I was watching the movie ‘Freshman Year’ this week. The pastor’s son, who has been educated through private Christian schools until his secondary school, opted to enrol in a public university as opposed to a private Christian university. While his pastor of a father was opposed to this, his mother encouraged the idea. His father’s concern was that the world was full of sin and he would eventually be tempted by the evil. His mother, on the other hand, believed they had taught him all the values he needed to gracefully navigate through the big, scary world. In retrospect, both of them were right.
In the beginning, the freshman tried his utmost best to stick to his values: not drinking, not being promiscuous and only focusing on school, basketball and his bible. Soon, he fell madly in love with a girl. He was later selected to join the university’s basketball team. After a victory against a rival university, the team went out to celebrate. The team’s captain offered the freshman a drink. At first, he refused but the captain eventually convinced him that the drink was for a good cause. They were celebrating a victory that the freshman helped to secure!
I would like to pause the storytelling to emphasise how important it is for you to surround yourself with people who respect your values and are actively cheering you on, helping you to stay on track. It is equally important to inform our children that it is okay to be friends with people who are different from them, provided that those people respect their values and will in no way pressure them to break these values but rather watch out for them and be their voice of reason when the need arises. Back to the story, the freshman got drunk! His girlfriend carried him to her dorm room. One thing led to another and they had sexual relations, which was the first for him. Not only did the freshman break his rule against drinking alcohol; he also had premarital sex. A few weeks later, his girlfriend was pregnant. What a stroke of bad luck for this Christian boy. Although his girlfriend had thought of abortion, the freshman was not prepared to break another one of his values and so he objected.
He eventually went home to disclose this information to his parents. Yes, the pastor’s son impregnated a girl in his first year of varsity! How scandalous, right? What will the church say? What will the community say? The pastor keeps preaching about sin but failed to teach his own son. At first, his father, being a pastor, considered all of these scenarios, but eventually, the parents decided to help and support their son and grandchild. They took the pregnant girlfriend in, paying for medical care and promised to help them look after the baby.
I wrote and published a kiddies’ booklet, ‘Naneni’s seven days of values’’, where I highlighted the seven values, inspired by the teachings of Ma’at that I deem most important to teach Naneni: 1. Propriety 2. Reciprocity 3. Balance 4. Justice 5. Order 6. Harmony and 7. Truth.
We should want our children not only to become successful but also to be good people in society. That is why it is important to not only teach our children to read and count but we should instil values in them.
Christian’s live by certain values, monks have distinct principles and even those who are inclined to their African customs live by certain morals. Sometimes, the parents who do not have the energy and time to invest in this demanding task, are quick to point out how “her child is even doing this and that”! Do not let this pressure get to your head, to such an extent that you pressure your children to be perfect. As human beings, we can never completely be without wrongdoing and we can never be without character flaws and this includes your children. So, despite the fact that you will invest in teaching your children right from wrong, they will not always do right and you should be prepared for when this happens.
What is important is the hope that even though your children may lose their way now and then, you can rely on the values you teach them to be their moral compass that will lead them back to their true character. What values are you actively teaching your children?
*My name is Paulina N. Moses (PRP), mother to my four-year-old daughter, Naneni. This column hopes to create momentum for positive parenting by candidly discussing everything about parenting, while a network of millennial parents who support and cheer one another on.
2020-04-09 11:13:32 | 5 months ago