The brace of endless love

The dawn of a new life

Uniquely prepared for a definite purpose

Known by the creator

With limbs so feeble

And a heart made foolish by Adam’s seed

 

Foolishness must be dealt with

To avoid the lynching rod

An aide must be chosen

To nourish the weak frame

The creator must possess His heritage

 

When the helping hands of the chosen one

Have received strength from the creator

And his mind divinely directed

The frail hands are tightly held by love

Never to be blown apart by any evil wind

 

  • Uchenna N Nduka

Mummy, it was I that did it. Please forgive me…

What if I am a mother of three children aged between five and twelve years. I should be as worried as any other mother to maintain discipline in my family. What if I give this familiar instruction to my children? “You have all had your breakfast. So no one should touch the tin of powdered milk on the dining table.” Will the children obey?

Well, if the children are psychologically and spiritually sound and my family situation is so stable that they are sure to get their meals at the appropriate times, the chances are that none of them would touch the milk.

However, the reality of life is that human beings, including children, are imperfect. So, even the children we trust would occasionally manifest wrong behaviours. So we should not completely rule out the possibility that the children, even though they may be morally sound, would occasionally yield to the temptation of tampering with the milk.

What if I eventually discovered that the milk was tampered with?

In a healthy parenting relationship, the child would not repeat the wrong action the moment the mother discovers it and frowns at it. In fact, a child in a non-aggressive parenting environment would willingly admit it. “Mummy, it was I that did it please forgive me, I will not do it again”. The mother may have to demand for explanation, caution gently, withdraw her smiles, withhold a reward and engage in counseling with prayers in order to prevent a recurrence. It may also be necessary to move the tin of milk to a place where it will not be easily accessible and visible to the children.

A child who manifests a bad behaviour occasionally, feels remorseful easily, and would actually not repeat a wrong behaviour for a long time after being cautioned or rebuked is not a delinquent child.

It will be very wrong, and would imply killing an ant with a hammer, to resort to starving the child of milk, brutalising him/her and calling him a thief. Some parents would actually continue to call the child a thief months after the incident. These actions are harmful to the child as well as the parenting relationship. Such wrong actions keep parents busy without achieving any enduring discipline in the child.

  • Uchenna N. Nduka

 

Parenting Lessons

  1. Parenting is exciting and effective in an atmosphere of love without threats of violence and aggression. This works for parents who believe it.
  2. Watch out for our future post on how to handle a delinquent child.

Mummy, I know what I am looking for…

Mummy, I know what I am looking for,” was my teenage daughter’s response when I inquired why it was taking her time to make a choice out of the good quality shoes available in the market. She would not take advice from me at that time because her understanding was that my disposition to fashion was outdated. I reminded her gently but firmly that I was tired of being taken round and round the whole market searching for her choice of shoes.
She led me again to one of the shops our search had previously taken us to and chose a pair of silver coloured shoes from a heap of shoes that looked abandoned. I tried to communicate through gestures that I was uncomfortable with her choice but she was too desperate to understand what I was doing. I collected the shoes from her, turned the side that was already loosening towards her so that she would see it clearly and asked her with a calm but strange voice, “Do you like this shoe?” She said, “Yes.” I turned to another loosening part and asked her a similar question and she also affirmed her choice.The shoe was about three thousand naira (N3, 000.) I paid for it and we left. It was unfortunate that the straight face that I kept throughout our stay in that shop failed to alert her that something was wrong.
I avoided any discussion on that shoe until we arrived home. On sighting the shoe, her senior sister asked her a question with a searching glance. “Was mummy there when you chose this shoes?”
I just entered my own room and was relaxing on the bed when I saw the two of them entering my room, the senior leading, while her junior was trailing after her with a remorseful look. I understood that she had met face to face with the harsh reality of her actions.
When her senior sister asked why I allowed her buy that pair of shoes. I explained that at the point she was buying her shoes; my guidance was not needed so I allowed her to make her choice and be responsible for her actions. My next statement that the shoes will not be replaced brought tears to her misty eyes because she needed the shoes for an important event.
The shoe was never worn. Some months later, I saw her when she held the shoes and said: “You thought me a lesson I will never forget.” She said that the shoes taught her that she still needs parental guidance in order to make good choices.

