IS MARRIAGE REALLY A CONTRACT? READ AS I SHARE SOME TIPS

Customarily, marriage is defined as a union between a man and a woman and usually marked by a ceremony that pronounces the couple husband and wife in the presence of their families and friends. What makes it a contract, in my opinion, is the legal binding nature of the union. Typically, a court or legal authority in a state issues a marriage license to a couple that intends to get married upon their application to do so, and the couple thereafter receives their marriage certificate after fulfilling the requirements as set forth by the authority.

Marriage is a contract between two persons to stay committed to each other in good times and bad times. It is a serious commitment and sadly can be cancelled by a divorce when one party doesn’t, or perhaps both parties don’t, fulfill its side of the obligation. It is a contract that should be respected not only because
It could last a lifetime but because it affects the physical, psychological, and emotional health of the parties involved. It starts with two parties, under normal circumstances, and will include more parties, once the couple intends to have children. As one who has had an active marriage contract for almost two decades, I offers suggestions of how to preserve your marriage contract for as long as possible.

  1. Don’t take your partner for granted: the two parties in a marriage and their opinions/contributions are equally valid and matter. If you are in a marriage, where you don’t consult your partner on issues that affect your home/family, this is a red flag. Each party should be expressive and can talk about or over anything. My mantra is ‘no holds barred;’ talk freely. For religious folks, who read the holy book out of context, “The husband is the head of the wife,’ but this doesn’t invalidate the wife. The wife is equally important and not inferior. Husbands are to love their wives as Christ loves the church. If you love someone, you don’t look down at them, intimidate or relegate them.
  2. Show interest in learning what is going on in each other’s lives. Your interests may not be similar but give your support when and where necessary, and sometimes when it is least expected. For example, show up at his polo games or accompany her on her shopping trips.
  3. Communicate: this is major!! If you have issues with a contract, do you say something or nothing? Something, right? Consistent communication is vital for the successful execution of a contract. If you don’t give feedback to the other party or get any feedback, why should you expect positive changes or how do you want to them to make amends. In fact, consistent and effective communication with the other party (your spouse) should be done during courtship or the dating period , prior to your marriage. My mantra is ‘talk about everything.’ Communication doesn’t always have to be about ‘constructive feedback.’ It can also be ‘positive reinforcement’ to let the other party know what he/she is doing well while rewarding them with gifts or favors.
  4. Focus on how to get better: don’t spend the bulk of your marriage/contract focusing on what the other party is not doing well; rather work on how you can be better. Ask yourself- how can I be a better spouse, what are some innovative things that I can do to make my marriage (contract) worthwhile. What are some things that I need to stop doing and some things I need to start doing and communicate these to your spouse so that you are accountable to him/her.
  5. Plan: Several contracts fail due to lack of proper planning. As cliche or mundane the word ‘plan’ sounds, planning in a marriage is vital. Plan, regroup, plan, regroup, and plan again. You never go wrong planning. Planning is usually task specific and extends beyond communicating. It is akin to coming up with a strategy or roadmap i.e. how you will tackle an area of your marriage? What are the steps you will take in solving a challenge? What are some resources that will be needed? Actualizing or carrying out the plan is another important part of planning and involves dividing up the tasks- who will do what or who will oversee the implementation of the plan?Planning shouldn’t be rigid or taken too seriously. After all, the marriage contract involves a couple in love and that should not be hard on each other. If you can’t fulfill your part of the contract for a good reason, talk it over with the other party (your spouse). Planning can cover any tasks/topic such as how many children you want to have, where you will live, etc. Whatever works for the parties (you and your spouse) is great. However, plan in a constructive manner and make sure you and your spouse (both parties) are in agreement and in consistent communication

I will state here that there are legitimate reasons why some marriage contracts are annulled but if you are in a marriage contract where both parties(you and your spouse) are genuine and willing to preserve or rejuvenate your contract, remember the importance of not taking each other for granted, communicating effectively and consistently, personal improvement and proper planning. I wish you the best!!!

