My daughter, not yet two, has the most charming smile. She is such a delight to behold.
My daughter, not yet two, climbs everything in sight that’s above her head. Sometimes we worry she might fall or hurt herself, yet we don’t want to stiffen her creativity or discourage her from exploring her world. So we stay close or put things around to break her fall. She’s proven to us many times though, that we fret for nothing.
My daughter, not yet two, is sensitive to emotions. She says ‘sorry’ when we hurt, hugs us when we’re sad, says ‘well done’ when we’re busy, and cries when I give a disapproving scowl for something she’s done (My wife says my facial corrections hurt worse than cane).
My daughter, not yet two, takes her dirty clothes to the laundry, puts her plates in the sink, stuffs her washed clothes in the chest of drawers and sweeps the floor with her mini-broom.
My daughter, not yet two, kneels to say ‘e kaaro’ (Good morning in Yoruba) and sometimes kneels to say ‘E se ma/sa’ (thank you) to adults.
My daughter, not yet two, has a remarkable vocabulary, saying “Is painful” when she’s hurt; “Where are you?” even when we’re right in front of her.
My daughter, not yet two, is friendly and altruistic (almost to a fault). I read that toddlers may not play with their peers until they’re above 2. I’ve never seen her hold back from any child (peer, younger or older).
My daughter, not yet two, startles when she hears a sudden sound, but chases our 30kg dog around the compound for a hug.
My daughter, not yet two, got pecked by the house parrot once and learnt never to stick her finger through the cage. But that didn’t discouraged her from feeding the parrot snacks or banana. She only learnt not to let her finger get pecked.
Am I bragging about my daughter? Well, maybe, but I am headed somewhere.
Early Saturday morning, we attended a naming ceremony (only close friends & family members were present). We got there 30 minutes earlier to help with preparations. My daughter was as excited as the newborn’s elder sister, who incidentally just clocked two. They were both happy and played around as children would. But my wife and I were heavy on our daughter. We didn’t want her touching the baby or playing with anything meant for her.
The ceremony was short. I liked it. The pastor preached an interesting sermon and emphasized the importance of caning our children. I remember two stories he told.
One is of a teacher who was beaten up by a rich family for caning their child. The family had covered their tracks by ‘settling’ all the powers that be. The teacher felt unjustly treated. So he simply divided his class into two: one branch comprised of children from rich homes who refused to be caned, the other branch comprised of children who accepted to be caned. The pastor said, report has it that no child from the first branch amounted to anything significant in life. Wow! That’s serious!
The second story: he sat between two families at an event reception, then food was served. The children of both families dug in. Both mothers cautioned their boys. One simply gave a sharp glare and her son corrected himself. But the son of the other mother kept shrugging off his mom as he tore at meat and gobbled up the food. In that single occasion, it was clear which son had better home training.
It was quite an inspiring sermon. In my head, I did a quick assessment and felt we weren’t doing badly. We discipline our child and spank her when necessary.
Toward the end of the ceremony, I had to excuse myself to pick a phone call. The pastor was on his way out when my call ended. He greeted me warmly and said he’d left an important message with my wife. I was curious.
“Oh, the pastor left a message,” my wife said, when I got back in.
“He said, ‘Take care of your daughter. I observed some things. She’s getting spoilt.'” I couldn’t believe my ears.
Trust me, no parent is happy to hear that kind of report from someone – regardless how ‘unimportant’ the reporter is. I felt judged. I thought he might have jumped too soon to conclusion. He was, let’s face it, a stranger who knew nothing about our daughter’s history but surmised from one or two instances and based his judgment by his life experiences. Then I considered he was a pastor and might have been spirit-led. But I weighed the words, ‘observed’. This might also have been a statement inspired by sight than by faith. I played back all that our daughter did and how we responded and felt we might have overdone it when correcting her earlier, thus sending the wrong message. I made a mental note that when in public I shall never exert myself in correcting my child – people will think that’s how I struggle with her at home too.
The question then came: is it possible we were failing in disciplining our child without realising it? I tried to get those words ‘getting spoilt’ out of my head. But they kept popping up like unprogrammed screensavers.
In the first 60 minutes of getting back home, our daughter got beaten about 4 times. Her flaws became more glaring to us and we were not going to ‘spare the rod’. Even her smiles seemed like little plots to manipulate us. The innocent girl didn’t notice the change in our attitude toward her. She’d cry but still come hug us or play with her toys. She continued to be herself. We, on the other hand, wanted to prove to ‘an uninterested world’ that we were capable of raising a cultured, well-mannered child. The atmosphere in the house was intense. More so, it seemed like my wife and I could quarrel in any minute. Perhaps, we were each (in our heads) blaming the other or ourselves. For one, I blamed myself for allowing our daughter freedom to explore her world. Then I began to second-guess some of the good things I was doing with her and the risks I let her take. Perhaps they’d let her become so free that she did not know boundaries.
