May I congratulate all parents whose children have passed through the secondary school or university and yet, they did not join robbery gangs, get involved in cultism, or prostitution, et cetera. If the foundation is weak, there would be many challenges. But if it is strong, ceteris paribus, it will produce Godly children. It is what you ‘garbage’ in that you will ‘garbage’ out. In 1990, seeing my father-in-law’s corpse at the mortuary, a very prominent man said, ‘Yours is better’. It was strange for a man, still alive, to envy a dead man. It was all about ‘Raising Godly children’.
The expectations of a family concerning their children, is a decision all parents must make. Is it great academic scholarship they want? Unbelievers have many of such children. Is it success in business or in a chosen profession? Many unbelievers can boast of this. Is it wealth? It is common in the homes of many ungodly people. In fact, some unbelievers’ children are rich without involving themselves in clandestine businesses. An unbeliever, however, no matter the height he has attained, is an unbeliever!
I believe that if any of my children commits adultery, for instance, and repents of it, that God will forgive him. If I do the same and repent of it, He will also forgive me, but I will pay for it because I ought to know better. This explains why parents must be careful in all the things they do. David was known as the friend of God, but he paid for his sins. I detailed sometime ago, how he left his seven wives and slept with Bathsheba, Uncle Uriah’s wife. When she told him that she was pregnant, he killed the man so as to cover the sin. People might not know what he did, but God did. That was building on a poor foundation for posterity. Thank God that he repented of it when Rev. Nathan confronted him. Thank God also that He forgave him, but he paid for it. ‘The sword shall not depart from thine house,’ God told him – 2Sam 12: 10. And it did not.
Amnon, his son, raped Tamar, his half-sister. Absalom, his son, murdered Amnon and later took up arms against David. Joab, his GOC, whom he used in executing the death of Uriah, killed Absalom. David was a great king, but peace was a scarce commodity in his family. The contention over his successor consumed Adonijah, his fourth son. As he had more than eight wives and concubines, Solomon, his son, tried to outdo him, by having 700 wives and 300 concubines, thus, setting an unbroken marriage record in the world!
People in my church, including leaders and a pastor, have always asked me the secret of raising my children. I do not know really what impresses them. I will, however, draw the curtain a bit to show the pictures. My wife and I tried to make the children to be one by being one. Esau requested from Jacob, his brother, the food he was cooking. None of my children, before they left my house, would have made such a request. They would take it or tell their sibling to bring it to them because the owner is their brother or sister.
We tried to have a home and not a house: We had and still have much fun in our family. When my wife dresses to attend a wedding, “I hope the officiating minister will not mistake you for the bride,” I will tease her. When we are going somewhere, I will tell her that she may be mistaken for Amarachi, our last born, and then be asking for ‘Mummy’. “With this dress, I hope our church women will not go home to quarrel with their husbands, angry that it is only Pastor Osondu, who knows where beautiful dresses are bought,” I will comment.
We celebrate birthdays of our children, domestic staff. The highlight comes when the celebrant sits on the hot seat and everybody will say something about him or her, good, bad and ugly, before we pray. My wife and I are not spared! Two girls from our church once refused to leave, even when their schools had reopened until I told them to go. When leaving, they will leave behind some of their dresses, a way of booking in advance for the next holidays!
We never discussed people’s fault before our children, no matter the pain the person might have inflicted on us. Our discussions were always between the two of us in our room. Our reason is obvious, that if we did, our children would be biased towards the people. If we later reconciled with the people, how would the children reconcile with them? Some parents, when they are angry, will go home to inform their children, not knowing that they are destroying them.
We kept trust. We never betrayed confidence. I told my wife the sins I committed before I knew Jesus. She would not use them to score a point when we have a misunderstanding. You can win a case and lose your spouse. Someone might confess to me that his wife was in police custody for stealing a trinket and that, when they were in Enugu, she also stole someone’s money. I might follow him to plead with the owner for forgiveness. If the lady visited us any day and stole our money and her husband, in defending her, claimed that she has never stolen before, I would not say anything about the trinket and the Enugu incident because I was told in trust. It is better to lose the case than reveal what he had told me in confidence. The children, because of their tender age, might not be comfortable with that, for not disclosing what would have made me to win the case but now they have grown up, they respect us for integrity. The opposite holds when you do otherwise. The text message my second son sends to me on Fathers’ Day is all revealing. And so also are his emails and that of my first daughter on my birthdays.
We do not abuse a domestic staff or anyone living with us. I have not abused anybody since April 16, 1972 that I was born again. My wife does not. We do not use foul language in our home. We respect people, but we do not fear anybody. We tell the story as it is, and our children are aware of this. That wrong thing people talk behind and pretend to be nice by not saying it before the person, we say it before him. Our purpose in life is to please God and our children have imbibed it.
For further comment, Please contact: Osondu Anyalechi: 0909 041 9057; [email protected]