As a parent to 2 children of ages 11 & 10 respectively, I have come to appreciate raising kids and the many sacrifices that parents have to make for their children. I am not sure if our predecessors found it this challenging but I beg to argue that they didn’t. I think that raising kids in the 21st century is super duper challenging and complex. I also think that in some ways, the 21st century has also made some things easier for parents i.e. phones, e-learning etc.
In an average home these days, most parents are away for most part of the day and the need to maintain a moderate standard of living is placing enormous pressures on women to work full time and even for long hours. Whilst it is great for women to be able to hold down a job and pursue their careers, they find themselves caught up in the middle of trying to be an excellent mother, wife as well as excellent workers.
Fathers also are working very hard and away from home sometimes to ensure that they can cater for their families and continue to provide the comfort and extras that they need. Above all, they are relied upon to take on additional domestic chores in this century like never before. In all of these, I ask myself what the most important things are in raising God-fearing, confident, law abiding and well-rounded kids in the 21st century?
We already do so much and they are great but are they the right mix of things to do or are we missing anything out? I don’t know about anybody else, but I sometimes wonder if I am doing the best by my kids and positioning them as best as possible in a world that recognizes only success but not efforts. Am I right in thinking that I am not alone in this?
Without having to add more to what you are already doing as a parent or as parents, I believe that we need to ensure that whatever we do includes or reflects the following;
Recognize that you are the best coach your child will ever know and your role as a coach must be a holistic one, from being a spiritual coach to being a career coach. They need you to help them translate all the puzzles of the big world to things they can relate to and they need you at a time when it makes a lot of difference to them.
- We need to ensure that in our quest to expose them to things that will stretch their minds at school or in extra curricular activities, that we create the time and opportunity for them to learn about and to seek God for themselves. One of the greatest legacies we can leave for our children are spiritual teaching and values.
- Live by example –Do we live our lives in such a way that our children can follow in our example or are we ashamed to even admit to some of the things we do when they are not there? The thing is children are smarter than we think and do know if we are authentic or pretentious.
- Avoid making up for the deficiencies in your childhood when raising your kids – Although it is a good thing to draw from one’s past experiences in order to be a better parent but it is important to be able to strike a balance when doing so.
” AS PARENTS, IT IS IMPORTANT TO BE ABLE TO STRIKE A BALANCE “
- Every child is unique and therefore needs to be dealt with uniquely. Just as every product designed comes with its operating manual, every child has a design blue print, which God wants to share with us as parents when we seek Him about our children. It is therefore important that we do not treat one child exactly the same way we would treat another.
- Don’t abuse your positional authority over your children – we need to ensure that whatever decisions we are taking in regards to our children’s lives, that it is ultimately in their best interest and not ours or just taking a position to win an argument or irritate your spouse.
- Finally, Be there! You can’t actually raise your children to be champions if you are not there i.e. physically or psychologically. If you are present but not engaged with them or anything pertaining to their education, extra curricular or even socially, it is as bad as not being there and you will be setting a bad example of how parents should operate. Moreover, it is like robbing the children off the life they could have. Children need guidance, love, protection and role models.There is no such thing as a perfect parent but we can strive for greatness and allow God to use us to build the next generation. Parenting requires a great deal of sacrifice.