God blessed women so they can have sons

It’s a good day to reflect on the wonderful gift given to women by God, the gift of bearing, nurturing and raising children.

Please don’t call him little boy or greet him by exclaiming “You got so big!”. Think about something more engaging like “It’s so great to see you, how are you doing?”

You see he doesn’t need to hold my skirt anymore depending on my knees to be strong so that his knees could grow stronger. He can now rise to his feet, on his own, when he falls he gets up! I never taught him to stay down. I am his Mama and I am proud to be his.

He no longer needs me to complete his sentences. He has come a long way building his vocabulary daily. From the moment he was planted by God in my womb his intellect began to develop and now his vocabulary is big enough and wide enough to impress his Mama. God’s gift.

He is no longer 3 years’ old or 10 or 16 or 18. No, he’s older, wiser, smarter and yet, I still call him “Baby”. “Baby, are you okay? I know you are now 21 but you are still my baby and that will never change.”

I am a proud, blessed, woman. I am your Mama!

If you are blessed with a Son , take a minute and thank God for your gift and never take him for granted. Take your responsibility seriously, even when he is older!

God’s grace abounds!

Your family and purposeful living

Wherever you are in God’s beautiful world, I hope you are doing well. We watch the news daily and we hear good but more so bad news. It is extremely important for us to keep ourselves healthy and focused. This is not time for reckless, senseless living. It is time for purposeful and intentional living.

As 2021 came to an end I was determined to connect more with my family around the energy of purposeful living. My aim was to strengthen our bond by creating family goals and a mechanism designed to encourage each family member to achieve their individual goals which would in-turn strengthen the entire family.

Listen, you can be professional at home too. You can sit with pen and paper or a computer and plan; planning is not just for the workplace. Practice planning as a family unit. The Business of your family is your first business and the activities of this business is very, very important to God. Keep in mind that parents are God’s authority in the home and it is our responsibility to manage what He has entrusted to us to the best of our ability. Create various categories to group your goals & objectives into and be sure to include a “Spiritual” category.

Here are some suggested categories:

  • My Relationship with God
  • Family
  • Health
  • Education
  • My Social Life

Too many times we step out in style to create external businesses and our family’s affairs are in a mess. Well, for 2022 you can get your house in order and you can strengthen the business of your family.

In 2022, why not work towards better family planning. It doesn’t matter how old your children may be, it doesn’t matter if there are only two members in your family. There should be absolutely no excuses.

Here are some ways to strengthen your family business:

  1. Set goals and involve every member by allowing them to participate in goal setting. It is a family business so everyone needs to be involved.
  2. Break down these goals into objectives. Be sure to submit all your plans to God knowing that He may lead differently. Be open to changes that would cause you to alter your plans.
  3. Combine all these goals and objectives into one document get it printed and place a copy in every bedroom.
  4. In your goal setting agree to hold each other accountable and to motivate each other towards accomplishing their goals, even though it means offending them at times. Each member should agree to embrace criticism keeping in mind that it is being done out of unconditional love.
  5. Set a time during which you would meet to assess progress and discuss next steps, obstacles etc. Always end these sessions in prayer, re-submitting your plans to God.
  6. In your assessment sessions be sure to give attention to expressing thanks to God for what you have accomplished thus far. Reward each other as well.
  7. No matter what difficulties come your way, do not give up on each other and on your goals.
  8. Be ready to share your success with other families, so they too can grow and overcome. Don’t be selfish. Many families need to get their affairs in order and you can be the one to encourage them.

Oh just in case you are thinking it is too late for planning as January is already gone, think again, don’t allow excuses. We are just getting started and it is definitely not too late.

Make it fun, don’t make it feel like work 🙂 . By the way this will be great training for your kids.

My kids are growing so fast. Am I adjusting quick enough?

I now have a young adult son who is heading for 21 in January, and a teenaged daughter who is anticipating turning 15 in May of 2022. Well, the truth is none of them are really anticipating, they are truly baffled with the fast pace of time.

However, the point of this article is that over the last two years, I have been making a special effort to communicate more effectively with my kids keeping abreast with their intellectual changes. You see their ability to think, plan and execute their own affairs has matured and continues to mature. Consequently, when it comes to making plans I have been trying to keep them informed practicing inclusion, accommodation and compromise.

