A few weeks back I began a blog series on some of the lessons I have learnt in my 18 years of parenting. Please note that I am not an expert or a perfect parent but someone who is still learning. However, I am a reflective person and I have chosen to be intentional about my learning and to document some of the lessons deliberately.
Every parent plays many roles in the day to day care of their child. Today as I continue this 18 lessons series, I will be looking at parenting in the light of a couple of professions. In case you missed the first part, you can find it here. However, welcome to part two.
Lesson 5: Parenting is gardening
There are a number of similarities between the job of a gardener and parenting. The job description for gardeners include ‘planting and looking after trees, shrubs, and flowers; maintaining the health of these plants by watering, pruning, weeding, and applying pesticides where required.’ Parents have to tend their children and watch over them like gardeners do their plants.
A good gardener would plant his seed or seedling in the ground that is best suited for that plant. He would take care to monitor it’s growth and address any problem that might arise as time goes on. To get the best out of the plant, he would apply fertilizer or plant food where necessary, take out weeds which might be competing with the plant for nutrient, prune the plants to get rid of dead and unproductive parts and spray pesticides wherever he sees that they are attacking the plant.
Similarly, you as a parent must provide an enabling environment for your child to thrive at home and your chosen school or church. A good knowledge of your child and an understanding of God’s plan will help you position him/her right. You have to provide adequate support (fertilizer), prune wrong attitudes and unhealthy behaviours that could stop them from being their best. Be faithful to correct and discipline in love so that you can rid them of destructive acts of foolishness.
Lesson 6: Parenting is teaching and training
There are a number of parallels that can be drawn between teaching and parenting. As a trained teacher I know that teaching involves intentionality. Teaching involves passing across some information or instructions with the intention that the learner is able to recall and use them when needed. Good planning and thoughtful delivery produce a great lesson outcome. All of these points are useful in successful parenting.
Parenting involves giving information and instructions to your child. These must be age and ability appropriate, and there has to be a way of measuring the learning that has taken place. You should be able to track the progress that your child is making as well.
Training is different from teaching in that it incorporates the practice of what has been taught. If you have taught your child how to do the dishes or cook a meal, training goes beyond explaining, to showing, and also asking the child to have a go at practising the skills learnt. Raising your child successfully will entail that you teach and train in different areas of life.