Take a fresh look at your lifestyle.

Finding your life purpose and living true to it is key ––Uju Ejimkeonye-Ugwu, writer and teens coach

By Chibuzo Ihegboro

Mrs Uju Ejimkeonye-Ugwu is a businesswoman, writer and teens coach who inspires, informs and motivates teenagers/young people into purposeful and Godly lifestyles through her writings, direct mentorship, seminars/webinars, conferences, retreats and film-making. In this interview, she explains that her passion began when she was about 13 and got involved in the children/teenage ministry of the Anglican Church as a helper and teacher, and improved with time.

You are a businesswoman, writer and teen coach; how are you able to juggle all of these with your role as a mother and wife?

Let me begin by saying that it’s not easy being all these to different people, but the clarity of purpose, passion, determination, support from loved ones (especially my husband),  and above all the grace of God, makes it possible and less tedious.

I understand that my role as a wife and mother comes first. Being a teen’s coach is a calling, I can say, a lifestyle for me. I write to reach as many teens and youths as possible all over the world.

I love food and its production/processing. What I do as a businesswoman is food processing, I am a caterer and baker.

To be a teen’s coach, what does it mean?

Teens coaching is a branch of life coaching designed to encourage personal development in young people while providing an outlet for their stresses and anxiety. For me, it is to relate closely with teenagers/youths, help them understand themselves better, guide, influence and impact them positively to live purposeful and Godly lives.

The idea seems alien to our culture; don’t you think so?

Yes, I do. And that’s because our society classifies people as either children or adults. Whereas adolescents (teenagers) are neither children nor adults. Teenage could be awkward and confusing, hence the need to guide them well.

What drives your passion in this area?

As I mentioned earlier, it is a calling. It all started when I was a child and a teenager myself. At the time, I didn’t understand what it was, but I always took note of what they were doing. By ‘they’, I mean youths around me then. I was uncomfortable seeing the wayward, unruly, and stubborn ones. The immorality and decay I saw made me so uncomfortable and drove me to start talking to them despite being much younger than them. I would stop some teenagers and youths and correct/preach to them about the wrongs I saw them do. Some were surprised, some didn’t care, and a few took it. I even got slapped by a young man once. It got to an extent that if I wanted to speak to a classmate (in senior secondary) privately, someone would say, “a piece of advice”, meaning they knew I was most likely going to do so.

So, at that young age, my twin sister Amarachi and I became teachers in the children’s department of our local church as we lacked teachers then, but I noticed, that I flowed more with the older children (teenagers). It continued through the years till the year I graduated from the higher institution, 2008 to be precise. It dawned on me that it was a life assignment to guide and help these young ones on the right path.  After I got married and continued seeing the struggles and misgivings of teens in our world, my passion to help them continued and is increasing daily.

With the decay in our values, how easy are you finding this area of interest?

Hmm! First, let me say that teenagers find it difficult to understand themselves, so it’s not easy for one to guide them, not to mention the decay in our values. Teenagers have fears, doubts and confusion due to puberty and culture (value system). Our society regards wealth so much that whatever one does to make money does not count. There is also a massive inordinate quest for fame in our world. A lot of those we regard as ‘celebrities’ model the wrong lifestyles for them. They see a lot of immorality and sexual activities on social media. So, there are many contradicting messages in our world today, and teenagers are negatively affected the most. But by God’s grace, we are doing what we can.

What is your view on the failing roles of parents in the upbringing of children?

It’s disheartening. A lot of parents became parents without being prepared for the job, and so are overwhelmed. The need to meet up with financial responsibilities also tells on the parents. Sadly, many parents leave a great part of the upbringing of their children to teachers, nannies and house helps. Today’s parents need to sit up and begin early to prepare their children as tomorrow’s parents.

How do you feel about the influence of social media on society, especially teens?

The influence is massive. And I’m pained because of the negative aspect of influence. Social media is one, if not the strongest tool of influence. Most movements and opinions (positive and otherwise) in our society today, begin and spread in and through social media. Many movie makers, artistes, and ‘celebs’ are confusing and misleading our youths with the contradicting messages their products pass on. Today’s music and movies have a lot of violence, nudity, sex and vanity. Movies and music are supposed to be corrective measures while providing entertainment, but today, they are corruptive.

Thank God that social media also provides us with the opportunity to reach many teenagers with the right messages. That’s why anyone who has a good message for society should embrace social media.

You are also a writer; when and how did you get the inspiration to write?

I started writing in 2010, and as I said earlier, I was inspired by the passion to make positive impacts on the young ones. I started telling stories as a child and would write and draw in the sand.

Over the years, I have organised several seminars and retreat for teens and students of different secondary schools on different topics such as; the effects of pre-marital sex, early marriage, STDs, abortions, preparing for the future, importance of chastity, career talks and so on. In 2019, I published a book entitled ‘Dealing With The Misgivings Of Adolescents’. I have also written a novel entitled ‘The Three-Fold Cord’,  which is the first in the SAFE ROMANCE SERIES to be launched in August this year. Other novels in the series are in the pipeline.

How many books have you written and what are their storylines?

I have written three books; one was published in 2019 entitled; ‘DEALING WITH THE MISGIVINGS OF ADOLESCENTS’, In it, I tried to explain how the physical growth and physiological development of adolescents coupled with societal exertions on their behaviours, outlook on life and their relationship with their parents, guides, peers, etc. The book then offers a guide to teenagers on how to make the most of their adolescent and teenage years and the unique experiences that come with this stage of development. The book further offers a guide to parents and persons having regular interactions with teenagers on how to successfully relate with them, assist, manage and guide them through this important stage in life successfully.

The second (a novel) is being published and will be out in a few weeks. It’s called, ‘A THREE FOLD CORD’. It is a coming-of-age drama about three young girls who grew up together. It is the story of three friends and their intertwined destinies. From primary school days, all the way to university, they make the same mistakes, find redemption and relapse until the pressures of early adulthood, faith and fate lead them in different directions. Two find love, family and God, and one takes the wrong turn leading away from the rest. The book chronicles how parental influence, peer pressure, faith and fate interact in the development of a child.

The third will be published as soon as possible. There are other little write-ups I have done for some groups with different subjects.

What is your advice to the womenfolk in today’s world?

My advice is for every woman to discover her purpose for existence, and her passion, then fulfil it. There are so many things going on in our world, so many struggles and challenges, therefore, finding purpose and living true to it is key.

A woman is the beauty of creation, so, let’s model true beauty and bring sweetness to our families and world. Enough of indecency.