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Sometime last month I was invited to talk to the Kenya Anglican Men Association (KAMA) members of a church in Kiambu County, not too far from Nairobi. KAMA encourages its members to take Christian leadership in their homes, as they deepen their own spirituality. In accepting the invitation, I asked the Vicar of the church to suggest a topic but he left it to me – a tall order given that these are men of faith and perhaps with perfect families and lifestyles.

I chose to cover five main areas of a Christian man’s life – leadership, upholding values, legacy building, living an organised life and a healthy lifestyle. Given these were men aged over 30, most of them married and leaders not just in their homes but also in the church and their work place, I gave leadership priority. I also thought adding values was a good idea given the fact that despite our Christianshare-my-worldfaith, the moral fabric of our society and its value system are crumbling. Additionally, legacy building and living an organised life were important, as this is a county with prominent and wealthy men, yet most only care about themselves and not uplifting the community.

Many also die without a will, leaving their children to fight tooth and dagger over inheritance.

As I prepared my notes, I thought these were men living in a highly developed county and exposed to modern lifestyle and affluence because of their proximity to the city and so I didn’t have anything new to tell them. Indeed, some of them work or operate businesses in the city. But to my surprise, none had a written will, most didn’t have medical insurance cover, and very few went for regular medical check-ups. As shocking as this was, it was a revelation of the situation of the Kenyan man in general, hence the reason I want to have a conversation with you.

What kind of a leader are you?

Many people think they are not leaders and therefore abscond from this responsibility, yet the definition of a leader is anyone who influences others. You don’t have to be a team leader at work or appointed or voted to a leadership position to be a leader. YOU ARE A LEADER IN YOUR OWN RIGHT. Good leaders always strive to do the right things remembering that reputation is made in a moment but character is built in a lifetime. Doing the right thing calls for tough choices on moral, spiritual and ethical issues. When you do the right thing, you choose to be the one who does not cheat, steal or bribe, even when everyone around you is doing it.

Leaders make everyone feel valuable and they show their greatness in the way they treat other people, especially those who are not at their level such as workers in their homes, junior staff at the office or the poor in society. Leaders have a foresight and are visionaries. They keep their eye on the ball and are not easily influenced. They are also networkers because they know that it is not only what you know that matters, but also who you know. If you are a leader, you also forgive quickly as only small people carry grudges. You are tolerant, indulgent, forgiving and charitable.

But the leadership that every man should place before all else is family leadership. Leaders take time with their family, which they place at the top of their priorities. No man should build an empire on the back of his family – family should come before your commitment to other things including building wealth and even your desire to succeed. And remember, your happiness at home influences your success.

Do you have values that guide you?

Values such as integrity, credibility, trustworthiness, self-control or discipline, honesty, spirituality should be on the list of every man who claims to be a Christian or a leader. It might help to write down your values, embrace them and live them daily and also be the leader who influences others to copy your example.

What will be your legacy when you are gone?

Many people avoid this question. They behave as if they will be here on earth forever. How would you like to be remembered when you are gone? You can only build your legacy when you are alive, not when you are dead. If you aspire to leave a legacy of excellence and love, the time to build it is now. But remember your lasting legacy will be things you did to humanity, the family you raised and the value system you built in them.

Are you living an organised life?

How much does your family know of your private affairs – your bank accounts, your properties, your business, your debts? If you have never thought about these things, just imagine what would happen if you were not there tomorrow. Would your family know where to start? Living an organised life means you don’t let people second-guess you. You confide in your family and have written your will. Look around you to see the battles being fought by family members where a man died without a will. If you don’t have a will, write one now if you don’t want to leave your loved ones in turmoil.

Are you living a healthy life?

To live a healthy life means having a balanced lifestyle – eating well, exercising, being financially organised, avoiding stressful situations, not overindulging in alcohol and other excesses, practicing safe sex and most importantly going for regular medical check-ups. Again, this appears as a man thing – most men fear going to the doctor and wait until things are completely out of control. Yet many diseases including cancers have a better chance of cure if detected early. If you have not had a medical check up in the last one year, go for one now. In addition, get yourself a medical insurance cover. This will save your family from holding fundraisers to take you to India.  emathu@parents.co.ke

Published June 2016