‘Nurturing the next generation’

Being a parent is no joke.

The responsibility, tiredness, potential heartache and not to mention the financial investment are just few of the things that spring to mind. However as any parent will tell you it is not all doom, gloom and expenses. There are relatively few things that compare to watching your child peacefully sleeping or being the recipient of a great big hug from your son or daughter.

As a mother of four and grandmother to two I have a wealth of experience under my belt. I also have had the privilege of providing training courses and working with many mums and dads as they traverse the often tricky landscape of parenting. The concerns remain the same inspite of ethnicity, age, culture or socio-economic status. Every parent is worried about some aspect of the parenting process and how they will manage to raise a healthy, productive member of society. The questions range from potty training techniques; managing bedtimes; how to improve the child’s academic engagement and results; when to let them travel alone; managing time on social media and mobile phones to appropriate curfews; dealing with boyfriends/girlfriends and the often dreaded topic of sex. As I stated before being a parent is no joke.

When all is said and done every single parent (even the ones who don’t get it right) all desire to raise successful, well rounded children. They all want the best for their children.

I have lost count of all the assembly’s and performances I have sat through in primary and secondary school, college and then university. But in every one across all the years (and I have had 31 years experience so far) there is one constant. It is the look of pride and the raucous clapping and cheering when a child appears (or performs) and their parent gets to witness that moment. All thoughts of the responsibilities melt away in those minutes and pure love and pride replace any concerns.

Parenting is an absolute rollercoaster and it is not for the faint hearted and it raises questions ‘What is the essence of parenting? Why should we be concerned about the parenting role?’ The Oxford dictionary defines parent as being a mother or father to someone. Parenthood means to be in the state of being a parent and the responsibilities involved. The Word tells us that children are a heritage from the Lord and blessed is the man (woman) whose quiver is full of them (Psalms 127:3)

Being a parent is an absolute blessing but it is rightly accompanied with a serious level of responsibility. ‘To whom much is given, much is required’ (Luke 12:48) You have been given the opportunity to nurture the next generation. You essentially have been given the chance to influence the world for years to come even after you have departed from this earthly plane. What you do with your child/children matters far more than we can often comprehend.

When I think of the story of Einstein who did not speak until he was four and was effectively written off by his school teachers it pays testament to a mother who never gave up on her child. As the story goes it was his mother who upon receipt of the letter from school suggesting he was slow and should be educated at home chose to tell him the exact opposite. Einstein’s mother told him he was so clever that the school was not able to educate him. She home schooled him. It was not until he was an adult that Einstein discovered the letter and realised how much his mother had supported and believed in him.

In this age that we live in it is easy to become disillusioned about the parenting role. In the middle of the night when your six month old is teething and won’t settle off to sleep it is common to feel despair. When your ten year old develops a cocky attitude and starts answering you back and even worse when your teenager appears to be going off the rails.

I want to encourage you to change your focus. Do not dwell so much on the here and now but think of the future. Think of the impact of your actions and the consequences of punishments you may impose. As a mother or father you have one (or more) of the next generation in your hand. My advice is to walk in love, act kindly and use Godly wisdom.

Alison Johnson

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