How My Son Became an Author at 10

The influence of teachers on students and learning

by Sylvie Tamanda

I wanted to share how important it is for parents and loved ones to guide and educate our kids about who they listen to, who they speak with, and who speaks into them. These three types of people can be as empowering as they can be damaging.

Today is the story of my 10-year-old son John, who is now an author, inspiring other kids in his class and his school to drop social media distractions and embrace literature.

Certain individuals possess wisdom, expertise, and insights that have the power to profoundly impact our lives and the lives of our children.
Mentors, teachers, and role models are examples of those who speak to us. Their guidance, knowledge, and encouragement can help us overcome challenges, broaden our horizons, and unlock our potential.

I suffered with low self-esteem for years because my teacher once called me dumb and ugly, and it was only in my adulthood and through self-development that I was able to believe in myself and pursue a life of impact.

Which is why I started educating my boys from a young age about guarding their ears and their hearts against external influence so that they could shape a positive and empowering path for themselves.

My first son, John, is an amazing little man. Besides the fact that I laboured for 18 hours before he was born, he has been nothing short of a blessing to our family.

When John became of school age, he started struggling with mathematics, and when he was in year 3, I hired a house teacher to help him. Math was my problem too, and I felt like John getting extra help would make a difference in his academic life.

However, the teacher I got for him was terrible at child psychology. One day I heard him say to my son that he’d not amount to anything if he didn’t get his numbers right.

For God’s sake, this was a small child who needed reassurance and nurturing, not discouragement and corporal punishment, so I terminated the contract, but unfortunately, John’s self-esteem had already been impacted, and I only got to find out later.

After our family moved out of Cameroon, John had some amazing teachers in his new school who all brought out the best in him. His favourite teacher was his English teacher, Mr. Hossam, from his school in Cairo, Egypt. The creative writing assignments given to him at school were the catalyst for the new path he was about to walk.

In his homework remarks, Mr. Hossam always took the time to let John know how awesome his writing was. He encouraged John to keep at it. As time went on, John started to regain confidence in his abilities.

And fast forward to year 5, when John joined a new school in England and struggled with making friends as the only black boy in his class. He felt rejected by the other kids (which I didn’t feel was the case, except the cultural differences were a barrier for him), so he found solace in books.

John Ofon- finding solace in books

After a few months at his school,we had our first parent teacher meeting. During our one-on-one with his teacher, Ms. Walmsley told me that John was struggling with mathematics, but his writing was simply outstanding.

She looked over at John, who was sitting close to me, and said, “John, don’t worry too much about math; if it’s too hard for you, just focus on writing, and you just might be able to make a beautiful career out of it”. And just like that, John, the 10-year-old author, was born!

I can safely say that the smile on her face and the excitement in her voice about some of his essays ignited a fire in my son’s heart that day.
Those words sank deep into my son, and when we got back home, he took out all the stories he’d been writing on pieces of paper and said, “Mummy, pleaseeee, help me publish my stories. I think I am ready to become an author. I want my stories to bless other children, and I want my classmates to think I am cool”.
When you hear such words from your child as a mother, what excuse do you have?

So we made it happen!

John Ofon Books

We scheduled weekends; he typed out his stories with his laptop, and I was his editor.

When everything was edited, we hired a book formatter and a cover designer on Fiverr.

And on February 27, 2023, John’s first book was published on Amazon, and his second book was published on April 30, 2023.

He has so many books waiting in line for editing, formatting, and publishing, but Mummy just has so much going on, so we’re going to progress slowly.

I hope John’s story blesses one of your kids and encourages them to shine their light brightly and exploit their gifts, irrespective of what naysayers and unbelievers think.

God bless all single mothers, all parents, and all amazing people in influential positions who bring out the best in children, especially because they are so impressionable.

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