By Ezechiel Bambolo, Jr
I received a powerful lesson on how to be a parent from my dad. Sadly, I rarely remember any of his lectures or verbal instructions. However through so much of my adult life I frequently catch myself doing things that I can also imagine his verbal instructions to me verbatim. Sounds confusing…? Keep reading please.
My father was extremely generous with all he had, which wasn’t much as a person on an African teacher’s salary. My parents were merely teachers with a low income for what it is worth, yet no greater task has society known than an educator. However, he gave away most of what he earned because people less fortunate would come to him and petition for him to support their children educationally. At any given time through almost thirty years of teaching, my father would have as many as twelve kids on his personal scholarship offering. He was just as generous with his time to help others in need. My parents lost everything they ever worked for in thirty years during the Liberian civil war. But I have no doubt that my siblings and I are fortunate to live the life we do, coming out of pretty significant poverty, because of my parents’ generosity. It is through that generosity that I also faithfully believe God has blessed our family, even through the many destructive incidents during the war.
Now if you got nothing out of my previous comments with regards to character traits that my father taught me, get this: The reason that my father’s instructions were so easily transferred to me is because my father had a deliberate and authentic design to do so. You see, he took me everywhere he could so that I observed and learned. It didn’t matter whether it was a political event, social gathering, hunting adventure, dispute arbitration and resolution, Baptist convention board session, and so on, I was right by his side to watch and learn. It became innate for me because I was there, and it was subliminally being drilled into my life. I love to serve others and invest in people. I respect people for as long as they keep and do not abuse my trust, but absolutely nobody outside of my God leaves me awestruck. That epitomizes my dad.
You as a father (parent) don’t have to attend elaborate events to teach your children solid demeanor. I live in a different world and do so many things that my father didn’t do, but the traits that he handed me are easily transferable. So take your son (child) along as much as possible to what you do in life as long as it is upstanding and righteous. Be a part of his life, and it will all come together for him even if he is on a much grander stage than you when his time comes. The same goes with mothers and their daughters regarding the development of a lady out of your princess. The apostle Paul took the same approach with Timothy whom he called his son in the faith. If you study on Timothy in the Bible you will see how often Paul took Timothy along where he went in a desire to teach. Eventually Paul reached a place of utmost confidence to state that he could send Timothy to accomplish a task knowing he would get it done exactly as Paul would do.
For this very cause I sent to you Timothy, who is my beloved and trustworthy child in the Lord, who will recall to your minds my methods of proceeding and course of conduct and way of life in Christ, such as I teach everywhere in each of the churches (1 Cor. 4:17, AMP).
That was my dad’s intent, and it certainly should be yours if you desire to raise a child that carries on your legacy of greatness. And please don’t say “What greatness?” A life of honor and authenticity always amounts to a great life.
Jesus Christ continues to give us the greatest example of teaching through everyday practical occurrences when He said to His disciples, Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men (Matt. 4:19, NASB). He then proceeded to take the twelve disciples with Him everywhere He went. They watched and saw His actions and interactions firsthand for merely three years. The result? They changed the world.
If you do not like the story you are telling your children with your life at the moment, or how to be a parent, it’s never too late to change direction. Just don’t let the learning from your own experiences and acknowledgements take too long. If you have been doing it wrong for the last two months or ten years, I suggest that’s long enough. Our choices become our habits; our habits become our character; our character becomes our story and destiny.
I took three (3) great principles that must be passed on to my children as my father did with great deliberacy. They all have to do with our choices.
1) Live and authentic and generous life – In the core of my being it is impossible to deny the authenticity of my parents’ lives because the human visible evidence was all too powerfully clear.
2) Take your children along and allow them to watch – In the beginning I mentioned rarely remember actual verbal instructions from my dad. However, his actions which I watched are ten (10) times more powerful than any in-my-face scream or calm logical dialog he could have delivered.
3) Dad’s method is historical and strategically proven – Simply put, it works and has been effective and successfully proven by great men and world changers. How much more evidence to your need? Implement this strategy.
Ezechiel is an author, speaker, and radio host who focuses on the strategic importance of family legacy. He was born and raised in Liberia, West Africa. Please visit the his blog http://www.the1stbornson.blogspot.com to get a variety of additional resources. Enter your name and email to receive free offers.
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