Parenting is the act or process of training children. It is the desire of every couple to be parents and it is a worthy desire because God programmed man to bring up offspring and train them.
“And God blessed them and God said unto them: Be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth…” Genesis 1:28.
The only way to bring the blessing of God in this respect is by man and woman getting married, irrespective of the message of same sex marriage, lesbianism and homosexuality that Satan is preaching today, and the process of reproduction and whatever a couple does in training the child is parenting.
Parents don’t just have to be biological but could also be guardians or surrogates to whom the upbringing of a child is entrusted. However, siring or giving birth to a child alone cannot make a couple good parents. Some have failed in their responsibility and have consequently added to the problems of the world in that their offspring have become troubles for humanity. The social miscreants and anti-establishment deviants, terrorising the world are products of deficient parenting. There are certainly well behaved children that would make you wonder where these other demons sprang from. The difference, however, lies in who brought them up and therein lies the essence of effective parenting.
In fairness to all, no couple sets out with intention to fail but earnestly desire to be good parents and contribute positively to expanding God’s ministry on the earth by bringing up worthy successors despite the formidable challenges. One notable fact is that parenting is an art to be learned; it does not just spring from nowhere but demands total submission to the leading of the Holy Spirit and patient determination to succeed in the divine assignment that parenting is. Also noteworthy is that there are no standard principles for good parenting. Therefore, parents should open their eyes to identify peculiar circumstances and situations of their families and adjust accordingly because what works for one parent, may not work for another.
What the present-day Church and, invariably the entire humanity, needs are exemplary parents, who will set new standards in the art of parenting; who will be signposts of how best to raise children for the glory of God and good of humanity. Such model parents must possess certain attributes; some are discussed hereunder.
They must be Prayerful
Prayer is the foundation of model parenting. Whoever must be model parents must learn to pray for the success of their children, even before they are born. We applaud the wisdom of King Solomon but that wisdom and all his several accomplishments were as a result of an earlier prayer offered by King David on his behalf.
“And give unto Solomon, my son, a perfect heart to keep thy commandments, thy testimonies and thy statutes and to do all these things and…” 1 Chronicles 29:19.
In fact, model parents begin to teach their children the potency of prayer from infancy, at the family altar but also continue tirelessly to pray for all-round development and success of these children for as long as they live.
“Pray without ceasing” 1 Thessalonians 5:17.
It is much more difficult for children of today than in times gone by because the world has become so brazenly corrupt and violent unlike before. So, parents must always pray for their children that God should preserve their steps to success and Godliness despite the madness in the world today.
Inculcate Worthy Lifestyle
Christians are of a different stock; their lifestyle Christians is fundamentally different from the rest of the world.
“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of Him, who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” 1Peter 2:9.
Christianity has certain practices by which the faithful live and model parents must ensure that their children imbibe such lifestyle. Christians practise forgiveness, love and kindness. It is Christian lifestyle to be civil and generous. Christians are habitually polite, well-mannered, considerate and temperate, shining the light of Christ in a world full of darkness. Therefore, whoever desires to be model parents must impart such lifestyle to their children so that they can grow into full stature of Christians, called into consummate fellowship with Christ without getting contaminated with the sinful world.
Be Sacrificial in Love
“ And the king said unto Barzillai, come thou over with me and I will feed thee with me in Jerusalem…But behold thy servant Chimham, let him go over with my lord, the king and do to him what shall seem good to thee…And the king answered, Chimham shall go over with me and I will do unto him that which shall seem good to thee and whatever thou shalt require of me, that I will do for thee” 2 Samuel 19:33 & 37b & 38.
As seen above, old Barzillai preferred his son’s comfort to his. He would rather suffer discomfort so that his son would have a great future. That is how it should be. Unfortunately, many parents neglect their children and go after temporal pleasures; forgetting that children are their future and testimony that they actually passed through this earth. But model parents are unlike these and must show selfless love their children. Besides that, it must be apparent to the children that you love them through your numerous acts of sacrifice. There is no better way of showing your love than providing for the upkeep and general well being of your children, material, financial, spiritual and emotional, no matter how daunting the task. Model parents prefer their children to themselves. You must pay passionate interest in what is happening to them, show concern and help them out of difficult times.
Be Readily Available
The greatest gift you can ever give to your children is yourselves. No gift, no matter the quality or cost, can be a good substitute for you in your children’s lives. Of course, the times are very demanding because you have to joggle so many jobs in order to put food on the table but that food can only be palatable with you at the table. To avoid the possibility and likely disconnect from your children, you must find time to be with your children and share with them tales of their pains and triumphs; they want to hear yours too and you must also make up for lost time. This will result in understanding and family bonding. Moreover, you can observe your children as they grow and correct whatever lapses you notice in their lifestyle while it is still possible.
