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FACTS: PARENTING LIFE HOOD WITHOUT TEARS

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If you are like me and you been driven in frustration
or anger to hot tears by the act of some child you are almost about to kill,
you are probably wondering and rightly so, if it is possible to parent without
tears! In response to the question that is on your mind, my candid opinion is
that there can be no parenting without tears. Either way, there will be tears.
They may be tears of gladness or of sadness but there certainly will be tears!
The purpose of this book is to ensure that, along the way, there are more tears
springing from sheer joy rather than sorrow as we raise these precious gifts
from God.
Because of the knowledge that teenage years are usually
the most stormy of the parenting years, and because of an ardent respect and
love for this peculiar group of people, I have spent a substantial portion of
my book on parenting in the teenage years and have just made a brief reference
to  other years.
I am furthermore challenged to write this book as a
Nigerian parent (and dare I say African parent) because of the dearth of
information available on this particular subject. I have found particularly
instructive a passage in the Bible, Titus, Chapter 2 verse 3-5 which says,
‘Similarly, teach the older women to
live in a way that is appropriate for someone serving the Lord. They must not
go around speaking evil of others and must not be heavy drinkers. Instead, they
should teach others what is good.
These older women must train the
younger women to love their husbands and their children, to live wisely and be
pure and to take care of their homes, to do well, and to be submissive to their
husbands. Then they will not bring shame on the word of God.’ The words teach
and train jumped at me! For the bible to tell us to train to love our children confirms to me that despite our thinking
that the knowledge of what to do should come instinctively, it may have to be
taught! I had to reason out the words “older women”, in my mind (am I an older
woman, Lord?) but I guess after twenty (and counting) years of parenting, I am
certainly the ‘older’ rather than the ‘younger’.
Finally if parenting is a skill then it can be learnt.
This book is going to attempt to teach some basic skills and elements. The
question however is what are we trying to become, perfect parents of perfect
children? I am sure we would all like to say yes, but what I believe we should learn
is how to be happy parents who put in their best efforts at raising children
and who trusts God for the results. This is one examination in which you may
never know how well you performed, but where you can be sure you studied, prepared,
and did your best in it. The best parenting methods do not necessarily
guarantee perfect children, simply do your best and enjoy the life long journey
whilst you’re at it! 
        
Another instructive scripture is Proverbs 29 v.17
which reads from the King James Version, ‘correct your son and he shall give thee
rest, yea he shall give delight to unto thy soul!’ Oh! What rest we may forfeit
as parents, oftentimes in our old age, because we did not do the right thing at
the right time. What grief we may have to bear because we did not correct our
children when we should have done so, and how much delight we may we may miss
because we did not do as simple a thing as ‘correct’.       
Our particular social, cultural, and even third world
setting demands that we should codify our values and as much as possible cast
them in stone for the next generation and the next and the next! Indeed our
values seem frozen in time and space and for once, the fact that we are not as
modern as the rest of the world seems to me to be of great benefit.
It is hoped that the thoughts and experiences that I
have obtained in the course of my involvement in parenting will be helpful in
assisting other parents along this path. A path which should be fun and
enjoyable but which the sheer pressure of the responsibility placed on us sometimes
does not allow us to enjoy.

Most of my conclusions are based on views I have
developed while listening to parents both young and old and my interpretation
of the word of God as it applies to this issue of parenting. Though I do not
claim to be conclusive in any area I do hope this book will have challenged us
to both thought and action that will provoke us to raise wonderful African
children!   
MORE TO COME……

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