Contemporary Gospirational Artist, Song Writer, Insightful Blogger and Keynote Speaker
On this 12-hour flight from JFK to Lagos, I can’t help but think of my home and how I’ve missed it. It’s fun to travel but it’s greater fun to go back home. Reminds me of the song by Nadia Fay that says, ‘Home is where you are, home is where I wanna be…’ Among other definitions, home is a dwelling place for the family, a place where one lives and feels comfortable, safe, secure, and happy; a place where one’s domestic affections are centered; and a place where you can be yourself and feel like you belong. A funny one I found says ‘Home is a place where your WiFi connects automatically’. It’s about comfort, security, affection, being yourself and feeling like you belong. You can pause here and do a quick check. Is your house a home?
When I think of the home in relation to society, guess what comes to mind… Building blocks! These basic units from which things are built up are very important. It’s a common saying that the family is the building block of the society, so just as bad blocks would yield a bad product, dysfunction in families contributes to the dysfunction in society. This places a huge responsibility on parents. In fact, you could say that parents are responsible for the state, health and well-being of a nation.
Let me tell you why I say this. If you drill down to the root cause or foundation of common vices – such as corruption – that threaten the well-being of a nation, you’ll find character flaws that should have been corrected at home in the early years of the people involved. That element where some people in authority are dishonest or unethical because their priority is their personal benefit above the well-being of an entire populace is alarming. Why would someone take what is meant for millions of people and use it for himself alone? Why would anyone take pension funds and invest it to get returns while the pensioners suffer untold hardships or even die because of the lack of these same funds? SELF-CENTERED, SELFISH, SELF, SELF, SELF!
These are the traits we see in children when one child packs all the building blocks provided for a group of children to play with and happily builds his castles while the others stand by and cry until an adult intervenes or until the other kids decide to take it by force and a fight breaks out. Negative traits are meant to be identified and conscious effort made to help children leave them behind as they grow older and the best place for this to happen is in the home.
On the other hand, there are good values which should be modeled by the parents so the children can learn from them and eventually become models of these values to the rest of the society. This is a classic case of ‘DO AS I DO’. You can’t say one thing and do the opposite. If those values are important to you and you want it to be a standard in your home, you have to walk the talk. Be a model of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. These are values which if ingrained in our children and thereby in our future leaders, will bring about a better society.
We must be there to guide, counsel and correct our children on their journey to fully embodying these values. Our input is crucial. Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it. Train. That’s beyond just telling them. It’s serious, ongoing, dedicated teaching throughout their childhood. Tough job but it’s totally worth it!
Love each child completely, appreciate their uniqueness, celebrate their strengths. Make sure you don’t get sucked into the ‘favorites’ rot. Listen to them and make sure they feel comfortable coming to you when they have questions, great news, anxieties, uncertainties… when they feel confused, disappointed… don’t shut them out.
Our children are our responsibility, and parenting goes beyond providing food, shelter, clothing and paying school fees. While you do all that you do, ensure that you do not neglect this very important duty. As the children are the future, let’s begin today to make tomorrow better by ensuring that our homes are functional and our children sufficiently prepared. Make a personal commitment to do your part to make our society and our future better. We all gain.