In Ghana where I live, no matter what a woman achieves, it is not regarded till she has a husband or a child to go with that achievement. When you are in your mid-thirties and you do not have a husband, family (usually extended; annoyingly) will call you to advice.
Bear in mind they never advised when you needed to choose a school, a job or anything of the sort. Their advice is usually this. ‘My daughter, why not find a man to give birth with? Just one child’. ‘Stop being picky and settle with anyone.’ ‘All men are men’. If you are as sarcastic as I am, your answer will be on these lines. ‘Plug a man from a tree for me and we will make babies for you’. Whenever a relative younger or your age gets married, they will say, ‘Next year by this time, we should be gathering for yours oh.I have my dress ready’.
Such is the ordeal of a ‘young’ unmarried woman in her thirties. Mind you in Ghana, people-a lot of people give birth at sixteen so to be thirty and unmarried makes you old. This is enough to draw you closer to God! You recount all the sins you have committed, the toes you must have stepped on and just pray without ceasing. When you finally get married and have children, your reverence for God does not wither but the arrival of children makes you more drawn to God.
This time you pray more for your children. You pray about the water they drink, the food they eat and as they grow (which is the tough one), the friends they make, who they meet, where they go, what they think about and just everything.
Thinking about the fact that God lent them to you to be taken care of and you will account for it makes it scarier. Also, prayer we know goes with action, so as one prays, one needs to grow emotionally as well to take the right actions. Children will try your patience, do the very things you ask them not to, practice all the negative things they see on the internet and do anything but what you ask them to.
As a parent, I have learnt to be emotionally intelligent. I have learnt to empathize with the emotions of my children, to lead them by loving them, to tolerate their every move. In as much as I wish to punish them instantly, I have learnt to constantly criticize and discipline them instead.
Children will make mistakes and so will parents. Just as there are no perfect children, there are no perfect parents but as parents, we should try to take actions that keep us on the right path to nurturing children who will be assets on earth and heirs of the kingdom of God.