I was a schoolboy living with my master in 1956. One Saturday, he sent me to sell groundnuts we harvested from our garden in Ntezi market. ‘If they offer you two shillings or less than that, sell it,’ his wife told me. With hard haggling, I sold it four shillings and three pence. To compensate myself for the 10-mile-odd journey I made on foot, I used three pence to line my pockets with groundnut.
When I returned, I kept the money on a table in my Oga’s bedroom, where his wife was lying down. ‘How much did you sell it?’ she asked. I lied that it was four shillings. She was excited and praised me for that, not knowing anything about the three pence and the groundnut. After dinner, my Oga told me to bring the money. In excitement, I dashed into their room. Nothing was on the table. The money had developed wings and flown away! Madam told her husband that I kept the money there. He did not listen to that. ‘Bring the money,’ he said. I searched every nook and cranny and found nothing. Of a truth, he told us never to keep money there but since Madam was there, I thought it was safe.
That night, since we never prayed in that house all the two years I lived with him, I did not pray, nor knew the efficacy of soliciting God’s intervention. When I was living with my mother, it was the same story. We never prayed. One thing occurred to me that night and that was what she would have done under a similar circumstance. The need to contact a native doctor became apparent, so that he would tell us what happened to the money. I wrote a letter to my mother, telling her the misfortune that befell me, and urged her to contact a native doctor. My Oga rebuked me when he knew about the letter. I was not repentant at all as I did what my mother taught me.
Timothy would have prayed because Lois, his Mum, and Eunice, his grandma, taught him the Word of God. The Rechabites refused to drink wine offered to them, though the instruction came from Jeremiah, the Prophet. They said that their forefather instructed them not to drink wine, build houses and plant vineyards. They lived by that. Was it not here in Lagos that a condemned armed robber on the stake bit off his mum’s ear before his execution for not raising him properly? He attributed his early death to his poor upbringing. Some few months ago, I wrote in this column about an armed robber, who accused his dead father of teaching him how to steal yams from farms. This is why the Bible enjoins us to train a child the way he will go so that when he grows up, he will not depart from it.
We should note that as busy as Samuel was, serving the Lord, God did not train his children for him. That was his responsibility. Like the children of Pastor Eli, they were wayward. Eli did not train his children well. God did not also take up the job from him. God’s infallible Word is: ‘Train up a child…’ It is not the duty of angels but parents. If you refuse to train them, the devil will train them for you in his own way and God will hold you responsible for the neglect.
Isaac loved Esau because he provided him with bush meat. Gluttony! He was fortunate Ebola had not emerged then! Gluttony! His condition to bless Esau was based on the provision of meat for him. He blessed Jacob, instead of Esau, though he had his doubts about who he was. Gluttony! That was the legacy he bequeathed to Esau, who could not endure hunger for a while when taunted with food by Jacob. He accepted the cheap bargain and sold his birthright, evidence of no fasting life. But afterwards, when the hunger was satisfied, in tears, he sought the birthright but was rejected. Parents should also be involved in the education of their children. Arranging extra lessons is good but they enjoy being taught by their parents. I coached all my children in Mathematics, reminding them all the time that it is a cheap subject, a subject I taught myself since I had no secondary school education. I also stressed its importance since it was a prerequisite for most courses in the university. Most people dread it because of poor presentation by teachers. Present it in a better format, removing the fear, and they will know it.
It is important that you guide them from cradle to discover their professions. Do not choose for them, influence or force them into a profession. I know a medical doctor, who dropped his stethoscope and opted for accountancy. He made the third position in the Institute of Chartered Accountants examination in the middle eighties. I asked him why he changed his profession. ‘I read Medicine because my elder ones are doctors,’ he said, ‘but now I have now come to my calling’. He has grown massively in accountancy.
Family devotion is very important. Your home is a branch of your church, where you and your spouse are the priests. It is good to use a devotional that specifies the Bible passage for the day. My wife and I use four different devotionals sometimes. before the family devotion, where we use the Scripture Union Daily Guide. It should be participatory. Weekend retreat, from time to time, is good for the family.
When you quarrel with your spouse, fight for your right, gossip about people or spend quality time praying for people, open your arms widely for the needy, though you have little, be concerned about the well-being of other people, forgive those who have offended you, including your landlord for arbitrary increase of rent or your tenants for delay in paying his rent and even God, for the death of someone dear to you – you are training your children in the way they will go in life.
For further comment, Please contact: Osondu Anyalechi: 0909 041 9057; firstname.lastname@example.org