Kimunya Mugo, leadership coach and author of leadership book, 'Down But not Out', talks to AUDREY CHEPTOO about parenting and reconciliation
What prepared you to be become an author?
Down but Not Out is actually my first printed work. I have been writing all my life, but I did not consider myself a writer; the reason for this goes back way to when I was a boy.
I wrote a composition that I was very proud of and my teacher scored me a zero saying that I had copied the story. Apparently it was too good to be true. I was enraged! That really beat me up and from that time I did not display my work in public.
As fate would have it, my career is centred on communication and media, and writing is a big part of that. I wrote the book for an audience of one – myself. My wife read it and convinced me to publish it because she believed that it could benefit a lot of people.
What was your turning point when writing Down but not Out?
There are three paragraphs in the book that took me an entire afternoon to write; I remember breaking down completely because it was at that point that I decided to forgive my father. My father had not been around during the critical years when I was transitioning to manhood.
When I was seven, I made a very clear decision that he was dead to me. I felt like he wasn’t there when I needed him. This dragged on for 30 years! So everything I did was coloured by the fear of failing my family just as my father had done.
I asked myself, how could I be a good husband and father with this chip on my shoulder? That was my pivotal point, a moment of pure clarity. As difficult as it was, I eventually phoned him and forgave him three years ago. From there we began reconciling our issues.
How is your relationship with your own children?
My relationship with my kids is awesome. I love them dearly. Sometimes if I have to travel for business, I take my wife and kids with me. I always say, if you invite us we roll as a gang – the fantastic five.
Your children are walking the path of their father, your daughter Tinashe published her first book The Great Fight Back at age eight, and your son Tatenda is working on finishing his first publication. How have you and your wife encouraged their inclination towards literature?
First of all, my children don’t go to school in the conventional sense. They are home-schooled by my wife and I am her teaching assistant (chuckles). Second, we have instilled a love for reading and numeracy; between the three of them they own over 500 books.
The other day, my ten-year-old daughter came to me and recited Newton’s three laws of physics. I was utterly shocked, I thought this was something children learn in high school! I am happy that our children’s love for reading transitioned into a love and thirst for knowledge.
What are the common issues you face as a parenting coach?
Most of the parents that I coach want to know about discipline, and how to chapa their child. I tell them that discipline is addressed further along in the course, Class 5 to be exact.
We first have to start with personal reflection. Reality hits that it is not about the child, but about the parents. The child is a consequence of the parents’ choices. So we deal with the individual before the issue of parenting.
As a parenting and leadership coach, what advice would you give parents and future leaders?
Leadership is not a destination, but a journey that evolves with time. Leadership starts at home; family is your port of call, your true north so to speak. If one can teach their children to be accountable for their actions, one is raising leaders who will go on to raise leaders of their own. In truth, one can never be fully prepared for parenthood. It comes with lessons every single day.
So be honest with yourself, fully appreciate where you are and be brave enough to make bold decisions.
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