RAISING positive children in this present negative world can be tremendously challenging.
Proper parenting is one of the greatest and overwhelming responsibilities laid upon the shoulder of any given parent by the creator.
It is not just the procreation of children, but it is all about training and upbringing that will definitely affect the future of the child and the following generations.
The scripture said about Abraham, “…for I know him, that he will instruct his children and his household after him to keep the way of Yahweh by doing what is just and right…” Gen. 18: 19 (E. H Torah)
The Ethical, moral and right cultural principles governing the Is realities as a nation today were laid down by the founding parents Abraham/Sarah, Isaac/Rebecca etc.
It is evident that the Creator had an unquestionable con-fidence on Abraham the patriarch, that he was going to carry out a proper parental res-ponsibility, by raising up a unique family on earth which will be willing to obey and observe the ways of the most-High.
Parents are yet to understand that it is not just husband and wife getting married, remaining faithful to each other and giving birth to children that fulfill the obligation of the Almighty Father. Rather, the greater responsibility rests on proper upbringing, training and education of the child, or the children.
The major reason is that the creator our maker is interested in seeing a decent, rudely, and righteous society where morality is enthroned of course, it is evident that the family functions as a conduit of moral values upon which the larger society gains stability.
In a society where families do not serve as a conduit for moral values, the larger society becomes morally imperiled.
If you have read the account of these two nations, Moab and Amon, with regard to their immoral setting, you will understand the impact of improper parenting foundation.
HOW TO REAR CHILDREN
The duty of child rearing as regards teaching them the way of righteousness, right education and the fear of Almighty is a full-time obligation.
In the book of Deuteronomy, it is written: “and these words which I command you this day, shall BE IN YOUR HEART: and you shall teach them unto your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down and, when you rise up,” (Duet. 6: 6 7).
Children come into this world with a blank slate, so to speak. It is what the parents program into the child that determines the child’s moral and cultural setting and disposition, before the peer and societal influence that come later.
The parents lay the foun-dation for the formation of the character of the child by the lessons they convey to the child through role model, the values, instructions and education.
This is very important because it is the family or the parent that serves as the essential vehicle through which morality, discipline and right education are conveyed to the large society.
Our society is out of order. Immorality is on the increase. Crime and child delinquency is on the rampage. The reason is that this modern society has lost the way to bring up children based on scriptural principles.
We have so neglected and thrown aside the divine guide-lines on how to rear children. We have rather left the responsibility of moulding the character of our children to the influence of the Media: radio, television, the peer group and the perverted society. Do we ever expect a better result when these same children whose characters have been influenced by these negative sources get married and in turn produce their own children?
The problem is that many people are so rushed by the pressure of making a living that they don’t give much thought to these issues. They wrongly assume that rearing children just happens They are born, you provide for their feeding and clothing, they go to school, they leave home to higher institution, or get a job, etc. Life can’t be so simple! There’s more than that to life. Even a plant needs cultivation, nurturing, weeding, and pruning before you expect a good harvest.
The old wise counsel says, “the rod and reproof gives wisdom: but a child LEFT TO HIMSELF brings his mother to shame,” (Prov. 29: 15).
CORRECTION AND DISCIPLINE
Roderick C. Meredith in his article on child rearing said, “This mixed up modern society is reaping the whirlwind created by permissive psychologists, teachers and parents. Uncontrolled and rebellious youths are wreaking havoc in many of our cities, schools, and homes. Much of this is because modern man has been deceived into thinking that in rearing children it has to be either Love or Discipline
…in truth, the correct approach to child rearing involves both love AND discipline. They go hand in hand and complement one another.”
The most important period to work on your child is from the earliest years in order to achieve your goal of right discipline and correction of attitude. Also, the strongest tool you need to achieve that is INST-RUCTION.
* Teach them to be responsible
* Teach them the importance of being responsive to their parents’ instructions.
* Teach them to obey the fifth commandment “honor your father and your mother.”
* Teach them the importance of honesty, integrity, kindness and courtesy.
* Teach them to respect the law of the land, to respect the right of others, to love their creator, love their parents and to love their fellowman.
* Teach them true values and lasting values
Loving you child or children must never take the place of discipline. The scripture tells us, “Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him” (Prov. 22: 15).
Spanking and striking a child should be done in love. A parent should not loose temper on a child and strike him or her on or about the head or other vital organs as to cause injury. Somehow, after a spanking done in love, a child is able to respond better to his parents in deep, trusting manner.
CHILD REARING A TOTAL COMMITMENT
Proper parenting demands a lifetime of total commitment. Achieving excellent success in child rearing and proper parenting should be a parent’s chief goal. To achieve a maximal result in proper child upbringing, a full-time availability, i.e. 24 hours a day, for at least the first 18 years of a child must be assumed.
