Child Protection and Preparation for Marriage: Fundamental Issues to Consider: IS THERE A HOME FOR OUR CHILD/CHILDREN TO BELONG?

It has been a while dear friends and well-wishers of the cause of child protection, the cause of protecting our children and preserving them for their glorious destiny.  An unprotected child is like a city without walls, I must declare.

My schedule has driven me very hard in recent days. I thank God for His mercies, in whose sight I have found favour. He has filled my hands with meaningful engagement on the noble cause of child protection.

Glad to be back today to continue with yet another step in advocacy, I embarked upon recently. I have been looking at the fundamental issues those preparing for marriage should consider on the matter of child protection. Permit me today to discuss the third issue: IS THERE A HOME FOR OUR CHILD/CHILDREN TO BELONG?

I attended a couple’s wedding recently and I wept throughout the church service. It was highly embarrassing that I had to put my head down so that people would not begin to ask me questions. I wept because, I knew the couple very well. I am aware that both the groom and the bride are from broken homes. The marriages of their parents did not work. Apart from the fact that the marriages did not work, the parents of one of the couple are still not on talking terms today.  There is serious enmity and bitterness, which manifest in palpable tension when they meet.  They do not see eye to eye.

I know their backgrounds are likely to have tremendous impact on their own home, if they take things for granted. I am aware enough to know that the fact that the couple were not brought up in settled homes have serious impact on their psyche, their perception about life and the marriage institution. I understand that by their socialization, they are not equipped to run a settled home. This explains why we find generations of divorcees. As a matter of fact in the extended family of one of the couple, it is a fact that only one person has a settled home. The rest are divorcees.

I am not of the view that their marriage is doomed, not at all. I am only of the view that if they do not pay attention to proper reorientation about life and the marriage institution, their marriage has no future. Their socialization, which creates their present perception about life and marriage, will surely catch up with them.

I believe people from abusive background and dysfunctional homes have a lot of work to do if they must have settled home. They must understand that by virtue of their unpleasant upbringing there is a pattern of behaviour ingrained in their psych, which is waiting for them in every stage of life to make a mess of any meaningful advancement they make in life, when life places a demand on same.  Laura Schlessinger in her book, Bad Childhood Good Life: How to Blossom and Thrive In Spite of an Unhappy Childhood, submits, ‘I believe that many people don’t even realize that their childhood history has impacted their adult thought and behavioral patterns in unproductive ways. They don’t realize that some of their less pleasant or destructive adult emotional reactions are reflexive responses forged by their unfortunate childhood challenges. They don’t realize that much of their adult life has been dedicated to repeating ugly childhood dynamics in an attempt to repair deep childhood hurts and hurting.’

The impact of such pattern is eternal except there is divine intervention.  But we must understand that divine intervention begins with a recognition of the fact that one needs help, which must be backed up with an unalloyed willingness to receive this help and unshakeable believe that transformation is an ever-present possibility. The challenge is never with God. He is always willing and able to help and heal. The challenge is always with the preparedness of the one who needs help to make himself/herself available for the needed help. Thus, in my fierce struggle to put my childhood abuses behind me in a determined attempt to create a new life far beyond the ugly predictions of my troubled childhood and dysfunctional home, I have with inspiration provided by my many victories redefined change. As far as I am concerned, change as an ever-present possibility for anyone, who is ready to take responsibility. The operating word here is RESPONSIBILITY.  Responsibility is the operating word here. The opposite is to take chances. We must take responsibility for our childhood, with a view to creating a better future, where our childhood was abused and our homes dysfunctional.

Please note that a person, who has never experienced a happy and functional home before does not possibly know how it looks like and the immense benefits therein. Therefore, he/she is not likely to defend same with all of his/her heart. When we know the benefits or disadvantages of a venture, entity or habit to us and the society at large, there is every possibility that we will defend it for the exceptional values it adds.

Please note that one of the fundamental needs of a child is that he/she needs somewhere to belong, first a home and second, a community. The state of the family determines the well-being or otherwise of the community. The family produces the community. According to the Ghanaian proverb, ‘the ruin of a nation begins in the homes of it’s people.’ It goes without saying that the opposite is also an absolute truth and I render it thus: ‘the prosperity of a nation begins in the homes of it’s people.’

The home is different from a shelter, which beauty is determined by the serenity of environment, aesthetics of the building, furniture and the rest. The father and mother are the cardinal pillars of a healthy home and functional family. Their values and virtues determine the foundation, sustainability and prosperity of the family. The best families protect their children while the worst perceive them as nothing but objects of chance and abuse, noting that most families, who abuse their children, are not wicked. They only act out their bad experiences and ignorance.

Therefore couples, who are preparing for marriage and plan to have children, must as matter of necessity and the best interest of the child, sincerely ask and answer satisfactorily in honour of the truth, this question: IS THERE A HOME FOR OUR CHILD/CHILDREN TO BELONG? Until they do justice to this question, I do not think they should proceed to marriage. They must understand that the real testimony of marriage is not that people get married. If the real testimony of marriage is that people get married, there would have been divorces as we have it today in our society. In fact it is fast becoming a celebrated norm. I once submitted that people would soon begin to celebrate divorces, same way they celebrate weddings as both are fast assuming same status today. Permit me to submit that the real joy and testimony of marriage is that provides a rich opportunity for personal fulfilment and contribution to the peace of the general public, by protecting and training children complete children, prepared to face the challenges of today and the future.

I must state here that marriages do not fall apart until the foundation is faulty. The foundation is not faulty until the parties getting married do not ask and answer some fundamental questions, like the ones fighting for our attention here. When a marriage falls apart as a result of the foregoing, the children are the first to fall apart within and later externally. Their destiny simply crashes, except there is divine intervention, the divorcing parties, would have set in motion many generation of divorcees, if they are not themselves responding to the pattern already installed by their own immediate or extended families.

Divorce has unusually damning impact on children. Sitting as a mediator on UNICEF platform, reconciling children, who ran away from home to their parents, I found that most of the children, we attended to were from broken homes.

Please note that I strongly believe that if many people, who are about to sign up for marriage today would pay necessary attention to my argument here and adhere to its principles, the alarming divorce rate in our society today will reduce drastically. Married couples will also build a peaceful home in which they will raise complete children.

Permit me to submit that when I use the phrase, ‘peaceful home’ here, I do not refer to a perfect home. The best of homes have their challenges. I talk about a home; where despite its challenges, it is prepared, disciplined and sane enough to give peace and stability an ample chance, present to their children and other observers, the marriage institution an immense blessing that it is, protect their children from abuse and prepare them as balanced and blessed human beings. Such was the home in which Billy Graham was raised, which he wrote copiously about in his autobiography, Just As I Am, ‘still in his autobiography wrote: ‘there had to have been tensions between Daddy and Mother from time to time, that we children were not supposed to see. I suppose my parents occasionally disappointed each other, and certainly they sometimes disagreed about serious as well as trivial things. But in any quarrels between them (parents) that I witnessed, I never heard either of them use a word of profanity. My mother and father [mostly my mother] could storm at each other once in a while when provoked, but they weathered every tempest and sailed on, together…In all the strictness of my upbringing, there was no hint of child abuse.

I think I have said more than enough on this matter. I charge you to please read and spread. I beg to sign out after a long talk but not without charging you to Think the CHILD…Think TODAY…Think the FUTURE…

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