Contact Us Today

Call us:
+254 722 507 835

Send an email:
hannah@shapedestiny.co.ke

PEER PRESSURE

2 months ago · · 0 comments

PEER PRESSURE

PEER PRESSURE

Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm. Proverbs 13:20

PEER

This is a person who is the same age or who has the same social status as you.

PRESSURE

This can be defined as difficulties and feelings of anxiety that are caused by the need to achieve or behave in a particular way.

PEER PRESSURE; is when someone influences your decisions around what you should or should not do.Peer pressure or influence can occur at various stages in our lives. When we are children, young adults or even during life.

 

Peer influence can be positive or negative. Positive influence can enable us achieve a common goal. For example students can form reading groups with their peers and achieve academic success. Adults can form investment groups and achieve financial success. Positive social group can help alleviate society ills, for example, eradicate poverty and retrogressive cultural practices like female genital mutilation (FGM). Recently, A positive peer influence enabled motorbike operators in a small town near Nairobi, Kenya to own their dream houses out of a little monthly contribution.

Nevertheless, negative peer influence has resulted to dire consequences. A lot of people have even lost their dear lives as a result of negative peer influence.

A young man near my grandparents’ home joined a gang in Nairobi city. They planned and executed high level crime activities for example stealing in major banks and well to do business enterprises. This led them to lead luxurious lives in the city and would frequently visit their peers in the countryside to show off their easy acquired riches. It is often said that ‘The days of a thief are numbered.

This young man fortieth day came sooner than expected, as it was their norm they had planned to rob a bank located at the city centre of Nairobi. As fate would he was shot dead together with his two accomplices. He would still be alive today and certainly achieving his life’s dreams if he did not join that dreadful peer group.

Young people, choose your friends wisely. There is an old saying, show me your friends and I will tell you who you are.

 

How can one resist negative peer influence?

Peer group pressure is a powerful force, but you can choose whether it is a good or bad influence on your life in the following ways;

  1. Surround yourself with Positive minded people- Choose friends who make you a better person. For example by enabling you develop various social skills for example leadership- to experiment with new roles and interactions. It’s often said that bad company corrupt good morals.
  2. Set and have a plan to achieve your goals- When you are committed to attain your set goals it will be easy to say to people who try to distract you from achieving your goals.
  3. Pay attention to your own feelings and belief about what is right or wrong
  4. High self esteem and self- confidence can enable you stand firm, say no to negative influence e.g drinking, experimenting with drugs, vandalism and stealing.

It’s important to know that sometimes you do not have to explain yourself, just say ‘no thanks’ to negative peer influence.

If resisting to the pressure proves extremely difficult, consult a trusted person for example a teacher, your parents, a relative or even a peer counselor.

A speaker in a school had this to say about peer influence “ if your clothes are made of green leaves, do not make a goat be your friend”

Parents should also keep in mind that the need for affiliation or the need to belong is often greater than the need to do the right thing. Young people should be supported emotionally, get parental love and feel accepted by the people they live with. Adolescents without strong family connections or positive connections with other adults in their life are at a greater risk of negative peer influence.

“Be careful the environment you choose for it will shape you; be careful the friends you choose for you will become like them.”

-W.Clement Stone.

 

TIME IS GOLD

1 year ago · · 0 comments

TIME IS GOLD

TIME IS GOLD

It may sound strange but Time is what we want most, but what we use worst said William Penn.

Time being an abstract element cannot be seen and touched. It is defined as

What is measured in minutes, hours, days etc. (Oxford Advanced learner’s dictionary)

History reveals that time management is a factor known to have marked the difference between successful and unsuccessful people.

What I have become now is largely because I made up my mind back in high school to manage my time well. I was brought up at the slopes of Mt.Kenya near the aberdare ranges, I used to walk to and from school bare-feet  for  a distance of 6km. my parents the late Edward  Macharia and Esther Muthoni were peasant farmers who struggled to make ends meet. It was a challenge to raise the eleven of us and many a times we lacked school fees, school uniform and basic necessities. Despite these impediments they encouraged us to work hard in school and excel in our studies. Our dad would go into the trouble of borrowing text books from our relatives after they had completed a certain grade.