Byron L. Sherwin and Seymour J. Cohen in their Book, Creating an Ethical Jewish Life, wrote; “From a psychological perspective, a number of sources observe that the parent who neglects the moral instruction of the child will eventually resent the child if he or she becomes a scoundrel. Similarly, the child deprived of parental guidance will inevitably come to resent the parent for the parent neglect of his or her moral and intellectual development. Such a child may, with justification, be unable to honour or revere a parent who failed to convey moral instruction either pedagogically or by personal example.” (Creating an Ethical Jewish life. Pg 179).
The Bible says, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” The question is when does this training start? According to child psychology, this training should start immediately the child is one or two months old while sucking the breast!
CHILDREN NEED TO UNDERSTAND
We must start teaching our children ‘the true meanings’ and moral directions for their life from the early developmental stage of their life. Parents must teach them from the unshakable bedrock of Truth that can always be relied on under all circumstance The Scriptures represents the true moral standards and yardstick laid down by the all-wise, all-powerful king of the universe in his word. All other standards, however noble, only reflects our human imperfections. It lacks the true measure of authority and finality.
We may not have though about it in these terms. But our children make decision daily about what is right and wrong from their earliest days. They are also tuned into what the society tells them, whether it is morally acceptable or not.
Psychologist and educator Robert Coles, pointed out: “One begins to realize that an elementary school is no stronger to moral reflection and to ethical conflict” (Redbook, “I listen to my parents and I wonder what they believe,” Feb 1980, page 150).
TEACH THEM ABOUT THE CREATOR AND HIS WORD
The scriptures authoritatively legislates: “You shall lay up these words of mine in your heart and in you soul … you shall teach them to your children, speak of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise up” (Deut. 11: 18-19).
Most essentially, children watch what their parents say, how they act, what they do. They believe and most often mimic what they see.
Is there any greater reason why parents should, in a manner of speaking be in place of the creator here on earth? Parents should think, speak and act in a perfect manner as if they are representing the perfect Elohim on earth. Thus, the children can follow them as a good guide. To ensure a stable moral and spiritual development.
By this, obviously, what follows is a perfect order in the families which reflects in the larger society. As Gersonides observed, when the parent-child relationship functions properly, when the family serves as a conduit for moral values, society as a whole is enriched and improved.
The duties resting upon the parent regarding child rearing can be enormous. A Jewish proverb says, “Children drive one crazy,” this proverb refers to the travails that inevitably characterize child rearing. Yet, the truth is, they can be equally rewarding when success is achieved.
“A wise son maketh a glad father…” (Prov 10:1) Failing in your duty at this vital aspect of life responsibility is to incure yourself grief and sorrow.
“A foolish son is grief to his father, and bitterness to her that bare him” (Prov. 17: 25).
CHILDREN MUST NOT BE LET ALONE
George Mouly said: “the child’s personality is molded by a vast array of interacting for-ces. The school, for example, plays an important role in providing a relatively objective basis from which he gets his bearings and assess his potentialities for growth. The foundation for personality, however, is unquestionably set in the home.”
Endeavour to keep close to your child for the first 18 years of his or her life. Determine to instill right values to your child during these early years of his or her life. A child’s value system is part of his entire personality. They are those distinct characteristics that make him different from everyone else. Your child is what he is because of what he most essentially values. The scriptures, long ago, outlined the solution to this and life’s other problems in it’s sacred pages. The wise king Solomon adviced that “A child left to himself brings shame to his mother” (Prov. 29: 15)
Children cannot just be left alone. They need to regular constant closeness and attention of the parents. They need the constant loving care, gui-dance and correction of the parents. They need proper discipline and parental involvement in all they do.
Parents must be able to monitor their child’s action and behavioural attitude from the early stages of their life. Solomon was inspired to write:
“Even a child is known by his doings, whether what he does is pure and right” (Prov. 20: 11).
Unfortunately, many parents are less involved in the training and upbringing of their child-ren, as in proper child rearing.
The hectic, fast-paced, modern way of life has taken parents out of the home and the lives of their children. Parents have turned their parental responsibilities as regards child training over to television sets, daycare centres, baby-sitters and school. Little wonder why they are not succeeding! Today, parents have become too busy, too lazy, too uninterested and too selfish to get fully involved and committed to their child’s training. This is the tragedy of today’s family. It is the major cause of the crises in families.
The scripture clearly pointed out the end result of rearing a child without parental involvement, “A child left to himself brings shame to his mother.” (Prov. 29: 15).
What a sad thing it is to bring children into this world and not provide them proper training and guidance that will ensure their future happiness in this world and in the world to come (olam haba)