MASON, Ohio – A dad wanting his twin teen sons, accustomed to the comforts of the country club, to learn some gratitude took an unusual step.
He sent the 14-year-olds to spend the seventh grade in Nigeria.
The boys, Noble and Evan Nwankwo, spent seventh grade at Mea Mater Elizabeth High School in Enugu, southern Nigeria. There, the day starts with 5 a.m. exercise and prayer, and continues with a 12-subject course load. There’s no help from mom on homework or washing clothes, either.
“Adversity is important in somebody’s development in life, as far as I’m concerned, because there comes a time when the storm is going to hit you, and if you never had that to fall back on you’re just going to fall apart,” Evans Nwankwo, the father, said. “I strongly believe that because it’s been important in my own development.”
Nwankwo was born and raised in Nigeria. He was one of 13 children. The family was well off. Then, the Nigerian Civil War broke out and they were running for safety and scrambling for food, and his father was killed.
As the boys were getting ready to go, things in Africa were looking bad. The Ebola outbreak was making headlines, as were attacks by the terrorist group Boko Haram on schools in northern Nigeria.
The elder Nwankwo said he had “a lot of apprehension as they were getting ready to go, a lot of anxiety.”
“It was kind of eye-opening to see how much you actually have to work to get a simple bucket of water, and how you actually have to use your own strength to carry it back and forth,” Noble said. “And it’s actually pretty tough to hand-wash your clothes with that amount of water. You have to really manage it.”
“You have to be trekking all over the school just to get water to bathe with… Here you can just turn on the tap and there’ll be water flowing like it’s nothing,” Evan said. “There, you’ll, be struggling for it. Sometimes we would go without water for a couple days.”
Since returning, their dad said he’s already seen a change in his boys.
“I feel that the experience is one that will live with them forever, and they will be forever changed – maybe not on the immediate, but long term.”
Evan and Noble agreed.
“I appreciate the washing machine. I appreciate the running water. I appreciate the shower, so I don’t have to use a bucket of water in a bowl,” Noble said. “I appreciate my electronics. I appreciate my parents a lot more because I realize how much – especially my dad – I really realize how much he had to do to get here.”
I’m all for parents trying to discipline their kids. If you want to show your kids how the other half lives so they can learn to appreciate how good they have it then by all means fire away. There’s nothing worse than someone whose literally been handed everything on a silver platter and walks around pinky out with their nose in the air acting like they’re better than everyone. You want your pompous ass kids to get in line there’s literally a thousand tricks you can pull before shipping them over to Africa for a year. Take away the Xbox, the country club membership, threaten to give away the Madison family business to that snake Carl, the list goes on. That whole Africa plan has a 1000% chance of backfiring. Yea, your kids may be more frugal and know the true meaning of resourcefulness, but I guarantee you’ll have to spend twice as much as you normally would on therapy because your kids witnessed their teacher being gored to death by a rhinoceros. Becoming cultured is cool and all, but is that worth the risk of losing a limb to a lion or a tiger or Joseph Kony at recess? Not a chance. Now I’ll never tell another man how to raise his offspring. That’s none of my business and to tell you the truth I’m nowhere near responsible enough to become a father right now, but if I know anything in this world it’s that sending your rich kids to Africa is the quickest way to get cut off from that money train 20 years down the road. You just know one of those brats is gonna hit it big now. Don’t be an idiot, Pops.