Parenting is one of the toughest jobs in the world. As a parent you’re called to provide for the physiological, financial, socio-economic, emotional and psychological needs of your children from infancy to adolescence. Worse still is the fact that you’re not sure you’ve done a good or poor job until many years later. Even then you never really sign off from parenting job.
I stopped short of signing the petition for the removal of the judge (Aaron Persky) in the rape case against the Stanford University lad – Brock Turner. Not long after reading the story on my daughter’s Facebook page, I came across the Change.org petition asking for signatures for the removal of the judge which she had signed. The judge is accused of inappropriate leniency for reducing the jail term down to 3 months from 6 months despite the fact that Brock Turner pleaded guilty to 3 counts of rape. It is argued that the verdict would have been different had the convict been a black boy.
I did not sign the petition my daughter signed even though I could relate with her empathy for the rape victim. It will take the Holy Spirit physically restraining me not to decapitate anyone who violates my daughter. In the same vein, as a parent, I understand the feelings and actions of Brock Turner’s mother. I did not bother to read her 4-page letter to the judge because from the opening paragraph I could imagine what she wrote. I would probably have written a longer letter. The Yorubas (a major tribe in Nigeria) say, “No parent gives her wicked child to a tiger for a meal!” It is part of the dilemma of parenting.
The critical challenge
Parents face numerous challenges in raising their children. The biggest challenge with parenting however is hypocrisy – the urge to look good in the eye of the world. As insidious as this challenge is, it is the easy to deal with because it is self-inflicted. All that is required is for us to come to terms with the reality of parenting and choose to be true to ourselves.
Years ago, I read the story of a 13-year-old girl who asked her father what oral sex is! The man wrote that he almost jumped out of his skin. When he finally came to himself, he mumbled through the discussion. Luckily for him, his daughter said, “I thought you were going to lie to me because I had read about it in a book!”
When it comes to sex education, we, parents, do very poorly. As a parent, you’re a hypocrite if your child has married, is about to marry or will marry and you did not, have not talked and will not talk about sex!
Cognitive education (CE) is defined as education that provides explicit cognitive and meta-cognitive instruction. Its aim is to enhance the thinking processes of all learners by developing and mediating concepts, skills and strategies for ‘learning how to learn’ (www.iacesa.co.za).
Unfortunately, parents have narrowed cognitive education to what is obtainable in school whereas CE covers every aspect of learning including sex education.
I listened to a popular Nigerian preacher who struck a virginity deal with his daughter. According to him, he agreed with her on a gift to give to her if she kept her virginity through school. The deal was triggered when the girl was about going to the university. Interestingly, the young lady kept her side of the bargain and the father also fulfilled his promise.
Even though the preacher’s approach is fair in that it attempts to set a standard/goal, I do not subscribe to it for two reasons. One, I consider the approach intrusive. Second, it is rather sexist in that it is not applicable to a male child.
To overcome the hypocritical inclinations in parenting especially with respect to sex education, it is important to set standards. This is where academic education (institutionalized education) has it over other forms of education. In academic education, there are performance grades to aim at. Hence, parents tend to prevail on their children to go for high grades while they fail to complement them with the cognitive education that are not obtainable in school. As a result, we are raising young men who think with their ‘third leg’ and young ladies who think their ‘vital statistics’ are for the highest bidder!
There is hope
Admonishing parents who are worried about their kids, Bob Gass wrote: ‘“Eighty-five percent of all children raised by praying parents develop a strong personal faith – before age 13. “But my kids are already grown.” God’s name is “Redeemer” – He can give you another chance. Repent and commit your life to Christ; that’s how generational cycles of failure are broken. “But I’m concerned about bringing a child into this evil world!” It’s children of light who push back the darkness. God’s promise to you is, “My Spirit and my words that I give you will never leave you or your children or your grandchildren, now and forever” (Isaiah 59:21 NCV). “But how can I compete with the negative influences around me?” Every study confirms that a parent has by far the greatest influence – greater than friends, school or media – in determining the character and direction of a child.”’
There go your excuses for performing poorly in parenting hitherto. Neglect is the main reason people fail at anything, parenting inclusive. Now go ahead and give your life to Jesus Christ, if you have not done so. Find a Bible believing church where the truth of God’s word is preached, study the Bible and pray with and for your children daily. Take out time to discuss with your children the truth in the word of God (the Bible) regularly. Do not also forget to discuss life important issues – money, managing relationships, sex – with them at the appropriate time. When you follow the above-mentioned steps, you stand a good chance of succeeding at parenting.
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God bless you!