A letter to all ParentsWellofexcellence | August 6, 2018 | 102 | Discipleship and Mentoring , Family Life
A LETTER TO ALL PARENTS
Some of the principles or reminders given here might seem to be directed to a
specific category of people (Christian Parents). But these principles can be
generally applied if the reader fully appreciates the meaning and purpose of the write up.
Parenthood has generally become a subject of debate recently, considering the new ideas which have affected parenthood in several ways, such ideas include:
feminism, homosexuality, gender equality and even democracy in a way.
Christianity which is a “Christ-like life” has been affected by these concepts.
Recently too, these ideas have pervaded Christian Parenthood and this should be a thing of great concern to every Christian on the planet.
Parenthood in Christianity cannot be over emphasized because it is the medium with which God has maintained and sustained human race. However, the issue for discussion in this write up is not parenthood as in Christian perspective but the responsibility of Christian Parents in a generation like this to their ward(s). As a parent in Christendom, you owe your children certain obligations and responsibilities as it is befitting in the Lord, reason being that the Bible in a way shows how these duties are important if such godly parents must maintain a godly society because a family is the smallest unit of the Society.
In fact family is the cradle of society. so, for this reason Christian parents in particular must see these duties as godly obligations and take the bringing of their children seriously because it is a God given assignment.
These duties and responsibilities are numerous, but this write up will focus on a specific number which the writer considers to be of top priority to the kingdom business and for the sustenance of such.
Naming/dedication of the child:
Biblically, this particular parental functions has
always been done simultaneously i.e. naming and dedication which also includes circumcising the male child on the eight day, dedication for example is shown in Luke 2:22 “And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord;2:23 (As it is written in the law of the LORD, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord)2:24 And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons” , this particular act may seem religious in itself but it is a thing that is necessary to sharpen the spiritual growth of the child. In particular, this act together with the naming of the child is very important however, certain aspects of this have been neglected, which is the intention and purpose of God for this particular spiritual exercise.
Naming is second to none in Christianity and this has been shown throughout the Bible. Anytime God wants to do business with a man he first of all considers his name if such a name has a bearing with his purpose for the person; whether the name of the person or group of person reflects his seasonal or generational agenda. In Genesis chapter 17, God, while establishing his covenant with Abraham changed his name and that of his wife from Abram and Sarai, also he changed the name of Jacob to Israel and Jesus Christ who was hundreds of years ahead to come, God showed his interest in the name of his children.
Isaiah while prophesying said in Isaiah 7:14 “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel”. This trend continued with people like Samson, John the Baptist, and many more till the birth of Jesus Christ of which his parents obeyed and named him Jesus as Mary his mother had rightly received from the angel of God.
But today Christian names have evolved from the conventional names like
Hosea, James, John and Jesse to adjectives like Destiny, Success, Anointing, and Goodness among many, the reasons are not far-fetched but to show religious inclinations and dedication, most times it is to show how such parents feel not necessarily as an intention for which the life of the child is to play out, just for the love of the name not minding what is the purpose of God for which a particular name could suit the life purpose of the child and the Bible being an all encompassing source of sustenance did not leave this matter unattended to.
It talked about situations where parents named their children according to circumstances and this name went ahead to speak against the success and happiness of such children 1 Chronicles 4:9 And Jabez was more honourable than his brethren: and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, Because I bare him with sorrow. (4:10)And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me, and that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me! And God granted him that which he requested’’, another example can be seen in 1 Samuel 4:21 And she named the child Ichabod, saying, The glory is departed from Israel: because the ark of God was taken, and because of her father in law and her husband. and everyone knows the rest of the story what happened the day that child was named Ichabod, till today the Bible never told us anything about Ichabod neither his own children nor his descendant; what else do you expect from a man without God’s glory!
It should be a thing of concern to all parents to know that names are very important and that they have a very big role to play in the very life of the person who bears it and if that be the case, such names cannot be given circumstantially but must be properly thought out, backed up with genuine intention, because at early stages, parents play a prophetic role in the life of their child, to receive early instructions regarding the life of such a child (Samson’s ,John the Baptist’s and Jesus’ parents) are such an example of parents who watched out in this very aspects of the early life of their children.
Right to kind treatment and motivation:
This duty very much looks abstract considering the kind of society we are in, talking about Africa and Nigeria precisely, things like this don’t make much sense to many parents because there’s a presumption that we love our kids and have fed, catered for their needs so what else do such kids who eat three times a day, live in good and available shelter, school fees paid etc. not talking about the very many kids who do not have such needs readily available to sustain life want in addition to the above mentioned? But there’s more to that, many parents don’t care about the emotional well-being of their children, but the enemy has mastered the craft.