Parenting Lessons
1. This story provided evidence that the “rod” of correction was effectively used to achieve discipline in a child. Please note that discipline is a personality attribute.
2. The “rod” does not necessarily mean a cane or whip.
3. The “rod” of correction has been explained in our devotional post ‘Achieving Discipline in Children: The Right Approach’ on 12/12/2015. Please read it.

 

-Uchenna N. Nduka

Getting it right with discipline in children: the Right Approach

...persuasion into a new level of exciting and effective parenting experience.

A neighbor shared a heartbreaking story of how her husband’s nephew, an undergraduate, who came to spend his holiday at their place suddenly developed an excruciating stomach pain. He was immediately rushed to a nearby hospital where an appendectomy was quickly done to avert a rupture. She said that soon after the operation was completed, the child started demanding for water. Even after the doctor explained why he would not be allowed to take water immediately, the child kept demanding for water. At a point, he requested to go to the toilet. When he returned to his bed, his condition got worse. My neighbor said she was shocked when the doctor disclosed that the child just drank a lot of water. The battle to save his life continued until he gave up the ghost that same day.

As usual, I got worried after a heard the story. I thought of what could have been done to get him obey the doctor’s instruction. Perhaps, if his parents were around they would have known how to get him to achieve the required compliance. Am I then saying that his parents would have known how to stimulate him to obey the doctor’s instruction?

Yes,that’s what I am saying because it is in the hands of parents to understand and establish the things the child would respond to in the process of achieving discipline in the child’s life. I was then led to embark on a studied look at the factors that should ideally provide the drive for obedience and discipline in children.

The following factors, in order of importance, provide this drive, and are essential in setting up the right disciplinary atmosphere in the home.

  1. Good conscience that is anchored on the fear of God: A child with the fear of God will be divinely guided on the path of righteousness. The child, when tempted into disobedience, will reason like Joseph in Genesis 39:9, “… how then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?” A parent who has made fruitful effort to lay a solid foundation of godliness in a child will only need to make God guided efforts in parenting and rely on the fruitfulness that God will grant.
  2. Bond of love and trust between the parent and the child: Where this bond is strong, the parent becomes the child’s close confidant with whom the child shares his thoughts, experiences, excitement and challenges with. If the child treasures this closeness, he will normally refrain from anything that will upset his parents. He will be willing to explain issues and apologise if necessary to restore the treasured normalcy. A parent in this relationship will have little difficulty communicating his values, ideas, expectations and discomforts to the child. It will then be easy for the child to respond to the following persuasive techniques.
  • Blaming the child when he or she should be blamed.
  • Withholding of smile. When the parental relationship is a happy one in which the child and the parents share assuring smiles, a simple withdrawal of smiles may be all the child needs to be drawn into obedience.
  • Frowning at a wrong behavior.
  • Withholding a reward when the child does not deserve it.

It should be noted that provision of the basic necessities of life such as food,sleep, moderate play, medical attention and education are not seen as reward in this context. They should never be withdrawn for any reason. Withdrawal of such is inhuman and would produce no positive result. Non-essential provisions include allowing him play with the computer game and extended play time.

  • Letting the child start a favourite activity earlier than normal to motivate him to hasten up with a task he avoids.
  • Arranging the order of activities so that achieving the ones he avoids will be a prerequisite for the ones he enjoys. For instance, “you will watch the TV when the plates are washed” or “please eat the rice before drinking the fruit juice.”
  • Demand for explanation. The parent in a cordial relationship with the child can simply demand for explanation of the reason for an unacceptable behavior. The parent is expected to listen attentively and patiently to the child’s explanation before deciding on any corrective action. Mary, the mother of Jesus, provided an example in Luke 2:48. She was so composed to ask her eight-year-old son whom she found after a three days search, “…Son why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you”
  • Mild caution.
  • Praise
  1. Firm understanding and conviction on parental values. The bible in Deut. 6:6-9 recommends that godly virtues be communicated at all times, in all places and with all things. In a cordial parental relationship, these can be communicated through jokes, counseling, testimonies, stories and the parents’ reaction to daily life issues. One major way of communicating faith in God to children is by sharing God’s faithfulness with them through testimonies. For instance, children learn humility easily and acquire it as a personality attribute if they observe humility in the parents’ interactions with other people.
  2. Good understanding of the issues for which obedience is demanded and the processes required in achieving a given task satisfactorily: Parents should patiently make explanations to the child and guide him properly to deliver instructions successfully without making threats of punishment. Threatening the child each time instructions are given pollutes the disciplinary environment in the home. It is not necessary. If possible, the steps to achieving a task may be written down so that the child will get it right.

