Encouraging Children is Like Molding Clay with Dr. Francisca Enih

Francisca Enih, Ed.D. was born in Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria. The first of eleven children. Growing up, she was fascinated with taking care of the needy, and this interest led to some early exposure to Saint Vincent De Paul Society, since she was drawn to stories related to caring.

During the devasting Hurricane Katrina in August 2005, Dr. Enih served as the President of the Nigerian Catholic Ministry at Saint Albert of Trapani Catholic Church in Houston, Texas. One the missions was to help the needy and those affected by the hurricane. Within the ministry we provided hot meals to the individuals displaced by the hurricane.

Later, Dr. Enih, who now teaches Skills for Living and Learning at the middle school level, developed a passion for ideas. She took professional developments in science, technology, mathematics and engineering and in 2007-2008 school year was name Houston Geological Society Earth Science Teacher of the Year from Rice University, Houston, Texas and Houston Independent School District Cream of the Crop in 2007. In 2008 and 2009 she was elected Holland Middle school Special Education Teacher of the Year. Also, she is certified to teach English as a Second Language.

Dr. Enih, who lives in Houston, Texas has been an educator since 1997. She earned her Doctorate degree from Texas Southern University, Houston, Texas and her dissertation title is “The Relationship Between Parental Involvement and Middle School Student Achievement in Mathematics”. She is currently the Parish Pastoral Council member of St. Albert Catholics Church, Texas. Her goal is to uphold human self-esteem, to always be patient, and to promote fairness and kindness.



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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • Sending a message with your dissertation
  • How stakeholders deal with statistical data analysis in the “real world”
  • How to support your child’s education in just 15 Minutes a Day
  • Encouragement for parents and kids
  • Harvard on 15 Minutes a Day

In this episode…

What do you want to do when you graduate? Dr. Francisca Enih became a published author, and she couldn’t be happier.

In this episode of An Unconventional Life, Dr. Francisca Enih and Dr. Russell Strickland discuss her experience in developing academically successful children. Dr. Enih is quick to point out her view that excellence is not just about academics. She relates stories, with equal pride, of the student who helped his fallen classmate up from the ground and the former student who is currently attending Harvard University. Dr. Enih has distilled her process of instilling excellence in children and poured it into her new book, 15 Minutes a Day.

Dr. Enih’s infectious enthusiasm is evident throughout this episode, but never mores than we she lifts her new book for our YouTube viewers to see. Discover what it’s like to truly follow your dreams, and then get back to it yourself!

Resources Mentioned in this episode

Sponsor for this episode…

This episode is brought to you by Dissertation Done, America’s #1 authority in dissertation completion for working professionals.

Founded by Dr. Russell Strickland, Dissertation Done serves people in two ways:

  1. If you’re struggling with your dissertation, getting ready to start your dissertation, or just plain wanting to get your dissertation done as soon as possible, go to www.dissertationdone.com/done and Let’s Get Your Dissertation Done
  2. If you’re busy living your Unconventional Life and have a message that you want to share, maybe you should join our Expand Your Authority Program to become a published author. Go to www.dissertationdone.com/book and let me know that you’d like to talk about Expanding Your Authority.

Visit www.dissertationdone.com to learn more about our other services and leave a message or call them at 888-80-DR-NOW (888-803-7669) to schedule your free 30 to 45-minute phone consultation.

Episode Transcript

Disclaimer: This transcript is here for your reading convenience. It was created by machines and may (a-hem) contain some errors. If you email us about these errors, the machines will undoubtedly find out. I hope they won’t get angry.


Intro [00:00:03] Welcome to An Unconventional Life, a podcast where we share stories about the crazy one percent out there who earned their doctoral degrees and then went on to use them in crazy, cool, unique, and unconventional ways. Here’s your host, astrophysicist turned teacher, author, dissertation coach, and more, Dr. Russell Strickland.


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:00:29] Hello and welcome to an Unconventional Life Podcast. I’m your host, Dr. Russell Strickland, the Founder and CEO of Dissertation. And today I have with me an old friend, actually, Dr. Francisca Enih. We’ve worked with doctor in a number of different ways, and I’m sure she’ll share some of that with you. But Dr. Enih is originally from Nigeria, and she was the first of 11 children. As my mother’s sisters liked to tell her, she was the first of six children, that also means she’s the oldest. My mom didn’t like it put that way. She’s always been fascinated with taking care of the needy. And this interest has led her to early exposure to St Vincent de Paul Society. She actually helped out during the hurricane, Hurricane Katrina, serving as president of the Nigerian Catholic Catholic Ministry at St. Albert of Tripoli Catholic Church in Houston, Texas. So and and since then, she’s done all sorts of amazing things. She’s been named Teacher of the Year, also Special Education Teacher of the Year. She still works with middle school students in Houston, Texas. And since earning her doctorate degree, she’s become a published author. So Dr. Enih has a lot to talk about and share with you. Thank you so much for joining us on the show today.


