Establish the Authority
It is imperative to establish early for children that the Most High is the ultimate authority for your family. Teach them that the Most High God forms the nucleus of your family and is the ruler over every person in your household. This means that no one ranks above the Most High. Therefore, every person in your household should comply with the laws, standards, rules, and boundaries set by the Most High.
Be a Representative
Once you establish that the Most High is the supreme authority, be a representative of the Most High through your example. While this is not always easy, doing so will allow your children to honor and respect your authority freely. As they mature, they will see you as credible and will likely comply with your requests-great or small.
Adhere to Your Own Set of Values
Regardless of how tempting it may be, avoid succumbing to popular culture when it comes to parenting. Society should not be the barometer by which you measure the healthy development of your child or the effectiveness of your parenting. It is better to seek the Most High’s guidance, or turn to other parents who live Godly lives and share your values, customs and traditions for advice.
Identify as Children of the Most High
It is important for children to identify as the sons and daughters of the Most High. They should be taught about the cycle of life, including death. Help them understand that even as children, they are spiritual beings having a human experience and should never fear death. But rather, groom your children to live a life that pleases and brings them closer to the Most High through divine thoughts and deeds.
Personal Strategic Plan
Once children can identify themselves as the sons and daughters of the Most High, they should seek to fulfill their divine purpose by trying to solve human problem or dilemma. They need to develop a personal strategic plan, and they can never start too soon.
When my son was younger, it was not acceptable for him to just ‘hang out’ outside. He had to walk with a specific purpose and destination in mind before leaving our home. This also applies to his leisure time. I firmly believe children who do not possess a strategic plan for themselves, become victims of those who do. In other words, say to your child repeatedly: “If you don’t make a plan for yourself, someone will make it for you-and trust me, you don’t want that which they have to offer.”
Protect the Mind
A major responsibility of a mother raising children alone is to protect them from harm. Most people think of harm in terms of bodily injury, but harm manifests in many forms with the most dangerous being psychological and spiritual harm. Be vigilant about protecting the innocence of your children. Shield them from indecency and sexual exploitation by others. Take every possible step to limit their exposure to mainstream media. Instead provide them with positive, life-affirming books, music, TV programs, activities or theater. Make sure these are suitable for the children of the Most High.
Develop Critical Thinking
Parent educators are responsible for teaching their children how to think critically. Critical thinking enables children to become proficient about how to analyze circumstances, assess risk, evaluate options, and arrive at logical conclusions. This process fosters creativity and problem-solving. So, be sure to cultivate these skills early by giving children a choice between two courses of action. For instance, you might present your child with a choice between playing outside an additional 15 minutes and going to bed early, or completing their chores on time and staying up 15 minutes later than their normal bedtime. This simple exercise fosters discipline, delays gratification; invokes imagination; and stimulates forward thinking, and develops strategic decision-making in children.
Choose their Heroes
Instill pride in children about their cultural heritage. Do this by teaching them their personal family tree, history and accomplishments. But also teach them our collective history as African people. Define their heroes now. Give them the specific names from history to research; include Betty Shabazz, Coretta Scott King, Maggie Walker, Marcus Garvey, Fannie Lou Hamer, Ida B Wells, El Hajj Malik El Shabazz, Frederick Douglass, Martin Delany, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Teach them to respect work and honor their names.
In the house of tomorrow…
it is important for children to carve out their own identity. They are not little carbon copies of you, their parents. They have their own interests, likes and dreams. Encourage them to discover themselves with your guidance. I leave you with a poem written by Khalil Gibran. It expresses this principle beautifully. So until we meet again beloved daughters of the Mosh High. Enjoy the journey of divine parenting…
“And a woman who held a babe against her bosom said, speak to us of children. And he said:
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
and though they are with you yet, they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
for they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
for their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which children as living arrows are sent forth.
The Archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and he bends you with his might that his arrows goes swift and far.
Let your bending in The Archer’s hand be for gladness;
for even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.”