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"A good shepherd lays his life for the flock"

- Jesus Christ

 

This is a leadership issue. You are a leader, at least you lead yourself, even if not a legion. And we all know that correct self leadership is, perhaps, the hardest level of leadership that can ever be. That means that, to start with, you are a flock of your own sheepfold. How is your sheepfold doing? If you're leading your family, your small group, et cetera, that is the best place to start creating change, awareness and the whole world shall be better. I often say, the world needs more leaders than preachers. It is true. And the quality of our leadership should reflect on the quality of life in our flock.

Some times last year, I went to give some talk to a particular group of men, and learned some slogan from them which intrigued me. It went something like this: good families good church, good church good society. It means everything starts from the family. That is where values are inculcated and nurtured. That is the root of everything. Every change, every evil. And it comes down to self leadership.

"A good shepherd lays his life for his own. He knows his own and his own knows him. He walks ahead of them and calls them by name, leading them to pastures. He gets in through the gate and his own recognize his voice." Without necessarily quoting one-to-one, that is the message in that scripture text, and thus, the marking scheme for a good shepherd. This means that the life of a leader, i.e, the shepherd, is lived for his people (his flock). His people know him and will listen to him. By the way, this calls also for responsibility upon the leaders not to mislead because their people still will recognize their voices, even amids the noises, and follow them. The true leader leads his people to the good things; the greener pastures. He sacrifices for them, just like a parent to a child. This means leadership is a great calling. Not a career or a hobby. It is not a profession either. It is more spiritual than intellectual.

In Kenya, for example, we see a lot of loyalty to designated political leaders based on where they come from and not even what they stand for. Few people want to question the values for a leader, just the ethnic orientation. But still, they are leaders and their flock listen to their voices and follow them willingly. We see more sheep sacrificing a great deal, even to the last drop of their blood, for their shepherds as opposed to the other way round. Actually, the shepherds, here, do exploit their sheep and expect them to sacrifice themselves for the shepherds to keep at the helm. The shepherds hardly know their flock by name and only think of them in terms of statistics and voting blocks. Not much of what sheep really need is a concern to the shepherd, but just the personal gains. Most of these shepherds even hardly ask themselves why their sheep sacrifice this much for them. And sadly, majority take it for granted. Is this ethical? And this is very common in many African countries; leaders leading people to mass graves to save their skins, titles, perks and privileges. How else would you explain the unnecessary rivalries among the communities within the same nations; the hatred that leads to massacres and untold atrocities! Think of Kenya '07/'08, Burundi recently, the Rwanda, South Sudan, Zimbabwe, and many others.

The sheep that should be protected by the shepherd is exposed and sent to go ahead of the shepherd to test the ground. To fight for the shepherd. The leaders and their families are kept safe. The irony is that the sheep are made to believe they are fighting for their rights. Could be true, but is it really?

The corporate world, having learned much from the political masters, are not exempted from this ill. We see a lot of exploitation of the junior workforce while others take credit. The leaders take credit when things are looking great and when the fan hits the shit, they shift blames to their subordinates. They cut the cost by cutting the jobs of really innocent workers who have very little to do with the mess, while they keep making terrible decisions to sink deeper. The irony of the sheep being sacrificed for the shepherd.

It is high time the true shepherds of the sheep came up and defended them; the ones with true calling to lead the sheep into green pastures and not just to exploit them. To lead them to the promised land that exists and not a mirage. Unfortunately, even trade unions are not living up to this task, let alone the civil society groups! The sheep need to do personal audits of their journey; looking from past experiences viz-z-viz their dreams and really question if the shepherds they have hitherto followed with unreservedly are real shepherd or fake. Let there be some objectivity for the good of all. If we do things right, right things will happen for all and everyone will benefit. The best thing of all is that we shall regain our true happiness that does not fade away. We shall be more united against the common enemies (like ignorance and poverty) and sing in glory when we reap from the genuine struggles. We shall be living true to our various callings and life purposes. We shall be living according to the creed of our nation, 'in common bond united' where 'justice is our shield and defender' and 'plenty is found within our borders'.

We Can Do It! Live Your Dream!

By Otieno Paul-Peter,Esq.
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