It is important to remember that as our kids grow they too would have plans for the day, they too would have recommendations for solving problems. They too would need their personal time and space. Our role is to groom them to thrive and succeed without a heavy reliance on us as parents. If we can keep this reality in mind, we would be ready when the adjustment is necessary.

Maybe you have not been adjusting well and feel a bit guilty. The good news is, it is not too late. You can seek to improve today! Here are some practical ways to support your teens and young adults as they discover themselves and grow to understand God’s purpose for their lives.

Avoid giving commands but rather respectfully ask for assistance.

Invite suggestions for solutions to problems you are trying to solve rather than proceeding to solve them on your own.

Whenever you are thinking of planning family events or activities ask them what they would like to do instead of telling them about your plans.

Respect their privacy; it is time to stop storming into their rooms without notice.

Avoid giving advice already given. Once you have told them before, trust them to act appropriately when the time comes.

Do not interrupt them when they are speaking to you assuming you know what they are about to say next.

When the hard questions come, put the escape answer “because I say so” to rest. It is time for real answers.

Never treat them as errand boys or girls, treat them as adults or to-be adults that needs to be given the opportunity to say “yes” or “no”. Once you have raised them to assist at home and to see helping others as well as asking for help as a critical aspect of their lives, they would know how to respond.

It is now time to provide guidance, not rules and instructions and in so doing explain how every choice or decision leads to consequences that would contribute to the quality of life they would later enjoy or detest. When your kids become teens and young adults, parenting begins anew. Unlike the sentiments of others, teenagers and young adults are still desperately in need of our love and guidance.

If we are able to adjust our parenting as our children get older, we would find that our relationship with them would transition smoothly into a beautiful friendship where our children feel safe to express their emerging emotions, desires and fears. Our teens and young adults would feel understood and supported.

What practical tips can you share to effectively parent teens and young adults?

Family Power

The term Family Power came to me out of no where. I knew I was not the first to think about such a term and that it may have other meanings apart from the one I was thinking of. With that in view I decided to do a quick search on the internet and I found out that “Family Power” was an Indian reality family game show. My understanding is that this game show was aired from November 2017 to April 2018 and was produced by Pixel Pictures Private Limited. Funds raised in the final episode were used on cochlear implant for children suffering from hearing loss. I went further and found one of the recorded shows on YouTube and sure enough the evidence of team work and co-operation was evident on the stage. As to why that show was named “Family power”, I am sure it is not farfetched to imagine that it had something to do with teamwork.

I also found out that there is a group called “Movement for Family Power”. Their goal is to fight to end the Foster System’s policing and punishment of families and to create a world where the dignity and integrity of all families is valued and supported. Their aim is to shrink the Foster care system. Then there is another movement called “Family Power” On their Website it states “Together we want to bring about a change. A change to care for vulnerable children in their own family and community.  I became interested in this movement and wanted to explore their website.

As one continues to search I am sure more will be discovered regarding the use of the term “Family Power”. I also found a definition which states “the ability of one individual to change the behavior of the other family members“.  Immediately after reading this I found my thoughts migrating to a negative perspective as the words “abuse” and “bribery” came to light. But I quickly nudged myself back to objectivity and continued my free thinking on the term. “Family Power” is not necessarily used negatively, right?

During my search I also found an article called “Sharing Power in Families” posted on the Website “Keep Connected”. I loved their discussion on “sharing power in families”. There were two statements that jumped out at me. The first states:- “Sharing power is the way we influence, learn from, and work with each other in our family relationships. Sharing power with kids helps prepare them to be responsible adults. The second statement nicely complimented the first ” Families grow stronger when they become intentional in how they share power and influence each other.”

Isn’t it amazing how much time we invest in exploring ideas and theories in an effort to ensure our lives are effective? We can find studies and discussions on practically any topic; we are never short of information. I didn’t know that this two-word phrase had already received so much attention. Feel free to further explore the phrase “Family Power”.

When I first thought about the term “Family Power”, I envisaged its meaning as the positive influence, support and encouragement that comes from one’s family that acts as a motivational force driving family members to dream, to embrace failure with growth in mind and to relentlessly pursue their goals. This was a result of my brainstorming. I was thinking of a unit that has the potential to produce powerful and influential people through unconditional care and support.

My brainstorming adventure lead me to think of “Family Power” as the force responsible for minority citizens achieving big things, for single parent moms raising NBA stars and for families having a taste for what miracles and impossibilities look like.

