It’s famiIy month and I appreciate the circumstances of life that cut against doing our best in taking care of our children but allowing the idea of ‘what’s best for our child(ren)’ to exercise our minds is necessary despite the realities on the ground. So, bear with me now.
When anyone, single or married, decides to have a child. That one does in principle and should in practice put career, interests and ambitions on a modified path for the early years of that child’s life. Why? Because proper child-rearing demands the unique input of the biological parents who, aware of the cruciality of their influence as the most significant persons in the child’s life, will seek to improve their parenting skills in the interest of the child’s holistic development.
No helper, child-care centre or even family members should be seen by parents as just as good as their input in their child’s life. No domestic auxilliary, child-minder or day care facility can substitute for a caring concerned parent (mother especially) for none has the bonding edge and therefore the potentiality for wholesome influence as the mother.
A caring concerned father is critical as well in raising both girls and boys. Absentee fathers have left wounds in the lives of too many boys especially and girls as well, in our world!
We all know too that young children should not normally be left to themselves to just grow up. Children don’t normally do as well as self-rising flour in raising themselves!
I suggest two parenting equations to ponder, one biblical and the other from Family Life Ministries in Jamaica.
Biblical equation (Prov. 22.6)
“Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.”
Expectations [‘should go’] + Efforts [‘train’] = Effect [‘will not depart’].
‘Train up’ suggests setting guidelines, boundaries for the child. It is unfair to expect much from your child when you have not given much in terms of care and guidance to that child.
Family Life Ministries equation
Rules – Relationship = Rebellion
It’s as true for children as for people in general, if I know that you don’t really care for me your rules will mean very little to me.
We are parents because a child has graced us with that honour. Without that child’s existence, however old you are, you are simply a big man/woman but not a parent. Oh, sure you could have interrupted the coitus or aborted that child, but the fact remains, it is the child’s existence that allows you to boast that you are a mother or a father.
Gentlemen, our status as fathers is contingent not just on the child but on the mother as well short of a conclusive paternity test. A most humbling thought which should prompt respect for our wives or baby mothers.
A parting mischievous note. I think more legal thought needs to be given to the presumption that any child that a married woman bears belongs to her husband, without more, especially in a society like Jamaica with the prevalence of ‘jackets’!
Rev. Clinton Chisholm is the author of the recently published book A Controversial Clergyman. His online course on critical thinking based on the book will soon be available.