Whether you have kids or not, or perhaps you don’t plan to have kids, you still need to be aware that you may become a parent anytime! Sometimes it just happens, it may be your biological child, an adopted child or maybe another child left in your care! Whichever way it happens, the best gift you could give to that child is to raise him or her to grow in confidence!
I was speaking with a friend in Atlanta Georgia when she said something that struck my heart “all I want for my daughter is to bring out the best of her, I don’t want to end up being a bad mother. I am doing all I can and trusting God that my efforts will be truly worth it.” I was speechless, tears dropped down my eyes but she never knew though. It is everyone’s prayer to raise great kids and it pays off when we watch our own kids be the best of whom God has designed them to be. Your family is your primary ministry and you must give it your best shot if you want to build a family that stands up to what it should be.
One of the best gifts you can give your children is by helping them build confidence and grow in godliness. Today, people would think godliness means being timid, anti-social, unexposed and so on but it truly means raising kids that will love the Lord boldly and express that love to others. It would be a thing of joy if I should watch my child teaching other children and encouraging them, what an adorable sight to behold! I have listed just some ways we could help our children grow in confidence and godliness.
1. DON’T JUST TALK, LISTEN
Listening to your children gives them a sense of belonging and makes them feel special too and you may not agree with this but there is a lot to learn from your child! Somehow, your children can teach you how to love them and where exactly you need to pay attention if you can devote some time to listen to them. Parents often do a lot of talking than they do listening to their children. Your child might be trying to say something very important but may be struggling with words, you don’t have to take words away from them, seal it off and get them busy so that they talk less. Even when he or she does something wrong, you’ve got to listen to them first, to know why they did what they did. It would be a pointer to something you never paid attention to.
2. THEY ARE KIDS BUT DON’T JUDGE THEM
We all used to be kids and we remember how bad and unimportant we felt when our parents judged us unfairly. When listening to your child, don’t be quick to make any conclusive remark, think about whatever they have said and made them know you are thinking about it. Judging your kids may actually blind you on things you ought to pay attention to. For instance, you may have concluded that your children are disrespectful because they don’t greet your cousin but you have to get close to them and know why they don’t seem to be showing your cousin so much respect. When they get used to you judging them, you may have to get used to them hiding things from you.
3. DON’T SPOIL THE ROD ON THEM
The Bible didn’t say we should spoil the rod on the child. In Psalm 23, we see that the rod can guide and comfort, therefore we may not need a physical rod but our words and loving disciplines. When a child does something wrong, don’t let anger dictate how you punish him or her. Sometimes, people think they are disciplining their children but they are only satisfying their anger on those children. When you punish your kids in anger, you are abusing them and it will make them develop low self-esteem. It is important to discipline them and still make them understand you disciplined them because you love them. Loving parents feel bad when spanking their kids but they want their kids to do the right thing.
4. BE THERE
It is true that you have so many responsibilities and you work extra times to cover the cost for the bills but it is truer than your children need you more, at least now that they are still children. The Bible instructs that we train our children before they grow up because we may not be able to train them after they are grown. In Igbo communities, there is a popular quote that says “you don’t learn dancing in your old age.” It is good that you provide money, food, clothing and other material things to your kids but that is not enough. I usually tell people that if they can’t devote time to their children, they shouldn’t have kids in the first place. You have to be your child’s gossip mate and best friend because what you do not teach them, they will learn it elsewhere and may even learn from the wrong person. Take note of your children’s birthday and holidays!
5. BE THEIR MENTOR AND MODEL
I once said that if my children grow up having someone else aside from me and their mother as a model and mentor, then I failed as a father. It is true that people will always grow up to choose their career path and also chose people they want to look up to, it is important to make them look up to you when they couldn’t make that choice yet. You do this by becoming exactly who you want them to become. You can’t be abusing your wife and think your son will not abuse his sisters or women around him. You are the example your children will follow. Start early to guide them, not just with words but also with your own actions.
6. ADMIT YOUR WRONG
Well, this is hard stuff for many African parents. The Bible instructs that we do not make our children angry because God also recognizes them as people with rights! Your duty is to guide your children and not to treat them like animals. Therefore, when you ever do anything wrong to them, it is important you apologize. Don’t just buy them ice cream without saying “Ben, I am sorry for hitting you that way, you know I want the best for you.” By admitting your wrong, you are also teaching them to admit their wrong when they make mistakes.
7. PRAY AND STUDY GOD’S WORD WITH THEM
Mostly before your children go to bed and before they leave for the day to school or other places, spend a little time to meditate on a verse or two with your children. Ask them what they got out of those verses and make them see hope from God’s word. Children go through a lot in the day, they go out there seeing other children who appear richer and happier, you may never know what this does to the child when they aren’t fed with words of hope every day. Also, pray for them to their own hearing and pray alongside them. Don’t be summarized entering their room to find them praying and mentioning you in their prayers, why? Because they learnt from you that they should pray not just for themselves but for others too!
I hope this spoke to you? What’s your favourite point? Let’s discuss on the comment section!