The difficulties notwithstanding, I sat for my Primary Certificate Examination (K.C.P.E)   and performed fairly well. I was then admitted to  Chinga Girls’ High school. My grade could only allow me to get admitted through the second category which is today known as second selection. To be honest, I disliked the school as I felt that I could have managed a better school like a National school. Most of my time was spent in wishful thoughts. I kept hoping that somehow I could get a transfer  to another school. Studies were neglected and my mind was not focused. Harry Emersib  said that,  No gas or steam ever drives anything  unless its confined. No life ever grows great unless its focused, dedicated and disciplined. As a result, my grades were just average though I knew that I had the potential to perform well.

Before long I was in year three. This year sounded like a wake up call to me. I realized that time was progressing fast and this rang a bell in my mind. Coupled with the desire to succeed and to make my parents proud I had no time to waste in fact I needed extra time if I wished to succeed.

There was a boarding area and a tuition area in our school. There was a watchman manning the gate separating the two sections. One could only be allowed to go the tuition area at the specified time. This was a challenge to me as I planned to  wake up earlier way before the stipulated time. Starting then I was always the first to wake up for morning studies.  One day the  watchman asked me why  I was always the first to go for morning preps and I told him plainly that it was because I desired to succeed . He then told me that if surely that was my wish my determination was strong enough to enable me achieve my goal. This was his own version of  telling me that, if one advances confidently in the direction of  his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he had imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours Henry David Thoreau.

Almost immediately, my grades started to take an upward trend, to my surprise, towards the end of the year I rose to the top position in my class. We  then did the Indexing examination ranks students in order to  mark sitting arrangements during the final examinations and I was position five across the form. I had managed to beat majority of the students who had been admitted through first selection. Ultimately, I did succeed and qualified for university admission. Do not wait; the time will never be ‘just right’. Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along Napoeon Hill advised.

‘COVID 19’ REFLECTIONS

1 year ago · · 0 comments

‘COVID 19’ REFLECTIONS

Life truly does happen.it has been several months since the Corona Virus pandemic hit our nation. An announcement in the media that Kenya has confirmed its first case of the COVID-19 virus popularly known as Corona disease that was first reported in early December 2019 in Wuhan China became a game changer.

The president of Kenya, Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta further went to declare that all learning institutions should be closed with immediate effect, save for boarding schools and tertiary institutions which were accorded a few days to comply in a bid to curb the spread of the deadly virus.

As an employee in a learning institution this announcement rang a bell in my mind. Nothing had prepared me for this closure. The following day being Monday, I set to report to work only this time feeling disoriented with the turn of events. On arrival in school, the blank expression in the learners faces fuelled the confusion I felt. ‘’Teacher, do we have to really go home?’’ One student asked me. To say the truth, I dint have a response for this, I was totally at a loss to explain why things had to turn out that way. Fortunately, when we discussed the pandemic and how easily it is spread, they were at a better chance to appreciate the closure of schools. I prepared take a way work for them and trusted God that we would meet each other after the virus is tamed.

This quarantine comes with its share of challenges and on a brighter side with deep reflections and soul searching. My children are all at home, a teenager, a three-year-old and one-year-old. I can confess, it is a daunting task to keep them lock-down.

This is a season that comes with deep reflections, ‘’What really is the essence of life, devoid the normal working routine, the paying of bills, bringing up children and the allure of acquiring more wealth?’ Despite the fear and anxiety from this virus, let us keep hope alive. Thoughts about the havoc Covid-19 has caused to human kind leaves all of us with insurmountable fear and worry, what keeps me going is to know that I should not allow the things that I cannot control to determine my actions and thoughts. I cast my fears to Almighty God. My prayer every day is that God may strengthen me and every one of us to have unwavering faith, to be fearless and to follow the precautions set by the government and the medical professionals of washing hands with soap, keeping a safe distance from the other person, avoiding crowded area, staying home if one has a cough and working from home if possible.

One thing Corona pandemic has taught me is SELFLESSNESS. The world is now than ever before coming together to fight this common enemy. We can demystify Corona when we call it being

Careful On Regulation- Always kNeeling for A prayer.

