- Author: Helen Uche Ibezim
- Publisher: SEVHAGE
- Year of publication: 2015
- Number of pages: 203
- Category: Inspirational (Motivational)
- Reviewer: Su’eddie Vershima Agema
“If after all that we have gone through, you still repeat the same mistakes that we did, it would have been better if we hadn’t lived” – Mr. Charles Ayede, Jp
Experience has always been seen to be the best teacher. However, if people were to only live or learn through their experiences, then the longest life wouldn’t be enough to learn enough to avoid more mistakes. It is for this reason that most people have to learn from the lives and experiences of others. These experiences could have been positive ones or negative ones. The key thing is such experiences bring about learning, instruction and inspiration. This has been the reason why a lot of people in addition to expressing their experiences so that people can learn from them, have also written books to help instruct people to get better. These form the canon of inspirational and motivational literature that has remained popular over the years and are more known these days in the works of people like Napoleon Hill, Brian Tracy, T. D. Jakes, and Matthew Ashimolowo. The key thing about such books is that they set out to teach lessons either in a particular field like leadership (as perfected by John C. Maxwell) or general life principles (exemplified in the books of Joel Osteen). It is this canon that Ibezim’s Your Gift is Your Power falls into.
Your Gift is Your Power is a motivational book that is centred around the life and values of the author, Lady Helen Uche Ibezim, a teacher and administrator who decided after many years of living and impacting lives to summarise most of her experiences into a book that would speak to many. It is a way of continuing her legacy as a teacher and principal over the years, a position from which she retired, despite continuing her work of administration in the educational sector.
The book is divided into twenty-six chapters of varying length in addition to a Preface, Introduction and Conclusion. Each chapter is woven around a theme fully captured in the title and broken into subdivisions aptly showcased in sub-titles. Thus, one notices chapters like ‘You Have a Gift’, ‘Identify Your Talent’, ‘Unlocking Your Potential’ and the like. An easy assumption one might get is that the chapter titles are easily representative of all the chapter contains. So to say, it would be largely belittling to think that by only looking at the title of the chapter, one would truly know what lies within. This seems almost deliberate for the titles of the chapters are made to look like an unwrapped gift. While one might have an idea of what the gift is, it is only in the usage that one fully gets to appreciate the beauty of the gift. Thus, one notices that in every chapter, rather than just go straight and say simply ‘We all have gifts’ or ‘You have to unlock your potential to reach great heights’, the author uses various stories, anecdotes, life experiences, quotations from prominent people and/or cultural infusions to ensure that her message is passed.
Stylistically, in addition to the narrative of the chapters, Ibezim adds poems to help push the message contained the individual chapters. There are usually a number of these poems fixed under one title. For instance, the supporting poems for Chapter 2, ‘Identify Your Talent’ are a group of five poems titled, ‘Make it Real.’ The first poem in that group reads thus:
Merely looking without reacting
Will never bring you success
Moving into full acting
Is a great experience to access (Pg. 16)
What strikes one immediately in this poem, as in others in the collection, is the simplicity attendant to the poem. There isn’t any attempt at using language in such a way that mystifies or confuses. Also, the group of poems are all written in a scroll in a different font from the rest of the book which makes this part look unique and beautiful.
While reading Your Gift is Your Power, one notices that there are some similarities to the writings and preaching of Joel Osteen as seen in such works as Your Best Life Now: 7 Steps to Living at your Full Potential and Become a Better You: 7 Keys to Improving Your Life Everyday. This is particularly noticeable in the chapters and sub-titling, and the simple narrative style used in the book. This does not in any way take away the originality of the author who in many cases particularises her work by spicing it with her life’s experiences, those of people she admires and things particular to her local community most times fused with humour. In this wise, we get to read such stories as that of her father, related in a recollection thus:
I remember when I was very young, my father, through his actions, made us think that fathers could not make mistakes. If anyone mistakenly hit a chair, he would ask the question: “Can’t you look?” But, if he was the one who mistakenly hit the chair, the question would turn to: “Who kept this chair here?” (50)
One can’t miss the humour here that most men would easily identify with. It is this way of claiming her work as her own, her humour and writing in a conversational way that makes Ibezim’s work speak for her. Working on the book was a bit stressful as we had to pay attention to many details, something the author is known, for but it was a worthwhile experience.
In all, Your Gift is Your Power is a book that will help shape the mind of any reader who finds time to go through it. It is a gift truly that if used will create a change that will be permanent.
Su’eddie Vershima Agema is an award winning poet and editor. He blogs at http://sueddie.wordpress.com