In my audio book, ‘Stories, Senses and Stones: Abused Childhood, Transformed Adulthood,’ I shared extensively all the vices, I picked from my parents, observing their lives. My father died at the age of 82 when I was 39, he never sat down to instruct on any issue of life. Please note I am not exaggerating. Or to be on the safer side, maybe I should put it this way; I cannot remember my father instructing me on any issue of life. But I have been dealing with his examples daily since February 16, 1996, yet I am still work in progress. I titled this example: ‘a test of dad’s mind power’in my audio book just mentioned above: ‘I was about 12 years old when Dad got a car loan from the National Bank and bought a two-door Volkswagen Beetle. Due to human frailty, which is common to all, dad lost the particulars of the vehicle. I followed him to the car dealer. I did not know the details of their discussion, but dad sat in the office of the dealer and wept profusely. The car dealer later got angry and retorted, ‘why is this man crying like this? Please come and remove this man out of this place o.’
I further shared in my audio book, ‘dad, needed to have been strong. The issue was not as complex as to warrant him breaking down in public. In retrospect, I wondered why dad would weep for losing the documents of his car when all he needed to do was to swear to an affidavit of disclosure, get a police report and approach the car dealer and other authorities to reissue another set of documents. I began to think that if dad could weep for losing his car documents, only God knows what he would have done if he had lost the car.’ I concluded, ‘that experience and the impression it left stayed with me for many years… Parents must be strong in the time of trouble. We must learn to provide leadership and become the mainstay of our children. Our despondency and fear should be kept to ourselves until we overcome. After overcoming the situation, we may teach our children the principles and how we took the decision that brought the family out despite the parents’ sense of fear and despondency.
There is an example is use when I disseminate one of our programs, The TeacherFIRE™ Revolution to teachers and non-academic staff in private and public schools. I think I should share it here. I titled it, ‘The Unknown Teacher and the Bathroom Slippers:’ ‘It was career day in a primary school and children were asked to come to school modelling the profession they intend to pursue in the future. A child (few weeks to her 4th birthday), who wanted to become a teacher, had a running battle with her parents, when she packed a pair of bathroom slippers. The parents insisted that a pair of bathroom slippers is not in the dress code of a teacher. The child insisted it was. When the parents further probed, the child said, ‘our teacher in some cases wear a pair of bathroom slippers to the class room to teach.’
The first is that custodianship of a child is the most credible example in leadership. We will not excel in it and make indelible impacts in the lives of our children, except we first lead ourselves successfully as custodians and provide our lives as examples for the children under our care to follow. To lead ourselves successfully, we must as matter of supreme necessity submit ourselves to God by embracing the universal principles, which He has put in place to govern this world. The second point is that we must watch our company. Our company and the people we expose our children to will either reinforce our examples, where they share our philosophy of life or neutralise or replace our examples where they do not share our philosophy. The third point is that there are no minor or major examples. Our children follow all of our examples whether we try to cover it up or not. It is their God-given gift to see beyond our words and go for our example. It is called the power of observation, powered by natural intelligence. I tell custodians to be careful how they express their fears and disappointment before their children. Many parents scream hysterically in the presence of their children because they see roaches and rats. Before you know it their children follow their examples. Another point is that to do one thing and instruct our children to do the contrary is to frustrate our children and incur their anger. It is an express initiation of our children to multiple personalities. Example is the greatest inspiration for our children to live meaningful lives. Many custodians only have positional influence on their children and not inspiration. Influence works with authority. Inspiration works by example, Inspiration is what makes our children follow us. Lastly, the depth of the love respect of our children for us is by the example we show. I once spoke to a teenager, who is very angry with his father because of his bad examples, which he took time to enumerate to me. He said and I quote, ‘I love my father because God commands so, but I do not respect him for the kind of live he lives. I do not want to be, like my father in any way.’ The question is, are we ready for the unedited opinion of our children about us?
Today, I urge us to be conscious of the truth that the most invaluable legacy we MUST leave for our children is our example. Thomas Morell, a man who lived by godly examples admonished, ‘the first great gift we can bestow on others is a good example.’ The Holy Writ says, ‘A good man leaves an inheritance for his children’s children…’ I do not think the Holy Writ value physical inheritance above virtues as inheritance. Hear the Holy Writ: ‘A good name is to be more desired than great wealth, Favour is better than silver and gold.’
I beg to sign out here. By God’s grace, I will be back here tomorrow to discuss another hindrance. Do have an INSPIRED day. I charge you today to Think the CHILD…Think TODAY…Think the FUTURE…