This perplexing story introduces us to the topic at hand: PARENTING THE 21st CENTURY CHILD/ADOLESCENT.
Wikipedia defines parenting or child rearing as the process of promoting and supporting the physical, emotional, social, and intellectual development of a child from infancy to adulthood. In many cases, orphaned or abandoned children receive parental care from non-parent or non-blood relations.
From the above definition, we understand that parenting is not just about giving birth to children, and it does not stop at childhood but spills over to adulthood (but, for more efficient result, training must start from infancy; otherwise it becomes cumbersome, almost impossible for some knowledge to be imbibed at a later stage in life). We also understand that parenting is participatory and deliberate. Nothing of substance happens by chance: it takes commitment and consistent effort for good results to be achieved. With this understanding, it becomes clear to us that, parenting is a very serious job; a lot more serious than we realise. It is one task that requires utmost dedication and determination! The key character in our story today – Mrs. Ajayi, displayed commitment and involvement in her child’s life.
You then ask yourself: ‘what is so peculiar about this Century that we have to dedicate a whole chapter to it; why should we be concerned about our children growing up in it?’
There has never been a time the world moved at a speed in which it is moving presently. Everything is moving almost at the speed of light. This speed has come with a lot of pressure which has left our young ones dazed and confused! Our world has been invaded! The advent of new ideologies, knowledge, technology and all that have come with their own drawbacks too. The most prominent and affective of all these is the internet. Did you notice how the boy in our story was introduced into the unwholesome lifestyle of homosexuality by browsing with his mother’s phone? Those are the drawbacks!
With internet, the world has become a global village. Ideas and information are disseminated in a fraction of seconds; nothing is classified anymore! The world is no longer in our living rooms alone; it is now at our finger tips!
These new ideologies and knowledge have come with a lot of benefits quite alright, but so are the drawbacks! Unfortunately, the more vulnerable group to these risks are the younger generation (though, full blown adults are not entirely exempted, but that is another study for another day) and they need to be well guided. Evil has been so repackaged that it is presented as good, and our young ones are fast buying into it; they are gulping it down!
Apart from the harmful effects of the internet, there are other factors that pose as threat to us as parents in raising our children the godly way! These factors we want to look at shortly.
Also, we want to see how we, as parents can successfully raise our children in this jet moving age without allowing them to be swept away by the evil torrents of this world. How is it possible to get them to hold their heads high in a chaotic environment such as ours today? These and many more we intend to address in this discourse.
Please, come with me as we go back to the very beginning to get understanding of this crucial topic.
“Then God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good. —.” Genesis 1:31
From this singular verse, it is clear that everything God created was very good. This then implies that every child was born good; and as such there is no bad baby. Every child comes in innocent, unassuming, uninformed and unbiased. Whatever any child learns subsequently, he/she learns from his/her parents and environment. The English philosopher and physician of the 17th Century, John Locke corroborates this point when in his theory he stated that children were born without knowledge. At birth, their mind is tabular rasa or a blank slate and are formed and developed by experiences with the environment.
This brings to mind the popular story in the Bible -the story of the ‘sower.’ Let’s look at it: “—-likened a man which sowed good seed in his field; But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.” Matthew 13: 24-25.
For the purpose of this discourse, we shall be seeing the provider of the good seeds as our heavenly Father, the parents as the sower, while the good seeds are our children; the tares being those factors that militate against the healthy growth and development of our children. The seeds being good buttress the point made in Genesis 1 that everything God created was good. We fast forward to Matthew 13:25 to discover that despite the good nature of the seeds, the enemy still went ahead and sowed tares!
*Note, those tares are not there for fancy; they are there for the purpose of stopping the good seeds from achieving their full potentials and if possible snuff the life out of them! My prayer is that ‘the enemy’ will not get our children in Jesus name!
In our next series, we shall be looking at those tares and how we can combat them in order to achieve a healthy existence for our children.