At first it looked like the usual Sunday treat when our favourite uncle was taking me and my siblings with his own children out on an excursion to his poultry farm on the outskirt of Enugu Township. I was about eleven years old. The journey to the poultry was quite exciting with about nine children in the vehicle. Everything else seemed normal until this incidence that worked like magic to unlock the innate potential and drive in me for excellence.
My uncle took time to take us round the poultry farm, explaining the items, structures and processes at our own level. Then suddenly, I asked a question. I have forgotten exactly what the question was. He turned back swiftly and wanted to know who among us asked the question. I hesitated, because I was not sure what his reaction to my response would be. Then when I indicated that I was the person that asked the question, he made a statement that spoke to my whole being and essence.
“You are a very intelligent girl.”He said
In fact, he called out my name and said again that I was an intelligent girl and asked me to note it. I noted it indeed and believed him. Gradually, this attribute of mine that had been revealed took over my life, seeking for expression in everything I did. For instance, I was surprised at how much my ability to self-study improved with impressive scores and grades.The incidence has remained forever fresh in my memory, continually achieving its purpose. It achieved what anxiety, siblings’ comparison, flogging, constant criticism and condemnation could not achieve. A few words of praise excited the otherwise latent and dormant instinct in me for excellence, and staged me for the eventual achievements.
Parents should accordingly note that constant condemnation of a child is enervating while praise is a booster.
Great parents do not withhold praise when it is deserved.
- Uchenna N. nduka