Dr. Francisca Enih [00:01:54] Thank you, Dr. Strickland. I am so happy to be here with you this morning. You have been an awesome person then, a good friend, like you said. Thank you again. And I cannot thank you enough that I thank you.


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:02:09] You’re quite welcome. And again, thank you for being here. I’d like to remind folks that today or let folks know that today’s episode brought to you by Dissertation Done. And at Dissertation Done, we help adult doctoral students through the dissertation process. So if you’re approaching the dissertation process and you’re not quite there yet, really best thing you can do is take the proactive approach to get some guidance and support, some direction, some coaching, all of the best athletes, executives, leaders of any sort go out there and get coaching so that they’re at their absolute best and they don’t have to make mistakes along the way. So go out there and reach out to us at DissertationDone.com/done. That’s DissertationDone.com/done. We’ll have a chat, see if maybe you’re a good fit for our Fast-Track Your Dissertation coaching program if you are in the dissertation process and maybe you kind of slowed down, stalled, or just plain stuck, reach out to us as well, because that’s most of our students and we can surely help you out. Also, if you have gotten past the dissertation process or you’re otherwise an expert like a coach, counselor or consultant, the best way to get your message out there and to expand your authority is by coming becoming a published author, just like Dr. Enih. We’re going to we can take you from a blank page to a published book in less time than you thought possible. And we do this strategically in a way that’s designed to get you more customers, clients, or patients. So reach out to us at DissertationDone.com/book, and we’ll talk to you about that. So that’s the business, Again, Dr. Enih, thank you for joining us.


Dr. Francisca Enih [00:03:41] Thank you, Doc.


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:03:43] I’m going to ask you, like I do a lot of our guests to tell us a little bit about what possessed you to pursue a doctoral degree in the first place. You can you tell us what your motivations were there?


Dr. Francisca Enih [00:03:54] Yes, I have been a teacher, and when I start looking at our students progress and everything and the things that when the doctors when I was attending the professional development at Texas A&M and I witnessed some of the defenses and I said, oh, my God, these people are really doing an awesome job out there. So I need to go in. And at that point I said, I’m going to go take my GRE and go into this program. I need to get into the bottom of this education because I really want to help our students out there. And that’s when I took my degree and I went in and made a good score and I applied and I was accepted. Thank you.


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:04:43] Yeah. Yeah. So too bad they weren’t able to to share with you the the late nights and the two o’clock in the morning sessions of writing their dissertation. You might have made another decision.


Dr. Francisca Enih [00:04:53] Yes, that’s true.


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:04:55] As I always tell our students know, the defense is really it sounds scary because it says it’s a defense, but really it’s kind of a celebration for the most part. Was that was that your experience?


Dr. Francisca Enih [00:05:05] Yes, I have been an acceleration for them, I really want it for me when I did my own defense, it was just like that. So was what I expected. Yes, a lot of research


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:05:20] Between getting accepted and that decision to go and and celebrating when you when you finish your defense, there’s a lot going on in there. Was there any point in time that you felt really down that you felt like you were kind of stuck, that you might be thinking about quitting or anything like that happen to you?


Dr. Francisca Enih [00:05:36] Yes. Well, after I finish, the first time was when I had to add to, as I said, that you have to become a residence by taking nine hours back to the back and two semesters on the road. And I was like, I have my parents, I have my family, I have my job and I don’t want to live any of those days. It was put a lot of pressure on me like


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:06:03] It is a lot. A lot of these programs are designed for kids. They’re in their early 20s, but they don’t have the responsibilities of adults yet. They have to feed themselves. And that’s about it. You know, no kids, no job, no it’s just school so that adults undertake those those same responsibilities. It’s very, very difficult and found a way to make that work. And then you got into the dissertation process. How did you find that? Was that easy for you or where? There’s some bumps along the way?


Dr. Francisca Enih [00:06:36] The dissertation was tough because to choose a topic that all along I have been having in mind that I want to do something with parents because of the type of students and the neighborhood where I work and looking at the progress that these students make the school system, I think I have wanted to send a message. I want to reach out to the society when we’re doing this parental walk. And for parents not to give up when their children goes into the higher institution that we still need, they need our support. Every one of us do need support, encouragement, moral supports and meets the love that you don’t have to do too much. When we’re getting old kids getting older because they are growing too much, we still need to be around them. So that’s why.


