“If you have rhythm dance with us, if you have no rhythm we’ll kick you out. If you can sing, sing with us, but if you can not sing … sing in a lower voice.”
This is how former refugee Derreck Kayongo, Founder of The Global Soap Project and CEO of the Center for Civil and Human Rights started off his Dad 2.0 closing keynote talk to the dads (and others) sitting in the final event of the day on the last day of the conference. Next, Kayongo went into the telling of his story.
“In 1979, my parents and I woke up to an incredible experience.”
He tells the tale of the night that his family was taken to the village square and saw their neighbors getting shot in groups of four because a military leader was trying to find the person that shot a soldier the night before.
Kayongo talks with a smile and a sense of humor that is infectious. “The Ugandan is the most beautiful species done in the image of God.”
His father became a soap-maker and his mother became a wedding dress maker. “I was a cross-dresser since I was 5.” He says when telling the audience that he was the mannequin for his mother.
When the war began, they had to leave all of their wealth. He ends up living in Pittsburgh with a woman who took care of refugees. The first time he had iced tea he thought it was undercooked.
Kayongo talked about an experience in Philadelphia hotel: He would take the soap every day, but was afraid that he was charged for it, so he went to return it. “How many of you have stolen soap before?” A good portion of the room raised their hands.
“I love you. I love theft. you have no morals. You are soap stealers.”
He continued his tale of taking the soap and explains how the concierge started laughing and told him that it was okay. “Everybody steals the soap.”
He had an epiphany when he was told that the unused soap was thrown away.
“That is when life happens when you are listening to your life—when you are paying attention. [It is] your mission, your value, your mission for being here.”
The talk flowed easily between inspiration and humor. Then, “Let’s talk about marriage and invention and that does not go well together.”
Kayongo shares about the first time that he told his wife about his idea to start The Global Soap Project. Her response: “No, you idiot!”
“I am going to walk you through 5 things that you as a parent and a father can accomplish things.”
1. Are you accomplished or are you an exception?
Kayongo described accomplishment as getting things done: Waking up, brushing your teeth, going to work . . . those are things you accomplish. “I chose to be exceptional. Because I am an exceptional person. You can do regular things and small things in an exceptional way.”
2. Understand the power of failure.
“Failure is actually something that asks you to correct the formula.”
3. What is your purpose?
“Within purpose is passion.”
4. Understand the vision.
“What is your vision and can others follow your vision and understand it?”
“Including something it good for everyone. So what is inclusion? The right to be here. the right to be everywhere you want to be. That inclusion, allowing me to be here has allowed me to solve a problem.”
“The key to human beings are rights. When you include somebody you include everybody and that opens the marketplace.”
“Raise a child that is inclusive. That is our role as fathers. As parents today, think about those things, you passion, your fame.”
“Fathers, do not raise discrimination.”
“In my tribe, there is a saying that mother earth takes care of everyone.”
He talked about all the different companies and hands that helped create the soap for his company, and how grateful they are.
“Fathers,” he said, “go raise a nation.”
And he ended with this:
Live blogged by Victor Aragon Jr. of @Fandads.