“Then I hated all my labor in which I had toiled under the sun because I must leave it to the man who will come after me. And who knows whether he will be wise or a fool? Yet he will rule over all my labor in which I toiled and in which I have shown myself wise under the sun. This also is vanity. Therefore, I turned my heart and despaired of all the labor in which I had toiled under the sun.” Ecc 2:18-20
Watching the Shark Tank episode on “Roominate”, really caught my attention. I had to stop it and get my wife to watch it with me. I could see a father’s heart, and it really touched me. It’s what we all want, right? We want to give our best to ensure that our children are better off than us, not worse off. No matter how rich we become, we don’t want our children to be entitled jerks, we want them to be able to hold their own, and even by a stroke of luck or grace, support us in our old ages, right?
How can we prepare our children to own their own spaces and make it in life? Or since there are no guarantees, what is the best we can do to ensure we have done our part?
While this is not an exhaustive list, I think it’s an essentials list
⁃ Train them. Don’t leave their training to school, church, or uncles and aunties. Be personally and directly involved in your children’s training. Don’t wait until they are mature, start with potty training and sleep training. Training takes different forms, instruction, correction, discussions, modeling, etc.
⁃ Relate with them. Don’t be only your children’s parents, be their friend. Help them understand what you are doing, why you are doing it, and what you hope to achieve. Carry them along in your moments, and help them to be able to relate to what you are doing and how. This means you need to grow yourself, cos if you are not value-driven yourself, you are just going to multiply what you have.
⁃ Connect them. It truly takes a village to raise a child. Parents can’t do it alone, so if all your children see is you, they can still grow up as idiots. It’s best to give them different flairs. The most important connection you need to make for your children is to connect them with your source (God), the next best is to connect them with people not too far from them who are value-driven like you. Mentorship is crucial to a child turning out right, and many times successful parents are too far to provide it. Also, if you find their peers doing well, support that relationship. There are many things we can learn from friends that fathers and mothers can only wish for.
⁃ Discipline them. In our gradually going western world, what this means is becoming more and more difficult to align. Call me old school if you would, but discipline is a sign of tough love, and many expressions lend themselves to discipline. With-holding discipline from a child prepares him/her for the future as a fool. It’s preparing them for sorrow and a hard time, or simply ending their lives early. Discipline is the art of providing firm warnings to our children. I like the illustration of the parent and the child walking toward a cliff. You will warn them to stop, if they persist you will warn them more severely, if they continue, you will run towards them and give them a sliding tackle. With love, there is no limit to discipline, so far it helps save the person from the dangers ahead. I don’t think the conversation of punishment, spanking or naughty corner is necessary, depending on the issue, parents will use every means necessary.
⁃ AIM them. Depending on your persuasion you can interpret this in different ways. Children were defined to be arrows in the scriptures, arrows that a mighty man shoots into the future to take territory or advance their heritage. Arrows (Children) are kept in the Bow (parents) and shot to greatness, shot into a better future, shot into the leverage of their parents. For the sake of this article, I will interpret AIM as – advanced, Immerse, and Manage. Advance them will mean you spend on them and invest in advance. See the potential in their future and advance them with the knowledge, skill, attitudes, and environment required to succeed. Advance means you allow them to enjoy the leverage that you have built. Immerse them in the way of life you have believed. Baptize them in Christ’s ethos if you are of that persuasion, immerse them in your value system, show them how to be selfless, people-oriented, and be channels and not containers. Then manage them. Understand that growth has stages and expect their process.
⁃ Bless them. The most impactful thing you can do for your children is to bless them. A blessing done from a place of deep intimacy with the owner of the universe is highly impactful. This one is out of your direct control, but there is evidence to show, that a blessing can turn around a life 180 degrees and repair the damage done earlier. Make it your attitude to bless them. There are many who can’t explain their success, they feel they are blessed, but can’t really articulate it.
It’s getting long again. Let me stop now that you are still enjoying it.