“The bad influences that surround our children are almost overpowering. These things corrupt their minds and lead them down the wrong path. These influences can also affect at an early age the characters of our children long before their sense of judgment matures. Parents should be very careful not to allow their children to choose their own friends because they are more susceptible to bad influences than they are to good ones.”
Healthy families are any society’s greatest asset because human resource is the engine for growth and development.
It is important to note, that human personalities are nurtured. If families are the primary settings where positive or negative religious and ethical values or behaviours are rooted, then we need to be careful about the choices we make in our daily lives. Parents are assigned the role of master planter with welcome support from grandparents and other relatives as well as teachers, pastors, priests and deacons. It is therefore reasonable to conclude that parents individually and collectively hold the future of human families and society in their hands.
Our children constitute the largest group amongst those that are most vulnerable in this society. Their wellbeing could be an accurate indicator of their parents’ wellbeing including that of the wider social system. If our families are trapped in the vicious cycles of poverty, inadequate nutrition, sub-standard housing, lack of education and health care, then they would have fewer opportunities to break out and succeed in obtaining an improved and liberated lifestyle.
Many leaders in more developed countries fortunately are beginning to understand that investing in the well-being of children is the best way to move a country and the world forward. Meaning: towards a society that is less violent, healthier and more secure.
Let us be mindful of the fact that the growth and development of a child during the first eight years after birth is very critical. From birth to age eight, most are very receptive to learning or inculcation of skills, values, emotions, language and other forms of communication. After this period, the tendency to replay the acquired skills seems greater. This suggests that it is important to ensure that the child is well formed and tutored in the right manner before age eight. If this condition is to be guaranteed our children need to grow in healthy, positive, progressive and wholesome families or households. Therefore we need to appreciate the characteristics of a wholesome and stable family. The following are a few of the most important attributes: effective communication, affirmative action, respect, support for one another, mutual trust, spirit of joy, humour, shared responsibility, values, equality, justice, belief in God, family identity, respect for privacy, service to others and problem solving.
In a comparable vein, family therapy pioneer Virginia Satir identified the following attributes of healthy families: “They support one another’s self-esteem; they communicate in clear, direct and honest ways; they accept one and other’s differences and tolerate each other’s mistakes; they have implicit rules that are fair and flexible; they are open social systems that interact in mutually supportive ways with their people and other families and institutions of the wider society.”
Therefore our mission ought to be focused on raising God fearing and confident children. Society is composed of families and the leaders of families influence society. The wellspring of life (Proverbs 4:23) comes out of our hearts and our homes make up the heart of the community, the church and the nation. The wellbeing of our society, the success of the church and the prosperity of the nation all depend on what happens in the home and with our children. The future of society depends on the manners and morals of the children growing up amongst us. As our children become educated and as their character molds in childhood to develop good habits like self-control and temperance, so will their influence be on society. Therefore, the home that is beautified by love, sympathy and tenderness is a place where angels visit and where God is glorified. In this type of home the children will learn to love both their earthly parents and their heavenly Father.
The children of this nation Saint Lucia are exposed to too many negative influences. These factors can very easily stunt their spiritual growth and development. In the process, other things get affected too, including their physical, mental, and emotional attributes.
The bad influences that surround our children are almost overpowering. These things corrupt their minds and lead them down the wrong path. These influences can also affect at an early age the characters of our children long before their sense of judgment matures. Parents should be very careful not to allow their children to choose their own friends because they are more susceptible to bad influences than they are to good ones. Therefore their friendship should promote the grace and truth that is revealed in the word of God which should ignite the spirit of love in their hearts. Help choose good friends for them.
Scripture very clearly instruct us on how to be effective parents. Let us consider the following reading: “Acknowledge and take to heart this day that the Lord is God in heaven above and on the earth below. There is no other. Keep his decrees and commands, which I am giving you today, so that it may go well with you and your children after you and that you may live long in the land the Lord your God gives you for all time.” – Deuteronomy4:39-40).
“Discipline your children, and they will give you peace; they will bring you the delights you desire.” – (Proverbs 29:17).
In conclusion, let us be mindful as parents of our mission and never underestimate the pondering of a Christian parent and the power that comes when the parent pleads with God on behalf of a Child. Praying for our children is a noble task. There is nothing more special and more precious than time that a parent spends on bended knees in prayer and pondering with God for the children’s sake.
— Deacon Peter Fevrier