Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Preparing your Teenager for life away from home in this BIG BAD World!

Dear Christian Parents

Is your child getting ready to leave home for college anywhere in the western world? This post is for you. See, even if your child has already gone off to school out there in the wild wild West, you should still read this please. And you know what, even if your child is still far from this milestone, I encourage you to still read it.

As some of you know, my FBS went to college in the US. My Only Princess is now at college there as we speak. They are both different children but at some point or the other, they went through the same thing I am about to prepare you for. I did not prepare to be honest and just weathered the storms with each of them as they happened. Not the best way to do it. This should help make sure you do better.

To make this easy to read, I shall share my thoughts in a 'Rules' format. Here goes:

Rule 1: Do not be blindsided.  If your children are close to leaving home for college/university and they will be going outside Nigeria, specifically to the Western part of the world? Do not and I repeat do not fail to prepare them for the reality that not everyone believes in God like you do. You MUST prepare them well for the onslaught on their minds. For it will surely come and the sad truth is that we really have sheltered our children.

Rule 2: You must begin to prepare your child BEFORE they are ready to leave home. Thriving in college out there begins at home. You see, because Nigeria is mainly Christian and Moslem, we are not faced with the very real issues of atheism that lives in the West. Talk to your children about it so they are not rudely shocked. Don't assume they know and/or fully understand. 
Be close to and talk to your children
(courtesy: Googlei mages)

Rule 3: Expose them to the whole 'Science verses God' magana. Yes, if they go to college in the West, it is waiting for them there. Prepare them. Encourage them to read Christian Science books. Let them watch those National Geographic shows that bring Scientists who believe in God to show how the Bible and the Big Bang theory align not negate each other. If you are a Sunday School teacher and you are reading this, please encourage your Teen Church colleagues to deal with these subjects. As God will help us, our Only Princess goes to a Catholic-sponsored University so she went to her Biology Prof for explanations. And this leads me to Rule 4.

Rule 4: Do not assume that because your child is going to a faith-based college that there will be no unbelievers there. Not true. There are atheists everywhere. And some of them are not nice and will make your child feel foolish for standing up for what  s/he believes in. But if we prepare them well, they will fail.

Rule 5: Talk to your children yourself about how God loves the sinner but hates the sin. Again, I call on Sunday School teachers here. People of God, what are you teaching our teens in church now? We need to let our children understand that while it is true that the Old Testament is full of scary stories of people being punished for their sins by a just God, they have to read ALL of the Bible, all the way up to the New Testament to see the full picture of God who is both Consuming Fire AND Love itself. Why? Because there are people out there ready to tell your child that a God that mean; a God that killed men, women and children cannot be a loving God. They will try to sow these seeds of doubt into your child's mind so we need to makes sure that we have done our best to lay a solid foundation that cannot be messed with.

Rule 6: 
I am not sure how we or our parents before us survived but I suspect it is because the world today is a totally different kettle of fish. Especially in the western cultures, Christians who refuse to read their Bibles are using the scripture to foment hate against people who are different. I mean, Gays and Lesbians. You need to have that talk. Because guess what? Your children are very likely to meet some nice ones out there in school. In fact, some Christian ones. In their classes and then because we failed to explain that we are not called to hate anyone and while, as Christians, we cannot agree with that lifestyle, it does not mean you will be anti-social or rude or mean to anyone. You must tell them it is not in their place to judge anyone. We must used Jesus Christ as the template for how to treat people. All people, the good, the bad and the ugly.

Rule 7: You have to, from now, begin to realize that a time will come when your children will have to do their own faith walk. You cannot legislate their faith. It cannot be by force. Anger is not your friend in this matter. As panicked as you will feel; yelling at or getting upset with your child is the worse thing you can do when they come to you with their doubts. Listen to them, encourage them, live out your faith walk for them to see, empathize with them, LOVE them and then or course, you must PRAY for them always. Remember that even you, you have had your faith struggles, have you not?

As Christian parents, we must believe that if we have done right as God helps us, EVEN if our children stray off the path, the seeds we have sown into their lives will 'call their heads back home' in God's own time. That is why this final rule is key.

Rule 8: I know I talked about praying already but this is so vital, it needs a rule all by itself. My dear Co-Parents, we have got to PRAY! The devil is out there in the world on a rampage. If all you do is look at what is going on in the US, you can see how bad it is. And that is just one slice of the world. And at some point or the other, our children will have to go out and do life in the midst of all that. Are you a spirit? Can you be with them 24/7? Can you know what is going on in them 24/7? No, you cannot. But, we have a God that can so every single day, we must bring our children before him trusting that....

As the Lord lives! Satan will not have our children!!!

I rest my case praying you have heard me. Praying you will act.

I also invite any other parent who has anything to share with us all to please do so.

Have you been through this with your college child? How did you cope? What did you do? Do share please. Thanks!

The pursuit of  degrees will not rob our children of their faith
in Jesus Christ name. Amen!
(image courtesy Google images)

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