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What can we do for parents?

It is the start of the year, so let us honour parents right at the start, and then educate their children about parents.

It is the start of the year, so let us honour parents right at the start, and then educate their children about parents. So, let us start with a story. Before her child’s first day at school, a mother did all she could to persuade her young child about how exciting it would be.

She was thrilled therefore when the child came home and said he had enjoyed it. So, with great relief, the next morning she went to wake him, only for the boy to ask her why she had woken him. “To go to school, of course!” was her reply. The boy looked at her, stunned. “What? Again?” Yes, again – and again and again!

Now, let us consider some quirks of parents! First, though, did we know that every Labrador Retriever dreams of bananas? That ants always fall to the right when drunk? That a snail can sleep for three years? That Polar bears are left-handed? The world is full of amazing, crazy creatures, is it not? And there is, of course, another strange and wonderful creature — it is called a parent! There used to be a television programme called “Kids do the funniest things” but there should be one called “Parents do the silliest things”. When we come to our child’s sports day, there our child is, running her race really hard and we are standing at the side of the track shouting, “Run!” Do we think she does not know that? Does she stop and think to herself:

“Oh, is that what I’m supposed to do?” Will we also stand outside her classroom and shout “work!”? At the swimming gala it is even worse — we scream “Swim!” as if she does not know but more so, as if she can even hear us! We say the craziest things! What is more we wear the craziest things! And then the clothes we make him wear! And please let us not talk about how we dance (in their eyes)!

So, children need to know certain things about their parents. The first thing is that parents are to be understood. Children have to try to understand them. They have been given a job description to be a parent and the most important job they must do is embarrass their child! They can do this in lots of different ways: they kiss them, kiss each other, hug them and each other! How embarrassing! Their next task is to make sure they irritate their child.

Again, they can do this in lots of ways — by ruffling his hair (like they do with the dog) — and by ruffling their hair (that is, if they have any). And their third job is to make the child’s life miserable — they do this by saying “No!” all the time. Note, while they have been given a job description, there is no job qualification to be a parent; anyone can be a parent. They do not need to have gone to university; in fact, many of them misbehaved badly when they were at school. But they all like to go by the rule of “Do as I say, not as I did.”

That leads on to the second thing they need to know about parents. Parents are to be humoured; they have to tolerated. Here is the thing! They are old — and they weren’t always like this — in fact, they used to be nice and fun. But note too, they are also still in training; they are not qualified yet.

They cannot get a Bachelor of Science degree but are going for a Father of Science degree. In fact, some might even be studying for a D.A.D. (Diploma in Advanced Dad-hood). So, while they do their crazy things, their dancing, screaming, dressing funny, hugging, let them — if it makes them happy, that’s fine! Children just have to train their parents (and it will be the hardest job they will do).

But the third and most important thing they need to know about parents is that they are to be honoured. A child needs to look up to them, respect them. In fact, parents should get prizes too — prizes for Effort, Attainment, Progress and Attendance to parents in each class (although it has to be said that parents do receive the biggest prize when they see their child is happy). But children are to give pride of place to their parents, as the Bible makes it very clear by saying, “Honour your mother and father”.

It is such a special instruction as it is the only command with a promise: and the promise is that we will live long and go well. Note, too, it is also a command without a condition; it does not say “honour them if they are nice to you, if they let you leave your food, if they let you stay up late.”

Parents are somewhat crazy, absolutely, but it is the best job in the world, and it is the biggest job in the world, as well as being the hardest job in the world. In Psalm 127:3 we are told that “Sons are a heritage from the Lord” while in Proverbs 17:6 we are told “Parents are the pride of their children”. So, children, honour your parents — they are not that bad! And just remember, the child also, one day, might be a parent as well! And have their child go to school — again and again and again.

Tim Middleton is the executive director of the Association of Trust Schools [ATS]. The views expressed in this article, however, are solely those of the author in his private capacity and do not necessarily represent the views of the ATS.

Email: ceo@atschisz.co.zw

website: www.atschisz

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