While growing up, my mother reared chickens, not ‘agric fowls’ as we called broilers but the native kind that would lay eggs, hatch them, etc. My sisters and I learnt something very fast about the mother hen. When it started to incubate its eggs/hatch them, the docile hen changed into a fierce, attack-at-the-slightest-no-nonsense hen. Up till today, whenever I see a mother hen with freshly hatched chicks, I give it a wide berth. That hen can chase and attack any and every one it perceives as a threat to the well-being of its chicks. Female animals with young ones are known to be deadly (with some exceptions), deadlier than their male counterparts. A lioness with cubs, a she-bear with cubs are good examples but to name a few.
And so we come to mothers and mothering. The mother-a beautiful species of being with the ability to bring forth, nurture, train, protect and the list is endless. The woman is so designed that she can keep the home, raise the children, work a job and do all excellently. Different roles, one person. That is who God made the woman to be, and before proceeding, this is to say a big thumbs up, thank you, well done to all the mothers out there. Yours may seem like a thankless job but God sees, He hears, He applauds and His reward is sure. Keep up the good work sister!
In the beginning, God……, and that is where the job of every mother starts; with God. It is the smart and savvy woman that knows to spend time with God every day, and time means exactly that- T-I-M-E. Non-negotiable. You will never know how much your life will transform until you know to withdraw, to replenish your strength, to get wisdom in the place of fellowship with God (by the way, I believe it is irresponsible parenting to be locked up in your prayer closet while your children run around unattended to. Children by their very nature need constant monitoring.). Whatever you do, let the beauty of your absolute reliance and dependence on God shine through in every situation.
The working mother is an unavoidable subject in this day and age. Upfront, it should be said that the day society, mothers, fathers amongst others began to clamor for equal rights and recognition in the workplace for the woman, the home front and especially the children began to suffer. Society now tells us that a woman is not complete until she is earning a salary with six digits like the men (there is nothing wrong with that by the way). The truth is, God designed that the mother would be the one to spend more time with the children- she is naturally adapted to that task. And so, when the parents, particularly the mother is away from dawn-dusk all weeklong, the children are under direct attack from any and every thing. God did not give you children so that you can delegate their upbringing to someone else. That is one responsibility that cannot be delegated. This is not to say that a woman cannot and should not work but once it conflicts with taking care of the home, the woman is too busy!I believe every mother should be at home with her children once they finish from school, or at least the father. I entirely agree with author Tim Lahaye when he said “today’s emphasis on working mothers (whether it is necessary or not) is destined to create a whole generation of rebellious or insecure young people”. Enough said already? I should hope not.
Raising a child is so delicate that whatever happens to that child in its formative years can make or mar the child. We should consider this fact that just the presence of mummy at home can make a child act right very fast. If that presence is continued from day to day, good habits are formed, bad ones discarded (hopefully) and then it becomes a lifestyle. In no time, a beautiful, responsible. God-loving adult is born. We overlook the evils that can pass over a child just because a parent is present. No sexual molestation, pornography, bad company, lewd talk, bad manners can bypass the watchful eye of a godly mother. Even physical attacks and accidents can be staved off by a woman knowing her place in God. It is true that bad things may still happen whether a parent is present or not, but we can testify, mummy also spells safety and protection.
It is so easy to look at western society today and shake our heads at the level of depravity we see there; children shooting parents, schoolmates, themselves; all sorts of sexual perversion, the presence of all manner of ungodliness. This should be said- one of the root causes was when godless men and women began to propound theories on child training and the Christians accepted those theories as the standard for raising their children. Two, it was decided, and the mothers decided/accepted that they ought to work a job and pull their weight like their male counterparts, and so, with no one to care for the children and teach them good from bad, tell them about God and life, the devil stepped in and is doing an excellent job.
It is a general saying among mothers that having the children around a lot is tiring and draining. And it should be! Child training is work and labour (and of course, a lot of help from the fathers would be very welcome). We expect to be tired when we get back from our jobs but are irritated and feel we have wasted our time and energy when it is spent on our children! We have been so deceived and our priorities so out of place. Child care has been relegated to house helps, nannies, crèches/daycares/schools etc. Let every mother remember that God will judge not just the bible studies we led or how well we sang in the choir but the major fact of how we raised our children. I want to reiterate, you cannot and will never be a success at raising your children unless and until you see them as a priority. It may look like a lot of time to spend, but in some years’ time those children will be gone. Once they get into the university they are out of our lives and direct control forever. For some children it is boarding school, and that is it. Our time of impact and relevance in the lives of our children is limited. Let us make the best use of it now. Remember, “the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world”.
This is not an exhortation to make drastic changes but one to prayerfully take stock of your life and change. And if you are actively fulfilling God’s will for your life as a wife, mother etc, then go girl, keep on keeping on!
-Aghogho Awonusi is a Legal Practitioner that resides in Ibadan. She is happily married and a mother of one.
In the last write-up I proffered the new birth as God’s panacea for disobedience. Nevertheless, you say, at the risk of sounding renegade- “I thought a panacea was supposed to be a cure-all, a universal remedy, final answer to all problems and a perfect solution; well, my child is born again yet he is very disobedient”.
For such parents, guardians or care-givers, this short article is targeted.