STRESS – #TWO

1 year ago · · 0 comments

STRESS – #TWO

Other stress coping mechanisms that may reduce the risk of negative health effects are;

  1. Self awareness.  It is paramount to listen to your body’s response under different situations in your life, such as difficulty sleeping, over-eating, and under-eating. Being easily angered, having low energy, experiencing palpitations, constant headaches and stomach aches, increased alcohol and substance abuse.
  2. Engage in a relaxing activity. Relaxation and wellness programs greatly mitigate stress in our lives such activities include breathing exercises, muscle relaxation, meditation and even talking a nature walk.
  3. Stay connected. No man is an island. Have a support system in place, this can be family members, church members or even close friends who can provide emotional support and practical help.
  4. Seek help from your health care provider. If you are experience a psychosomatic illness get proper health care. Let the health professional know that you are experiencing stress. Effective treatment is crucial in alleviating the long effects of stress.
  5. Have an exercise routine. Plan for exercise as part of your daily activities. Just 30 minutes per day of walking can help boost your mood and improve your health.
  6. Eat healthily. We are what we eat. A healthy diet goes a long way to reduce the risk of diet-related diseases. Our diet should have adequate amounts of nutrients as well as essential vitamins and minerals, as well as water to boost our well being and strengthen our immune system.
  7. Smoking and drinking. Be aware of your smoking and drinking habits. Try to cut down or eliminate smoking and drinking as these can aggravate stress in your life. Substance abuse may seem to calm down tension but causes more anxiety and stress in the long term.
  8. Get adequate sleep. Insomnia is a condition that makes a person to experience sleep problems, this is common when you are experiencing stress. If you are having difficulty sleeping, you can try to reduce the amount of caffeine you consume and avoid too much screen time before bed.
  9. Positive self talk.  Self affirmations are a great way of building self-confidence and focusing on the positive side of life. This consequently lowers anxiety and tension that could lead to stress in your life.
  10. Take life easy.  Don’t be too hard on yourself. Focus on your achievements and strengths. Write down the things you are grateful for each day.

Ultimately, if you are overwhelmed by stress, feel you cannot cope, you are using drugs or alcohol frequently as a result of stress, ask for help, seeking professional help can support you in managing stress effectively.

STRESS

1 year ago · · 0 comments

STRESS

As the world grapples in resetting to the new normal necessitated by the Corona Virus pandemic, people are battling with diverse challenges such as financial loss, loss of relationships, working from home, anxiety and to a great extent uncertainty about the future. These difficulties consequently have led to people experiencing trauma, loss and stress. Allow me to expound more on STRESS stress is termed as the physical and psychological process of reacting to and coping with events or situations that place extra ordinary pressure upon a human being. A Stressor is an outside stimulus, this could be an event,place or person. The prevailing CORONA VIRUS disease which is global pandemic is a great source of stress to many individuals families and leaders. It is also interesting to note that stress is part of life and therefore necessary for life. We need some stress to be motivated to action. Such stress helps us to focus and pay attention to what we are doing.

Types of stress

Hypo stress is a low level stress

Eustress is useful stress

Distress is abnormal stress

Hyper stress is extreme stress or burn out

Stress can further be classified in terms of ;

Positive stressors such as; school projects, new job/promotion, new baby, new home, job interviews

Negative stressors comprises of issues such as deadlines, loss and grief, job loss, failure, ill health over-full schedule and the most recent global pandemic ;Corona virus disease.

Loss and grief is an aspect of stress I can identify with after losing my first born daughter at barely nine and a half years, immediately after the shocking news and during the week of the burial preparations my feelings were numb. I had not fully processed what tragedy had befallen my family, this could have been a defence mechanism that my body used so that I could not crush down. I would speak to the mourners confidently and even remind them of the biblical story of King David, when the Lord caused David’s son, the child that Uriah’s wife had borne to become very ill, David prayed to God that the child would get well. He refused to eat anything, and every night he went into his room and spent the night lying on the floor. His court officials would go to him and try to make him get up but he wouldn’t. A week later, David’s son died. His officials were even afraid to break the news to him as they were afraid that David would harm himself. On the contrary, his reaction to the death of his son was totally different, after learning that the child had died, the Bible says that ‘’David got up from the floor, had a bath, combed his hair, and changed his clothes. Then he went and worshipped in the house of the LORD.’’

David’s officials were amazed by this turn of event, when they sought answers from David this was his response, ‘’I did fast and weep while he was still alive. I thought that the LORD might be merciful to me and not let the child die. But now that he is dead, why should I fast? Could I bring the child back to life? I will someday go to where he is, but he can never come back to me.

