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Laugh Last

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Title: Beyond Expectations
Author: Reward Akwu
Publisher: Ollybell Printing Resources, Port Harcourt
Pages: 136
Reviewer: Boye Salau
Whatever instigated Reward Akwu to engage in literary prose writing cannot, with the extreme form of clarity, be dismissed as inconsequential. Like every other journalist, Akwu is one man whose profession and the hurricane of economic survival in Nigeria would hardly permit to venture into a literary expedition.
What then is the driving force? Could it be his personal childhood experience, or the chequered experience of someone dear to him? Maybe, maybe not.
Whatever the reasons are, one is not in doubt that the various chequered experiences of life’s discomfiting paradoxes are the afflatus that make the zephyr of history a reality.
In a country where many people are not sure of the next meal, Beyond Expectations clearly captures the reality of hailing from poor background.
The book is somewhat nostalgic about the fate of an average Nigerian man in the village and relieves the heart of the common man with the age-long cliché: when there is life, there is hope.
The theme of the book can be located in the fortune of many people who rose from the creek and bottomless pit of life to stardom. The Abiolas, Jonathans, Amaechis fall in this category.
Written in simple narrative form with sublime simplicity, devoid of nebulous words and oratorical fancy, the 136-page novel thematises the pains and hopelessness of a brilliant secondary school boy whose intoxicating puissance and gluttonous appetite for sexual love with his classmate and child of an unforgiving gladiator with huge lubris, became his albatross. It is equivalent of the story of Adam who was sent out of the Garden of Eden for his inability to resist the apple in Eve.
How Chinedu came out of his quandary is what readers of Beyond Expectations should find out themselves.
As expected of a book that has its anthropology in local setting, communal love, family and filial affection are persuasive in this literary enterprise. The author proves that in a society where family bond is in short supply and where the only thing the rich harbours for the poor is hatred, the milk of kindness still flows in some peoples’ vein.
At the same time, the book inveighs the age-long conundrum of ersatz social class and unintentionally illustrates the yawning hiatus that exists between the Teflon rulers and the hoipolloi.
Akwu’s good understanding of the village life and his ability to capture the life and time of the ordinary people in graphic details further enriches the delivery of the book. Though sometimes too elaborate in details, the author succeeds in sending his message to the readers by employing simple diction and local parlance where necessary.
Unlike many books that are often built on hyperbole and far-fetched imagery, Beyond Expectations is convincingly obsessed with imageries that are deeply affecting and the realities of life that are both alluring and perplexing. By my assessment, the book is a fascinating nugget that addresses itself to all classes, age and gender.
Very well as the author tries to make the book flow from page to page, the book could not resist the temptation of unnecessary details, repetition and avoidable typographical errors.
Again, the book is most deficient, or better still not sufficient in suspense. A better application of literary suspense with regards to what befall Chinedu at last would have made the book more intriguing and interesting.
These few inadequacies can, however, be excused being Reward’s first literary expedition in the world of literature.
Without obsessive sense of sheer criticism, Beyond Expectations lives up to its name. It is sufficient for what it is meant to achieve, namely to fortify the forlorn hope, to encourage the poor not to be deterred by their poor background, while at the same time reminding the rich that no condition is permanent in life.
And until one reads the book from page to page, and from chapter to chapter, one may not be able to appreciate well the intrigue and metaphor of this heart-throbbing reality woven as fiction.

By: Boye Salau

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Who Should Name A Child?

