Tuesday, March 8, 2016

AUTHENTIC PARENTING 3a

Children are different
I am blessed to be a biological mother of three wonderful children. It never ceases to amaze me how different they are, even from the cradle. If you have more than one child, I am sure you can relate. Even identical twins are so unalike in very many ways. Children of the same parents, raised in the same environment can be poles apart in their character, disposition, demeanor, personality etc. A good understanding of this truth constitutes an indispensable cornerstone in raising great children. God created us humans to be different on purpose. We are the way we are because God was mindful of our purpose and assignment when creating us. He has the big  picture of our destinies. And so He created each one of us deliberately with a unique set of skills, abilities, temperaments, disposition and so forth. This explains why some children are easy-going, laid back and very easily compliant. While others are more pushful, argumentative and somewhat hard to get along with. Some children are introverted and not very liberal with their words.

While other children are very extroverted and talkative. Some children and shy and withdrawn while others are very out-going and bold. Some children draw their strength from being alone and not needing much interaction. Others live for and crave the limelight! They derive their emotional strength from social interactions. Some children are very meticulous and deliberate about everything they do. Others are clumsy, messy and act before they think! With little or no explanations, some children obey instructions instantly. Others will not only hesitate to obey, but will actually question why they are being told to do what. They may eventually obey but it will have to be at their own pace and time! Some are friendly. Others take their time to warm up to people. Some children 'get it' the first time. Others only after repeated attempts. On and on the list goes. Cain and Abel; Esau and Jacob. They were siblings, remember? For most parents therefore, it is an uphill task navigating the world of their very different children. It is a major task just knowing how to deal a fair hand to their offspring.

First let me point out that different does not mean better or worse. Different simply means that; different! So that one child acts in a different manner than the rest does not mean he or she is 'bad' or 'better'. ( I am of course not talking about character here but temperament). Next we need to understand that because of these inherent differences, it is impossible to raise two children the same way! Yes that is the truth.  Since no two children are the same, you cannot raise them using the same approach. What works for one will surely backfire for the other because they are different. They process information differently. They respond to life differently. They have different strengths and weaknesses. For example, the approach to raising an aggressive, bold child will be too severe for a laid back, easy-going child; it will be too strong for him/her and will rather break rather than raise them! Conversely, you cannot adopt the same approach for raising a tender-hearted, compliant child to a pushful, argumentative child; he/she will take things for granted and walk all over you!

To be sure, what I am referring to here is the nitty-gritty, nut and bolt approach to raising each individual child. We cannot adopt the same exact method for raising two children who are so different in their ways and even in how they respond to training! In Proverbs 22:6, it says 
Train up a child in the way he should go [and in keeping with his individual gift or bent], and when he is old he will not depart from it. (Amplified Version)


Here we have it; the Bible's admonition: Raise each child according to, bearing in mind and in keeping with his/her unique bent. In other words, raise each child according to his/her God-determined inclination. 'The way he should go' therefore does not mean a one-size-fits-all mould that we force each of our children into, rather it means the path that God has already earmarked for each child. And this path is already very glaring in each child, which is why they are different from one another in so very many ways.

...to be continued Tomorrow

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