After my daughter was laid to rest, the reality of the loss started to unfold which resulted to severe stress, my body experience almost all the psychological responses to stress which are anxiety and nervousness, panic attacks, anger and irritability, loss of motivation, forgetfulness, disorganization, withdrawal and avoidance , hyper arousal and even procrastination.

Physical responses to stress, many of which i could identify with are; increased heart rate, sweating, increased cortisol, shaking, lowered immunity, fatigue and body aches.

On the spiritual dimension stress results to a, I don’t care attitude, lack of commitment and spiritual withdrawal. `

STRESS MANAGEMENT

The Corona virus pandemic has caused insurmountable challenges in many people’s lives. As people grapple with adjusting to the new normal, stress levels have hit extreme levels some even sinking to depression. Suicide cases have shot up, domestic violence, job losses, mental illnesses, financial crisis, family disintegration, diminished social interactions have all made life unbearable. How then do we navigate these issues and live meaningful lives?

In retrospect, when I suffered the loss of my daughter in the year twenty fourteen, I experienced great pain, it was a sudden death and nothing had prepared me to handle the stress and disillusionment that comes with the loss of a loved one.

I learnt to be grateful for the years I lived with her and not concentrate on her demise that she was in a safer place and not in any pain also made me feel at peace. The art of prayer and meditation immensely helped me to move on after the loss. Celebrating her birthday with Kenyatta Hospital cancer children also went a long way to alleviate the negative energy brought about by the loss of a loved one.

Over the years, there are proven ways that we can employ to manage stress.

Stress management starts with identifying the source of stress in your life. This sometimes may require a lot of soul searching or assistance by a therapist.

It is paramount to know that no single method works for everyone or in every situation, so experiment with different techniques and strategies. Focus on what makes you calm. You can either change the situation or change your reaction. When deciding which option to choose, it is helpful to think of the four A’s.

Change the situation:

Avoid the stressor

Alter the stressor

Change your reaction

Adapt to the stressor.

Accept the stressor.

#1 Avoid unnecessary stress.

You may not run away from all situations in life but you may be amazed by the number of the stressors in your life that you can be able to eliminate.

Be assertive. Learn to say no. Only accept to get involved in situations that you are comfortable with, know your limits and stick to them.

Shun the people who stress you out. Limit the amount of time you spend with people who always cause stress in your life. You can also end the relationship.

Take charge of your environment. If travelling makes you anxious, reduce it to the bare minimum, hosting people can be stressful to some people, organize to meet them elsewhere, if listening to news is stressful for you, turn off your television set.

Take charge of your to-do list. Prioritize your tasks; scrutinize your schedule, responsibilities, and daily tasks. If you realize that you have too much to handle, slash down your tasks, and eliminate the ones that are not truly necessary or drop them at the bottom of the list.

#2 Alter the stressor

As mentioned earlier, not all stressor can be avoided, if you can’t avoid a stressful situation, try to alter it. Altering the situation involves changing the way you communicate and handle situations in your life.

Create a balanced schedule. It is of great importance to balance work and family, social activities and personal aspirations. Neglecting any of this can result to a mental turmoil that can cause stress in one’s life.

Be flexible. As you expect other people to change their behaviour, be willing to also bend at least a little. This will help both parties to get to a common ground.

Have an open mind. You should communicate your feelings openly, if you don’t voice your feelings, resentment will build up and stress will be inevitable in your life. If you have an exam to study for and a friend invites you for dinner, tell your friend you can’t make it and ask if you can reschedule the dinner offer.

#3 Adapt to the stressor.

As the Covid 19 pandemic bites, people have been left with no choice but to learn how to adapt and cope with the challenges that the pandemic has brought about. it is possible to adapt to stressful situations and regain your sense of control by changing your expectations and attitude.

Focus of the big picture. Take a critical look at the stressful situation. Ask yourself whether it is worth getting upset over, will that situation matter in a number of weeks, months or years to come. For example, if a house help stresses you up, you can get comfort in knowing that your children are growing up and after certain duration, they will be independent and will not be in need of a baby sitter at all.

Identify the silver lining. In every difficult situation there is a positive side that accompanies it. Learn the lessons in the situation and press on with life. Bad breaks are inevitable in life but it is how we react to them that really shape our lives. It is popularly said that when life throws you a lemon make lemonade.

