A happy mum brings up happy kids, who later become happy adults’, said Mum Gracia, a Nigerian mum living in America. With three daughters aged 11, 9, and 6, Mum Gracia knows it will be tough but she is determined to help her daughters fight limitations and poverty.

Every night for 17 years, she knelt beside her daughters’ beds in their rats infested apartment and whispered “I can and I will.” As she whispered, big rats would run around their dingy apartment, bumping into one another. She would repeat the same words into each girl’s ear as she slept “I can and I will.”

“You talk to the subconscious. You don’t talk to the conscious,” She says “Subconscious is the one that really listens.”

The girls occasionally woke up during their mum’s nightly pep talks, rolled their eyes and then went back to sleep, but each morning, they woke up to that word that was drummed into their consciousness and would say into the mirror, “I can and I will.”

With her little income as a part time store attendant, and a supplementary income from her factory-worker husband, Mum Gracia did all she could to keep her girls safe, nurturing them to good health, giving them stronger bodies and sharper minds; and making sure they spend most of their time in school. She even enrolled them in dancing, karate and acting classes respectively; taking extra job as a grocery delivery person to cater for that.

Twenty years after, her investment paid off. The first girl graduated from Harvard Business School and became a partner at a top law firm dealing in oil and real estate across Europe and Middle East. The second became a medical director of a fast growing family-health clinic; and the last is an award-winning actress who had been featured on several motion pictures.

In a single-minded description of the person of Mum Gracia, she is more than mum.


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