The pride of parenting
When we celebrate Men and Women saints in the Liturgy of the Hours/Divine Office of the Catholic Church, we usually have the invitatory antiphon as: “How wonderful is God among His Saints; come, let us adore Him.” So, we could say to our parents who are our immediate Men and Women Saints: How wonderful is God among our parents; come let us adore Him! Our focus today is to reflect on how dignifying it is to be a parent. This is important because a family can live forever, if it is graced by high-minded parents. Many families have been extricated from extinction from the face of the earth and before the sight of God through parents that impacted on their children and wards. Again, the family spirituality that we have been pondering on for some weeks now could see the light of the day, if and only if families have focused and impacting parents.
We have problems today in the civil society about leadership and you may be wondering where that could have emerged from; without thinking hard for answers, failures in parenting styles has seriously afflicted the progress and stability of the family system. Note that the first pride of parenting is leadership of the home. Our family is a domestic church with a sanctuary served by parents and leadership begins here. It is in this light that we need to rediscover the pride of parenting and make conscious efforts to reposition our family systems in order for them to live forever until the Lord of glory returns. There is something we need to know: it is the fact that every child in a family and home is the 7th person that is a fruit of 6 people. This is so because in every marriage there are 6 people: the couple and both sets of parents (Missildine, 1963). To this end, there are a lot of influences from parents. It all begins at conception where researchers studying memory have made us to know that the cells themselves have some form of memory and that these memories are stored in our bodies. Such memories affects the DNA and we see their manifestations in children’ behaviour. So, be careful! You are a great influencer whether you know it or not.
Thus, the next pride of parenting would be your ability to impact on your children, your capacity to leave a legacy for the family. A legacy that would become an indelible mark and through it your family’s root and image could be easily traced. Parents have this big question to answer: what is the legacy you are leaving for your family? Unbelief, faith in God, knowledge, values, working hard, money, quest for power and position? This question is timely because what we observe and experience these days is that parents are beginning to love children more than God who created them. So, they end up pampering and spoiling them. I have experienced personally and heard of parents going to schools to insult and sue Teachers and Principals for scolding and punishing their children and wards. Here is a reminder: “If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons… For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant; later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” (Heb. 12:8, 11)
In leadership seminars, there is the push for the “seven forms of wealth”: Inner wealth (strong spiritual companion, positive mindset); Physical wealth (health); Family and social wealth (family as primary priority); Career wealth (actualization of potentials); and Economic wealth (money). The greatest wealth that parents can leave as pride for a family is Impact wealth which is centred on values and not money and power. The chief values to work for and impress on the family are Faith in God as against unbelief, knowledge of God as against erroneous teachings in the world and you spending quantity and quality time with your family as against entrusting completely the training and formation of your children to Teachers and the public. So, today walk on the track of greatness by loving, cherishing and giving your children what will last – God, knowledge and values. I prayerfully wish you a fulfilling parenting of your family.
Fr. John-Mary Atep.