It should, however be noted that the age of the child is a factor to consider in accessing the ability of the child to carry out specific instructions. The parent’s expectations should be realistic in line with the age and maturity of the child. Parental presence may be required during the child’s tender ages to maintain discipline as the child is guided to gradually develop and mature.

What if on any occasion, the drive from the four factors above were not enough to secure discipline and obedience? Such incidences will be rare in a parenting relationship where the four hallmarks of healthy parenting discussed above are passionately established.  A child in a healthy parenting relationship will be responsive to rebuke as a disciplinary measure.

Rebuke as a Disciplinary Measure

“Rebuke” is the disciplinary measure recommended in the bible for correcting wrong behavior in children. According to Chambers 21 century dictionary, rebuke is to “speak severely to someone because they have done wrong.”

God was angry with Eli in 1 Sam 3:13 because “…his sons made themselves contemptible and he failed to restrain them.”

Rebuking children who have erred is a biblical injunction and it does not mean flogging with the cane. If cane was intended, the bible would have recommended larger doses of it in Prov. 17:10 instead of admonishing that “A rebuke impresses a man of discernment more than a hundred lashes (to) a fool.”

I am sure that readers must be wondering at this point how to handle a child who fails to respond to rebuke. The bible truth is that everybody (adults, youths and children) who ignores rebuke is heading for the rod of discipline, also called the rod of correction.

The Rod of Discipline

God applies the rod of correction to draw us back each time we derail.  Proverbs 26:3 says “A whip for the horse, a halter for the donkey and a rod for the back of fools.”  The rod in this context does not necessarily mean cane or whip. Such things are intended for animals. In using the rod on us, God simply withdraws his divine protection so that we face the harsh reality of the consequences of our actions. God through Moses in Lev 26:17 said to the children of disobedience: “I will set my face against you so that you will be defeated by your enemies…”Adam and Eve experienced the immediate impact of God’s rod when they realized that they were naked. That’s probably why Job, in Job 9:34, talked about “someone to remove God’s rod  from me.” In His revelation to David about Solomon in 2nd Sam. 7:14, God said He would punish Solomon with the rod of men when he disobeyed. Is there any record in the bible where God physically flogged Solomon with a cane or whip?

Is it then fair to interpret the rod to mean cane or whip only when children are being disciplined? Is there any reference in the bible where a child was flogged?

Well, I believe that achieving discipline and obedience in a child poses a challenge to many parents just the same way that getting a human being to live a righteous life is a challenge to God.

No wonder Prov. 22:15 says, “Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him.’

Since rod in this context does not necessarily imply cane, it is then obvious that parents need to stretch forth their hands in helplessness asking God for a clearer understanding of the relevance of the rod in child training.

The rod-permissive parent rarely uses the cane.

A parent that is rod-permissive guides the child properly to avoid disobedience and its consequences, but allows the child to face the reality of the rod so that the child will be disciplined accordingly.Please note that parents are to perform this task with lots of love for the child, bearing his age and developmental stage in mind.No wonder we are told in Prov. 13:24 that he who spares the rod hates his son. The child is guided to develop discipline as a personality attribute which enables him to develop innate control over his desires so that he can obey rules and regulations and to understand and avoid actions that bring up bad results.

The rod is meant to produce the life changing “godly sorrow” that was referred to in 2 Cor7:10. When godly sorrow has been excited, parents are supposed to guide the child through genuine repentance and follow up carefully avoid relapse.