Set Worthy Examples
The only way children learn is by emulation. No child is born with an already formed character. It can only do what it sees the parents do and form its own character from there. It is imperative therefore, that model parents should set worthy examples for their children. You must be conscious of your actions and words, knowing full well that your children are keen observers of your conduct and, as far as they are concerned, whatever you do is faultless. If you have an acrimonious relationship as a couple, it is almost certain that your children’s future homes would equally be as acrimonious if not worse, because that is what they learnt from you. Never forget that you have a responsibility to show these children the right path, otherwise, you will have a lot of explaining to do to your maker on the Last Day.
Not Lax to Discipline
Model parents should build very close bonds with their children. In fact, build your relationship with your children to the level of cordiality they will begin to see you as friends or allies they can trust and confide in. Create time to play, have fun and make the home very hospitable for everyone. Despite all this, however, model parents set boundaries and do not hesitate to wield the big stick of discipline when occasion demands. They know where to draw recognisable lines that are off limits to every child. They must also ensure that the children know the lines and insist on those boundaries so that the relationship is not abused and be consistent.
“He that spareth his rod, hateth his son but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes” Proverbs 13:24.
It is sad that so-called civilisation promotes irresponsible behavior by making it impossible for parents in certain climes to discipline erring children. The result is unbridled delinquency and aberrant behaviour. Nonetheless, it should be clear that discipline should not harmful to the child. It is due to child abuse in the name of discipline that some people frown at meting disciplinary actions against offending children but whichever way, the idea is to correct the child, not harm him. Discipline does not necessarily have to be corporal; there are other creative ways of enforcing discipline and equally achieve good results.
Promote Mutual Respect
It may sound odd to note that model parents respect their children as a way of getting their children’s respect. You can do this by recognising that truth; that they too deserve your respect. Do not be unduly interfering or overbearing. Allow them a say in matters that concern them and explain to them why you take certain decisions about them that they do not seem to agree with. That way, you avoid likely rebellion, which even the Bible warns you against.
“And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” Ephesians 6:4.
Model parents should encourage their children to express themselves. They should not stifle their children’s self-assertiveness, opinions or initiatives. Rather, they should even consult them in some cases and encourage them to make inputs in family decisions, especially as it concerns them. It is detrimental and counter- productive to shut them up, as this may likely result in bottled up emotions, which, when it explodes, will result in very dire consequences. Encouraging self-expression leads to enhanced and faster self-development.
Model parents must always listen to whatever views or complaints their children express. Children are naturally curious, wanting answers for what they do not understand and almost always resenting every decision that they feel is unfavourable to them irrespective of whether it is for their own good. All model parents should do is to be patient, hear them out even if they are unreasonable and understand what their grouse really is and then offer cogent explanations. Failure to do this may lead to bitterness or push them to seek answers from sources that may feed them with toxic information that may do more harm than good. However, you must never allow them to dictate to you or force you to rescind your decisions if it is not necessary.
The best way to express your love for your children is not by overly pampering them. If you really love your children, you must strike a balance and resist the urge to pander to every of their whims. Give them only what is necessary and deny them whatever they want that may not contribute meaningfully to their development. Model parents give their children direction in life and encourage them to explore and develop on their own by taking initiatives in some aspects of life. If, for fear that they would make mistakes, you stop them from taking decisions or participating in acts that may enhance their capacity, the result is retardation. Allow the children to try things out on their own, make their mistakes and learn from them.
We live in information age. The truth about the media is that they are indispensable tools, which, sadly, have equally done great harm to character formation. The devil has taken advantage of man’s dependence on the media to wreck havoc on the society with the prevalence of morally depraved programmes, bordering on sex, pornography, violence, homosexuality and lesbianism. Model parents should regulate the extent to which their highly impressionist children are exposed. One indisputable fact is that the media are important and all-pervading and the society cannot do without them but you can monitor what programmes your children are exposed to. Identify children-compliant programmes and the times they come on air, allowing your children access to television only at such times. Also, decide the Internet sites your children visit as well as what they do with their cell phones.
Parenting is not an easy task, especially when you are a Christian, bringing up little children in this perverted world. Nevertheless, it is not impossible task because others have succeeded in raising giants in the Lord’s army and so can you. The extent to which you succeed as parents will help to make the world a better and healthier place. It will also depopulate the kingdom of darkness when godly children emerge as future champions from godly homes. All that is required of you is to develop the mind of a model parent, trusting the lord to make you one; surely, He will.
“For everyone that asketh, receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth: and to him that knocketh it shall be opened” John 11:10.