When I thought about family power, I thought about families surviving poverty, abuse, racism, teenage pregnancy, imprisonment, drugs and a world of crime. I remembered the life story of Serena and Venus Williams depicting a daring fearless dad who fought for the success of his girls.

Is my interpretation of “Family Power” any different from what I saw through the Indian game show and those social movements? I think the meanings are more alike than different. Whether it is a game show, a movement or a layman noting her thoughts, we may all agree that that the bottom line of these activities is to make families stronger.

The question is what are you doing today to make your family more resilient, richer, closer and more influential? Do you positively impact each other, are you uplifted by each other and motivated to excel or does your family constantly remind you of your failures and all the things that are impossible to do. As parents it is our duty to provide a home environment that promotes individuality, room for discovery and growth, sharing, co-operation and support and most of all unconditional love. When your family’s culture is healthy, every member can soar, every member can breathe through their challenges and finally experience success. This too is Family power!

Here are some ideas for strengthening your family:

  • Establish family values. You can start off by having a discussion on what members of your family think your family values should be. Make sure to involve them in the process.
  • Try to include educational activities a part of your family time, not just strictly fun activities. For example: Look at a video that speaks about “the long-term effects of insufficient sleep” or a documentary about “animals going extinct”.
  • Be involved in each other’s projects and lives. For example your son has an assignment to complete, you can offer to review the assignment before it is submitted or your daughter was invited to a beach picnic, be sure to be available to pick her up and drop her off or your parents have decided to start a garden, get on board by volunteering to wet the plants. These are all powerful ways to say “I am with you”, “I got you”. Psychologically and emotionally, this is power.
  • Commend your family when progress is made or when growth or improvement is achieved. Be careful not to praise them in a manner that encourages them to think that only 100% is acceptable. This is not a realistic view. Instead consistently encourage them to work towards their best.
  • Avoid highlighting failures and blunders negatively. Refer to failures for teaching purposes only. Remember words are extremely powerful. Speak success only!

As we experience this gift called “Life”, may we be always intentional with our words and actions. May we be constantly seeking to uplift others. The power of influence is real and effective whether within the ambits of the family or the community.

Be blessed.

My Hog Island Take-Aways

Here we are again. It is another school break and for my family it means organizing a couple of outdoor adventures or fun activities.  It means creating unforgettable moments after weeks of hustling, pushing our bodies beyond and above.  Now, it was time to exhale, to unwind.

Our choice of adventure was “a boat trip to Hog Island”.  A trip my family would remember for a long time.

On Saturday, I consulted with my teenagers on what we should carry on the trip. Having decided, we began to execute our plan. We had no idea how the day would unfold, but we anticipated a great time.

On Monday, 2nd August, a day celebrated on our Island as “Emancipation Day”, we boarded our friend’s fishing vessel at the Grand Mal Bay and headed South in search of Hog Island. Our adventure comprised of the journey by sea and of course, the Island itself.  As part of the journey we had the opportunity to feast on the beautiful landscape near the coastline as we travelled along the outskirts of communities such as Fontenoy, St. George’s, Grand Anse, Point Salines, True Blue and Lance Aux Epines.  Pure beauty! 

It was sunny day, slightly overcast, not a drop of rain fell.  It was the perfect day for our trip. As we approached   Point Saline’s, the southern peak of our Island, Grenada, the waters became rough and we were urged to hold on as the vessel rocked along with the jagged waves. As we identified the various communities we searched for key landmarks and structures; The Maurice Bishop International Airport, the St. George’s School of Medicine, the Light House at Lance Aux Epines and other familiar spots. We were privileged to see a plane descending as it prepared to land on the runway of the Airport which seemed so close to us.

After about one hour travelling on sea, Hog Island was in view. One of the first things I noticed was the sheds along the shoreline and the small speed boats transporting visitors to and from the Island. My mind immediately moved beyond what the eyes could behold and I wondered what the rest of the Island had to offer.

After docking, we decided to enjoy our lunch before heading off the boat and into the inner areas of Hog Island. We all pampered our taste buds with the delicious Pelau and Green Salad, prepared for the trip. Every passenger aboard was singing praises to the Cook in appreciation for a well satisfying meal.  We then headed out with our desert, water and our swimming gear.

