FAMILY FUSION: Be at your brightest (III)
“The greatest legacy one can pass on to one’s children and grandchildren is not money or other material things accumulated in one’s life, but rather a legacy of character and faith.” – Billy Graham
TODAY IT SEEMS as though there is a relentless, ruthless and merciless group that has lost all sensitivity to human dignity and would stop at nothing in their quest to impede the potential and progress of our children.
Our children are faced with horrors within their homes, challenges within the church, stress within the schools. They are drawn into the subtle embrace of drug lords, paedophiles and pornography; seduced and often won over by foreign cultures that dump immoral garbage into their faces and ears via mass media, music and mixed messages. They are viewed as products for display and not persons to develop, cargo for cash and not children to be cherished, things to be abused and not treasures to be admired.
Psychologist Dr James Dobson said: “Children are not casual guests in our home. They have been loaned to us temporarily for the purpose of loving them and instilling a foundation of values on which their future lives will be built.”
Today I want to challenge you as a parent to be at your brightest for your children especially within their foundation years.
In two previous articles I suggested making resolutions to be at your brightest as a person and then as partner. Our children merit the brightest lights we can give them so that they will not lose their way in the darkness of today’s confused world with its myriad of voices, vices and values.
• Be at your brightest before introducing your child into this world.
I continue to see too many young parents just thoughtlessly bring children into the world only to expose them to a multiplicity of negatives too painful for healthy growth and development. Never introduce your children into this world’s environment without carefully planning for them.
Ask some hard questions like: “What kind of quality father or mother do I want to contribute to the positive development of my child?” “Have I seen consistency in responsibility and reliability in him or her?” “Have I done enough background checks on him or her that make me feel comfortable that he/she is emotionally stable, loves family, children and work?”
The firefly can teach potential parents a great deal of wisdom. Professor Sara Lewis, firefly researcher at Tufts University, says that there is a species of firefly that will not expose her valuable eggs to a male unless she is satisfied that the light he is emitting is of a very high quality. What a lesson for potential parents. Do all you possibly can to lay as good a foundation for your children before you bring them into this hostile world. Be at your brightest.
• Be at your brightest in insight.
The story is told of a mother who told her early teenage daughter that it was about time that she discussed with her the facts of life. The teenager turned to her mother and asked: “Mum, what would you like to know?”
The reality is, your children are exposed to much more positive and negative information today than you think. As a parent you should therefore seek to educate yourself and be proactive in order to match the demands of the times in which your child lives. Their language can be very confusing to the adult ear, so get to know it by allowing them to educate you, or get among their peers and find out the new terms they are using to communicate with each other. Be at your brightest.
Get them on a path to success, career and otherwise, by understanding their latent gifts and personally or with the help of a trained guidance counsellor, begin as early as possible to develop their capabilities. Technologically, the children are very shrewd so broaden your knowledge in that field. Be at your brightest.
• Be at your brightest in integrity.
The Holy Bible in Proverbs 20:7 says “the righteous man walks in his integrity; blessed (happy, fortunate, enviable) are his children after him”. Integrity has to do with one who adheres to “moral and ethical principles” and demonstrates values such as honesty, and good proper conduct in one’s private and public life.
Over the years, while interacting with children, some related how they had been at the bitter end of ridicule from peers and insensitive adults because of known acts of impropriety on the part of their parents. On the other hand, I have also interacted with some children who were proud of their parents of whom they spoke very highly, because of the high moral principles they continued to portray. Parents, be at your brightest in integrity because having integrity is more valuable for you and more so your children, than all the billions of dollars you may be able to give them.
• Be at your brightest in intimacy.
The brightest light you can display for your children is a genuine, unselfish, unconditional love toward their father or mother. That level of intimacy makes children feel safe and secure. Thoughts of abandonment seem to disappear from their minds when such affection is seen and felt by them.
Try developing an environment of talking with them rather than talking down to them. Engage them in wholesome conversation. Listen to them a lot. Answer their questions. Laugh with them. Play with them and let them win sometimes. Compliment them often. Let them see that although you may be busy, you can stop and spend a few moments with them; they would value those times.
Plan to attend important events in their lives like school sports, graduations. Do fun things with them. Humble yourself and let them teach you areas in which they may be very proficient but you may not so competent. Learn to respect their opinions and try to see the angle from which they may be approaching the issue.
All of the above and other areas you may want to explore may assist in your becoming your brightest in intimacy with your children.
Resolve to be at your brightest for your children. Make sure you give them a good introduction into this life, be insightful, live a life of integrity and never compromise your times of intimacy with them. Be at your brightest.
Reverend Haynesley Griffith is a marriage and family life consultant. Email [email protected]