Proactive Reflections: From the back bench to behind the tent

John Ngugi.
Kajiado News Update

Kajiado News Update

We are bold in presenting our news as we move to all Maa counties across the country.

In school, too many boys prefer sitting in the back seats of their classes. In school assemblies where there is no formal order, the same trend plays out. 

In worship areas, the boys struggle to stay at the back regardless of the empty chairs in front. The boy child simply wants to stay out of the picture situations where adults are in charge. 

Outside school, boys graduate from the back bench to behind the tent. They hardly show up inside the tent to freely interact with the other members of society, preferring to hide somewhere where they only converse with their peers.

They avoid direct contact with adults at all costs. If they are assigned duties, they hurriedly perform the task before the event and retreat to their “hideout” where they can only follow proceedings unseen. If you are very keen, you must have made similar observations. It’s a common characteristic all over Kenya. 

When boys stay out of the “limelight”, they miss out on very important learning points. The most profound life lessons are acquired through demonstration. Logically speaking, it is difficult to observe clearly from afar. 

On the contrary, girls usually sit or position themselves strategically and they learn all the good lessons in life by observing and listening. This is a worrying trend!

With a teaching experience of close to three decades, I can, without doubt, tell you that many students who voluntarily stay on the front benches in class and elsewhere in school love their teachers. They are ready to be mentored and are generally more enthusiastic. They are willing to assist others and the teachers and are mostly disciplined. 

Backbench adherents, miss out on important lifelong lessons of confidence and defending personal positions. They become poor communicators and find it hard to articulate the issues. They are disinterested in reaching out and they become clandestine. Yes, they become “opaque”.

We need boys who can take up leadership confidently and passionately, but how do we cultivate this from the people behind the tent? It is high time we persuade our boys to come out of the tent, join us in the tent and occupy the front seats. Let us encourage our boys to sit comfortably at the high table.

Let’s walk with our boys to church, to events, to functions and let us sit with them. Let us discourage the “back bench” and “behind the tent” mentality among our children. Let us walk with them in the light!

PROACTIVE REFLECTIONS: Academic degree Vs authentic leadership

Proactive reflections, the pendulum of passion 


  • AUTHOR: Mwalimu James Ngugi


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