You may have heard of conversations around letting children decide the path they want to take when they are adults when matters religion are mentioned, but the same people never let children make decisions on choosing to walk clothed or naked, why? I don’t know.
A few weeks ago, I had a work project that took me to an islam dominated region in my country and in one of the days I ended up in a new born unit of a hospital. Being a sensitive area, you do not expect much activity except the new born babies, medical and clinical staff and maybe a few mothers coming in from the main maternity ward and a few from home (whose children have to stay longer in the hospital care) to check on their babies. The case for this specific hospital was however different. Besides one of the little babies who had been born premature sat an old greyed man reading a Quran to the child. He had told the staff in the ward that if they did not let him read the Quran to the child, then he would carry the child home and do it there. You can imagine my shock and reaction, and I could not wait to share the words with my Bible study leader, a lady full of wisdom and hear her thoughts.
My stereotype mindset that kicks in when things are done in a certain way was overtaken by my Bible Study leaders thoughts who told me that this was an old man who had understood the strength of speaking life into a situation that was beyond him. True to her words, nothing was going to stop this man from setting up the foundations that this child needed when he/she could not fight for themselves.
That situation made me reflect alot about my parenting and led me back to what the Bible says in Proverbs 22:6, “Teach a child in the way that they should go and when they are old they will not depart from it”. It is these strong guidelines on parenting from the Bible that have been my guiding principles in my parenting journey.
No parenting class, book or seminar prepares you for everything. Try listening to a group of ladies discussing their labour and delivery story and that’s enough to prepare you for what parenting is all about, it’s different for everyone and children have a way of picking lessons from every source availed to them.
How then do you make your voice as a parent or guardian the most significant or at least the most clear?Parenting for me was a mystery. Nothing prepared me to having two children below the age of three years at one point in my life. It has become easier with time but back then, it was tough. I remember a period when I completely shut off mentally and grateful that our children had the love of their Grandmother (My Mother) and their Father to take on things I could not do.
It must have been particularly easier for My Mother to parent my children and nephews having been a parent herself at a very young age. By the time she was twenty four years, she has all my siblings and I and as a working Mother, she also enjoyed the support of parenting offered by her own Mother and Mother in law, I sort of followed the same tread, but in my case, she understood more than I knew or was willing to try. I remember at some point leaving everything for her as I had no idea what to do and she never disappointed. That bond with my children remained true till the end of her life in 2021.
The greatest parenting lessons I learnt from Mom was having the right foundations of faith. I still remember scripture I learnt in Sunday school and Bible stories that became guiding principles when I lost my way many times, prayer and fellowship were key. Those are lessons I have passed on to my children.
I may not control a lot of what happens when my children become teenagers, young adults and eventually adults, but I have an influence in how they can handle some of those seasons.
The Bible has remained unchanged through history, and for me that remains a guiding foundation for my parenting journey. We may not attend physical church every Sunday, but we purpose to attend online church on Sunday, say Our Lord’s Prayer everyday, jointly confess the words of Psalms 23:6 daily which proclaims that Surely goodness and mercy shall follow us, all the days of our lives; and we will dwell in the house of the Lord forever, Join our community in the weekly Bible Study Fellowship online sessions and above all, use scripture to guide our decisions and lifestyle.
We have many people that are struggling with parenting, not because of what they know or what they don’t know, but because they are pulled in different directions, unsure of what way to follow and what way to forsake. The unfortunate reality is that once a child checks into your life, whether born or adopted, you are stuck with them for many years and only the formative years determine a lot of what happens in the future. As a parent or guardian, you can only influence your child’s decisions for a short while, why not try when they are younger?
As you take on this heavy role of parenting, may you choose wisely each day, the foundations that are right, after all, the world and all it offers will keep changing, but one thing remains uncharged, the word of God.
God bless you!