Oct. 19, 2016

The tough task of parenting

"When someone is entrusted with a great deal, of that person even more will be expected" (Lk.12:48)

Expectation increases with responsibility. And that's the way judgment is passed on every individual. Maybe I can use politics a little here to drive home my message. For example, Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump are both presidential candidates for the U.S. election. The expectations from both candidates have grown so high. That's why people are digging into their past, things they did years back have come back to either hunt or favor them. The reason is that the American presidency is a great deal. It's much bigger than being a classroom teacher. It is way beyond working as a post office agent. It is a position of high influence, authority and decision making. For that reason, whatever had been said or done by any of them anywhere is being exhumed. The consequences of their actions are no longer personal/private, so also the implications of those actions surpass their individual interests now. Those who want to cast votes for them want to be sure they are not making wrong choices that may have adverse effects on their lives and those of the entire American society and the world at large. Much is expected of them because they are given much.

The satement above applies so much to parenting. In the scripture passage, Christ states, "You must be ready, because the Son of man is coming at an hour you do not expect" (Lk.12:40). He is surely warning us in view of the kingdom of heaven. Christ does not want his disciples to take anything for granted. He challenges his followers to embrace wisdom in relation to the things of heaven thus, "Who, then, is the wise and trustworthy steward whom the master will place over his household to give them at the proper time their allowance of food?" (Lk.12:42).

Similarly, every parent is placed in charge of a household to provide for the children their allowance of food. The food for children is beyond physical. Parents provide moral, intellectual, spiritual and physical food for their children. Parents cannot provide only physical food and presume they've done enough, else they fall short of proper parenting. Physical food provides physical growth and nourishment. Intellectual food provides intellectual growth and development. Moral food ensures sound and good moral development while spiritual growth balances out the spiritual hormones in every child for holistic growth and maturity.

Sandy came to me a few days ago to talk about Josh, her first son. Josh, according to her, is fourteen years old at the moment. Her concern is that she started observing strange attitude from Josh. He's beginning to act strange. Sandy loves Josh so much and wouldn't want anything to hurt him. Is it better to adopt the carrot and the stick approach or just pretend and let him do whatever he wants? It could be a tricky game to balance out emotions with child upbringing. I told Ms. Sandy that it's not about the carrot and the stick in her case. Rather, it is a matter of being firm and still loving her son. It means standing ready and watching. Josh's attitude could be as a result of the following:

*Peer influence *Physiological change as a result of puberty *Growing sense of autonomy 

In any of these cases, Ms. Sandy, just as any other parent has to be at alert. There has to be a subtle and wise approach to know what could be the cause of Josh's strange behavior. As parent in this case, you don't have to snap back at Josh. You have to have the patience of the trustworthy and astute steward entrusted with the entire household in which Josh belongs. It is no longer mere physical food that will empower Josh. Spiritual, moral, intellectual and psychological foods are necessary to make Josh come out of his developmental dilemma. It means recognizing that much has been given to you as parent, and for you to give much, you must be equipped.

Introduce Josh to the importance of love which comes from God. Get the family to pray together and inject the scriptures in your instruction for Josh. Open him up to God's love. Both you and your husband should also be watchful of what you say and do before Josh. Be as much gentle as possible. Be sure you find out what type of friends Josh is following/keeping. Also Keep neigborhood watch. And finally, keep close eyes on his social media activities. Great result can only come out of great reaponsibility, Josh is only an example out of many.