Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Present or Absent:A Parent's Plight

Photo Credit:everydayfeminism.com
I speak as an observer and a hopeful parent someday.It is not always intentional, but our role as parents is slowly being replaced by other roles we play in the society. We have 24 hours in a day and a typical adult spends about 7-10 hours of the day working to make a living, up so early and home so late and there are other aspects of life that need to be attended to as well. As attention is constantly being divided by routine and impromptu activities that lap at our time with all aggression, we are also consumed mentally and physically with the rigours of life.

 As rightly said  by A.P.J Abdul Kalam, “Let us sacrifice our today so our children can have a better tomorrow”, but we need to make sure that while doing this we are present and balance this out with our responsibility of being a parent. No matter how little of our time we can create, we need to strategize ways to be there.  Our children are our heritage from God and like Frederick Douglass tells it, "it is easier to build strong children than repair broken men”. Having time for your children no matter how little should not be considered as a negotiable event, it is commitment based responsibility and we need to adjust our lives.

At the speed with which the world is moving it is becoming extremely hard to have a strong presence in the lives of our children, and this leaves room for others to fill in the role of parent and also for various influences to pitch tent and colonize territories in the lives of children. They are exposed to so much, most of what would have overwhelmed us or freaked us out when we were kids.

This isn’t meant to take you on a guilt trip, but to help you stop in your tracks and think of the importance of your role as a parent in your child’s life and how this affects their future and who they turn out to be as adults it’s not about what you leave for or store for your children but what you leave in or store in them. Have time for your children because a time will come when you wish they had time for you and those precious years have all gone by. Some strategies you can adopt are:

-Taking your whatever time we have to make your presence felt in our homes especially in the lives of our children. We need to talk to and with them and play with them, you can call them up from work frequently to check up on them and let them know you love them it helps them develop properly and fit into the society easily. It also helps you know and understand their growing personalities and also what is on their minds: the pains of growing up, the challenges they may be facing, their joys and fears. "Children are not things to be molded, but are people to be unfolded."
  — Jess Lair, author.

-Build in them a sense of belonging. Let them understand that they are a very important part of something (Family). The Word “ohana” is a Part of Hawaiian culture, which means Family. The concept emphasizes that families are bound together and members must cooperate and remember one another through whatever situation. Take them on visit to see family; cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents.

-Guide your children; give them an example to follow. They learn from you and take dressing from you. You are their mirror; they reflect what you show them. Bob Keeshan Describes parents as “….the ultimate role model for children, every word movement and action has an effect; no other person or outside force has a greater influence on a child than the parent”. How do you handle issues, money, challenges or disappointments when you are around? Do you lie on the phone; do you talk about people behind their backs? Being a positive present influence to your child is ultimate!

-Educate your child; make sure they get a sound education. Help them build up their minds. The education your child receives will set the groundwork for future successes. No matter their age. This also involves Passing on your Values and virtues to them. Strength of character and faith, teach them values of responsibility and independence. Teach them to make their own decisions. "Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it"-Proverbs22:6

-Correct your child, it is important. Children are a clean slate ready to be written on, a sponge that is very absorbent. Don’t water down your role as a parent through thinking you are compensating your child by leaving them to their own devise because you have not been around much and you feel guilty. Haim Ginott describes, Children are like wet cement whatever falls on them makes an impression."  Discipline your children; you’ll be glad you did, they’ll turn out delightful to live with!
 -Nurture and encourage them to build their confidence and believe in themselves. We all need some validation and approval it’s innate: common to every person. Water them with praise; let them take root in your love when they fail. Shine don’t let stress and pressure make you push them away or deal with them harshly. "Children are likely to live up to what you believe of them."- Lady Bird Johnson, Former First Lady of the United States. "Children need models rather than critics." — Joseph Joubert.

-You need to take time off work to go on family Vacations or field trips time the best vacation is one with your family. Let them build experiences and learn about other cultures.

-Build memories with and for them. Let them have stories to tell as adults. Let them have experiences that fill them with joy, laughter, gratitude, comfort, hope, love and most importantly nostalgia. “Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory bank of our children”. Charles. R. Swindoll.

-Protect them and look out for them. It’s a jungle out there in the big big world and the little foxes that creep in unnoticed need to be caught and stopped from ruining the vineyard. Our children need to be taught how to lookout for them self, know the signs of imminent danger and know what to do in such scenarios.

-Your child needs to be hugged and listened to, paid attention to, prayed with and for. Above all love them unconditionally just like God loves us. You may not be there all the time but when you are around make it a lifetime investment, give it your all. Gods Speed.

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