Parents … what have you taught us?


Parents … what have you taught us?

It may sound very rhetorical but it needs an answer that will send the heartbeats of our hearts up to the memory for posterity sake. If the answers are thrown into the sea to drown in its dept, then how would we be able to know what roles you played in our lives as children? Everyone is a child to his or her parents no matter the person’s age. So let’s talk
The world over, in a bid to live a fulfilled life, everyone wants to have a child except for those under the oath of celibacy. This is the reason why Elizabeth Stone said in one of her quotes that “Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body”. From the day you decided to have babies, you decided to take charge and be responsible for us. Our well being, health, understanding, education, shelter, clothing, feeding, name it… these are some of the things you do to make sure that we are well to do. You make us somewhat, or possibly, absolutely comfortable. No doubt, this is what every child wants. But your presents are never enough. Your presence matters a lot too I agree. My question is what do you tell us when we are around you? It is not just your presence as well; it is the benefits we get from your presence. What do we learn from you each time you are around? Just pause, ask yourself “what have I really taught my child?”; in tandem with what Elizabeth Stone said, as a parent, your heart is always at alert making sure we don’t go astray and perhaps abiding by the principle of bringing us up in the way we should go so that when we grow we will not depart from it. On the other hand, have you taken your time to actually inquire about what we already know?  Whether you were the ones that taught us? Some time ago, a thirteen or fourteen year old girl was shown on CNN pregnant. This emanated from what her own parents taught her. They only gave her sex education: abstinence. They told her the consequences. But the girl was bent on knowing whether it’s possible to get pregnant if she doesn’t abstain. She saw it at the end. It’s glaring that what you teach us and how you teach it matters. Then how do we understand it should be your research because we are your projects. If you make a very good research and write a project well, in the end the eulogy belongs to you.
What you teach is never enough. What about what you do? “Don't worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you.” Robert Fulghum once admonished. We watch you even though you may say “he’s just a child… what does he know yet”. Beside the inherited constitution of personality, one’s development is determined by events in the early childhood as postulated in Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalysis.  Childhood is where we learn so fast, from hearing or seeing. If you to think that what you do to an extent does not in any way concern us, you are wrong, it matters to us.
A graduate was once called for a job interview; he was asked how much he wanted the company to pay him. He said “you should pay me nothing less than what my pocket money was”. He was asked how much it was and he stated 250,000 naira. “If you want children to keep their feet on the ground, put some responsibility on their shoulders” Abigail Van Buren asserted. It’s obvious he wouldn’t want to receive less than what his parents gave him while in school. It’s not as if the money is too big for a graduate. But then, how much does the managing director of the company receive? That you are wealthy does not mean that we should be spoilt. At the same time, it does not mean that you should not carter for us but like the common parlance, “stop giving us fish, teach us how to catch the fish”. In this case, it is not just teaching us how to catch the fish but also teaching us on time.
However, sometimes you think we are not doing well, and we need to be changed, C.G. Jung, at the Integration of the Personality in 1939 said that “If there is anything that we wish to change in the child, we should first examine it and see whether it is not something that could better be changed in ourselves.” This is in line with what Sigmund Freud explained in his psychoanalysis; there is always an element of inherited constitution of personality in every child. As such, you have to make a u-turn because we may have inherited or learned it from you, and then make hay while the sun shines. If you are a philanderer, what do you think we’ll possibly learn from that? Only the grace of God will save a wayward child who has the slightest inclination to break loose from doing so. Or you sometimes beat our mothers, or let’s say you fight every now and then, what do you think we’ll learn? Instead of teaching us the right thing from the wrong one we’ve done, you yell at us thereby discouraging us from trying to attempt (see Ephesians 6:4).
If you are able to call us together to tell us what your deeds were and that we should be careful, and as a child, it sinks into the medulla. Pray we don’t become the American girl who behaved like eve and tested the forbidden fruit. As a father, lead your son in a right part, teach your son to be a man, the mother ought to do same to the daughter and not the other way round.
Sometimes, having taken your time to bring us up the way that is said to be the right way, you are scared to let us venture to see how the outside looks. Probably because of this False Evidences Appearing Real (FEAR), you think allowing us would be detrimental. Then you resolve to movement restriction. Unknowing to you we always device other means to get out of the house. The little opportunity we get, we could use it to do those things we have longed for. You think we could be cultists if you allow us go to schools far away from home. You think our not being in the hostel or boarding house will get us exposed to negative influences from peers. You think going to mixed schools will get us exposed to boys or girls. What if we don’t go to mixed schools then we later become lesbians and gays, what is your take on that? Why not expose us to things and let us make the choice? Like the prodigal son, we might even run out of the house. Do not panic but God sets a mark on us just like He did to Cain, provided you pray. Now when we come back home, still like the prodigal son, accept us.  Always ensure to give us absolute discipline when we go wrong because if you strike us with rod we’ll not die, you are only saving our souls from Sheol (see Proverbs 23:13-14).  Once you are meticulous but not giving us destructive protection, I think we’ll make good children.
One vital piece of admonition I will give at this juncture is that no matter how poor you may be, learn to keep your child under the roof that you are. It is true that you should try to make your child comfortable. What if you can’t afford all the luxury? Some end up sending their child to uncle, aunty or even friend or someone from their home town. Now when the child comes perhaps for holiday, he or she doesn’t behave the way you expected, you smack them. Whose fault? Their attitude may be a replica of the person they live with. The one they ought to have inherited and learned from you have been diminished. The most important is what we learn from you. And so the question remains… what have you taught us? What do you think we should as well teach our own children? Answer this question for posterity sake.
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