Where did you study? What course did you pursue? Was it a private section or HELB led study? Did you, or are you loving what you are studying? Have you gone to satisfy other people’s egos, or are you pursuing what you enjoy? Why are you in this academic race? Is for papers or Purpose?
Recently in one of our news stations, a documentary was run featuring students who, after pursuing prestigious degrees, ended up dumping them for what they loved most. I am sure their parents have a story to tell if they have not already exterminated their own. When I was growing up, there was a song that said ‘Someni vijana; muongezee pia bidii; mwisho mwa kusoma; mutapata Kazi nzuri sana. (Study young people; add more effort in it; at the end of the studies; you will get an outstanding job.) It is almost hilarious this song. The narrative is different. And as someone said, vitu on the ground ni different! What do you do when a whole engineering student turns to clothes design after many hours and years of mentally gruesome assignments and projects? Or when a scientist turns to art and design? What went wrong? Or is it, what went right? Ephesians 2:10 reminds us that we are God’s workmanship created in Christ for good works. We have a God-given purpose even if we lack a man given paper!
PARENTAL DICTATORSHIP VERSUS PARENTAL GUIDANCE
We have heard many students graduate and give their parents degree certificates. Their reasoning? That they had finished doing what their parents wanted them to do and now are ready to do what they wanted. Many Campus and College feel very displaced and caged because of doing things they never wanted in the first place. King Solomon said in Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Parental dictatorship is when the parents have a picture of what they imagine their child must come out like after school. Often, these thoughts come due to unconquered dreams or missed careers by the parents. To train up means that parents take the time to realize their children’s gifting and guide them as responsible adults, and not pushing them over like heartless dictators. May the Lord help us that when we grow up and have children, we will not just sit back and watch them fall away. Instead, we will guide them, as a shepherd does stray sheep, to green pastures and paths of God’s plans.
WHITE COLLAR VERSUS BLUE COLLAR JOBS
I never knew these terms in my former years. Decoding them was a challenge but not anymore. White-collar jobs are those that hardly require the heat of the outdoors. Most white-collar jobs are done in the office and bring a salary monthly. Blue-collar jobs are the exact opposite. Mjengo jobs, mechanics, farming etc. are a few examples of blue-collar jobs.
The deception lies in the thought that the implied prestige that comes with an office means success. Get me right- there is nothing wrong with white-collar jobs. Nevertheless, it would be tragic to be bound in the office, yet you perform better in the field and outdoor. None is better than the other. After all, life does not consist in the things we own but in our contentment. A godly and contented heart is many times better than any wealthy man alive. God has given his promise never to leave nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). Let us not get caught up in white or blue-collar things. What if your purpose is not in one or the other?
Points versus Passion
I mentioned the whole HELB matter, which confines one to a particular ‘career-matching’ combination. If you combine these subjects, you will achieve these points which can land you in that University for you to do that course which can fetch you lots of money! That is the narrative for many high school students who are about to sit for their KCSE/IGCSE final exam.
With this craze for points, we, as a country, have fallen prey to cheating in exams and results manipulations from the highest Government offices to the lowest households. Parents have hypocritically thrown their child in the air celebrating cooked up results. The evidence lies in the number of dropped courses in the Universities where students realize their grades do not add up with their intelligence quotient. Schools have become drilling grounds and not learning centres. Students are spoon-fed instead of being taught how to study and research. In campus, last year students cheat their way by hiring online writers to do their term papers and research. These people have ailed our economy by increasing the number of corruption cases on institutions. Since they cannot perform- because they do not know how to- they pay others to do their work. Shame! Shame! Shame! Why do we have many unqualified people running offices? Because of the craze for points and not passion.
Passionate people have standards. They do not bend to corrupt ways because their inner drive is informed by who they are and not what they can get. Passion and character go hand in hand. Most passionate people cannot risk their character for, as it were, ‘a bowl of soup’ (Genesis 25:29-34). Watch out for these kinds of compromises. Do you have a passion for anything? Are you keen on flourishing in what you are passionate about, or are you greedy for gaining points that will not leave you satisfied and contented? God has given each of us gifts that are ours at birth (1 Peter 4:10-11) that we need to use to serve others. Many who are depressed in their workplaces owe it to a pursuit of money and status. Look at a joyful cobbler or an excited tailor. They are like that because they have a passion that wakes them up in the morning to do what they love!
Money or Ministry
Lastly, we have the issue of money or ministry. Why do you want that career or job? Is for money or ministry? Intelligence lies, not in the amount of money we amerce for ourselves but in the ministry we give to others using our skills. Work hard and smart as much as you can. Laziness is against the ethos of scripture. Adam tended and cared for the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:15), and Jesus rebuked the lazy servant who could not multiply his talents (Matthew 25:24-29). The whole essence of working is so that we can be of ministry to those around us. Selfishness is against the character of a true believer.
Ask yourself why you are working hard today. Money is essential, but ministry to others is what makes money meaningful. Papers make us arrogant, but Purpose causes us to give and serve. The disciples did not have papers, but they exhibited servanthood of the desirable extents.
Papers or purpose? Which one are you pursuing? If it is papers, realize that they cannot give us purpose. You are better off seeking for papers that will sharpen you to fulfil your Purpose than to strive and get papers that work at blinding you to your Purpose. Why are you studying what you are right now? Are you satisfied in life? Is your life fulfilling the mandate of God? There is nothing wrong with papers, as long as you use them to firm up your Purpose in life.