Mom, is this how my name is written?
Late in my kindergarten years, at the tender age of five, I learned how to write my own name. Accomplishing this feat on the outskirts of Nakulabye – Kampala, with the mud as my canvas, a broomstick as my paintbrush and my Mom as the ever so tender judge.
What does this have to do with anything? It all starts with one question, “Mom, is this how my name is written?”
My Mom could have responded in so many ways, after all raising a child is one of the longest and arduous tasks a parent or guardian ever faces, but in this universe, she did correct me for I had spelled it wrong of course —like the genius I was.
I strongly believe that parents/guardians play a much more powerful and deeper role in dictating and determining their child’s future (obviously) but it is not that straightforward either.
Whatever behavior a parent/guardian instills and nurtures in a child will ultimately be, for the most part, how this kid will grow up perceiving the world. I am not saying give your kid a guitar and that will automatically make him an accomplished guitarist in the future. No, all I am saying is get to know your kid(s), listen and learn from them, expose them to more positive environments and whatever you do, —this is the most important, do not diminish their ingenuity
In that same year (i’d like to believe), the year 2000, two profoundly life-changing things happened, I learned an interesting skill, one that would give me the ability to consume as much information as I ever could for as long as I lived —I learned to read. The other was a problem solving skill like nothing I’d ever experienced.
It was all pretty straightforward, reading and learning to master this newly found superpower, or was it?
How do you convince a 5-year-old to pick up a book and read it? As I write this article, well, I don’t know.
How I like to see it however is, my mom must have recognized this thirst for knowledge and vowed to do the best she could to quench it. She bought books, and she kept buying books of all kinds, fairytales, short stories, if it was readable and child-friendly, she bought it. She didn’t have to buy the dictionary though, my father had that sorted and boy was it intimidating to look at, with a thickness of about 4 inches. I open this BANK of information later on. How did I get to do it? Or most importantly, I think, would be to ask why I did.
“The error message said something along the lines of please re-install Microsoft madness trial and I thought to myself, re-install? What does that even mean?.”
One afternoon, out in the compound as I played with friends, a white “special” (cab) drives in and parks a few meters away from our home. In it, I recognize my dad and as he gets out, I see a couple of huge khaki boxes and on one was a drawing that looked like a screen. “Ah, a new TV set”, I thought…
We’d later unpack the boxes and guess what, 🙂 yeah, I was staring at a brand new computer —got that from the label. Now, let’s be clear, I had absolutely no idea what that thing does or could do, except that it was white and for some reason, it came with a huge rectangular metal casing with buttons and other things. It was new and in my eyes, that was just enough to be excited about. The only thing I remember about its specifications was that it ran Windows 98, yes, I am that ancient, yes I realized many many years later that that was an operating system.
Later that night, at about 0300hrs, my dad wakes my other two sisters and me to come check out this new game he had installed -Microsoft motocross madness.
I cannot explain how amazing that was. “All you have to do is use these three keys to control your bike”, he said. I didn’t want to go back to sleep. Gaming quickly becomes my new sensation, it was all I thought about until one day, the game stops working.
What! Why? How? I did it exactly how my dad does, just double-click the image with the man on a bike and it should work but it didn’t. At this point, I am forced to give in, but I want to play this game so bad that I decided to try to fix it.
The error message said something along the lines of please re-install Microsoft madness trial and I thought to myself, re-install? What does that even mean? Curiosity drove me and I just had to do it. I had to open the BANK. So I grab this intimidating monster hoping it contained the ingredients for this recipe that I was trying to conjure.
In a few minutes, I knew what to do and I had to recall where this disc that my dad had used to “install” this game was. Install might probably be my first ever English word I looked up in a dictionary that yielded desired results —well, sex was such a disappointing lookup.
I finally succeed after a few hours of trial and error, not knowing exactly what steps to follow, not being afraid of messing things up and believing that I could do it. This basically became my way (I’m tempted to give it a name) of getting myself familiar with this new technology.
Whenever I encountered a problem, I used my trial and error method to overcome it and when that seemed not to yield any solutions, I looked it up, not with Google’s help (I discovered this ability later on, fortunately) but with my 4-Inch database of words, strung together to help me make sense of whatever was going on.
I haven’t read as many books but whenever I get the chance to pick one up and read, I do just that. I am pursuing a career as an entrepreneur and software developer. And this is how my story began.