#Accept the stressor.

Accept the things you cannot change in your life. Some events and situations in your life cannot be otherwise you cannot change your biological parents, death, a serious illness, a global pandemic similar to the current Corona Virus disease popularly known as Covid 19 disease. When such situations present themselves in our lives, we are left with no other choice but to accept them. This can be difficult but it can immensely reduce stress in your life.

Forgiveness is key. It is popularly said that, if you bottle up anger and resentment against another person, it is like taking poison and expecting the other person to die. Harbouring resentment and anger is a great source of insurmountable stress in your life. Learn how to let go and to let God take control.

Look for the upside. Great things in our lives are achieved during challenging times. Nothing worthwhile is acquired in the comfort zone. Embrace tough times as times of personal growth. Learn the mistakes and the lessons that are associated with stressful situations in your life.

Seek help. A problem shared is a problem half solved. During a stressful situation, talk to a friend or a therapist. Expressing what you are going through helps in relieving the emotions and acquiring options out of the situation.

Let go. Do not try to control the uncontrollable. If a situation is beyond your control, let it not stress you. Feel the pain and experience the emotions and then make a decision to move on with life. Everything in this world has a time frame. Nothing is permanent. Affirm yourself by ‘this too shall pass’…

PART ONE

Daughter of Destiny – Margaret Wanjiku Kagiri (Shiku)

1 year ago · · 0 comments

Daughter of Destiny – Margaret Wanjiku Kagiri (Shiku)

As the year 2014 came to a close nothing had prepared me for the sudden loss of our beloved daughter Shiku save for an unsettling feeling I felt just some days before my husband and I travelled to Thailand for a Business trip. The year had been uneventful. I was by then pursuing a master’s course at the University of Nairobi. The same year in December I ecstatically sat for my final course work exams.

With all arrangement for the trip in order, I bade my two daughters goodbye as they travelled upcountry with my mother and sister in law where they were to stay until we came back. As they left Shiku was a bit hesitant to travel upcountry but I dismissed her complaints as just the usual children tantrums. She then reminded me to bring her a white dress when I get back. In the evening she called to inform me that they arrived safely. Little did I know that this would be the last conversation I will ever have with my daughter.

Our plane left Nairobi on 18th December in the evening with a stop-over at Bangkok. On the third day, a workmate of my husband called from home to inform him that our eldest daughter was taken ill and admitted to hospital. The news really took me off balance since she had never been seriously ill to the point of getting admitted. I cried endlessly and felt that something was seriously wrong with my daughter. That day we tried to book for a flight back home in vain as there were no flights to Nairobi. We would receive scanty information of her sickness as she had already passed on and our siblings did not want to break the sad news when we were still in Thailand. I remember asking my elder sister if she was talking and she just told me yes she was to dismiss my anxiety.

From that time, I continued to experience an unusual feeling, my stay in Thailand became very unpleasant, I lost appetite of the sumptuous meals that the hotel prepared for us. I detested interacting with the other colleagues as I feared that they would ask me about my daughter’s progress. On 24 December we took the longest flight ever with a stop-over at Bangkok. We arrived in Kenya on 25 December. On arrival at the Jomo Kenyatta airport we bumped into our sister Mercy who told us that she was on her way to Australia where she had been pursuing a doctorate course. It was a plan she devised so that she could create a conducive environment in order to break the news of our daughter’s death to us. She had also organized with the airport official who permitted her to break the news at the airport premises. After a few pleasantries, she mentioned our daughter’s name and immediately I knew that was it. I didn’t comprehend anything else she said and I just started moving away. My husband broke into tears. He went into denial and requested to be driven to the mortuary to confirm the sad news. I took two more days to gather the courage to view her body. Her lifeless body was there at the Nakuru Memorial hospital Mortuary, I touched her face which was ice-cold and still had the blue and black braids they normally liked during the December holiday.

Burial arrangement were completed and we laid our precious daughter to rest on 31 December 2014.With great support from family, friends and P.C.E.A Kikuyu church members we remained strong during this time. However, the reality of our loss hit us hard when we went back to our home. We had to face life without our dear daughter. Our second born daughter Maisy Muthoni had endless questions and even asked if she would have an opportunity to unbraid her hair while she was still in the air going to heaven…

PART ONE