MAKING A DIFFERENCE CAN START WITH LITTLE THINGS… LIKE IN THE TOILET

Thankfully more places are opening up and pretty soon, this pandemic will soon be behind us. So Last Month, I got on a plane and flew for several miles and hours to fulfill some of my parenting responsibilities. Halfway through my flight, I had to use the toilet and as expected the toilet was in a bad state- wet floors, wee-wee on/underneath the toilets seat and soap scum all over the sink. I can’t stand a dirty toilet that I need to use, and every time I am faced with one, I simply roll up my sleeves, clean up the floor, toilet, and sink before and after use. I believe the little things we do go a long way to make a difference. I had the choice to do one of the following when I found the toilet in a bad state:

  1. whine and complain to the flight attendants to do their job.
  2. use the toilet as is and don’t clean up because it wasn’t my job to do.
  3. Clean up the toilet before and after use.

I chose the high road- option 3- it wasn’t convenient but it left the toilet in a better state not only for me but for the next person. The funny thing is that I have cleaned airplane toilets so many times. It isn’t a one- off act. I mean, for me, this was also an opportunity to set the example for the next person. I know some people might ask, ‘why didn’t inform the flight attendants to do their job?’ Well, I wasn’t in the mood to do this . However, sometimes, there are some things that are better left unsaid

What does it take take to make a difference-

  1. A little step- it is the little things that matter and count. Julia Carney wrote in her poem (‘Little Things,’ 1845) ‘ Little drops of water, Little grains of sand, make the mighty ocean, And the pleasant land’
  2. An opportunity- You may not have that big opportunity now to be on the world stage but what are you doing with the little opportunity that you have? You don’t have to clean up an unsightly toilet on the plane like I did, but can you do your little part to make the whole part more impactful?
  3. No expectation of a reward- Rewards are great when you expect praise or admiration for something you have done. When your intention is to genuinely make a difference, such as or living your selfless values, please don’t expect a reward. If you get one, it is okay, but don’t expect it.

Making a difference shouldn’t be too hard. It can start with a decision in your heart today to resolve to do those little things in your own way I.e. volunteering to read to a group of underserved children or donating supplies to an orphanage. These acts of kindness go a long way to make our world a better place. We should not be prodded to make a difference- do it willingly and cheerfully because it is the right attitude. When we make a difference, it also give us self-fulfillment while contributing to the lives of others. Today is a perfect day to make this decision- set out to make a difference when faced with any opportunity, and don’t forget, expect no reward in return.

WHAT I HAVE LEARNED AND SEEN FROM PARENTING… GROWTH…L.O.V.E

They say parenting changes your life but I will say in most cases, the child changes the parent and has a greater influence in setting the direction of the parent’s life. For almost two decades, my life, career decisions, and actions, interestingly, have always revolved around my children. I am not sure if it is a bad thing but it feels right. Looking back now, I see ‘growth,’ not only on my part but on my children’s part as well. From infancy to toddler to preschool to school age to adolescence and adult stage, the children and parents are growing and developing together
Being a parent not only reveals our strengths but also our vulnerabilities. I don’t think there is ever a ‘perfect’ parent or a playbook that tell us how to be one, however, parents can strive to be intentionally responsible and not nonchalant, excellent and not mediocre, diligent and not inconsistent, loving and not loveless, in an effort to make their experience positive and worthwhile.
Being a parent has made me a better person. This doesn’t mean that I am without fault but that I have learned from my mistakes and made amends. It also means that I now feel confident in my abilities and have been (I am ) successful with using them to help my children develop and influence others in positive ways.
Nothing prepares a parent for the joys and challenges that one will experience. You simply learn how to parent from‘day 1’ and along the way. I have learned several lessons from my children, who are the reason for becoming a parent in the first place, but my lessons of L.O.VE are ones I want to share. The word ‘love’ means patience, not proud, not disrespectful, not self-seeking, not easily angered, no record of wrongs kept. It is actually the answer to many of the problems in our world today. However, the lessons I have learned from my children are couched in the acronym L.O.VE, which I will share:
1. Leading with impact. My children have simply allowed me to lead. Once they came into the world, they came with absolutely no knowledge of what the world is about. A child relies on the parent to be the first teacher and trusts them to lead the way. You may not be a natural leader but you will definitely learn to lead when you become a parent. What better way to lead than doing it in an impactful way.
2. Opportunities. In my children, I have learned to seek opportunities to be better i.e. attending programs or reading books that will help me become a better parent or finding ways for them to access better opportunities in education, or for us (parents)to improve their standard of living or personal development. etc. Whether it was practicing how to make my daughter’s hair when there was no one available to do it or taking on a new job or career path so that my children observe the value of hard work, or quitting my job so that I can spend quality time with them, I have always sought and maximized opportunities whenever I found them. My children have shown me not to make them the excuse for not pursuing my dreams, goals or ambitions but the reason to do it.
3. Versatility : Parenting has helped me to be versatile. When my children were younger, i often was the cleaner, cook, driver, teacher, and still had to pursue my educational and career interests, all at the same. As a matter of fact, I still wear many hats today.
4. Excellence: I have always been excellent in whatever I do, even as a young 8 year old, who would iron her notebooks to ensure that it was neat. However, becoming a parent, took it a notch up. Being excellent doesn’t mean perfect. It just means that I strive to do well and be better in whatever I do. I think this has to do with me living with the consciousness that my children are looking up to me and I can’t afford to fail them.
The lessons that you have learned as a parent or will learn in the future will never be exactly the same as mine. We will all have different experiences but the most important thing is to be ‘present’ in the lives of our children (precious gifts), especially when they need us; enjoy every moment that you have with your children, especially when they are young, and create long lasting memories for (yep!!keepsakes and journals never run out of fashion) and with them. Trust me- there will be a ‘pay off’ at the end of it. Before long, we will see and experience positive growth. Keep going parents, you’ve got this!!!

