Kenya are not principles. We lack values.”
Stephen Covey, the great American educator once said that, ‘Principles are the territory, values are maps.’ In his book, book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, he elaborated further that, ‘principles are rules or laws that are permanent, unchanging, and universal in nature whereas values are internal and subjective, and may change over time.’
In Kenya, we all know about the principle of integrity, but we have not internalized it and made it a value. You can’t rubbish or ignore what you value. You cherish it, nurture it, tend to it, embrace it.
Because we don’t value integrity in Kenya, we have rubbished it. Provost Wainaina put it more bluntly, “We as Kenyans have become a nation of thieves.”
He said these words in response to President Uhuru’s words that Kenya loses Ksh2 billion daily to corruption.
“Mr. President, thank you for the confession that we are all thieves minus opportunities.”
These words from Provost Wainaina ring true. The only reason many people haven’t engaged in corruption that makes them money is not because they are people of integrity, but because the opportunity hasn’t presented itself.
Find some time to look long and hard in the mirror. Ask the person who will stare back at you what they value.
After they tell you, ask them this question in a soft, firm tone, “do you live by those values?”
If you live a diligent lifestyle, then you value diligence. If you live a discplined lifestyle, then you value disipline. Your values are not yours because you say so, but because your life exemplifies them.
Remember the words of Elvis Presley the King of Rock, “values are like fingerprints. Nobody’s are the same, but you leave ‘em all over everything that you do.”