When I was pregnant with my first boy, I wondered, who will he look like? Will he look like me? Will he look like his dad? What traits will he take from my side of the family? What traits will he take from his dad’s side?
I dreamt of what kind of man he will turn out to be.
This was quite a whiles ago, but seeing my daughter-in-love, Mackenzie ask herself the same questions made me realize that these are universal everlasting queries.
Five months ago, our first granddaughter, Elizabeth Ann or Ellie as we call her was born.
Watching the unconditional love and the nurturing she was so joyfully receiving from my son and daughter-in-love, made me ask myself what makes a child feel loved and secure? How does a child get to trust the world?
Watching my son and daughter-in-love set me wondering, what are the optimum conditions for a healthy childhood?
Loving a child extends way beyond being fed and changing diapers. Love is the warmth of mom’s body as she breastfeeds her baby. It is the baby looking deep into his mom’s eyes as if telling her, you are the most beautiful woman in the whole wide world.
Love is the loving remarks and smiles as mummy changes her baby’s diapers. Love is daddy holding his baby to shield and protect him/her from the world. It is feeling that daddy is the hero, the protector and the provider who loves her/him madly no matter what.
As months go by, the baby learns by repetition: so when mummy leaves, she will invariably come back; and when dad says bye-bye in the morning as he goes off to work, he will always return. This repetition gives a sense of security that the parents will always be there. The child will realize that even if he/she does not see mum and dad the whole day, yet they will always come back for him/her. The child will not have feelings of abandonment or rejection.
Later still, the child starts having self-confidence and self-esteem through the parents’ encouragement, acknowledgment, praise, and support.
Consistency and limits teach the child boundaries, self-discipline and self-control.
And consistency is not always easy especially if you are tired, exhausted or if the child nags long enough for you to give in. But don’t. Consistency teaches discipline.
The child internalizes all these things so he can become an independent person who has self-control and discipline.
Phew! This all sounds too much. But it’s not. God gives daily grace for child rearing and child loving if we give God a chance to do so.
I always tell people that I have camel knees (since I come from Egypt:) from praying for my boys. At times I prayed silently, others screaming; others believing, and other times doubting. But I never ceased to pray.
As Masterson (1985) put it, ‘The ability to experience emotions deeply with liveliness, joy, vigor, excitement and spontaneity…the capacity to identify one’s unique wishes and to use autonomous initiative and assertion to express them in reality…the capacity to limit and minimize and soothe painful emotions…the capacity to express self fully in close relationships with minimal anxiety about abandonment or engulfment. This is the healthy real self.’
This is precisely what we want for our children, and it starts at birth. It begins even before conception.
We read in Jeremiah 1.4-5, ‘Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying Before you were formed in the body of your mother I had knowledge of you..’
What are your dreams for your children?
The best thing you can give your children is a four-letter word: it is spelled T-I-M-E.
A teacher asked her class to write a paper answering the question, “What would you like to be if you were not a human?” One child wrote, “If I were not a human, I would like to be a TV because as soon as everyone returns home, the TV is on. The whole family sits around watching the TV, and if someone tries to interrupt, everyone else shushes him so they can hear the program they are watching. I wish I were a TV so I could get my father’s full attention and he would spend as much time with me as he spends watching TV.” When the teacher returned home with the class papers to grade them, she showed this one to her husband.
“How silly,” the husband said. “This boy doesn’t want to be an astronaut, a doctor, or a performer? He just wants to be a TV?”
His wife looked at him somberly. “This is your son’s paper,” she said.
Showing interest in your child’s day-to-day life is spelled T-I-M-E. The more time you spend with your children, the more impact you will have on them as they grow up. When you invest in spending time with your children as they are growing up, you will have more impact on them when they are adolescents. You will even have more impact on them than their friends do. (Excerpt from my book)
Wondering how your children will turn out?
Start loving them unconditionally, start spending time with them daily.
I also recommend you look up my new book, What Happens After #MeToo available on Amazon.
Do connect with me here.