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:07:35] Well, I’ll tell you that one of the things that’s so gratifying for me when we work with doctoral students and and even our experts, that we help with becoming published authors. Everybody wants to help out. They want to make the world a better place. They want to to do something to help other people. And I find that so inspiring when I work with those that I’m not just helping somebody get ahead or just helping somebody fix a problem, but I’m helping them live a dream that’s helping other people live their dream. And I just think that’s so inspiring. I thank you for the work that you’ve done, Francisca. I know it ties directly into your book, which we’re going to talk about a little bit later. And I just think that’s so cool. So thank you for that.

Dr. Francisca Enih [00:08:20] Thank you.


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:08:21] OK, so we went through the dissertation. You figured out kind of what your topic was. Any other bumps along the way as you as you’re going through this?


Dr. Francisca Enih [00:08:30] Yes, I am very good at math, but with technology, I when I finish with my design and I thought I had enough my data was good at everything and when I made it, that is that I need to do more. We use SPSS like, oh my God, I can’t do this by myself. I need to ask for help. And that’s when I, I ran into you, Doc. And I was so happy and there the whole thing came up so perfect and it was good.


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:09:04] You had it all set up. A lot of our students come to us earlier in the process, but you had it all set up so that we really went through the data analysis. And our goal is for you to be able to report present and defend your results, because honestly, when you see any man or woman dressed up in a suit, whether it’s nice dress or actually a man’s suit or something, and they’re talking about numbers in front of a crowd of people, I can pretty well guarantee they didn’t run those numbers, whether it’s a governor or a president or a CEO of a company or whatever the case may be, unless you’re actually at an academic conference where it was a researcher and most likely they didn’t run those numbers. What they did is they had somebody else do that work for them and they understood the questions and the answers and what it all meant so they could communicate to their audience. And that’s exactly what you should be able to do as a doctoral student, is not get in under the hood and fix all the little gears and bells, but instead to be able to drive the car, to be able to present to people. This is what I learned. This is what it means. Here’s what we can do that. And that’s something I think you did a great job with.


Dr. Francisca Enih [00:10:09] That’s correct. Thank you.


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:10:12] All right, so got through the dissertation process, you mentioned that the that the defense was something that you really enjoyed. Tell folks a little bit about your experience there, because, as you said, you’ve been through a lot. It was difficult to get to this point. And a lot of our audience experiences difficulty in this process. I’m sure they want to hear about how things turned around and the start of the sun came out and the birds start chirping and all the nice things.


Dr. Francisca Enih [00:10:42] Well, what I want to share with everyone is that the process is not easy, that you have to set your go high and you have to do it. Don’t quit because it’s the end result is much better than you need to keep thinking. Well, what was your main reason when you started the whole project? You need to keep that in mind. You want to do something for the society and then go for it. No one says it’s gonna be easy. The road is never going to be easy. So we have to have the tools in our toolbox to combat it. Walk with it. I’m glad I didn’t quit and I don’t want no one to quit. Just do it. That’s all I would say,


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:11:29] Because then you wouldn’t have that super cool first name, Dr., right?


Dr. Francisca Enih [00:11:32] Yes.


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:11:34] Yeah. I would add one thing to a doctor and he said there, which is, yes, set your goals high because that’s what’s required of a doctoral program. But be careful about setting your goals too high. A lot of doctoral students want things to be perfect. And really, you need to make sure that you’re doing what your committee expects of you and then don’t say, well, I could do a whole lot better. I can do a whole lot more. You don’t get extra credit for that. You’re going to get the same degree when you graduate, regardless as to whether you wrote one dissertation or one and a half dissertations or 13 dissertations. So just do what’s required for one dissertation to get approved and that will get you to graduation as soon as possible. And that will let you experience all these wonderful opportunities that are out there, which Dr. Enih’s going to talk to him about now, because I want you to tell me more about this book. I know you’ve got a desk copy there with you, right?


Dr. Francisca Enih [00:12:26] Yes, I do have a copy 15 Minutes a Day,


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:12:31] and it’s Raising the bar to A’s, B’s and Honr Roll, right?


Dr. Francisca Enih [00:12:35] Yes. To help the children.


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:12:40] So tell folks about what the idea is behind the book, what the inspiration was. Just just let them know. Give them an overview.


