You feel the warmth of her heart even before you really get to meet her. As she walks into the room her warm smile is a dead giveaway that you are about to have an encounter you will never forget. She is 5’ 7’, all heart and all discipline even as that sounds like an oxymoron. Her voice…my, it reminded all of us of our primary school teachers and then some. Deep, rich, strong, stable and warm all wrapped together.
She is Mrs. Leah Asego, wife, mother, teacher, disciplinarian, philanthropist, daughter and so much more. In June this year we honoured her youngest daughter Catherine Asego as one of the Daystar Alumni going places. Catherine is currently in the US so she came to pick the award for her. We hoped that she would receive the award on Catherine’s behalf at the graduation dinner but God knew better and ensured we would meet her on a day when we all had time to learn. We had been waiting for her for over a week, wondering what had happened yet hindsight says that any other day wouldn’t have been the right day.
Leah Asego has raised five amazing children of her own and five others that she took in on her teacher’s salary. Though raised in Kibra each of them has at least an undergraduate university degree that she and her husband helped pay for. They are all pursuing Masters degrees on their own in fields of their own choice. When you meet her children, and many of us know of at least one of them, you will realise that they are really a reflection of her and the work she put into raising them.
As she shared how she worked tirelessly to ensure her children would be able to make it in life regardless of where they were raised it struck me that we are all the products of our heritage. Each of us was able to go through Daystar only through great sacrifices made by
our parents. They planned, borrowed money, invested, worked long and hard, prayed and then went back to work just to ensure that we have the hope to be better than they were. One thing that struck me though is that Leah Asego isn’t interested in how much her children are making. She is more concerned about how many others they are helping. Her rule of thumb is that they need to be supporting an orphan or less fortunate member of society at all times. To this end, each of her children is paying fees for at least one young person in school…what are you and I doing for society?
I was curious how she raised such well-balanced children in such trying circumstances. Think about Kibra in the ‘70’s with all the challenges yet they have all done well in life. Imagine raising ten children in Nairobi. Many of us are hard pressed to raise even one child. In her jolly and happy way she made it so simple I figured this had to be shared.
- Have a plan: You must know for sure how you would like your child to turn out. This
is more than just education. What kind of person would you like them to be? What kind of like would you like them to live? What skills would they need? What should they be able to do? How do they need to think? What do they need to understand? What level of education would you like them to attain as the minimum? In reality every child is different and will turn out different yet without a clear picture anything and any achievement would be good enough and you wouldn’t know what to push them to pursue so any example is good enough.
- Take action: Now that you know what you would like for your child or children, take daily steps for the future. Think about the things that need to be done daily. Do you need to save? Save. Do you need to work hard for now then smart later? Work. Do you need to change your job? Change. Do the children need to do chores at home? Teach them. Do you need them to learn a skill? Teach them. Do you need to get a loan for their fees? Get it and pay it back. Do you need to tag team with your partner to showcase teamwork? Show it. Do you need them to learn to keep going in adversity? Show them. Keep them engaged in life and working alongside and learning that nothing is achieved without action.
- Share: Your cup will only be refilled when you pour it out. In life grow and increase best when we are giving and sharing what we have. Nothing is too little to share or give as long as you have a little extra. Share what you have, support another person, give out from the depths of your heart and watch the blessings that follow. It is important to note that we do not give to receive rather we give because we can choose to give. The blessings that follow are indeed a bonus because the best part of sharing is the opportunity to share…simple. The blessings that come are not only monetary, they could be deeper relationships, peace of mind, joy, peace, life transformation, the list is endless. Bless someone with what little you have and grow.
- Have FAITH: There will be times when you don’t know what to do or how to proceed or where to turn. There will be times when the path seems so dark and you cannot go on. These are the times to remember that there is nothing you cannot do if you have faith. Take life seriously, pray every day, spend time in the word and believe. Teach your children to do the same and take time to build your faith together. A solid faith is a greater legacy than a lot of money.
- Spend TIME with your children: You have a limited amount of time you can spend with your children and impart the aforementioned life lessons. As a parent, you need to be intentional in spending time with your children while they are still under your roof and live out all that you would like them to know and become. Live by example and show the way for them to follow then allow them to walk away and truly come into their own. Spending time with your children doesn’t stop even when they are older it just changes in the form. When they are young it is long hours when they are older it could be shorter conversations more often. Whichever way it goes, spend time with your children, you will never regret it.
So these things seemed too simple yet these are some of the basic pillars that she has built
her life around. It got me wondering, how much did it cost each of our parents to put us through Daystar or whichever institution we went through? Did we turn our right? Did their investment in us bear fruit? Are we passing on the blessings they passed to us?
I believe Leah Asego did a good job as a mother and teacher because it is evident in the children she has raised and the ones she taught. It is indeed possible to change and influence lives of people within and outside your family. I’m off to work on my child and the children who are in my life. How about you?