It’s amazing what the words of humankind can do. One stranger’s words, drained the joy in my home. Words are powerful and even the most spiritual human being can misuse them. But no word is as eternal as the Word of God. I recall that when our daughter was still in the womb, we already named her. Then based on Romans 8.28, we formed a mantra: “All we do for J is good for her.” I was reminded of this and of how she is first God’s daughter before ours. Then I realised how selfish we parents can be in trying to earn a reputation for our children’s good behaviour. Their actions are not meant to glorify us, but God. We must never take the focus off Him in our parenting journey.
I repented. I asked God to forgive me. Then the Holy Spirit started reminding me of the many wonderful things J does at her tender age. It seemed that I had forgotten these beautiful things in less than 2 hours of hearing one person’s questionable opinion. It dawned on me that we parents can easily forget these beautiful moments if we don’t pen them down. That’s why this article begins with the few that I can recall. I am sure my wife can mention a whole lot more. I shared these thoughts with my wife. We both had a change of heart. Our house was filled with laughter again. But I am glad to have gone through this experience – a major hurdle has been crossed in our marital journey and as parents. We can never fall for this trick again!
My conclusion, there’s no amount of discipline a parent can met out on a child that can help him or her turn out right in the future. Discipline fails, but discipleship wins. We must model the life we want to see in our children and that model must be the life of Christ himself. If we train our children to follow us as we follow Christ, all other rocks will fall in their proper places. Ironically though, this aspect of discipleship is where many pastors get right with other people’s children but their own.
34 thoughts on “Your Child is Spoilt!”
Parenting is a skill that people assume to have, based on being able to have a child and so expect all parent to train their children the same. Which definitely is not true. Each child challenges the parent to find a skill to help train him or her. As long as your training is out of love and concern and not out of frustration or trying to please anyone, you are good to go.
Thank you for mentioning this. We need to get out motives right. We must not vent through our children nor glorify ourselves through them.
Wow. interesting read. Taking notes for the future.
But then again, it can be applied to other aspects of our lives generally, how the opinions of others can affect us in ways they normally should not
Yes, while there is safety in a multitude of counsellors, we must choose our counsellors carefully. Thank you for stopping by Bro.
Let me add my 2 cents.
I think the big mistake is evaluating the child in the first instance, then seeking to gain some reputation from the score of – well behaved child. We seek to use our children to reinforce ourselves. What the “Pastor” tapped into was your evaluation system. When we realize that the children are God’s and that He is interested in them more than we are, we realize that we do our part, and trust God to do what only He can do. We can’t change people, not even our children. We can only train them, and that when they are easiest to train. What we measure is the process, not the outcome. We must let the children have liberty to own their outcomes, else we use them to fill in the missing elements in our own lives.
The “Pastor” may also silently rate you as spoilt, because to his own conservative lens, anyone who wants a little more from life and demands it may seem spoilt. We must learn not to live our lives by any standards set by the social mirror, our default like you said must be God’s word.
I was spoilt, right up till the moment I met with Jesus… “Pastor” should be calming down 😊
Thank you so much my Pastor for adding your maxi-two-cents.
Evaluating the child based on our lenses is building a system on a faulty ground. Only with the lens of God can we ever get right where anyone ought to be – and sure enough, no one can make God out of any man – we are all a work in progress. The process is what we should measure, not the outcome and no child is never at an ultimate outcome – even adults too. We are ever growing and thus must never jump to conclusions about anyone.
Wow! Those last words hit me deeper sir: I was indeed spoilt until I met Jesus. And even after that, I still exhibit spoilt behaviour, yet He has never labelled me. We should all be calming down!
I have learnt more than a few things from these words Pastor Deolu. Thank you.
Beautifully penned. Parenting is a gift from God, and in giving us that gift He also gives us the courage and the wisdom to parent. All we need to do is listen to the wisdom He has given us. You couldn’t have turned to Romans 8:28 at a better time!
J is blessed to have you both as her parents!
Thank you very much Caroline. Indeed all things work together for good for those who are aligned with God.
It was an interesting and insightful read.
Thank you Idara!
Wow, this was a superb read for me. I spent so long just digesting it in bits. Hmmn. Thanks for writing Leke. We all as parents have our struggles with parenting, just as with everything else in our lives. Thank you for reminding us of the singular remedy for it all – getting off center stage and letting Jesus lead and be the focus of it all. Words indeed have power, and sometimes people have no idea the impact their words have had (positive or negative) . But you said it so well, Gods word first, before any other, and then everything else falls into perfect place.
