This incident happened when I was about twelve years old. I was sick throughout that day. I had a head ache and felt feverish. My parents ensured that I got proper medical attention immediately. The illness worsened towards evening time and my father kept checking on me to be sure that I was ok. I struggled to sleep in the night.
When I woke up in the middle of the night, I saw my father lying down on the floor. I got confused immediately and struggled to place my finger on what was really happening. Did he really leave the comfort of the bed in his room to lay down on the floor of my room just to be checking on me? Did that mean that he loved me? Really he did? Oh! A reciprocal love was excited in my heart that began the process of clearing the negative emotions generated by unnecessary personality criticism and sibling comparison. The then prevalent aggressive parenting practices did not help issues!
The fact that my father really loved me greatly became clearer from then on and he had it easier eliciting love and obedience in his interactions with me. One of the key hallmarks of a healthy parenting relationship – reciprocal love between parents and their children – became realised in my relationship with my father. The view that any parenting practice which stifles the effective communication of parental love to the children would work against the achievement of enduring obedience was evident in this development.
I get confused when I listen to the argument by a lot of people that aggression should be meted out in great measures to children in order to achieve obedience in an environment in which the prison yards are congested with people whose struggle with obedience and self-control got them into trouble; the mass media is replete with news of corrupt practices of politicians; the spate of social vices are alarming; hatred and terrorism are wiping out communities; examination malpractice is a national concern and achievement of obedience has remained elusive to many parents.
Effective parenting skills produce impressive results in an atmosphere of love and discipline. It demands that parents should model and communicate godly virtues of peace, disciple, diligence, selfless service, and love in all interactions with their children. Parents should be close enough to continually support the proper spiritual, physical, cognitive and social development of their children. In healthy parenting relationships, parents are expected to prayerfully get closer, love more, listen more and talk more with their children in their efforts to resolve any parenting difficulty. Improvement will surely be achieved with the right method.
-Uchenna N. Nduka
A female teacher, stood before a group of teenage students to tell them of the expectations of the school from them.
“Now listen!” She yelled.
“Girls will now have dinner by 6.30pm, while boys will have theirs by 7pm. This new rule is for your strict compliance!” She shouted.
“Your parents already know how stubborn you are. Many of you will surely have it very hard with me. As you are aware, punishments in this school are very severe.” She finally asserted.
Surely, the result she got from the students was rebellion. Of course she had a field day meting out punishment to her students and yet achieving little or nothing!
Another teacher in the same circumstance would handle it differently to achieve better results.
“Dear students, we have introduced a new rule which is for your security. Before now boys and girls had dinner together by 7pm. On the average, dinner lasted for about one hour thirty minutes. The girls will now have dinner by 6.30 pm; while the boys will have theirs by 7pm. Dinner for each group will last for only thirty minutes. The proposal for this change came from the security department and the management of this school approved it because it is in our own interest. So, from today the dinning bell will ring by 6.30pm for girls and 7pm for boys. Please everyone should obey this new rule which will start today.”
The first teacher made the announcement with a threat and negative remarks, while the second teacher made the same announcement persuasively and positively. Threats actually pollute the atmosphere of discipline at school or in the home and make children rebellious. Parents and teachers who communicate effectively and positively to children achieve better results than those who ignorantly foreclose obedience from the children through negative remarks. Negative remarks are unnecessary and do not achieve any positive result when talking to children.
I knew John as a worker in one of the primary schools my children attended a long time ago. He was always actively involved with musical events in that school. He was the one who was always in charge of the musical equipment and public address system. The radiance and fulfilment on his face each time he worked with the children was what attracted me to him.
He told me that he was also performing that role in two other schools. He was working on a musical album with some children and had other albums in the pipeline which he was very passionate about. He said that his love and talent for music manifested in all that he did from his childhood days. His regret was that he could not be employed by any of the schools as a music teacher because he had no academic qualification in Music. He said that he had a university degree in Engineering.
I told him that I was surprised that his talent for music and passion for teaching it to children were not given consideration in his choice of the course he studied in the university.He said that it was difficult to convince people around him when he made his career choice that music was a lucrative career. When I asked him this one question I always ask people with such talent/passion versus academic qualification inconsistency, I got the same answer I always get.
“If it were possible to turn back time so that you can have another opportunity to make your choice of a university course, which one will you choose engineering or music?” I asked.
“I will choose to study music” was his solemn and resolute reply.
Optimal career choices are made if people are developed along career paths that they are cut out for. Every career has unique opportunities, challenges and rewards. Without passion, unnecessary emphasis is placed on reward to the detriment of career fulfilment. For a person whose career is properly blended with his/her talent and passion,
- Career opportunities are easily identified and harnessed.
- Passion and competence provide the inner strength to cope with every career challenge.
- Financial reward is achieved in addition to the higher reward of innate satisfaction for accomplishing the essence of life.
Parents should therefore be properly guided when providing support to their children in the area of career choices.
-Uchenna N. nduka