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Naturally, when a child is born, it is the role of the father and mother to decide a suitable name for the child. The husband and wife normally discuss and suggest the English or vernacular name of the baby.
But sometimes, when a baby comes into a family, grandparents hearts are usually filled with joy to the extent that they want to answer present, by giving their own names not minding the fact that the biological parents have given theirs.
This happens mostly when the marriage is an inter-tribal one. It also happens even in intra-tribal marriage. Grandparents want equal representation as far as naming a child is concerned. They also have special names as a result of circumstances surrounding the birth of the child.
This is still happening till date.
A lot of people have viewed this in different ways but there is nothing wrong about it. The most important thing is that the child bears as many names as he or she can. But one thing is certain, the child must bear one name in school.
Should circumstance determine a child’s name?
Women who are more emotional are always eager to name their children considering the circumstances surrounding the child’s conception and arrival.
The issue of grandparents naming a child comes up mostly when it is the first of the family.
In naming children by some parents in the olden days, they named their children according to the days in the week in which they were born, like Sunday, Monday, Friday and so on.
You may be shocked to hear that whether a child is given 10 names by parents or grandparents, when he or she grows up, will decide to change. There are several cases where some persons decided to change especially when they feel that the names given by their parents and grandparents do not give them joy. If they are not doing well in life, they may claim that their misfortune is caused by the name their parents.

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Children’s Performance Can Make Or Mar Them

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Competition among children in schools be it primary, (kindergarten) and secondary come in different forms. It can be Mathematics , debate, quiz, spelling bee,competition, from organisations like Cowbell, multi-national companies, faith-based organisations among others.
They are organised mostly for selected intelligent ones, the best among their peers to represent a class, school or group. Prizes are normally set aside for the best as well as consolation prizes for runners-up at the end of each session.
The question is, are children willing to accept defeat when they fail? As parents, guardians, can you encourage your children or wards to accept defeat instead of shouting and comparing them with others who may be performing better either in schools or outside.
Some parents may be blaming their children for not doing well in competitions. They will like to tell their children if others who may perform better have ten heads. Those group of parents blame their children for every failure.
For your children to do better in competition, the parents too must have emotional intelligence. When you continue to blame your children for failure, how intelligent are you?
Some parents always want their children to be in the 1st position and unhappy whenever they secure 2nd position. There were instances where children smashed their trophies because they never got the position they wanted to get and their parents supported them.
Children should be able to accept it whether they win or not. They should be encouraged for every performance. Discourage the issue of “shame, shame, shame, shame”.
A parent says she always tells her children to win even if they will fail. Always give them the mentality that they can win. Children should be given the impression that they can win prizes and laurels in every competition.
Parents should not isolate their children from others in the neighbourhood. Allow them to play with others. Don’t threaten your children that you may not pay their schools fees if they fail. Comparing them with others may encourage or discourage them.
Coming first or getting award as a first class student from the university sometimes does not mean that the person is the best. And if the child does not merit any award in the lower classes, does not mean that he can not merit first class also.
It should be noted that coming first in academic competition may not really mean that the competitor will be the best at work place or business.
Accepting defeat is a way to move higher. Even if a child who competed with others did not come first, there are consolation prizes for runners-up. When you advise the child to accept defeat, you are encouraging her to win in next competition.
Remember all children cannot be on the same knowledge level Their learning abilities defer.

Eunice Choko-Kayode

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Raising Children In Today’s World

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There is great anxiety in raising children in today’s world because things are changing. But the anxiety we think children are giving their parents these today’s may not be different from the one they gave their own parents.
Although every generation comes with peculiar issues. Nowadays, you have laptop, Ipad, Iphone, and other devices which have influenced their lives positively or negatively.
These days, distractions are high. When growing up, there was no Yahoo. There is the social media – facebook, whatsapp, twitter among others in vogue. They have both negative and positive impacts on the child.
Parenting means that what you desire from God about the children come to pass. Having faith in God while raising children is key. Trusting God on their behalf is important.
Children of these days can use what they have learnt to advance their lives. They are technically fit with modern technology. A lot of children help their parents and others around them to solve problems with the use of the numerous gadgets in their possession. Be it phones and laptops, even through the YouTube and software engineering in general.
The technics may differ from yesteryears to today. Their engagement in ICT may be keeping the children off from evil. The principles in technology can take them to places. Many of them have succeeded in earning jobs through ICT.
In parenting, keep the children off from evil. When a husband is beating his wife, perhaps the mother of the children, they are watching.
The children must be your friend. Cheer them up always. Build their confidence. Don’t kill yourself in raising children that are difficult.

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