I believe that it is imperative to caution parents not to spare the rod because they are usually protective of the child from birth. A parent who permits the use of the rod will be willing to withdraw parental protection for the child to experience and learn from the consequences of a wrong action under parental supervision, without compromising the health and safety of the child. The following are examples:

  • Resolving not to assist the child to pass his examination, and ensuring that he repeats a class if his results are poor.
  • Allowing him make his mistakes when he insists (to the extent that it is safe) so that he will learn from the results of his actions.
  • Ensuring that the child understands, for certain acts of disobedience, the rod he immediately experiences. For instance the hotness the child experiences when a lantern is played with, the discomforts and pains of an unmarried teenage mother, the pains experienced by a child who got a bone fracture as a result of rough play.

The rod-evasive parent tends to use the cane a lot to scare the child.

Most of such parents ignorantly believe that the cane is the only rod and the responsibility to utilize the rod is their exclusive preserve. Children in such a parenting relationship are not trained to reason out the implications of their acts of disobedience. They suffer emotional torture, which deadens their consciences. The sorrow experienced by such children is referred to as “worldly sorrow” in 2 Cor. 7:10. It leads to destruction. Parental love and affinity are usually absent. Parents rarely discuss with their children since they can always threaten them with violence and obtain momentary relief from the child’s disobedience.

Such children rarely acquire discipline as personality attributes. Parents in this group ignorantly have a narrow-minded understanding of discipline. The products of such parents are children who appear to be “disciplined” as long as their parents are present, holding the whip. Their parents ignorantly train them to respond only to flogging and other hash treatments.

Oh! I am getting emotional now. This is a very sorry state. It is possible that this parenting method produced our politicians and government officials who seem responsible when they talk in public, but turn into monsters behind closed doors. It is very unfortunate that the rod experience of the child in my introductory story was terminal. I believe he would have found it easy obeying if he was raised in a healthy parenting relationship.

 

Main Action Points

  1. Parents should ensure that the four hallmarks of good parenting relationship are properly established.
  2. Parents should build up their skill to use the persuasive techniques of inculcating discipline in children.
  3. Parents should be restrained from going beyond rebuke if healthy and obedient children are to be raised.

 

  • Uchenna N. Nduka

 

  • Bible quotations were taken from NIV

 

…her father, who loved her dearly, was so traumatised when she left…

I am sure of what I’m saying Mama Enuma,” said her neighbor. Mrs Obi listened in astonishment as her neighbour described how her 16-year-old daughter, Enuma, was seen entering Mr. Okehi’s house around 5pm.

“I actually waited nearby until around 6pm when Mr. Okehi’s room door opened and Enuma snuck out” her informant continued.

Mrs. Obi heart was racing. She was actually crying when she recounted the incident to her husband. Both of them decided to act on a popular saying in their environment that it is better to look for the lost black goat before sunset so that it will not be shielded in darkness when it is night. So Mr. and Mrs. Obi waited for the arrival of their daughter who requested for permission to see her friends at the village square.

On sighting Enuma, Mrs. Obi thundered at her, “Come hear you liar! What did you go to Mr. Okehi’s house to do?” Enuma, stricken with fear,  was about to make an explanation when her father came in with two long cane sticks and descended on her,flogging her mercilessly and pouring his rage into every stroke he delivered. At a point, Enuma ran to her mother for succor, but her mother pushed her down and the flogging was intensified. Her parents threatened to shave her hair and lock her up in room for one week.

Mr. and Mrs Obi got the shock of their lives when they woke up the next morning to discover that Enuma was missing. Initially they thought she would be back soon. After waiting for two days without seeing any trace of her, the village search team went after her without any success. In fact her father, who loved her dearly, was so traumatized after she left that he developed a health problem that claimed his life.

Three years later,Enuma, then a ghost of her former self was recovered from a nearby village with a 6-month-old boy. On sighting her daughter, Mrs. Obi wailed, rolling on the ground. Her sorrow was made worse when she realized that the 6-month-old boy was her grand child who contacted the HIV virus from Enuma, his mother, at birth.

  • Uchenna N. Nduka

 

Writer’s Comments:

  1. Most parents really love their children and desire the best for them, but lack the require skill to cope with the ever evolving child training challenges.
  2. The issue that caused the anxiety and rage in this story could have been addressed through dialogue, including sex education, in an atmosphere of love.
  3. Any wrong behavior by a child should be seen as dirt on a delicate glass. Parents should be skilled in providing assistance to wipe off the dirt without breaking the glass into pieces.

