In considering parenting, let’s first consider the child who is at the center of parenting.
According to scripture: the child is a gift from the Lord and reward from him. Psalm 127:3. This gift is unto the parents, the communities and the society at large. What becomes of the person affects not only the parents or family but the society at large. Scripture makes us understand that God the creator, knows about each and everyone before they were born as witnessed in the case of Jesus Christ, John the Baptist, Samson, Isaac, Jeremiah just to mention a few (Jeremiah 1:15). Parents are the Chanel through which children are born and parents are the steward of this gift to oversee them grow and develop holistically. Therefore Prov.22:6 puts the primary responsibility on parents to train their children to have a sense of godly direction and purpose. It therefore important that parents and guardians would constantly through prayers and knowledge gaining be in connection with the giver of the gift to seek understanding and continuous guidance in directing the growth and development of the child in all their ways, to bring them to the expected end (Jeremiah 29:11).
Parenting therefore involves overseeing competence building, the total growth and development of the child which includes moral and behavior shaping, skills training and knowledge graining for the total man (holistically).
Prof. Cyril Schandorf in his contribution to the topic presented the competence building framework as partnership between God the giver, parent and all stakeholders likely to influence the developmental phase of children (childhood to adulthood). Indicating that the competence building shall cover the following four (4) areas:
1. Providing the means for acquiring wisdom, understanding and knowledge for effective living relevant to Spirit, soul and body issues.
2. Acquiring applicable skills to be productive and fruitful in life.
3.Assisting them to adopt lifestyles that uphold (I) godly core values and (ii) attitudes that gives them a direction towards a godly purpose:-fear of God,Prov.2:6,7;Prov. 8:13;Jam.3:13-18-godliness with contentment which is great gain,1Tim .6:3-12 - to respect,honour and obey parents,Eph.6:1-3,Heb13:17-freedom from the love of money,1Tim.6:6-19-Seeking first the kingdom of God and its righteousness,Matt.6:33,34-value hard and honest work, Prov.14:23; Col.3:17,23,24,1Cor.15:57-Being responsible and accountable,2Cor.5:10;Heb.4:13,Rom.14:12. ; Attitudes; - continuous learning and sharing,-cooperative and collaborative,-humble and caring, -heavenly minded instead of earthly minded etc.
4. Assisting to discover their calling, talent and ministry in life and develop them to the glory of God and common good of mankind.Rom.11:19; 1Cor.12-13 &14, Rom.12:1-9; Eph.4:7-15.
Whereas the parents are the first receivers, they’re not able to solely raise and train the child with all that is needed for the total growth and development of the child. In the Bible days of home schooling and fellowshipping at home with large families and so on Abraham ordered his children, household, workers, servants in the Lord and all those people contributed in raising Isaac. Genesis 18:19. Today in some countries some parents are pastoring their children at church, homeschooling and doing as much, yet others are involved somewhat in one way or the other. Moses was raised by Mum, supported by Pharaoh's Daughter and the palace schooling among others: Exodus 2. Samuel was raised by Mum in the custody of Eli. Timothy was impacted greatly by Grandma Lois’ faith for the purpose of God to be accomplished in him. 2 Timothy 1:5 and many more.
As parent or guardian it is important to seek to know the child by liaising with God and gaining understanding of the child. These together with Christian values informs and guides the choice of local church, educational institutions, social institutions and other stakeholders to commit or entrust other roles of raising the child as was the situation in some of the cases mentioned above. By this it is then expected that parents would partner with the stakeholders in raising the child in the right ways that they should go working together in preparing them for life as a whole to bring them to the expected end.
It is equally important to note that parents, guardians, teachers, child care givers, the local Church, the community school and all those raising, caring and relating to the child in one way or another are parenting from different angles, thus partnering in parenting towards the total growth and development of the child towards the expected end. As the child grow and mature they also become partners in trusting and obeying Godly direction and growing in the will and ways of God to bring them to the expected end.
Christians, from whatever role being played in parenting and raising the child should seek knowledge in understanding the development of children to better relate with them and must be willing and ready to connect with God to raise the child in God's will and purpose. Eric Agyedenah in his submission on the topic puts it as "people who in readiness to partner with God through constant interactions with Him through prayers for the children or asking Him for wisdom and directions on what to do with these children at various stages of their lives and the challenges that come with it". Beware that those who raise or train the child outside the will of God could mislead the child. In her submission on the topic Counselor Tutu-Danquah asserted that Nursery teachers, creche day care centres, houses helps and more can't be left out. Parents and early childhood attendants have about 85% influence on a child's personality. By 5 years, a child's personality is 85% formed. The 15% is for adjustments throughout life. What we are now was basically formed before we were five years.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT: If a person turn out as armed robber for instance is it only the parents and family members who suffers? How about if a person turns out an inspirational writer for instance?
PRAYER.: Lord open our understanding to the wonderful gifts of children you have delivered to us to nurture, guide and direct in victorious ways for your great purpose, Help us cherish this golden opportunity to partner you for your amazing provision for the accomplishments of your purpose.