Painting by Kanyeyachukwu Tagbo-Okeke at Transcorp Hilton Abuja.

One of the 27 skills I teach children is the Power of Possibility (Why you achieve what you believe – Good and Bad) using the story ‘Power of Possibilities’, about school kids who learn not to limit their dreams based on their comfort zone. This skill is under the MindPower skill book, which is the foundation of all the other skills and part of the Adventures in Wisdom Coaching and Mentoring Curriculum.

What is the power of possibility skill?

Belief systems are the filters we use to experience our world. They are the key to why we are who we are. When we understand belief systems and how we can proactively develop beliefs that support our dreams, anything is possible. Understanding how powerful the mind is has made a huge impact on my life and I am passionate about bringing this to everyone. Some people live in fear, in pessimism and others live in possibility. Empowering children with this skill means, teaching them to dare to dream big, not thinking of the how, when and what. This means believing anything they put their mind to is possible and not letting their friends, teachers or society tell them otherwise. It means believing anything is possible to them and to have big plans for themselves in life. The power of possibility skill book teaches kids that there is no magic behind creating a happy life, achieving your goals and making your dreams come true anyone can do it and so can they. It is all about what they believe. When we build belief systems based on possibilities we can overcome obstacles, burst outside our comfort zones and make our dreams come true. We have all heard of stories of people who have overcome all kinds of obstacles and circumstances to achieve their dreams, how, they believed in possibilities as the story below.

I recently met a lady who shared her son’s story with me and it touched me. Through his story we learn many lessons about the power of possibility. I interviewed her and share her story with everyone because this is an example of everything I believe and I coach kids and caregivers about, which include:

  • The Power of Possibility
  • Embracing our uniqueness. We are ALL created excellently and each person’s uniqueness is needed in the world, we all have something to offer this world
  •  As caregivers whether parents, teachers, family members, our job is to create a safe environment so kids feel safe enough to be vulnerable and be who they are, fully engage themselves, which will include making mistakes, and thrive to reach their potential
  • Nurturing children involves loving and connecting with them, observing, listening and supporting them so they always apply themselves and support them to find their gifts as every single child comes with gifts which are not all wrapped in the same form

His name is Kanyeyachukwu Tagbo-Okeke, known as Kanye, he is 9 years old, and has been described as the ‘Young Picasso’ and an art genius by fellow artistes and museum curators from around the world. He was diagnosed with autism but has not limited himself, instead he raises awareness and helps other kids with autism using his gift of art. He has shown his paintings at exhibitions around the world including at the United Nations Young Artists for Peace exhibition, in prestigious museums who have described his work as exceptional, and his paintings can be seen hung in embassies and hotels around the world. According to the DG of the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) Suleiman Al-Herbish, Kanye has shown a ‘high level of creativity…. for a child of his age, he has demonstrated that artistic skills can be nurtured from infancy irrespective of the challenge the child might face’. Kanye, earlier this month, had a solo art exhibition which successfully ran for 7days at the renowned Terra Kulture in Lagos, with the theme ‘Impossibility is a Myth’. His paintings gave an insight into his brilliant and creative mind and impressed art lovers. He made history last year, 2018, by being the youngest artist to receive the prestigious ‘Flame of Peace’ award in Vienna, Austria for his contribution to promoting peace using art. This award has previously been given to Presidents of various countries around the world. He also won the Indomie Independence Day Award 2019 in the social bravery category, for his work helping other autistic kids and raising awareness through his foundation. With limited verbal skills, he communicates his emotions through his paintings using his exceptional skills.

His story teaches us the Power of Possibility, living outside your comfort zone, stretching yourself and the power of belief.  These have allowed him with the support of his parents to be who he is and give to the world the wonderful gifts and treasures he brought with him.   His wonderful parents have also taught us the power of love, belief and mastery.

Kanye Tagbo-Okeke Painting hanging at the Finnish Embassy, Abuja
Kanye’s Painting hanging at the Finnish Embassy, Abuja, Nigeria.

Excerpts from the interview with Kanye’s mum, Sylvia Okeke:

1.     What are Kanye’s gifts/talents and at what age did you notice them? Art and basketball. For the art we noticed it when he was 3years 

2. How would you describe Kanye as a toddler? As a toddler he was just like any other child only he wasn’t talking like his peers 

3. What is your attitude towards Autism and having a child with Autism? Autism is a personality; I don’t see it as a disability 

4. At what age did you notice he was autistic? About 3 years that’s when I really became very worried

5. How would you describe the environment in which Kanye grew? And how would you say this aided him finding and developing his talent?  It takes a village to train a child and with Kanye the family, friends, extended family in fact everyone is involved 

7. How did you support him in developing his skills?   It’s a gift from God. We enrolled him in an art class to enhance the skills 

6. How would you describe your parenting skills?   I really don’t know, I just show love and don’t tolerate nonsense

What are your beliefs on parenting? Be loving but firm

7. Does he have siblings and how does his autism affect them? Yes, he has 3 siblings and they are very supportive 

8. What are your future plans for Kanye and you as parents? To grow into a wonderful independent adult 

9. Can you think of the greatest challenge you have faced since learning of his autistic diagnosis? Too many to count but I guess the most importance is when faced with ignorance

10. What are the symptoms you deal with? It depends on his mood and age 

11. What lessons have you learnt along the way and what lessons have you learnt specifically from Kanye? Impossibility is a myth with God 

12. Do you share similar parenting skills with your husband? We work together and balance out whatever difference we have in terms of parenting 

13. How do you feel as Kanye’s parents? Very proud of him 

15. What have been his progress/ achievements? Quite a lot for his age 

16. How would you say you contributed to his success? I give all glory to God 

17. Any parenting advice for today’s parents, particularly in our society? Never give up on your child no matter the challenge.

Family at the Pakistan Embassy Abuja.
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