Our Adventure accelerated as we ventured out to discover what’s beyond the shore and among the lush green vegetation. We discovered one of the many beaches and observed the water to be invitingly warm and refreshing. We enjoyed walking on the rocks along the coastline that lead us on the opposite side of the Island.  The side on which we entered was mostly swampy and tiny crabs of varied patterns could be seen roaming the dark sandy soil. But as we advanced deeper into the bushes we found dry land, green pastures and plants. I took it all in determined to detach myself from the cares of this world.  It worked!  I was able to enjoy the moment thoroughly and purely.

We walked quite a bit exploring the tracks that seemed recently trodden.  We were told about beaches one can discover by deeper exploration into the bushes.  The day climaxed with a lovely sea bath on one of the Island’s more accessible beaches. It was just what I needed.

Now, If you know me, you should understand that every activity I am engaged with has to be more than just an activity. There must be something to take-away from all this.

My Hog Island Take-aways.

1)First things first, I am extremely grateful to God for taking us to and from our destination safely.

2)From the moment I placed my feet on the vessel I was reminded that God was also present.  He is always with me.  The seas obey him, I had no need to be afraid.   This realization of truth allowed me to relax on sea and focus on the beauty around me.  The absence of fear allowed me to thoroughly enjoy the ride.

3)This trip allowed my family to deepen its bond and I am so happy that or idea bore fruit. We all wanted to make this adventure a reality and we did.

4)It was also great to connect with others, to make new friends and acquaintances.  When we mix and mingle intentionally, we allow others to see Christ in us and they are suddenly in a space that allows them to view life, pleasure and fun differently.  I am able to find joy and contentment in the simplest of ways. 

5)The more you venture out and explore is the more beauty you would experience.  Many times in life we hesitate to take the next step because we perceive that it will be difficult and our vision stops there.   Our walk around the island, up the slopes and grassy pastures, along the stony coastline and unfamiliar tracks led us to hidden treasures.  The willingness to explore allows you to enjoy the thrill of discovering something new.

Every detail of this day added to the beautiful moment we shared together. My body felt relaxed and rejuvenated. Just what I needed, just what we all needed.

What activities does your family look forward to during school breaks?

Family moments – Gratitude!

Family moments can be created around just about anything; humour, food, travelling, a movie, a game, a song, learning something new, welcoming a new baby, attending a sporting event, creating something together and the list goes on and on.    I am so passionate about family moments that I am always anticipating my weekends and public holidays.

How does your family build special memories? What are your favourite activities?

We often get caught up in the school-work-home cycle and many times prefer to just relax at home on weekends and on public holidays.  What works well is planning in advance and planning our activities at a time when we can afford to slow down a bit; a time when not too much is going on around us.    Some activities we enjoy are going to the beach, walking and hiking, visiting family, watching movies, attending church,  going to the theatre, watching basketball and more. I believe though, our most favourite moment, is just being home together.

Recently, we engaged ourselves in an activity that turned out to be much more meaningful than we expected.  Maybe you may wish to try this with your family.

Activity

Each person was asked to walk with pen and paper.  The timer was set for three minutes and everyone was expected to begin writing things they were grateful for.  At the end of the three minutes, each family member shared the items on their list.  If you had the same item on your list, you had to indicate so by raising your hand.

I was amazed by the number of things we thought of combined.  It was a lovely experience and we all enjoyed it.

I wish to share some of the things I wrote on my list. Some may seem insignificant or minor to you, but that’s o.k., as you would not know the story behind the gratitude being expressed.

Yesterday I was thankful for these things and today I am more thankful:

  • My Job
  • Quiet Time
  • Healthy food
  • Ice cream
  • The Rain and The Sun
  • God’s word
  • A Spiritual Foundation
  • Education
  • Technology
  • Equipment
  • Hope
  • Dreams
  • Transportation
  • The ability to move
  • Peace
  • My Parents
  • Co-workers
  • A structured Government maintaining order
  • A vehicle of my own
  • Coconut water
  • Fresh air
  • The Beach
  • A bed
  • Beautiful scenery
  • Intelligence
  • Sounds
  • The ability to share
  • My body

What are your thankful for today?

I inspire you today to be the one to initiate a family activity.  Create great memories and don’t forget to pull out the camera.

They soon grow up and move out

Today, I am reflecting on the gift of my two kids, Jonathan, 19 and Janae 13. They are now old enough to consult with on major decisions and I feel grateful just acknowledging this blessing.

