Sunday, December 6, 2015

OUR CHILDREN AND HOLIDAYS

So very soon the Christmas season is here again and if you are like me, you are expecting your children home for the holiday. Soon you will have a full house (sometimes even one child 'fills' the house in a pleasant way).Holiday- makers will be home, looking forward to a time of relaxation, rest, fun etc.
Uppermost on their minds is 'chilling', you know sleeping late, waking up late, watching TV, playing video games, visiting friends and family, eating all the foods they have missed while in school and so forth. The last thing on their minds at this time is school! That is for most children who find a haven of peace in their homes.
While these indulgences are valid in and of themselves, there is a dimension of the holiday season that I would like to draw our attention to as parents. 

Holidays provide a wonderful occasion to 'debrief' our children with a view to correcting negative traits and influences they may have picked up during the term/semester while reinforcing good ones. 
Proverbs 27:23
23 Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds.
When they get back from school, it is important to find out their state since the last time they were home on holiday, even if they are day students.

Pouring goodness and godly virtues into them should also be our quest during this time. While the word 'debriefing' may sound like you are grilling your child military-style, it actually refers here to the covert art of drawing out your child, finding out where they stand values-wise, character-wise and so forth through the twin methods of LISTENING and OBSERVATION.

If done right, new tendencies, foibles, mannerisms, quirks, weaknesses etc will be picked up by you. Areas of positive development will also be noticed by you- good habits, new skills, values etc
So ask your kids direct non-threatening questions in a relaxed atmosphere with the aim of finding out where they are at character-wise, not only academically which often times is our only focus. Questions like the following may serve as a guide:



- Who is you best/ or new friend? Tell me two things you like/ do not like about them
- Tell me two or more things that made you really happy this term
- What made you sad this last term?
- Is there anything you want to tell me?
- Any questions you want to ask me?
- What do you intend to do differently next term? Why?
- What did you do that helped you get such good grades?
- What do you think is the reason why your grades are not so good?
- What new songs did you learn?
- Is there anything you want me to pray for you about?
- What scared or made you afraid the most this last term?
- Who did you have problems or trouble of any kind with last term/semester? 

The list goes on and on depending on the age and even sex of your child. 
I must also add that these all do not have to be asked in one sitting or all at once! That will be cumbersome indeed and counterproductive to say the least. The best approach would be to ease into conversations with your kids without making it obvious that you are on a fact finding mission! All the while being very observant and keen in the spirit.

It is also advisable to do this privately, one on one with each child at different informal times. Whatever you do, avoid saying things like 'sit down darling we need to have a talk' or I want to find out what happened to you in school last term' lol!!! This will make them jittery and defensive; you will not get the best out of them like that.
So listen and observe. Watch out for secretive behavior, withdrawal, unusual quietness, new lingo (vocabulary), slangs attitudes, words phrases and expressions.

Also, you need to avoid sharp reactions that border on judging and condemning them when they do open up about goings-on in their lives. If you react that way, you will lose their confidence and they will simply clam up and refuse to open up to you. Avoid jumping to conclusions. Hear them. Listen a lot. Ask questions too.

Having gathered facts and information about your child's state, you need to go back to the drawing board and map out a strategy for reinforcing christian values in them during the short holiday period.
I found a simple yet practical approach in Deuteronomy 6:6-9: 
6 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:
7 And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
8 And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.
9 And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.

1.  In Deuteronomy 6:6 it says the words you intend to teach your children must first be in your own heart. In other words, make sure that what you are requiring them to do or not do are not inconsistent with your own example. So you should be able to say like Paul, ' follow me as I follow Christ' 1 Cor. 11:1. Let your life be a reflection, an example of the truths you want to inculcate in your children. Your example is much more potent than your words.

2. In Deuteronomy 6:7a it says to teach them. This refers to deliberate efforts at pouring truths and correct perspectives into your children from a scriptural standpoint. You do not need to carry a bible all the time or stand behind a lectern to deliver your 'lecture'! After all, those truths are already rooted in your own heart. It is however necessary to read from as well as make reference to the Bible from time to time when teaching your children. 

3. In that same Deuteronomy 6:7 it says to do it 'diligently.' Teach your children the truth deliberately, consistently, passionately and tirelessly. Waiting for them to initiate this will be a waste of time because most times, children would rather just play, go out, chill or watch TV during the holidays! 

4. Deuteronomy 6:7 also mentions that you 'talk' about the things of God with your kids. That implies a less formal discourse, though still aimed at driving home the same salient truths.

5. Still on Deuteronomy 6:7, when you sit down at home, when you walk by the way, when you lie down and when you rise up' are the times when God expects you to teach your children. This connotes positional as well as situational instances. Meaning we should seize every opportunity we get to drive home the truths that will serve as an anchor for our children's souls in the stormy weather of life. Seize every moment you get not to halt what they are doing and announce 'it!s preaching time' but to take a cue from goings-on in their lives to chip in a relevant lesson in a pungent yet subtle manner.

Deuteronomy 6:8-9 point out the need to take advantage of even mundane and ordinary day to day things to drive home truths of scripture to our children. The most unlikely poster, banner, billboard, TV show, TV advert, trending story on social media, piece of jewelry etc can be the catalyst for meaningful discourse/ clarification of spiritual issues. A great idea would be to redecorate your children's rooms with inspiring stuff like posters and wall hangings as well as enriching literature, games etc visibly 'scattered' around your abode. Where possible, a great idea would also be to take them on vacation to places, friends and family who will inspire and bring out the best in them.

So, as we get ready to welcome our children back home after a season of being in school, let us remember to make the season count towards not just their physical, social and educational well-being but their spiritual well-being as well. Let us make the effort to prepare them to face another term or semester where they will yet again be exposed to all kinds of influences from an unyielding, unrelenting world.

Have a blessed holiday season and may your children bring you joy all the days of your life.

Shalom.

4 comments:

  1. Parenting is such a delight and a huge responsibility too. May we not be found wanting in this assignment given us by God. December is a very busy time of the year but its the only time our family is complete for a reasonable length of time. I will surely add this to the treasure of wisdom God has given me in times past. Thanks for being such a blessing!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks Funke. Have a great time with your family this Christmas season. Bless you.

    ReplyDelete
  3. This is preparation message for parents not lose their to schools.

    ReplyDelete