By Ngozi Nwoke
Mrs. Peace Nkechi Nwoke is an educationist and life coach. In this interview, she spoke about the alarming rate of moral decadence among youths, as well as causes of domestic violence in homes.
As a proprietress of a school, how do you cope with aggressive parents, insubordinate staff and unruly students?
I have learnt to take anybody that comes my way the way they are. Right from my childhood, I have always been a peaceful and harmless being. There is this lesson I have learnt and understood about life’s philosophy: “You don’t give what you don’t have.” I give peace because I have peace. I share love because I have love. So, anytime I am confronted with any human-related issue, I just let them behave the way they want to behave without picking offence because, deep inside me, I know that is the way they are. And, like I said, that shows what they have. Since I don’t have that, I can’t give it back to them the way they give me. So, I try to give them my best and I treat cases individually, to the best of my ability. I don’t leave any issue unresolved.
There have been cases of domestic violence in recent times. What do you think are the causes?
It is so disheartening that violence starts from the home. Parents believe that a male child is superior to the female and some parents still do not see their female children as important. They believe that it is the responsibility of a girl-child to do chores. So, we make the girls feel inferior, while we consciously or unconsciously make the boys feel superior. All these are happening from the home. These acts make girls feel they are second-class citizens right in their homes. Violence starts from home and it goes beyond a man beating up his wife.
What is the implication of domestic violence in our society?
It has a serious impact on the individual. The way the person thinks and reacts becomes abnormal. It causes physical injury that can affect one’s mind, such that, if there is a mental shift in the person’s mind, it may lead to trauma. There should be more awareness schemes to encourage domestic violence victims to speak out and help such individuals recuperate. Society should also stop victimizing these victims. Officials of the rescue agencies should stop judging them and making them feel uncomfortable. Their services are meant to provide timely recognition of abused people, get timely assessment, offer swift and effective intervention, as well as assistance for the victims. All these are efforts meant for correction and help for the abuser or perpetrator. Government should have facilities in place to cater for domestic violence victims. However, a single authority cannot combat domestic violence. Government must seek help from other agencies.
What are your thoughts on the alarming level of social ills and moral decadence among youths?
We are faced with a challenging task in society today. Which is what we see our young ones get involved in. During my time growing up, I lost my father at a very tender age. I barely knew my father because he died so early. My siblings and I were raised by our widowed mother. My mother, who is now late, would use the whip on us to correct us when we erred or made mistakes. Later on she would draw us back to herself with love, wiping our tears with her wrapper. But today, parents do not have time for their children due to business and career. The children are, therefore, left at the mercy of nannies and domestic staff. The worst is their access to Internet facilities, which have replaced their parents. This is where social ills and moral decadence begin.
How can parents leave their children without monitoring them? Why do they relinquish their duties as parents, to chase money? Why have we thrown away the morals that made us who we are? It is annoying that most mothers just package garbage as future mothers. Let us return to the drawing board. The youth are involved in societal ills and various crimes because that is what the society has offered them.
How do we stop youths from engaging in vices?
Let me give this illustration so that you can understand how bad it is. If you use nylon to package a particular product and you remove the nylon to repackage the same thing, the result is that you will have a punctured nylon. It is true that the society is dynamic, there is breakdown of tradition and morals. In spite of that, we can instill some values in the lives of these schoolchildren and young adults. As a matter of urgency, we need to engage the services of guidance and counselling officers in secondary schools to correct them from straying and curb the rising culture of societal ills. If money is not spent to put the youths of this nation on the right track, they will turn out to be miscreants. The older generation would not have peace because they have successfully raised people who would embarrass them.
You were recently honored with the “Ezinne” award in your denomination. What does this mean to you?
Every award has its purpose and significance. I believe there are reasons for which I was chosen and awarded with such a dignified award. I am not the only mother in my church but some qualities could have made me stand out that, perhaps, spurred the church committee to recognize me. This means so much to me, especially as a wife and mother to not only my biological children but every married woman and young girl who looks up to me as a role model. I immensely appreciate the honour and pledge to continue to uphold good virtues in the society for our women and girls to emulate. I believe that any award that comes towards the upliftment of one’s effort must be highly appreciated.
How do you intend to lift society with this award?
When I look at the journey of my life and what God has done for me, right from my childhood days, and all I have been through, I always end up in tears of joy. I have always loved to help the society, so it is not a new thing to me. Each of us has a role to play, and my own role is to help, and with my position in the society and the church, I love to teach people about making positive impacts because the root cause of the moral decadence we witness today is because we do not love ourselves, we do not care for one another. No one is concerned about what the other person is doing, and we forget that when we do not show love and care to each other, our unborn children grow up to witness the hate and strife we failed to destroy during our time, when we had the opportunity. I am a relentless advocate of philanthropy because I understand what it does in society.
What are you passionate about?
I am extremely passionate about almsgiving. I take delight in helping anyone who needs my help, especially the underprivileged in society. Aside from giving money and material things, I am also passionate about offering guidance and counselling to people who are depressed and perplexed about life or marital choices. I just love to assist in any way I can because it gives me this unexplainable feeling of satisfaction, relief, fulfillment and happiness. I thank God for the grace, strength and heart to think about the welfare of people.
How do you balance your roles as mother, wife and career woman?
It is all about planning and sticking to the plan. Sometimes, you make plans but the next minute you default from keeping to your plans. You must be disciplined and steadfast in sticking to your plans. Failure to do that already means that you had no plans in the first place. Managing all these responsibilities is not something that is too hectic. It depends on how organized one is. When you know when to do what you need to do and pray to God for direction, then it will not be difficult to manage all you have to do. You just need to be prudent with time, leave out what is unnecessary and do that which is necessary.
What is your advice for the younger ones?
The youths should pursue their careers by studying very hard. They should face their academics, build self-confidence, which in turn defines their priority. As a mother, I see a lot from these children. I admonish the young ones to make use of their youthfulness as an advantage, rather than engaging in unholy activities.
Most parents are particular about their male children going to school at the expense of the girls because of the belief that girl-child education is a waste of resources. Why is that so?
In my opinion, that is completely false and inhumane to the girl-child. I don’t believe in it. There is a popular saying that ‘when you educate a woman, you educate a nation.’ Now, when your children come back from school with their homework, it is the mother, in most cases, that will be available to guide them in their homework. So, imagine if she’s not educated, what is going to happen? I am an advocate of girl-child education anywhere, anytime. I don’t see age as a barrier for women to get educated. Education should not be one-sided. Anytime you get western education, get religious education too because having both will make you a complete human being.
How do you think people can positively use social media to enhance their productivity and not the other way round, as we see it today?
First, we must recognize that every advantage has a disadvantage. Social media can only become a useful tool if it is usefully used for useful activities. If you are a social media person and you possibly belong to several groups, all you need to do is to use the platform to either teach others or learn from others. So, if you join sensible groups, it will help you grow in knowledge because this is the fastest way of sharing information today.
What would you like to be remembered for?
It would be an honour to be remembered for my good deeds even while I’m still alive, healthy and strong. You hear about living legends, which means that one does not have to die to be remembered. I would love to be remembered for the positive impacts I have made to change the social vices in society. I also wish that my legacy will be emulated and not only remembered.