Readers are encouraged to leave their comments so that we will all learn from our respective contributions.

SEMINAR GUIDE ON THE EDUCATION TO PROTECT THE CHILD FROM SEXUAL ABUSE

Every parent should possess the skill to provide children with the education that will protect them from sexual abuse. I prepared the document below for use in my church and it has impressive results. It can be adapted for use in different environments, as long as its core  contents and methodology of delivery are suitable for the respective age groups. Please let’s all do the best we can to protect our children.

Age: 4-6years

Topic: Parts of the Body

Text and Memory Verse: 1Cor 3:16, 6:19

Message thrust: It is very wrong to let anyone play with your private parts.

Introduction: Question 1: have you ever seen daddy’s chair in the sitting room?   The children will respond.

     Question 2: Will daddy let anyone play with it?                                             The children will respond.  

Today’s message is about parts of our body and the private parts we will not let anyone play with.

Teaching aid:

  • A labeled drawing of the body.
  • A song on parts of the body.

SEQUENCE OF EVENTS

  1. Revise the names of all the parts shown in the drawing.
  2. Guide the children to mention the parts that are private (anus, penis, vagina and breast.) The mouth may be mentioned as a private part with an explanation that germs get into a person’s body if the mouth is played with. This is to protect them from those who may want to kiss them.
  3. State God’s instruction: Don’t allow anyone to play with your private parts. Let them know that it is sin to disobey God’s instruction. God hates sin. God does not want us to be infected with diseases when people play with our private parts.
  4. Mention the things children should do to assist them obey this very important instruction.
  • Wear inner wears always. They should mention the inner wears.
  • Girls should put their legs together when they are sitting or lying down.
  • Don’t wonder off into isolated or dark or noisy places without an adult guide because evil people that will make you to disobey God may be at such places.
  • Wash your private part by yourself when you are bathing. Don’t let anyone do this for you.
  1. What a child should do if anyone attempts to play with his or her private part.
  • Say NO!
  • Report to your parents or teachers immediately.

The teacher should explain that a child in this situation should report so that parents and teachers would protect him from the evil person.

  1. Feedback and further explanations
  2. Call to repentance.
  • The wages of sin and God’s love. (Romans 6:23, 10:9-10))
  • Assurance of salvation. (2 Cor 5:17)
  1. Counseling and Prayers.

 

************************************************************

Age: 7-9 years

Topic: Sexual abuse of Children.

Text and Memory Verse: 1Cor 3:16, 6:19

Message Thrust: It is very wrong to let anyone play with your private parts.

Introduction: Question 1: what is drug abuse? The children should respond.

Expected answer: Drug abuse is making wrong use of a drug without appropriate instruction from the doctor.

 Today we are going to discuss how to avoid a wrong use of the body against God’s instruction.

Teaching aid:

  • A labeled drawing of the body.
  • A song on parts of the body.

SEQUENCE OF EVENTS

  1. Revise the names of all the parts shown in the drawing.
  2. Guide the children to mention the parts that are private (anus, penis, vagina and breast.) The mouth may be mentioned as a private part with an explanation that germs get into a person’s body if the mouth is played with. This is to protect them from those who may want to kiss them.
  3. State God’s instruction: Don’t allow anyone to play with your private parts. Let them know that it is sin to disobey God’s instruction. God hates sin. God does not want us to be infected with diseases when people play with our private parts.
  4. Sexual abuse is when a person disobeys God’s instruction and decides to play with a child’s private part.
  5. State the implication of sexual abuse.
  • It is sin and every sinful act is punished by God.
  • It exposes a child’s body to infections and diseases.
  1. Mention the things children should do to assist them obey this very important instruction.
  • Wear inner wears always. The children should mention the inner wears.
  • Girls should put their legs together when they are sitting or lying down.
  • Don’t wonder off into isolated or dark or noisy places, especially in the night, without an adult guide because evil people that will make you disobey God may be at such places.
  • Wash your private parts by yourself when you are bathing. Don’t let anyone do this for you.
  • Don’t believe any lie (it is right to do it, everybody is doing it, I cannot do anything wrong to you)
  1. What to do if anyone wants to defile your body.
  • Say NO!
  • Report to your parents or teachers immediately.
  • Scream and put up a frightening resistance if the person insists on going on with this wrong play.

