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'GRO WIT AM'

Jun 10, 2009, 7:20 AM | Article By: Galandou Gorre-Ndiaye

As a lad it was not uncommon for us to wear baggy clothes - clothes that did not fit tightly to our frames. It was not just fashion then, as we know it now - no! It made economic sense for our parents who in this way could cut corners, as at that particular age children grow up very fast. Understand that clothes our real sizes would have been outgrown pretty quickly and would have made it look like a bad investment.

So we (the Akus) earned the nickname 'gro wit am;' which means that our clothes could fit the age group two or more years above. How surprising that this has become fashionable today!

When God required of Moses to: "Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your heads and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up," He wanted His Word to be an integral part of the lives of His chosen people from an early age.

"Teach them to your children." There was no Bible then as we know it now. Scripture was passed on from generation to generation by word of mouth. And so each parent was obliged to recount the great deeds of this God Jehovah that their ancestors had talked about. They were to tell their children what Jehovah-Nissi (The God is Conqueror), El Shaddai (the Almighty God), Jehovah-Elyon (The Lord Most High) had done when they crossed the Red Sea and across desert land into the Promised Land of Canaan. How He defeated all their enemies. In short, the history of the Children of Israel in relation to their God should not be lost. It should have been taught first in the home.

Today Scripture is taught in school and particularly Sunday school but the most ideal place before the child integrates Sunday School should be the home. While not all the precepts could be understood by the child at that tender age, being exposed to certain biblical concepts at an early age does help greatly in moulding the character of our children. I can vividly recall trying to memorize The Lords Prayer and the Apostle's Creed - in a language which was not my own - with all the encouragement and sweets as gratification I received from my parents.

They were essential for our upbringing. But today, like for most things this task has been left to Sunday School teachers.

Psychologists will tell you that some of the things we learn as infants, leave a lasting impression on us and impact us for as long as we can remember. The reason is that they serve as eye-openers to a world we are completely ignorant of. Scripture instructs that we "Train a child in the way s/he should go, and when s/he is old s/he will not turn from it." (Proverbs 22:6) In other words, teach children how they should live, and they will remember it all their lives.

Psychologists will tell you that some of the things we learn as infants, leave a lasting impression on us and impact us for as long as we can remember. The reason is that they serve as eye-openers to a world we are completely ignorant of. Scripture instructs that we "Train a child in the way s/he should go, and when s/he is old s/he will not turn from it." (Proverbs 22:6) In other words, teach children how they should live, and they will remember it all their lives.

The rich young ruler in the Gospel of Luke, chapter 18 who wanted to know the formula for attaining everlasting life, when asked by our Lord Jesus whether he was familiar with the commandments boasted in his response that he had known them from his youth. (verse 21) How could he have known them if his parents had not instilled them in him very early?

Biblical truths and truths about life are some of the tools parents should equip their children with if they would like them to live successful lives as adults in this wicked world. It serves as the basis for spiritual growth. We must tell them what Jesus said; "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6) They should know about the love of God for humanity. "For God so loved the world so much that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not die but have eternal life." (John 3:16)  

If we do not teach our children these fundamental truths and ensure that they live them out in adulthood, be sure that someone else will plant some belief in their fragile minds that could only corrupt the system within them and throw them off course. Unfortunately in our day that is exactly what television has done. Not only has television filled in the vacuum we have left unattended, but television has become a reference point and a standard of living to be accepted by all. Television sets the norm for society to live by because we have failed in our duties as parents to teach our children sound doctrine and everlasting, all weatherproof truths that could give them direction in this jungle known as civilised society.

How have you impacted the lives of your children since you birthed them?

Children are fragile instruments in the hands of unscrupulous people who seek to influence them negatively. It may even seem like they are getting the upper hand in this race. Like a magnet they are pulling our offspring out of the path of scriptural behaviour, leading them to experiment any and everything only to confound them the more.

All of us intend for our children to grow up without feeding them with the proper food that induces steady growth. Ridiculous! It is because we fail in this domain that others will dump any rubbish into their minds. There is a local adage which states that 'however well we think we are in control of what goes into the stomachs of our dependents, someone else would feed them with something we are not aware of.' We may not have the monopoly of building the thought patterns of our children, because the teacher in school will do his/her bit, peers also. But let us make sure that whatever else others put in, we put in the most and what we put is original and worthy of standing the test of time. Let the Bible be our guide!

I am not talking about positive thinking, but biblical truths founded on God's word.

Like the 'grow with am' trousers or shirt, the clothes will finally fit; they take shape when we begin to grow in the Lord and feel comfortable in them.

My elder brother and I in our mid to early 20s met in Mannheim, in Germany and on one occasion were reviewing our childhood. In spite of the strict upbringing, we commended our parents for the way they brought us up. To God be the glory!

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