Raising a Responsible Adult
A recent conversation with a friend left me a little miffed because they wanted me to admit that raising children is monotonous and boring; being home with them all day and tending to them is a endless list of the mundane everyday tasks of feeding, cooking, cleaning and giving attention to little people who do not appreciate it. I disagreed, they insisted, the conversation ended soon after.
The reason I disagreed is this; much as I spend a lot of time with my child tending to his needs, my perspective is that it is my duty to do my best to raise a responsible adult. Amid the mundane, everyday tasks of feeding, cooking, cleaning and giving attention, I am building character, teaching values, and training this child in ways that will determine his future choices.
If I were to maintain the perspective of raising a child, I will go insane, because all I am doing is picking up after someone whose whims change every 30 minutes, indulging the appetite of someone who desires everything at the same time, and can be annoyingly persistent in asking for what they want.
The repetition of this pattern day in day out will most likely leave me frustrated and eager to literally dump this child on the closest option of an alternative caregiver a.k.a the house-help, the school teacher or the television, just so that I can regain sanity. The consequence of that however, is that I don’t take advantage of this one time opportunity to begin to instil in this child the basics of being a responsible adult that is contributes to society rather than be a nuisance to all.
Raising a responsible adult is hard work.
It means paying attention, correcting mistakes over and over, encouraging, discipline, drawing out, teaching, repeating, and most days it seems like a drop in the ocean. It is also not very encouraging and may seem futile because the true results will only be seen ten or more years in the future.
There is a popular Swahili saying that translates to ‘pregnancy and child birth are nothing.
The real work is in raising a child’. Too many parents are focused on providing their children with material comforts. The crunch will come in the future years when your child is now an adult and ready to step out into the world on their own. Will you have invested enough of your time, sweat and tears in raising an adult who is not a burden to their community but a blessing? Some food for thought…