Where our parents Got it Wrong – The Two Fatal Errors in African Parenting

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I am writing this article not out of disrespect for the older generation, but I think there are two fatal errors parents make in their upbringing of their kids, which has to be addressed . We have lived with these errors till the point that it has become acceptable truths.

I believe we the new generation have the opportunity to correct this error and help our children become all what God wants them to be.

Error # 1 : Parent’s Giving Up on their Dream Because of their Children

It actually sounds cool and religious for a a parent to proudly say that they gave up their God given dreams because of the children. Nevertheless it makes no sense to me at all.

Children are guests who join marriage couples and are expected to leave the house one day. They wont be with you forever. Of course no rational parent would want their ward to be dependent on them forever.

The truth is that you had a life before you gave birth. God had given you dreams and talents to pursue  and refine knowing very well that one day you will give birth to kids. So why do you want to swap your kids with your own future? As far as I am concerned it is not an “either or” situation but an “all ” situation. God’s expectation of you is to become all what He has destined you to be, and under no circumstances should your children become the reason for not excelling in life.

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Refusing to pursue your dreams because of your children is like a high school athlete who abandons his studies because of the sports. The sports will never compensate for the athletics. If that person is your child, your expectation of him will be that he will excel in both the sports and academics. So if you wont find your child abandoning his studies for sports acceptable, why do you expect God to accept same of you?

The Bible clearly states that Children are a blessings from God. The same Bible explains that the blessings of the Lord makes one rich and He adds no sorrows. So therefore your  children should be a just cause for you to want to excel in your endeavors.

Giving birth should under no circumstances make you disadvantaged in your career, spiritual,financial and social life!

The mothers are particularly guilty of this error, always trying to justify their complacency and underperformance  on their kids.

Never forget that when it comes to children, more is caught than taught. They will look up to you the parent with regards to what is possible in life. You don’t want your children to believe that they cannot make it to their full potential in life when they give birth. Do you? 

 

Error #2:Parental dependence on Children

Growing up in Sakyikrom, a village in Nsawam, I heard popular adages like’ Your children are your social security for the future” , ” if you take care of your children for their teeth to develop, they must also take care of you till you lose all teeth”

Once again these adages sound brilliant, emotional and even religious but it is not true!

The good book clearly lays out Gods expectation of a good parent according to the book of Proverbs 13:22a “A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children’s children”(KJV)

God’s expectation is that every parent will endeavor to leave an inheritance for their children and their grand children and not rather seek to become a burden to their children in their old age!

Unfortunately we see the exact opposite in our part of the world.

I must say that there is a clear difference between parental dependence and parental honor, the latter which the Bible encourages  among children according to Ephesians 6:1.

You honor someone not because the person is poor and needy, but rather because the person deserves it due to the investments such a person has made in your life. In fact there is no honor in poverty!

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When parents become a burden to their children, it goes a long way to stifle these children’s potentials. I know many an awful lot of young graduates who had brilliant start up ideas after school but had to give up and look for  regular  jobs in order to meet the pressures and demands from home. Ghana might have lost another Bill Gate or Steve Jobs because of this!

Almost all the great start ups you have heard of had some support from home. Some started their companies in their dad’s garage, halls etc. The question is that if their parents were dead broke and needed them to go out there to work and feed them, would they have had the piece of mind to develop the multimillion businesses they have created  today? Obviously no!

Hey but watch it! Don’t be too quick to take me to the cleaners  on the basis that I don’t appreciate how things are hard and how parents don’t earn enough money in Africa to be able to secure inheritance for their children.

This is not entirely true because the average African  father in most families has “side chicks”, alcohol and expensive hobbies he spends money on. If you are a parent and have purposed to leave an inheritance for your family, it will inform your spending behavior- you wont keep three girlfriends in addition to your wife and be spending hard earned cash on them. You wont sit every weekend with the boys over some beers and meat. You will become frugal and make the right financial and investment choices.

On the other hand if you  are expecting to become dependent on your children in the future, you will only do enough to meet their present needs like school fees ,books ,food and cloth. Any extra disposable income will naturally  finds its way to wild and expensive hobbies. like gambling, womanizing and impulse buying.

Lets endeavor as the new generation of parents to invest in both the present and future needs of our children and  swear that we will NEVER become burdens to our children when we grow old.

From the desk of ROL

 

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