Keep soaring bro, and a big hug for little J(who I’m sure will look like a learner when you meet my divinely-energetic 3 year old daughter lol).
We are at best making guesses at these things. There is never a one-size-fits-all approach to parenting. But with the leading of the Holy Spirit, we are certain that God will lead our children aright. Thank you for stopping by.
Great read, I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Thanks Sis. I am glad you did.
Exactly. There is a specific parenting wisdom needed to train each child in the way God desired for him/her to go Pv. 22:6.
And yes, discipleship is of priory which unfortunately, many parents do not find time for.
Thanks Leke. Looking forward to your next post.
Discipleship is definitely a higher calling, but should not really be more work if we live as disciples of Jesus daily. We must always model what’s right. Children learn more from what they see than from what they are told.
“Discipline fails but discipleship wins”. How apt. Reminds me of the quote; ‘So it is not of Him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy.’
I will refrain from making comments about the pastor. Suffice it to say that God used it to cement your relationship with your wife and daughter. For every child, every marriage, every relationship, the yardsticks differ. The common denominator is God. We should seek His face for the knowledge required to succeed in all situations and relationships.
Romans 9.16 is a scripture to frame and keep to mind daily in this parenting journey. Oh, I thank God for the pastor actually. I wouldn’t learn these lessons and more from the comments in this article but for him. Thank you for the reminder ma’am that God is the person whom we should seek approval from.
Thank you so much Bro.
Thank you very much for taking the time to write the article. I may not have been a parent – never married nor do I have kids. But I am a product of a Christian home raised by both my mum and dad. The world should be thankful that I got disciplined, spanked, scolded and given rules and boundaries, not to mention the instructions. There was discipline at school, in the church and at home. I got through all my schooling, not that I was a very bright student but a hard working and diligent one. I got through 7 years of university and finished 3 qualifications. Over the past 22 years I worked as an international English teacher in Singapore, Malaysia, China, Kazakhstan, the country of Georgia and Turkey – also lived in Panama, Colombia and Paris, France. I am living proof of that scripture “train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it”. Today I live my life at 54 , with rules and boundaries but more importantly, morals and values based on biblical principles, still extremely hard working, responsible and diligent, honest and faithful, treating everyone with respect and dignity, always extending a helping hand to anyone wherever possible. My parents were good role models, especially my mother who also a teacher and who mentored me through her exemplary life as a wife and mother. I am so thankful I got disciplined from the time I was very young. I am in no way perfect but at least a decent person with good manners, respectful and always considerate of others, well groomed and well spoken.
Hi Winsome! Thanks for reading and then taking the time to comment.
You are indeed blessed to have had these trainings. As we say in Nigeria, it takes a village to raise a child. This means, parenting is not just done by mothers and fathers, the school, neighbours and community members all contribute in raising good children. We should discipline our children, but never forget that making them disciples of Jesus is what matters most.
Words on marble.
Thanks May. May these words bless many even for years to come!
Personally, I feel it’s just awful to say that a 2-year-old is getting spoilt. How spot could a 2-year-old be, really?
In another news, this is an amaziiiiing read. Your writing and storytelling skills are just top notch.
Exactly! Our children are evolving… catch them young does not mean kill them young!
Thanks for the compliment Bro. It can only get better with consistency!
4 times in one hour? Uncle Leke please appear in the orderly room. Please continue the good work on J without paying attention to those who don’t know her at all.
Even if they know her, only God ever knows us fully!
Words indeed gets to us (consciously or unconsciously).
Above all God’s words supercedes all words.
God’s word beats all words! Thanks for reading Bro.
Well done!! “Ironically though, this aspect of discipleship is where many pastors get right with other people’s children but their own.” This is insightful.
I am glad you find it insightful Bro. Thank you for reading!
“Words are powerful and even the most spiritual human being can misuse them. But no word is as eternal as the Word of God.”
It’s funny how we subconsciously allowed these words from outside to determine our reality. I’m super glad to both woke up on time to take hold of the truth. Our religious leaders are abusing the positions that they’ve been given. I can only imagine how many families would have been a=negatively affected by this same statement by this so call ‘man of God’.
Thank you for sharing and for modelling how parenting in the 21st century will be like.
I used to say that my parents flogged the hell ‘into’ me. That I am where I am now wasn’t even because of their toughness. At a point, I got used to the cain that it wasn’t making and difference again.
But thank God His intervention in my life. And I’ve also vowed to raised my family and kids more through DISCIPLESHIP.
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