‘Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.’ Proverbs 22:6 (NIV)
The so-called ‘civilisation’ that was preached back in those days was meant to help us live a better, more fulfilled life – or so we were made to believe. While it has brought some good things along with it, it has also brought decadence in our society as less and less parents devote ample time to the real jobs they need to pay attention to. We now complain about all forms of ills in the society, while enough is not being done on the home front where they usually start from.
Misguided Idea of Parenting
Being a parent comes with huge responsibilities. Most times, emphasis is placed primarily on providing for the needs of the family. The state of the economy has worsened matters in this regard, as both parents – in many cases – have to work to support the family. However, parenting goes beyond providing for the material and financial needs of the children; it incorporates the promotion and support of the emotional, social and intellectual development of a child from the state of an infant to that of an adult.
Kids need to be taught the right values and the appropriate way to relate with other people in the society. They are innocent beings in need of guidance on the path to follow in life. But sadly, many a parent is too busy chasing money just to take care of only a fraction of the whole with possible dire consequences on their immediate family and the society at large. Money is not everything in the lives of your children, parents!
Bad Parenting the Bane of the Society
It is saddening to note that social norms and values have been significantly relegated to the background in the scheme of things these days. Gone are the days when the grooming of a young person is the duty of an entire neighbourhood. Most parents do not permit any neighbour to discipline their children when they err, even though they are not around the kids for most hours of the day. They think teachers should be the ones doing the jobs they are meant to do, not minding the fact that they have also restricted the power of the same teachers to correct or discipline disobedient children.
With parents not doing their parenting duties as they ought, it is no surprise to see many uncultured children. It is saddening to note that most kids find it hard to greet older people after waking in the morning or at other times when they ought to, as was the case back in those years when we have not become as ‘civilised.’ Bad parenting has led to a surge in child kidnapping, mainly because parents are not there to keep a watchful eye on their children. Incidence of child rape is also on the rise and many more young people are becoming rapists, thugs, rascals and frauds at an alarming rate. You could communicate with your children by merely using your eyes back in the days – that is virtually impossible nowadays.
Some Words of Advice
I have to admit that I am not exactly in the right position to advise parents on how to raise their children since I have not yet become one. But that is not enough reason for me not to be able to share some words of advice, if you will be willing to use them.
Spend quality time with your children
It is important you realise that provision of material and financial needs of your children is not everything. Your children need you around as well. Endeavour to spend quality times with them, especially on weekends. This will enable you learn the aspects where they need your support more at a point in time.
It is a good thing to teach your kids social values such as honesty, integrity, respect, love, consideration or empathy and justice. But you shouldn’t just stop at that. You should also try to explain why these values are essential.
Lead by example
You should not just talk, but also do. Efforts should be made to exhibit those values you want your children to imbibe. For instance, you cannot be teaching honesty, while your children always hear you tell one lie or the other, especially when on the phone.
Keep the number manageable
One thing most people fail to realise is that more children mean more responsibilities. It is common to see people of little resources having large families while holding to the belief that it is God who takes care of children. But then, you should know that it is not the number of children you have that will take you to heaven – it may, in fact, work against you if the children are not trained in the right way. Endeavour to keep the number of children you have manageable. Doing this may even enable the parents to work less for more quality time with their children.
Parents have a lot to do in preserving sanity and giving hope to the society. It is high time we realised that money is not everything. Spend more time with your children to guide them in the right way to go – that is probably the most important job you have.