Adolescence through the teenage years appears to be the most challenging period for all children, knowing that most life-changing choices are made during this stage. Their career and vocational choices, channelling their youthful energy in the right direction, puberty, the need to be accepted and the peer pressure make those years the hardest.  Working with children in this age range, we are faced with the responsibility of advising them right, as they look up to us as mentors.

We wondered what the best advice we could give and so, we asked our team and friends to reminisce on their childhood years and share some insights on things they did and did not do. We posed the question: “What advice would you give your younger self?”

We were intrigued with the responses we got and it’s safe to say that after reading all of the responses we could relate in some way to each and every one of them.

Our CEO, Ufuoma E-Ashogbon, wrote: “Take the time to make the right decision. Do not be in a hurry anywhere. You waste a whole lot more time correcting your mistakes than thinking things through. And some mistakes just can’t be corrected!”

Our Administrative officer, Emeke Ndego, said he wish he’d had a defined plan to work with.

Our Social Worker, Ifeoma Keke, advised her younger self to “be more expressive, stand your ground on what you know is right, and only let good wisdom guide you”. She also wished she played a little more.

Our Programme Facilitator, Oluwanishola Monsuran, clearly regretted her eating habits when she advised: “Eat healthier and less junk food”. You’re absolutely right, Nishola!

My advice to myself would be: “You don’t always have to fight to be heard, and sometimes your silence speaks volumes. Smile a little more and keep that reading habit up. What you learn from a book might just be needed for the real life.”

Our friend, Suleiman Oshioke-Yakubu, advised his ‘mini self’ to “be more prayerful, patient and work towards a goal.”

Isaac Success said “never stop learning, keep learning and you will keep growing”. True talk!

For Mayowa-Adenike Koya it was a few things. He wrote: “I will tell my younger self to take God more seriously, play hard, work harder and don’t worry too much about what people will say”. So true, Mayowa.

Treasures Uchegbu said she would “develop a relationship with God through Christ; Love His Word enough to study Its principles after Sunday School; Hold herself to a high standard; Take responsibility; Regret nothing as every setback holds its lessons to becoming self-aware of the resident greatness for impact and influence; Live by the principle of ‘Constant And Never-ending Improvement’ (CAN-I) one day at a time!” Lots of good advice there!

Segun Martins-Ogunyemi wrote: “Believe in yourself! Know God ASAP. Never play the second fiddle and never settle for less”. Wise words, Segun! Never settle for less!

Emeka Awagu, Babatunde Lawal and Amaka Alusi, shared the opinion of being bolder, following your dreams and not the dream of others and, of course, do not be afraid to fail and love yourself more.

We are really grateful to everyone that contributed to this post and glad that we have something very helpful to share with the children on the Disadvantage to Advantage Initiative.

Do you have some advice you’d like to share? Share it in our comments section. We’ll be more than happy to hear from you!