Life Tips from the Breakfast Table


Simple breakfast

This is the story of Bacon, Milk, Eggs and all things breakfast; and life lessons that can be drawn from it. Not that I am hungry, no sir; just that I am hungry for knowledge.

You see, I am a curious soul, and so this morning, as i sat to have a hearty breakfast [in a restaurant dear; at home we have the humble brown bread, veggies and tubers "ngwaci" or "nduma" and good old Kenyan Tea] I started musing over who had to give up what for me to get the nice aroma, great taste and lovely feeling of a full tummy this morning. It's a game I like to play on various situations in life, makes my work easier, whenever I have to think of what am giving up to pursue my life purpose in cancer advocacy; but this is not about me... more on that story-line on another day, in another post maybe.

Back to the breakfast table and my hearty meal. See, many stakeholders give up much for you and me to have that plateful of delectable food, and the nice start to your day.

The Chef for example (cook, mom, maid - they go by many names, but they are the wonderful people who prepare the meal) has to give up the warm comfort of the blanket, and brave the morning chill to be early enough to cater to your whims - sunny side up, lots of veggies, no salt, extra spice, crispy, not oily; you name it, they got you covered.

There is the cleaner before that - of course everything has to be spotless, we cant have our meal on a dirty floor or table for that matter!

What about the woman in the village who had to tend to the Cow [milk, butter and cheese supplier], Chicken [egg and omelet key contributor] and Pig - that awfully dirty animal that has such oh-so-sweet smelling and tasting bacon! She has to give up so much; her time, health, income, and sometimes peace of mind and dignity, to nurture, nourish and tend to these animals so that they, in turn, provide the key ingredients to your breakfast needs; not to mention that she also takes care of her children, family, relatives, basically everyone and everything. Have you ever wondered whoever gives up anything for her? Who takes care of her... oh, but I digress.

See, this story is still about life lessons from the breakfast table, and who had to give up what for breakfast to happen.

Take the Cow's provision of milk to make the ghee, butter, cheese, and the precious milk for your tea. The Cow is a fine example of Engagement. The cow is in a long term relationship with the farmer. With expectations on both players, that you nurture me now, I give you milk in the future. The premise is that it is a give and take, and each party has to give their 100% part of the bargain.

What about the chicken and the egg? no, this is not one of those which came first riddles. The chicken is a good teacher on Commitment. The Farmer knows, for the chicken to give her eggs, she needs to get all the nourishment; daily, with no short cuts. Otherwise, many are the farmers that have given fewer nutrients, only to find the chicken ate the egg to gain the needed nutrition from the shells.

Well, think of the pig in the provision of sausages and bacon, Or cattle if pork is not your cup of tea :). This animal gives us a great lesson on Involvement. For you to have that crispy bacon on the table, it is involved. Of the other two animals, none is as involved in the breakfast as the pig. Once the other two give their end of the bargain, they swiftly move on to the rest of the day. The Pig, on the other hand, its relationship with the breakfast table is complicated. There is no turning back for this animal - involved in the death.

No one ever thinks of the animals at play here; i mean, who wants to go through the rest of the day feeling like a murderer because poor pig had to give up their life for the sausage on your plate?

But - removing ourselves from that image for a moment - are there life lessons we can take from all this? What can each of these breakfast table stakeholders teach us about commitment, engagement, and involvement; as principles through which to live? Are there times that all three principles are applicable in each of our lives, instances where you have to give it all you got? or do the three have to be mutually exclusive?

Imagine the role you play in your business, work, family, friendships; generally in every relationship that involves a give and take. How committed, engaged or involved are you? And how is that impacting your outcomes on these relationships?

As you have your breakfast today, know this. You hold the key, get involved, engage and commit to making a difference today.
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