Culture Shelf

Career choices and how not to raise children

Kingsley Obom-Egbulem (2018), When Fishes Climb Trees. Lagos:
ParentingNow. ISBN 978-978-968-905-7. 158pp

When Fishes Climb Trees is in the genre of motivation/Christian
literature that has held sway for four decades. Originally from America,
the research on motivation runs through a vast swathe of subjects and
themes. Kingsley Obom-Egbulem in this book draws on two decades of
experience as a Teens Pastor. His book primarily addresses the needs
of these young people at the critical period of becoming or unbecoming.
Teens are in the nether region: they are no longer children, but it would
take a few more years to qualify as adults. Obom-Egbulem treats the
matter of careers and the paths to them, the influences that determine
career choices, when to start, and how to go about the pursuit. The
message is in line with one of two sub-titles of the book as “A guide to
helping children discover purpose.” The other sub-title addresses
parents: “The price for moving our kids out of their comfort zones in
pursuit of courses, careers and a life they are not wired for!”
Simi the songstress, recording artist and performer, provides a
persuasive testimonial in the Foreword. She states, “Don’t attempt to
dream for your children. Let them soar. The mind is a beautiful thing,
and it’s different for everyone. God doesn’t ask a son to share a mind
with his father. Your job is to raise them well and train them with good
values and inspire them to develop great character. But let them be their
person. Advice them, but be there for them even if they decide to go a
different career path from what you would prefer. It’s their life. Let them
live it.”
Simi was in the Teens Church Kingsley Obom-Egbulem pastors at
Daystar Christian Centre, Oregun. She chose music against all the odds
and succeeded. She imbibed the messaging of her pastor on the right of
each person to determine her life choices.
Obom-Egbulem makes bold assertions in pursuit of his thesis. He
postulates that for successful careers, it is critical to commence early. He
suggests age ten as a take-off point. The factors of time and age have a
gravitational pull that counts in the inverse as people age. “Talent
discovered late doesn’t mature with time. Rather, it is challenged by

upcoming young talents with time, those against whom it might be
almost impossible to compete.”
Across 21 chapters, When Fishes Climb Trees delves deeply into the
subject of future choice. It cites many cases from the experience of the
author as well as in literature, local and international. It discusses the
harmful effects of wrongful decisions on the development of personality.
The damage is more hurtful and longer-lasting when parents impose the
Boxes at the end of each chapter contain nuggets that summarise the
point as well as re-emphasise it. Sample, For Mom/Dad: “Be careful
about this term ‘stubborn child’. It is often used inappropriately and
irresponsibly. A child trying to connect talents with purpose is often
mistaken for a stormy petrel or enfant terrible. Be ready to accept what
makes your child proud and happy, even if it doesn’t make you happy at
the moment.”
Use of talents is one of the critical lessons in the New Testament based
on the teachings of Jesus Christ. When Fishes Climb Trees harps on the
management of skills as one of the essential duties of childminders.
Parents and those who stand in loco-parentis, teachers, should major on
talent identification, nurturing and management. They should do so
without preconceptions and pushing personal preferences.
When Fishes Climb Trees would serve as essential reading for the
family. It is the kind of book that parents and children would read chapter
by chapter, then sit down to analyse and discuss in the sitting room to
unearth choices and points of view. › nigeria › business-day-nigeria

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