HOW TO MAXIMIZE YOUR FACE TO FACE ‘IN PERSON’ TIME WITH YOUR TEEN

Two of my teens are in boarding school and I hadn’t seen one in six weeks. So last week, I made a six hour trip to see my daughter. It was well worth it- we had breakfast, attended church together and it was a time to correct anything that wasn’t in place, as a mom.

How many of you have tried to resolve a problem or close a sales deal remotely and didn’t see an end in sight until you made a trip to meet the participants or parties involved? ‘Face to Face’ will always win over ‘virtual’ or ‘remote’ in parenting, long distance relationships or in resolving conflicts or in nurturing relationships.

At the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, many individuals and organizations relied on remote media or video conferencing tools, such as Zoom, FaceTime, Microsoft Teams, as a way to stay in touch with their colleagues/team members, family members and loved ones. Today as the pandemic lingers, we are quickly finding out that these remote tools can never replace ‘face to face’ or ‘in person’ communication. Parenting is the same way, the more face time you get with your teen/ children, the greater the impact of your parenting on them.

Teens especially don’t like to bother parents with their issues. This means, as a parent, a conscious effort of initiating conversations with them is required. Sometimes when teens say “don’t worry about it,” It may mean… “back off now but check with me later.”

How do you make the most of the ‘face to face’ time with teens that live outside the home?

  1. Schedule it: Never mind that your daughter or son says “don’t worry about coming to see me.” Simply schedule the period of visit and inform them that you will be coming at a specific day and time to visit. If you can not make the visit, you could buy train, bus, or air tickets for your teen(s) to come home
  2. Make it memorable- bring along a friend or a partner, their dog or home made cooked meal on your visit or, perhaps, pre book tickets so that you and your teen can watch a movie or a game while together. This allows for more bonding time.
  3. Quality versus Quantity: it doesn’t matter if you can only spend a few hours or a day. Quality time with your teen for one day packed with memorable activities is more worthwhile than spending seven days with no fun activities.
  4. Be consistent. Your face to face (in-person) time with your teen shouldn’t be one off but regular. For instance, my teens’ dad and I made a rule that either of us must see them every 6 weeks. If we can’t make it, then we have to rely on close friends or family to make that trip for us.

The time we invest in our children now will yield positive results in the future. The time that we feel that our children are grown or adults isn’t the time to take a break in modeling good character or stop being dutiful parents; Parenting is a life time contract and responsibility.