Anytime he notices a child has all he wants but she/he is being emotionally neglected he maximizes the opportunity
to destroy the child unless the grace of God continue to sustain that child; and that’s why you hear many parents say “what else does he want? I have done what a parent can do for his child”, if this statement is still being uttered by you as a parent or guardian to a child, just know that you have not been a friend to such a child, you have ruled such child through his early life and his or her opinion doesn’t matter no matter how important or beautiful his ideas are, some children are not lawyers and don’t intend becoming one but have spent half of their life time with their parents not having conversations or relationship but arguing and defending themselves before their parents, such children act out obedience like a movie before their parents, live deeply lonely within themselves and these kind ofparents sometimes during their youthful period will certainly have their children under control but later on the tendency of losing them (children) to life of freedom becomes high and at this point they have less strength or power to enforce their will on these kids. The Bible says in Ephesians 6:4 “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord”. If this verse can be x-rayed to its best, many people cannot believe the many principles that will evolve from this verse concerning child care and up bringing in Christian and godly way.
As the first priest and prophet known by the child, you owe the child that duty to look prophetically into his future in Christ and begin to lead and teach him in that direction, if the parents of Samson who were privileged to receive directly almost missed it, I wonder what is the position of parents who are doing guess work in bringing up their ward. Your guess is as good as mine. Children are a blessing, the Psalmist said they are like arrows in the hands of a warrior and arrows go in the direction which the warrior shots.
Your children will always become what you did to them while they were kids unless grace arrests them and how many will be that lucky? Love your children in discipline, motivate them, don’t insult them and don’t discuss them publicly if it is not within necessity, discussing your kids publicly and insulting them makes them lose confidence and trust in you, see you as someone who cannot keep secrets and private information so instead of confiding in you they confide in friends who have little or nothing to offer them, stop being a parent who is always right if you love your kids or you will lose them with your attitude.
Know what your children want to do in life as a prophet and priest, every morning pray with them while they prepare for school hug them and say you are my lawyer, doctor whatever they love to do, this simple gesture will lighten his day and make him have a sense of responsibility because somebody he looks up to believes he can and he will, parents who have teen children or young adults should imagine if they had always known what their children will become how far and better the journey would have become. You might not be a prophet by calling but for the purpose of your children you can make spiritual demands and God will grant them because he knows better.
Duty to lead them to Christ:
This is the greatest duty of all duties parents owe to
their child because everyone has the right to life but it is the fundamental right of everyone to know Jesus Christ. Many times, in my local assembly and other
churches, I have seen a situation where a preacher makes an alter call and you see parents making gesture to their young ones to go out, many things come to light here:
1. That the parent is fully aware of the fact that the child is not born again,
2. That the child heard the message but does not fully appreciate its meaning or
did not have an encounter with God while the message was going on or that he does not see the need yet to submit to Christ, considering the level of knowledge of Christ Jesus he received from his parents, church and environs among other spiritual warfare going on at that time because of that young soul.
Many young people cannot fully give account of when they became born again because they gave their lives to Christ over and over again even when they were yet to understand what it means to do so, and because the church concern has become more of the need to increase membership rather than teach people the word of God, young people with shallow roots in Christ begin to doubt their kingdom citizenship status because if you don’t fully understand your way with Christ flying doctrine are bound to wound you on your journey with Christ and this is not because of any reason but because parents have failed woefully in their homework which God originally gave them.
Some parents have been Christians for more than thirty years but have not won one single soul for Christ, even their own very children were led to Christ by other people, oh my! “go ye into the world multiply and subdue it” what does this mean to you? This fact is saddening because you see that these parents humanly speaking are very dedicated but have failed in their God given assignment.
Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he
will not depart from it.
I am very certain that the way the Bible was talking about is not in dispute, and also that the category of persons the Bible was talking to is not
in dispute too. Then I can safely conclude that parents, it is your heavenly duty to lead your children to Christ and I want to say that in my view, altar call is not for people born in Christian homes but for people who were not privileged to be born in Christian families because fathers and mothers are the first pastors and deacons children ought to know, 1 Samuel 1:11 And she vowed a vow, and said, O LORD of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the LORD all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head. 1:22 But Hannah went not up; for she said unto her husband, I will not go up until the child be weaned, and then I will bring him, that he may appear before the LORD, and there abide forever.
The bible also said in 2 Timothy 1:5 When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also. Among all things teach your children godliness with commitment to God and nothing can be more than this, and if you do this, the life race will be safer and easier for your children in Christ because children so much believe what their parents and guardians tell them and hold it of top priority until the contrary is
established; so why don’t we teach our children Jesus Christ instead of anything.
first, we buy them expensive gifts which is not wrong but why don’t we buy them Bibles and renew them with different versions so they will catch the vision while they are young and pursue it when they have the strength to.
“Parenting is a call to stewardship” and if this statement is true, then it means
many are parents today just because they only felt like, not because they know what parenting entails; had they any idea about parenting, I bet you that half of those who call themselves parents would not want to be one. Psalm 123:3-4
3. Behold, children are heritage from the Lord,
the fruit of the womb a reward.
4. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth.
5. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with
them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate Considering the portion of the scriptures above, Parents are birthed by God and that’s the reason they have every legal right to inherit children from him as also deemed fit by God (that is if we understand what heritage means); but that’s not all, it is joy unspeakable for any parent who fills his quiver with these arrows. Let’s see how parents should act as faithful stewards to God, from whom they got the heritage of children from.
over the years, parents have been too busy to effect discipline on their children, they have relinquished their duty of discipline to teachers, home tutors, Sunday school teachers to mention but a few. (It is not bad if this set of people effect discipline on children, but parents should not be left out). Some parents allow parenting to be one sided; you’ll see a situation where the act of discipline is left to “daddy” or to “mummy” alone, what an error of the millennium! Child discipline should be a collective effort of both parents. Only on exceptional grounds where the other partner is no longer alive. On such grounds, the partner left should fasten his/her belt and discharge the role as expected.
(Proverbs 13:24; 19:18; 23:13; 29:15,17; Eph. 4:4)
The role of parents as teachers should not be taken for granted. Since the family happens to be the first society of a child, parents should not fail to educate their children on morals, biblical teachings, scriptural memory and meditation, the way to obedience, nurture their skill, helping them to discover where they can be good as regards choice of career; teach them the way of the Lord and how to go about life. They will appreciate you more when you are gone. (Deut. 4:9, 10; 6:7;
11:19; Joshua 4:21,22; 22:24, 27)
This happens to be the greatest and the most difficult task amongst every other role to be played. Note that no role is superior to the other, but I wish to categorically state here that, it is possible to have parents who are not skilled in discharging one particular role, perhaps as a weakness, but there shouldn’t be laxity when it comes to intercession. It is very paramount and needful. Job is a very good example of a person who stands in for his family (children). (Job 1:5b).
Every parent should make it a point of duty to intercede for their children in the
morning, afternoon, evening and at midnights. Whatever a parent declares on a child, it is sure to be established. Parents please take note.
parents should serve as counselors to their children virtually in every
wise; but that does not mean parents should not seek help when appropriate,
whenever they seem uncertain or unskilled, they should seek for help; but they
should not relinquish this role to outsiders. If they fail to counsel their own
children, we have counselor all over the place now even on social media, they
claim to be counselors. A large number of them are only good at misleading
youngsters to their doom. Watch your child’s peers, pray for them too, so that they won’t serve as Jonadab to your children but a Jonathan.
Out of every hundred, you will hardly discover 10 who look up to
their parents as role models let alone allowing them (their parents) to serve as their mentors. Hardly! The child is afraid of making his fighting dad a role model so that he too wouldn’t end up a boxer in his own house. The child is also afraid of making her nagging mother her role model, so for the fear of living a life with that nagging spirit, she’d rather made someone else her role model who is of a quiet spirit.
We have had situations like raising up a child who is not from your loins. Joseph the carpenter from Nazareth found himself in that situation. He was to look after the welfare of boy Jesus, buy him clothes, teach him carpentry, serve as a father and as a defender to mention but a few; every function you know a responsible father with, Joseph discharged those roles well even though he knew his own blood wasn’t running in his (Jesus’) veins.
The boy whose bread and fish was multiplied and then used to feed five thousand men in John 6:8,9; shows us that, whoever was the mother of that boy, or even guardian, must have prepared his lunch box to serve him for the day or as long as Jesus was going to be around to teach them there. Can you see how the diligence of whoever that boy was living with helped at the long run? Parent, stop neglecting your roles to nannies. This woman might not be well taught in the then Philosophy, psychology, home management, finance amongst others; still, all she could do, she did… even though the scripture did not capture her effort, but I want to unambiguously state that, whoever prepared that boy’s lunch box deserves an accolade.
being a Christian parent is not just a biological activity, it is a
spiritual activity, and a special calling of a special kind that requires you to rise and maintain godly heritage via the gift of God in your life known as children.
Proverbs 13:22 A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children’s children: and the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just.
It is a daily business were parents work as the priest and watch men over the lives and the spiritual welfare of their children, make early choices on their behalf.
In addition, parents must know that this duty continue till Christ comes or until
there is clear evidence showing that the seed which they have sown and nurtured has fallen on fertile ground and it is growing.
That Christ is the way, the truth, and life should be the watch word, I personally
see many young dedicated and hardworking church and denominational doctrine upholding young Christians than the absolute believe in the Lordship of Jesus Christ as the head of the church and this singular act pastors and parents must desist from, I believe that honor should be given to whom it is due and any man who works deserves his wage but I dare to say give to Caesar what belongs to him and give to God what belongs to Him.
Parenting is by God’s grace and also the willingness of man to act on the grace of God through decision making to keep the word of God which are his laws I want to add that it does not matter, if your parents never treated you or taught you the way they ought to, but as a young person you can take a decision for yourself like Jabez and pray for yourself and take a decision that your own children will not miss out but will be privileged to know God early and that you will provide spiritual direction for them that will keep them from the wind of doctrines and I tell you, God is willing and able to bless you through.
By: Ayuba Michael
AHMADU BELLO UNIVERSITY (ABU) ZARIA
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