Some of my favourite moments with them are when we are reading and discussing God’s word, huddled on my bed, chatting and sharing jokes, eating, working on school projects, outdoor activities and watching movies. The older me is much more appreciative of these moments, I have learnt to slow down and smell the roses. More so, I find my self taking a closer look at their intricate designs.

It is very easy for me to get distracted with work and personal projects. Being an introvert with a very creative imaginative mind, I find myself most comfortable when I am alone and being creative. My creations often fall into the category of INSPIRATION. I always desire to share hope and to be that individual that would communicate a “yes you can” message to the unbeliever, the man, woman or child who continues to doubt their ability and the power of God.

Today I am learning to put more of that creative energy into my kids, now a young adult and a teenager. I have the honour of inspiring them to be go-getters, to dream and to take steps every day towards those dreams. I have the honour of being their cheerleader, reminding them that dreams do come true. I have the honour of grooming them for success, to face life’s challenges and to win. As parents, our job is an enormous one, but when we treasure our family, we do all in our power to make their development exciting and memorable. There is absolutely no room for excuses. We need to use the time we have today and not procrastinate for the tomorrow we cannot guarantee.

So, today as I inspire me I inspire you to be more present in the lives of your kids, no matter their ages. Do not underestimate the knowledge you have gained through your experiences in life. Saturate them with knowledge and sound principles that would provide them with a great foundation for experiencing fulfilled lives. It is our duty to do our very best today and not tomorrow.

Your kids deserve more than “Because I say so”.

I really don’t think the words “Because I say so” works. Not from what I have experienced. Maybe years ago, but, children these days? They require more from us, explanations, answers and reasons why they should obey or choose wisely. In fact, they need to be able to define what is “wise” as well.

Some of us may think that there are times when those words do apply, as the required explanations are too complexed for our child’s consumption. I get that feeling, I totally do. In those times I have found it better so say why I cannot explain, rather than “Because I say so”. You see there is merit in acting real as parents, there is merit in acting human. Sometimes, we do not have the answers and that’s okay.

I am not a bully mom, neither are my children growing to be kids; they are growing to be adults who can think and make sound decisions, communicate effectively and demonstrate other necessary skills and the intelligence to be successful in all spheres.

My role therefore is to speak to my kids in a manner that would educate them and build their confidence in facing life’s touch questions. “Because I say so” may be seen as an escape for parents who are too busy to sit and explain or too scared to touch the unpleasant. Parenting is about toughening up and facing our responsibilities head on. If we don’t know what to say, seek guidance first, pray, prepare thoroughly, but don’t take the escape route. It would not hurt to say to your child, “I cannot explain to you now, but I promise to do so before the day ends; I need you to trust me on this”.

Children accept our sincere attempts to respect them, value them and to teach them and they connect much better with us when they are able to perceive us as normal humans with lacks and weaknesses but also with experience and wisdom, seeking to lead them the best way we know how.

Here is a bonus tip. The more you spend quality time with your kids, the easier it becomes to discuss uncomfortable topics with them.

7 Lessons Learnt from my Daddy.

Today, the world celebrates “Fathers’ Day”. While, I love the idea of the special attention being given to Fathers, I think “Real Dads” should be appreciated every day.

It is a blessing to still have my dad today. He is 83 years and counting. I am thankful to God for my sound biblical upbringing and for my Dad who played a significant role in my development. I am forever grateful.

It is my honour to share with you some of the Lessons learnt from my Dad.

Lesson no. 1
A relationship with God changes you for the better
Dad often spoke of his spiritual transformation when we were kids. He talked about life before when he found pleasure in the things of this world. He was only 24 and was already negatively influenced by the dangerous practices the world had to offer. He told the story of being invited to church and not recalling how he left his seat and found himself at the Altar. He told the story of the prayer of faith that changed his life forever. Since his encounter with God, he has been different. He experienced the power of God and that, he couldn’t fully explain.

As children we witnessed that change, we lived within the moment of the testimony he told. He preached and counseled others within the context of change. He preached from a place of experience. Dad was transformed from a young man who was interested in pleasure and living selfishly to a young man who wanted absolutely nothing to do with his past. He now wanted to learn more about God’s plan for his life.