Dear parents, barring real limitations that may exist, nothing (neither the pandemic that still lingers, absence of your residence’s proximity to that of our teens,’ or even push backs that you may receive from our children) should ever stop you from achieving a flourishing ‘face to face’ time or relationship with your children.

WHY YOU NEED YOUR ‘ME’ TIME

WHY YOU NEED YOUR ‘ME’ TIME.

My mom and dad are over at my place this weekend so that I can get my well needed break. I can count countless times when I had to rely on people in my tribe to fill in to take care of my child(ren) while I went away to spend some ‘me’ time.

By ‘me’ time, I mean a time to get away from ‘work’ or my child(ren) or my base (house) so that I can learn more about myself (introspection), or a time to enjoy nature or do my hobbies far far away from the pressures of parenting (self care) or simply jet away to celebrate small wins like anniversaries, birthdays or special occasions of other family members and friends (travel).

We learn more about ourselves during our quiet or less interrupted moments- when no one is in our vicinity. While in the shower, cooking, driving alone , lying awake in your bed, or simply being away from your neighborhood to visit friends can be the ‘aha’ moment you realize you have to start doing something differently or perhaps stop a bad habit. You will be surprised what you learn or find out, when you have your solitary moments, far from the noise or buzz of the world around you. For me when I am tucked away in my ‘world’ with absolutely no noise, I am able to clear my head and gain a better perspective of how to continue my ‘parenting’ journey ahead or tackle a challenge that I may be facing. I will say to you: try introspection to gain a better perspective.

Self care is so vital for improving or ensuring our mental health. Sometimes parenting can stressful. Take a break, ask for help, do your hobbies like reading, gardening, lying down on the couch while you watch Netflix, surfing social media to take away useful lessons from posts or stories, getting a manicure or pedicure to look pretty, going shopping, listening to music or do just anything wholesome that you enjoy. For me Friday evenings are my best days as I keep sight of the weekends, which I try to keep ‘free’ and ‘light,’ and especially after a hectic work week. When you take care of your self, you will have regained strength to parent better. It also shows your children the importance of rest during work. Remind them- all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. I mean, we have break time in school, lunch time at work, there is absolutely nothing wrong with ‘mommy’ or ‘daddy’ time

Travel is top on my list when I need to have my ‘me’ time. Every two to three months, i try to go away from where I reside . It doesn’t have to be expensive- you can take a train ride from Lagos to Ibadan, visit an aunt or uncle in the next city to yours, or do a 3 hour road drive to the mountains. When you travel, you find out something new about the world around you, gain a better appreciation for people that don’t look like you or act like you, and broaden your views about life and the role that you can play to touch the lives of others and make the world better.

Dear friends, if you are not clocking your ‘me’ time, the clock is ticking and today is definitely not late.

Your Empty Nester experience doesn’t have to be bad…you can flourish

A few days ago, I was chatting with a childhood friend, whose kids have left home for college. She is considered an empty nester since she doesn’t have have a child physically at home to look after any longer. Since I am not at this stage yet, I asked my friend how her empty nester experience was going. She sent me a ‘laugh out loud’ 😂 emoji and replied- It is an interesting experience and a very nice stage of marriage. “It’s just that you have so much space and time to see all the things you didn’t notice before. What you decide to do about that will break or make your marriage stronger.” This got me thinking- how can parents, single or married, make the most of their ‘ empty nester’ experience.

During this stage, many parents, especially mothers, feel a sense of helplessness because they feel that they no longer have control over the activities of their children. Other parents feel a sense of guilt of not having done a better job at raising their children. While these feelings and emotions are normal if they go on only for a short period of time, they should never put you into a state of depression. If they go on longer, please see a doctor. I offer some tips on how we can flourish during this stage of parenting .

