What you need to know:
- Drugs and bad company are some of the issues Mr Mbugua discusses in his book.
- Two chapters in the book are on matters sex.
At a time when indiscipline among students is generating disturbing headlines from different schools, a guidance book by a former Nation editor Mbugua Mwangi targeting youths is becoming a handy tool for parents and teachers who want learners to stay focused.
Released in October, Mr Mbugua’s book 12 Lessons and a Story: A Teen’s Guide to Legendary Life is 122 pages of insights from a 42-year-old man who has been there, done that, and picked lessons that Kenya’s youths can learn from.
“There are some things I missed that I shouldn’t have, but I missed them all the same because I lacked wise counsel at the time. I would hate for my children or anyone younger than me to make the same mistakes I made or those that my friends made, if I can prevent it,” writes Mr Mbugua.
The book is 12 chapters of inspirational content fused with short tales and world-changing perspectives from tens of transformational thinkers across the world, from the dynamic Robin Sharma to the inspirational TD Jakes, the time-savvy Steve Jobs, among others.
The chapters bring out practical philosophy combined with the story of Mr Mbugua who, in high school, teachers used to describe as average but when he had a mental shift in university, he studied with all his might and graduated with a first class honours.
He attributes that shift to his former lecturer, Rev Prof Sahaya Selvam, who is also the one who wrote the book’s foreword.
“Of the many things Fr Sahaya Selvam told us, I vividly remember one: ‘Many fools have graduated with first-class honours, and I see no fool among you,’ he told us. With that, it became clear to me that graduating with first-class honours was not the preserve of ‘A’ students,” recalls Mr Mbugua in the book’s introduction.
Mr Mbugua’s book startlingly addresses the present. On January 28, Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha said drug abuse among students is one of the reasons behind arson in schools. Drugs and bad company are some of the issues Mr Mbugua discusses in his book.
In the chapter “Dare to Stay Sober”, he writes: “Know this today: Anyone can become a substance addict. You, too, can become one. It is all your choice. It looks cool when you are starting but it leaves you looking worse than a dog when you are deeply entangled.”
He writes about a former classmate who was razor-sharp in primary school classwork but in high school, one day he joined a group of boys who used to meet in the school garden to abuse drugs.
That single act of curiosity got him hooked to drugs and he “became the crackpot you will now meet collecting garbage and sniffing glue in the marketplace”.
Chapters on sex
In the chapter “Slum Mentality”, Mr Mbugua persuades the reader to avoid succumbing to complacency.
“Success, whether at school, at work, in marriage or in creating wealth, is not a haphazard process but a result of doing things in a certain way. Above all, it is about discarding the mentality of dependence, helplessness and defeatism and taking responsibility for your circumstances and plotting your way to greatness,” he states.
Two chapters in the book are on matters sex. The first chapter is titled “Why is Sex an Issue?” while the ninth chapter reads: “Condoms are bad for Your Dreams”.
In Mr Mbugua’s view, a student in his or her puberty should be glad that changes are happening in their bodies but should not think of exploring sex.
“Is attraction to a member of the opposite sex normal? Yes. Is sex between boys and girls normal? A big NO. Am I out of my mind? No! This is how it is,” he writes.
“Sex is right for responsible adults. So, attraction is normal but a sexual relationship is not normal for teenagers.”
The book, printed by Ramco Printing Works, is available at Textbook Centre. Reading it, one gets to view it as an extension of Mr Mbugua’s initiative to create a better life for Kenya’s young generations.