Lesson no. 2
A Dad must faithfully provide for his Family

I grew up physically poor but spiritually loaded. Despite the fact that we had limited cash circulating, we always had food to eat. My Dad did lots of gardening and still does to an extent. He planted corn, sweet potatoes, yams, string beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, peas, eggplants, cabbages, carrots, bell peppers, seasoning peppers, sugar cane and the list goes on. Our garden and the many fruit trees around our home, were the main source of food for our family. My Dad worked hard to make that possible. Not only did he plant but he maintained the fruit trees. We enjoyed fruits all year round, from mangoes (a wide variety of them), to cherries, guavas, sugar apples, plums, sour sops and more.

We enjoyed modest homes but we were proud of the places we called home. We moved at least four times during my childhood but Dad and Mom did a great job with the selections. It was not enough for Dad to be renting and even though it was late in his life, he built us a home that we were finally able to call ours. Dad did not experience the burden of a home mortgage as many experience today. He was very disciplined with his finances and practiced saving for times like these. The building of our home explained grace, kindness, faith and perseverance. Dad lead the way on this Project when it seemed crazy and crazy became our cherished home.

Lesson no. 3
A Dad must be faithful to his wife
I grew up with five brothers. Dad had two sons before marrying mom. We loved them and looked forward to the time when they visited; they lived in St. Vincent. Sometimes we visited them as well. Dad’s two sons from his past life, was all we had to remind us of his past. There was no other woman in his life, he was committed to our Mother. He gave us no reason to wonder or to be fearful of the threat of another woman. Our family felt safe and solid.

Lesson no. 4
A Dad must be a Cheer Leader for his Children

As we grew, we pursued our individual paths, not always a path that Dad would approved of, but we new then, and now that he always wanted the very best for us and believed in our potential. As kids he would often show his disapproval in silence and firm stares, he did not talk a lot. We knew however, when he was proud of us, whether it was our grades at school, performance at sports, our singing or presentations at church, we knew! He expressed it in words and pleasant expressions. He was our cheer leader in a reserved but evident manner and that was powerful. We were always motivated to achieve. Thoughts of not being able to make it or accomplish our dreams were never because of what dad said or did. He showed us how to achieve by pursuing his dreams until they became a reality and we knew we possessed the same tenacity for success.

Lesson no. 5
Discipline and love goes hand in hand

We grew up at a time when parents whipped, used the belt, ruler, and other helps to instill discipline. Dad seemed to have known a little more or maybe it was his spiritual transformation that made the difference. We got “licks” as well but it was not freely given, it was reserved for those times when our disobedience crossed the line. It was reserved for those times when harsher methods were appropriate and a lesson had to be urgently taught. “Licks” and love often went hand in hand. I remember getting “licks” once and I felt so sorry for what I did but yet I was thankful. Strange right? Well, not really, because it was done in Love. “Licks” and Love!

Lesson no. 6
Trust & Space

As we grew older, we enjoyed more freedom. We had received Godly instructions from church, from school and more so from home and then we were trusted to make our own decisions. We were equipped, our life-banks were adequately stocked for good success and then we were expected to be “wise as serpents and harmless as doves”.

I never felt as if I was in bondage or under pressure to do the right thing. We were educated about right and wrong. We knew the difference between wholesome fun and dangerous fun and it came mainly from our parents, what they taught us and how they lived. We had other great examples around us as well. It was then up to us to choose. We were told how to choose and about consequences. As teenagers we were never forced to make choices to please our parents but rather to please God.

Lesson no. 7
Spend valuable time with your family – establish healthy memories

We played quite a bit of table games as a family, Ludo, Life, Checkers, and there was a game that dad invented with various families and we had to exchange cards to complete each family. I loved that game! My favourite family was the “Sharers”.

Dad loved table-tennis and most of us learned the basic idea of the sport. We visited the beach often on Saturdays, something I miss dearly. We had drive-outs and pick-nicks, as well as camp trips. We would help out sometimes roasting breadfruit, corn and potatoes and would often enjoy roasted breadfruit and salt-fish for supper, many times out on the porch under the moonlight. Many of our family meals were enjoyed together around the table, filled with chatter and laughter.

Church life was great as kids. My Dad was a Pastor and we enjoyed the activities of the church, the daily vacation bible schools, special crusades, lovely singing, great Christmas Programmes, Camps and more. We loved Church and our Church family. Things were so different then.

