Effective Parenting: Nurturing Rich Soils in Kids

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“Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears, let him hear” (Matthew 13:8-9).

Sometime ago, something rather disheartening happened in my locality. It was the day fixed for the Primary School leaving certificate examinations. The Governor decided to pay surprise visits to some of these centres. Lo and behold, the Governor caught some Teachers right inside the examination hall copying answers for the children. In fact, in another centre, he saw parents struggling to bribe their way into the hall to help their children copy. Some parents were seen climbing the school fence.

This incidence really calls to question the nature of parenting in our society today. How are we bringing up our children? Do we realize that the future of our country depends on the sound moral and spiritual foundation we lay in our kids? One eminent professor said recently that Nigeria is producing a generation of illiterates – educated illiterates; graduates who are world-apart from what their degrees and certificates claim.

If as parents we now teach and encourage our children to commit malpractice in examinations, how do we make them understand that kidnapping, terrorism, prostitution, bribery, armed robbery, telling of lies, certificate forgery and so on are evil?

A child who is well brought up is the glory of his parents. As our Gospel passage today explains, the nature of the soil determines the nature of the harvest. Let us bear in mind that our role as parents is to cultivate and constantly manure good soils in the heart of our children so that God can work mightily through them.

Another serious problem among today’s children is the development of an entitlement mentality. This is where many parents of today’s generation got it wrong, they bring up their children to believe that they can always get what they want even without working for it. Children today do not understand that it is okay to suffer for a while, that it is okay to delay gratification, that money takes time to come by, that life is a journey.

Like the children of Israel on their way to the Promised Land, children today want it all NOW! NOW!! NOW!!! And when they don’t get it, they complain, they throw up tantrums, they get depressed and even commit suicide. There has never been a time when life wasn’t tough for the youths. In fact, I think it was tougher those days. I listen to my father and many of his generation tell me how they suffered just to pay their own school fees through school given that their own fathers were not even educated. They survived.

The murmurings of the children of Israel showed the depths of their lack of appreciation to God, a failure to look beyond their immediate circumstances (impatience) and a deep-seated sense of entitlement. These are sadly the same traits we see in the children of my generation; experts in complaining and murmuring; professionals in ranting all day on social media, insulting government officials without offering meaningful solutions or creative ideas.

Let us teach our children to develop rich soils by cultivating in them the virtues of trusting in God, the discipline of hard work, the willingness to follow the more difficult route and the beauty of patience.

Let us pray: Lord Jesus, help us to realize that by changing the soil (the foundation), we can change our fruits, Amen.

Rev.Fr. Evaristus  Abu