Last Saturday, my chama girls and I had our regular meet up at one of our dad’s houses. We were visiting him, as part of the many activities we do as achama.
All of our parents –most of them in their 60s –are now retired, having spent many years toiling hard, building their careers and raising their children. Today, they spend their sunset years relaxing and taking it easy, and for most, how they best do so is by spending time with their grandchildren –our children. It is very common to see our parents walking hand in hand with our little tots as they go to the kiosk, to church, or as they stroll to buy a newspaper. This is when we take our kids for sleepovers at our parents’ homes.
To see our parents hug and kiss our children as they share light moments really warms our hearts. It is such a blessing to be able to witness this kind of love. But above all, as we enjoy seeing them bond, one of the things we endeavour to do is seek advice from our parents, yearning to understand how they managed to raise their (many) children well. Was there any formula they applied? Any strategies they used?
And that is why during chama last Saturday, we all did our best to try and milk all sorts of advice from our friends’ dad (who is also our dad too) about the issue of parenting, seeing as most of us are young parents.
Thankfully, our dad was more than happy to share some tips on parenting. These are just but some of the invaluable lessons he shared with us:
He told us that one of the greatest responsibilities that parents have, is that of ensuring that their children enjoy good health –mental, emotional, spiritual and physical health. But while parents cannot be in full control of their child’s life, there are things they can do which can ensure their children enjoy optimum health, minimising the injuries, risks and damaging elements that their children are likely to encounter in life. Parents should love them. Care for them. Teach them. Educate them. Take them for immunizations. Guide and support them. Remember –a healthy child is a happy child.
Our dad also urged us to ensure that our children grow up loving each other as siblings. He told us that brothers and sisters –who are each other’s first playmates, should nurture the love that they enjoy as children even into their adulthood. Undeniably, there are the occasional misunderstandings and competitions that exist between siblings –and which are natural and normal. However, sibling rivalry can also be bad. You only need to look at the newspapers, listen to the radio or watch television to know how bad it can get, and should therefore never be taken lightly. Parents should ensure that they teach their children the virtues of love, peace and harmony between all members of the household.
Our dad also told us that one of the greatest joys of a parent is raising children who are self-sufficient. Children who exercise independence in all areas of their lives –emotionally, financially, spiritually –without always having to rely on their parents to sort them out. A child who can support himself, make his own decisions, one who can get himself out of any dire situation without depending on other people to do so for him. The only thing children should always depend on parents for –is their love and guidance.
With those priceless words of advice, we left his house knowing that it was a day very well spent. His invaluable words of advice will forever be etched in our hearts and minds, and as we raise our young kids, we will endeavour to raise them to become the kind of model citizens that his five children are.
The writer is a journalist and award-winning motherhood blogger. Follow her on www.mummytales.com