Our primary school education was from the Berean Christian Academy. My elder brother and sister were members of the school band. My sister played the flute and my brother, the trombone. I believe he was introduced to the saxophone at school as well. We enjoyed a number of school concerts as a family. Uplifting music saturated our family, at home, at school and at church. As I think about Dad, I think about the happy home environment he and mom created for us and the many musical records we enjoyed. One of my favourite memories is “Jump back little frog, Jump back”. I searched YouTube hoping to find a recording of that little nursery rhyme but to know avail. Dad bought me my first guitar when I was a teenager, and I am so happy he did.

Family devotions was led by Dad. They were those times when we were encouraged to reflect on our thoughts and our actions. They were sobering moments of introspection as we were reminded to live in line with God’s principles.

I am writing this article, and I am reminded to keep my articles short and captivating. I think I have already written too much. There is so much I want to share.

To all the Dads out there, please know that your little girls and little boys as well as your big girls and big boys need your attention, your love and your discipline.

We love you. Happy Fathers’ Day!

A safe place for children

I am often saddened when I hear stories of dysfunctional homes, abandoned children, children who are neglected and exposed to danger by their parents and children who are simply lost all because they have not known unconditional love and acceptance.

You see, as parents our role is to provide a safe place for our children to exist, to discover themselves and to develop into independent, sober adults who can make sound decisions that would lead to great quality lives.

What is a “safe place”?

That safe place I am referring to is the HOME. Most children return to a home and the ideal scenario is that they should be very happy to return home.

As a parent myself, I often have to remind myself that I cannot control what takes place outside of our home, whether it is unfair teachers, unreasonable adults who judge all children the same, immature Christians who play holy but take pleasure in destroying the character of others, men and women who prey on innocent children, or advertisements and activities that encourage the use of alcohol, nakedness and irresponsible behaviour.

I have come to terms with the reality of this life. I have also recognised that I have the power to influence my kids positively and I must use the advantage of the Home, the fact that we all live in the same space.

I feel it for parents who are struggling. There are those of us who may not describe ourselves as struggling but our experiences can be described more as challenges. Everyone has to face the struggle/challenge of creating that “safe place” and keeping it safe. There are many negative influences out there, seeking to snatch the opportunity for greatness from our children. I wish to share a few tips with us on how we can create that “safe place” at home so that our children can pursue a meaningful life now and in the future.

  1. As a parent, be present at home as much as possible. Try to cut down the unsupervised times spent at home by your children, even as teenagers. When it is totally necessary for you to be out, provide a structure for them while they are at home, give them tasks to accomplish. It is also necessary to follow-up and monitor them with a phone call or two.
  2. Know your children’s friends. You can get to know them by visiting their school, attending school activities, sending little goodies for them at school, and inviting them out with your children.
  3. Practice self-control as a parent, avoid shouting, yelling, the cold treatment and other immature behaviours. In other words grow up, get help if you need it. These kind of behaviours push children away, creating a dangerous distance. If your children are not ready to chat with you everyday about their experiences at school, check yourself first. Maybe you are to harsh, jumping to conclusions before listening. Remember you were once young and they are not yet grown.
  4. Work-out any problems you may have with your spouse privately, do not allow your children to be negatively affected by any disagreements between yourself and your spouse (for those who are married of course).
  5. Do not leave your children home with strangers or anyone you are uncomfortable with, they are better of home alone, if it is really necessary.
  6. Try as much as possible to serve home-cooked meals. Give them the experience of good, tasty food that is safe and healthy to eat.
  7. Speak only words that are uplifting to your children. Be their biggest Cheer-Leader! Even when they need to be disciplined, let them know that you love them deeply and desire the best for them, that is why discipline is necessary.
  8. Give them a sound spiritual education. Point them to the Scriptures and to beginning a relationship with God, not to religion and a life of pretense and religious formalities. Let them know that there are standards for right and wrong and God is the absolute authority. Introduce them to a God of love who can be trusted with their future because he knows all things. Talk about the Word of God at home and apply it to daily living.
  9. As parents, seek to be good examples, so that your children would not suffer the consequences of your sins. Give them that chance to start life without baggage, they would create their own anyhow.
  10. Finally, build great memories at home, have fun! plan lots of family activities and get the children to contribute their ideas as well.

There is so much more that can be said but, I prefer to keep it short. As short as it may be, let it inspire you to grow as a parent and work towards building a safer place for your children.