Godly living is a result of a submission on the part of an individual to the spirit born after God. The fact that a person is born again does not mean he/she will automatically toe the line of God’s word. True, God is at work inside, but He will not fuss or force subjection to His will. Therefore, what you need to do is to help this child understand more about the life of God and you’ll see that child walking in obedience perfected in every good work.
For the saving grace of God has appeared for all people, training us to renounce godlessness and worldly passions and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present world.1
The solution to sins and every form of disobedience lies in recognition of God’s grace. The same grace by which we were saved is sufficient to keep us doing right. Do not attempt a reversal to the law in a bid to enforce obedience. The law did not work for the Israelites for which it was established, how much more the new creation?
For what the law was unable to do, weakened as it was through the flesh, that God did by sending His own son in the likeness of sinful flesh and on account of sin; He thus condemned sin in human nature.2
Does this mean that any and everything goes in the Christian home because of grace? NO! It does not mean that you do not have principles guiding your children in the home but that you carefully teach your child God’s word in recognition of grace and the righteous nature bestowed by the new birth. Then, you will see right living result in this child and your child will work out his salvation with fear and trembling because he recognizes that it is God Himself who is at work within, both to cause him to desire to do and to perform God’s pleasure. This will certainly be your pleasure too.
Scriptures: 1 Titus 2:11-12 2Romans 8:3
– Dr ifelayo ojo
“Accordingly, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old is gone, lo the new has come”. But all these things are from God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Christ and has given to us the ministry of reconciliation, which is that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their sins against them, and committing to us the message of reconciliation.” 1
The new birth is the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of an individual to create a new spirit in the likeness of God Himself inside him/her. It is not a change of character or attitude; rather it results in behavioral changes.
In ministering the new birth to your family, especially the children; you need to help them realize that sins are a result of the sinful nature which all humans inherited from the first man- Adam. Be graphic when you illustrate the fall of man to them and the efforts of humanity ever since to please God. For example you can buy a video of the ‘Ten Commandments’ and let them watch the interaction between God and the Israelites through Moses.
Tell them about the sacrifices instituted for sins under the law and how those sacrifices could not take away sins. (See Hebrews 10:1-10)
Then introduce Jesus to them as the solution provided by God. God Himself taking on human flesh to die as man for the sins of men; so that sons of men will become the sons of God. Let them know that an expression of faith in Christ is all that is needed for them to become beneficiaries of all that He’s done. Simple trust, belief in the heart of a child that Jesus died to save him/her makes him born again. Now, you can expect the best behavior from that child as he/she is taught by God and you are aiding the process of mind renewal by teaching your child God’s word and living out the life of God consistently. Do NOT underestimate that kid of yours from the moment he gets born again because he has the Holy Ghost just like you do!
This article is based on the assumption that you- the reader are actually born again yourself because you cannot introduce another person into what you have not partaken of. You become a minister of the new birth by virtue of the new life you have received yourself.
Scripture Ref: 12Corinthians 5: 17-19 (Revised Berkely Version)
Dr ifelayo ojo
The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart…1
Welcome to a time of enlightenment as we delve into God’s word to see what to do when faced with some life situations in the family.
The Christian family is not immune from the everyday issues of life and living. The assurance we have is that of VICTORY over all that might come against us in the world. However, for a victorious walk, we need to display wisdom, Godly wisdom coming from the one by whom every family in heaven and earth is named.2
We cannot afford to neglect God’s offer of wisdom by His word and turn to worldly means for solving problems; God’s word contains the complete and perfect solution for anything you might be going through as a family.
This week, we’ll be considering ‘what to do when you have a disobedient child’.
Disobedience is simply a willful decision to go against orders. It can also be described as non-compliance, defiance or breaking the rules. In our context, disobedience is when a child deliberately does the exact opposite or a variant of what his /her parents instructs. We see disobedience at varying degrees and extents in the lives of our children, but what do we do about it as Christian parents?
You need to first be able to say if your child is born again or not. There was a physical birth that made this child yours, then, there ought to be a spiritual birth which makes the child that used to be natural, God’s own NEW creation. He that is born of the flesh is flesh and he that is born of the spirit is spirit3. It will be wrong to assume that children born into Christian homes are automatically born again, the new life is not inherited, it is only by faith in Jesus Christ and the work of the cross.
Do not expect the same behaviour from a child who’s born again and one who is not, because disobedience is natural to anyone who has not partaken of the new birth (see Ephesians 2:2).
These few steps are generally useful when giving instructions to children:
- State clearly what you want your child to do.
- Give the reasons for your instructions or desires. (Don’t just expect compliance because you call the shots, Children these days want to know why and they deserve to know. It kills your child’s individuality when you just give instructions and the only reason it has to be obeyed is “because I said so!”)
- Entertain questions or suggestions (if your child is old enough for this)
- Agree to a reasonable punishment for disobedience with your child.
- Reward obedience, but do not bait your children!
You would notice that interaction is key to achieving compliance or obedience in children. Disobedience needs to be punished in order to discourage future occurrence. Remember, obedience can only be complete in the new creation; So, if your child is not yet born again and it’s not due to the constraints of age or understanding, log in next week when we’ll be discussing ‘Ministering the New birth to your Family’ and you’ll learn to apply God’s panacea to disobedience.
(Scripture references: 1-Psalm 197-8, 2-Ephesians 315, 3-John36)
– Dr ifelayo ojo