Passing the Baton

“We are all in a relay race: a baton is passed down to us and ours is to pass it on better.”

Life is life and it can’t be anything other than this. We are born into this world, we live and ultimately at one point we take our last bow. If lucky we leave descendants of our own to continue the legacy of what we lived for while we did. Otherwise, we hope the people we crossed paths with in our lifetime will be able to take it up and do better for the future generation. It’s a relay race and the principals are: “Baton” to be passed and the “Receiver” to take it up for the next phase.


Last week as I was home, I had this discussion with one of the people I was working with and through the conversation we delved into parenthood. As a parent, he was proud to have children and highlighted the strides he had made in raising them up. He alluded to the fact that his father sired him and for that matter, he bears the family name: a continuation of their legacy. Now that he has children, he is assured that someone will take over to carry the name. His logic made some sound sense to me but then on my account, I had approached the discussion from the point of wanting to but not really keen on having children as a priority. That’s Gods doing if he lets it be, otherwise I’ll keep on living my life the best way I can.


Later on in the day, I reflected on the conversation and felt the weight of his sentiments. We are born into this world by people who hope and wish we carry on with the work they started. This means that for one, there is something they started and two, they make it possible for us to be to carry it on. In this case the main considerations as I mentioned are the baton and the receiver. I’ll delve into these.


Baton is the instrument, skill, values, ideals and possessions being passed on to the next person. In life, the baton we handover to the next generation whether our biological children or people who came under us to work with us is to nurture them to have values and ideals. Beyond this, it’s imperative to enable them to perform at their optimum under your shadow so that when you can’t carry on, they are able to continue and perform even better. That’s the main thing about running a relay. Where possible invest in them to realize even greater achievements than were possible for you. The investment here is the issue.


Second, there is need to have someone to pass the baton to. In the family structure, you need to have a child to hand over to. Generally in life, career and business, you can bring in a junior associate who you invest in, nurture, support and prime to take over. In this context then, we acknowledge that we have a responsibility to pass the baton and thus must find someone to pass it on to. That’s why even in corporate organizations we encourage mentorships, graduate trainee programs among others with the aim of mentoring and identifying skills and potential among the young people to carry on the legacy of such corporations.


Unfortunately, there has been a lapse in the overall system in our society. Most of us have stopped looking at the long term game and rather focusing on themselves in the present moment without regard for what lies ahead. This is a challenging matter in the sense that if we squander everything in the current moment, we won’t have anything to pass on to the next generation. This already puts them at a disadvantage which means they may not be able to realize their potential. We need to do better.


Reflecting on a conversation with my dad awhile back, he was categorical on his achievements as a father. His father, my grandfather, never went to school but having served as the housekeeper for a white man during the colonial regime, he understood the value of education. For that matter, he took my father to school. Not being lucky or gifted enough he became a school teacher but wanted more and better for us as his children. On that account, he did the best he could to get us to school and enable us to thrive wherever we were. That’s a milestone and the next phase will be upon me and my siblings to invest in the next generation and enable them to be better that we’ve been. That’s the mission of passing the baton in the race of life.


This evening when I decided to pen this article down, I had a chat with my friend and bookseller at Juja, I wrote about him here. In the discussion, we alluded to the fact that being young we are faced with various challenges and hardships and all we want is to make money for ourselves. However, beyond that money and the good life we should aspire not to have children and other generations coming after us experiencing the same challenges we are facing. This is why I am honored to work with my team at Ryculture with a keenness to grant other young people a platform to thrive with us and be better people in life.


“Whatever we do is for ourselves while at the same time bigger than ourselves. It has the power to change generations but we must make a conscious decision to do that.”

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