Dr. Francisca Enih [00:12:49] OK, 15 Minutes  Day came to place because like I said earlier, I walk into middle school and when these students come in, they always, you know, well prepared and dressed up parents, drop them off, come through the door by bus, no problem. And then they would say, you’re right, I have been doing well in elementary school and parents have that in their pocket. So the child is doing well. That’s because kids are growing. Some of them. They start talking back or doing something that make you feel like this child is big enough and he does it. He she doesn’t need any more support. So what happens is that we start living them and then they start running the show. We all know what teenagers do. And then when they start doing the. They come up with so many things why they wouldn’t be performing at school, and then it surely reflects in their grades, even in their behavior. So 15 Minutes a Day will help you just to. Get it down, make sure you look at your child, should the child, the love that you have for him or her Ledwidge, I encourage the child to continue doing the right thing and let the most important let them know that you’re always around for them and not just I can say anything and move on. This is the age and the middle school where we have all the fundamental causes for them to push up to a higher institution. That’s why we start really doing that. They have Lendio one, two, three A.B.C. in elementary school, but when it comes to the middle school, the students will have the curriculum is well design. So give them the foundation to move on. So with 15 Minutes a Day, you’ll be able to walk with your child just a little bit fast you that you’re doing in the morning. And then when you come back in the afternoon and before you go to bed and you will see a lot of progress, we don’t have to keep running behind them to check everything. I know that you are who you are. You wouldn’t take no for an answer and you are there to support them.


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:15:21] And you mentioned just that. There is a few things that you do in the morning, in the afternoon and in the evening. I understand you actually have a checklist to help folks with that, is that right?


Dr. Francisca Enih [00:15:30] Yes, yes. I have a checklist on that one. You would find it on my you are aware that it is going to happen. I don’t have it. I want to show you


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:15:44] We’ll put it up on the on our show notes. But I believe we talked about it earlier and it’s 15MinutesADayBook.com/win. So that’s a little tough. You got to make sure you get all the pieces in there. There’s no punctuation at all. No spaces. It’s one five minutes, then the letter a then day, day. Why book dot com forwrd slash win. W I N. and I understand that’s because you call the checklist the win the day checklist. Is that right?


Dr. Francisca Enih [00:16:14] Yes. Yes.


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:16:15] That’s awesome. 15 minutes a day to win the day. I mean, who wouldn’t want that. That’s that’s so cool. So you talk to me a little bit about parental encouragement, I know you said that was one of the big themes in your book. Can you tell folks, you know a little bit about that? Like how how does a parent here we are right now as we’re recording this? We’re still in the in the covid lockdown. It is spring of two thousand twenty one. Some schools are starting to go back a little bit. Our kids are what they call virtual academy. So they’re taking all their classes from home, which is doubly hard on parents because you’re not only, you know, a full time parent and and a full time whatever you do at work. But also now you’re a teacher, too. So with all that stress and all that frustration that parents might be experiencing, particularly at this time, what words of encouragement do you have for them?


Dr. Francisca Enih [00:17:11] Yes, encouragement for parents is is just like back home where I came from, Nigeria, when I was in elementary school, we use Clay to make stuff, you know, more things. But here the kids use play doh. And I watch my grandson. Sometimes he makes so many things and he watches, he said the way he wants it to go. So encouragement is just like that for our children and for me or for you. You need someone to keep on more. You tell your Shapir, you keep one. You don’t give up because if you don’t have what you want, you need to find another strategy to make, you know, make something together, show them that you care. Using is salvors. Don’t yell at your own children. They deserve love. Yeah. Keep on shaping it until you get what you want from them. As for what I want for encouragement.


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:18:19] And I was just I’m trying to remember this quote and see if I can look it up right now, but it was something about my motivation and I am not going to find it right away. But it was something about motivation, something that we need every single day. So you should continue to encourage your children and take some time to encourage yourself as a parent to to keep this up, to keep moving forward because it’s going to pay off a lot. You were telling me about a special student that when we’re talking about paying off, this guy did some really great things. Do you remember the story you were telling me? I’d like you to share that with everyone.


Dr. Francisca Enih [00:19:00] Yes. Academic excellence is for children to be able to make a decision, being able to collaborate with other people. Guess what? The society is in need of a cheerful human being. So academic excellence is not just making or is BS right and on honorable that it’s our children to be able to make a good decision. And that’s based on what encouragement we have been giving to them at home, being able to collaborate with others. That’s very important at this age because no one is going to do anything by him or herself. We need work. So academic excellence is being able to have empathy for other people to see what is going on and other people. I recognize it’s when to step in and to help others. Once one time we went to on a field trip and our students in fanmail, some one of them fell. The other kids thought to have so academic excellence. It is being able to recognize what is happening and not know does happen in this society at this age.

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Dr. Russell W. Strickland

RUSSELL STRICKLAND, Ph.D., has been referred to as a “rocket scientist turned management consultant.” In truth, he applies an eclectic body of work from astronomy and nuclear physics to dynamic inventory management to market research to each of his student engagements.