When Parents Do Their Jobs6 min read
I am typically behind on social media so I only hear about the latest news when someone puts it up on one of the WhatsApp groups I belong to.
This week someone posted that one of the daughters of Yemi Osinbajo, Nigeria’s vice president & pastor in the Redeemed Christian church of God. Actually, that was not the big story. The big story was when someone claimed that the guy she was engaged to is a Muslim.
And so, began the next round of conversations. On one side – Pastor Yemi Osinbajo has failed as a parent and lost the moral ground to counsel people not to marry outside the Christian faith. On the other side – the girl is an adult, she can choose to marry whoever she chooses and it is not the fault of the parent if she chooses to marry outside the faith.
Well, the whole matter was put to rest the next day when someone posted this information from a news organization – “Our source also confirmed that Oluseun Bakare is a Christian and a worker in the Redeemed Christian Church of God.”
So, what was the whole hullabaloo about?
Growing up in the culture I came from, parents are made to understand that you never retire from the job till you say goodbye to mother earth.
This is why people will still “tell your daddy” if you make a wrong move even as a grand-papa!
Everyone believes that your daddy or mummy can call you to order – that is the fine print.
So, you can probably imagine why people can “blame” the choice of a spouse on a parent. if only the parent did his or her job well, she would choose “the right” spouse.
Button line, the unspoken goal of parenting seems to be to raise children that conform to society’s perception of “great kids”
Let’s leave out the part about society’s perception and just stick to “raising great kids” for this conversation
Raising Great Kids Is A Responsibility
Yep, it’s a job with responsibilities that you have to live it. I bet you already knew that. But what is the scope of the responsibilities and when does stop? or does it ever stop?
I’d like to suggest that the parent’s responsibilities are broken into three:
1. Ensure the kids are safe in the present
Providing safety and a sense of safety are two different things. The first is physical while the second is emotional. Parents need to provide both.
As kids grow older, the parents’ responsibility for providing safety diminishes and the children begin to assume some of that. But parents never drop out of providing a sense of safety to their kids
The type of safety net may change depending on the age: as toddlers, they know their parents will catch them when they fall, as teens, their parents will always work for their best interest no matter how crazy they behave, as adults, their parents will always have their door open no matter the road they have taken in life.
2. Empower them to achieve future success
This is probably one of the most difficult parts of the job. It’s more than just choosing the right school to attend or neighborhood to raise them in. You are doing stuff for them
Now you have to prepare them to do stuff for themselves. You need to train them to ask the “why” questions and make decisions for themselves.
Going to the right schools or growing in the proper neighborhood would mean little if they can’t independently make great choices in life.
That is the most important goal of all these preparations.
3. Make them happy now
This is the fun part that we all love as parents. But it’s the third and least important on the list. You only get to enjoy doing this once you have done the other two.
I bet I don’t think I need to tell you how to make them happy as kids – your kids will probably give you all the ideas you need.
Raising Great Kids Is A Gift
You know something, no matter how well you perform your responsibilities, there are no guarantees to having a “great kid” outcome.
Having a great kid is also a gift that your kid offers you.
Sometimes you do all you can, see your mistakes all along the way and still out pops a great kid or better put a responsible adult.
And you wonder, how did I do that?
Take the time to thank your kid. Always appreciate that a responsible adult is a combination of good parenting and a responsible kid.
Don’t hype your efforts so much that you forget the input of your kid.
You can do all the right things; your kid decides not to care about them and takes the highway.
A Lesson from Eli & Samuel
Most of us know the story of Eli and parenting. He had two kids Hophni and Phinehas who were no good.
God blames the outcome of the two boys to not only irresponsible kids but bad parenting.
God even sent an appraisal memo to Eli which should have made him improve his performance. Eli probably figured that his parenting job was over since the boys were big and married.
Samuel, like his boss Eli, didn’t fare too well on the kids’ department. His two boys Joel and Abijah who he appointed as judges were taking tips on the side to change the outcome of cases – is that called lobbying or bribery?
But what I noticed is that God did not blame Samuel for bad parenting. Even the people seemed to think that the problem was not bad parenting but irresponsible kids. 1 Sam 8:5
So, two stories, similar outcomes but different conclusions.
One was due to bad parenting and irresponsible kids, the other was just due to irresponsible kids.
Don’t judge a book by its cover
Christian Parenting in All This
If you are like most folks, you wonder if kids walking out of the Christian faith is the fault of the parent or the kids.
The most important thing to remember is that parents don’t make the decision for their kids.
Parents can only do their best and pray that their kids respond to God rightly after seeing good examples through their lives.
Parents can be the guide to making that decision but the decision and the responsibility for living that decision belong to the kids.
When Parents Do Their Jobs
By the way, even God, despite doing all the right things, doesn’t see all His creation come to Him. Some even choose to say He doesn’t exist.
And it doesn’t get better with His kids either.
There are times you see some Christians and wonder “are THESE God’s kids?”. And yes, they are God’s kids.
If God doesn’t have it right with all His kids, why do we place such a weight of expectation on ourselves?
We can only be the best parents that we can be, trust in their ability to be responsible and pray to God for them to turn out as great adults.