The teacher should explain that it is very important for any child in this situation to report so that his or her parents and teachers will provide protection.

  1. Feedback and further explanations.
  2. Call to repentance
  • The wages of sin and God’s love. (Romans 6:23, 10:9-10))
  • Assurance of salvation. (2 Cor 5:17)
  1. Counseling and Prayers

 *********************************************************** 

Age : 10 years and above.

Text: 2 Samuel: 13:1-19, Genesis 34:1-6, Genesis 39:6-12.

Memory Verse: I Thess4:3

Message thrust: God wants you to say ‘No’ to sex, No matter the pressure.

Introduction:

Question 1. Have you ever seen a teenager who became pregnant, but is not married?      The children should respond.

The teacher should explain that the evil which tempted the pregnant teenager is similar to the evil which tempted the persons in the bible lessons – Tamar, Dinah and Joseph. Tamar and Dinah yielded to sexual immorality against the word of God in I Thesso4:3, while Joseph did not. In today’s study, we will find out how to overcome sexual advances.

Teaching aid:

  • Drawing of a pregnant teenager and a HIV infected teenage boy.

SEQUENCE OF EVENTS

  1. Definition of sexual abuse and sex.
  2. God’s Instructions about sexual relationship (I Thess4:3)
  3. Factors that usually challenge children’s decision to obey God’s instruction on sex.
  4. Who are those who put pressure on children to disobey God’s instructions on sexual relationships?
  5. Strategies applied by those who want to make children disobey the word of God on this issue.
  6. Consequences of not obeying God on this issue.
  7. Benefits of obeying God by abstaining from sex.
  8. Things to be careful about to avoid falling into sexual immorality like Tamar and Dinah.
  9. The Refusal Technique.

 Teachers notes on the study questions

  1. Sex “the physical contact between people which involves touching or playing with each other’s body especially the private parts”. Sexual abuse is when an adult disobeys God’s instruction and decides to play with a child’s private part.
  2. I Thess 4:3
  3. Ignorance, peer pressure, financial hardship, vulnerability, the mass media, bad company. Vulnerable children include step children, house helps, children entrusted in the care of people outside their nuclear families, or are enjoying one form of assistance or sponsorship from people who are not their biological parents.
  4. ANYONE with an evil mind. The teacher should guide the children to mention all the people they relate with daily. School teachers, Principals, church teachers, Doctors, Neighbours, Parents, uncles and aunties.
  5. lies, Unsolicited favour, coaxing, threats, blackmail, force.
  6. Early parenthood, abortion, Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD), abnormal anxiety, haunting secrecy, low self esteem, and disruption of educational pursuits, Vesico Vaginal Fistula [VVF], death, infertility in marriage and so on.
  7. The class should mention all that they will be free from if they obey God on this issue.
  8. They include gifts, the materials they, read, the TV programmes they watch, the things they eat, the places they go to.
  • Don’t keep any sexual advance secret. Confide in someone to assist you, especially Teachers and parents.
  • Don’t read Sex infected materials or watch sex infected films.
  • Don’t be hasty in accepting gifts. Let your parents know when gifts are offered.
  • Don’t drink or eat when you are alone with someone you don’t trust.
  • Don’t go to wrong places including isolated places, noisy environments, evil gatherings.
  • Avoid staying outside your home in the night.

Carefulness will reduce and not exclude it completely. That is why we will look at the refusal technique.

  1. Refusal technique:
  • Say “No”, without explanation.
  • Repeat the “No”
  • Leave the scene.
  • If you are prevented from leaving, scream and put up frightening resistance.
  • Confide in someone
  1. Feedback and further explanations.
  2. Call to repentance.
  • The wages of sin and God’s love. (Romans 6:23, 10:9-10))
  • Assurance of salvation. (2 Cor 5:17)
  1. Counseling and Prayer.