  1. Start planning early for a positive ‘empty nester ‘ experience- don’t wait till you get to this stage to start living your life. As you raise your children, you should endeavor to live a life beyond your kids or your office job or profession. Learn a new sport or a new skill. Spend your leisure time doing something you enjoy or feel a sense fulfillment with. Gardening or Golfing are great examples 😆
  2. Expand your circle of friends and relationships. Form relationships that will build you up personally and professionally. If you are married, you and your partner can decide to share friendships and activities with other couples to help strengthen your marriage. This might be a great time to mentor others too or possibly adopt other children.
  3. Be patient with your partner, if married. Some couples might need to regain a better understanding of who their spouse is because they have lost the deep connection and bond they once had and that was shifted to the children. Sadly, this is the stage when some couples get divorced. Obviously, there are justifiable reasons why divorce happens but I want to share what my childhood friend shared during our chat and when we talked about divorce that occur after twenty years of marriage, which seems like a long time “We must keep committing ourselves to love and cherish and protect each other. If it is your child that starts to exhibit some unwanted behavior will you divorce him/her? The same love that we have for our children should be the same we have for our spouses. Of course it’s not easy if the issues are serious, but God’s grace abounds.” Some people may not agree with the point of loving our spouses like we love our children but i get her point. Love covers a multitude of sins. It truly does but it is also easier said than practiced, let’s be honest. This is where I will say again ‘God’s grace abounds’ because having a lasting marriage takes a lot of commitment patience, perseverance and prayers from both parties. I’ll state here that staying on in a marriage where emotional or any form of abuse persists isn’t advisable.
  4. Volunteer: if you haven’t started, you may want to start giving of yourself now by your service to others. “As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands — one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.” — Audrey Hepburn.” “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” — William Shakespeare. Volunteering could serve as a hideout for coping with loneliness when the kids leave home. It could also offer some benefits to your mental and physical health.

As parents, we will all get to the empty nester stage, if we haven’t experienced it yet. It can certainly be an interesting and positive experience instead of a bad one, if we start planning now.

WHAT YOU LEARN FROM MY ‘TINY VEINS’

WHAT YOU CAN LEARN FROM MY ‘TINY VEINS’

Last week, I had to get my blood drawn as part of a routine medical checkup and went through what I have endured for the past decade and more- a longer than usual wait time at the laboratory or hospital. Drawing blood from someone with normal sized veins typically takes 5-10 mins. For me, my veins are tiny and this process takes about 30 mins to complete but only after i would have been needle-poked at least 3 times in different areas of my arm or the back of my hand and at least 3 or more phlebotomists have taken their turns in finding a vein. ‘Tiny veins’ are not always visible and when they are found, within a few seconds, they disappear. It also means they requires a special kind of needle (tiny ones called butterfly needles) to draw out blood from the veins when they are found . I am not sure why I have tiny veins but it is something I have lived with and gained control over as the years have gone by.

Mine is ‘tiny veins,’ what is yours? Whatever it is that makes you feel uncomfortable now and then, causes people to stare at you, puts you in an unhappy state when ever you see it or think about it, or seems like a ‘thorn in the flesh,’ should never break you. Know this for sure- you are wonderfully and fearfully made. God took his time to ensure a carefully crafted final product- YOU. You were made uniquely like no other. Which means, there is absolutely no one else like you.

Since I can’t do anything about my ‘tiny veins,’ I don’t think much about it until it is time to do a blood draw or go to a lab. I am also quite open and talk about it i.e. before a blood draw, I give the phlebotomists heads up by telling them that it will take time to find my veins. In those instances, I think being open about this situation has helped the people that I tell to be emphathetic and patient towards me. It also gives them access to help me. In my case, they allow me to get hydrated, put a warm compress around my veins are with me every step of the way to make the experience less stressful.

Today, If you are feeling gloomy about a condition that you have no control over, remember my ‘tiny veins.’ They are tiny and elusive but have taught me mighty things that I can’t explain in detail, like being patient in mundane situations like getting a blood draw or starting up conversations with strangers and just reading up about my body and health and how to take good care of it. What ever you do today, smile when you remember what my tiny veins reminds you of.

ARE YOU RAISING ‘SOMEBODY’S SON’ VERSION BEST

ARE YOU RAISING “SOMEBODY’S SON”VERSION BEST?

Just in case you haven’t heard the song, ‘Somebody’s son,’ by @tiwasavage ft @brandy, it is a trending song in Nigeria and peaked #12 (new entry) on the billboards’ world’s digital song sales on September 3, 2021. I love the song not only because of its impressive vocals but it echoes what many ladies, especially those that have been hurt in previous and current relationships, desire from men in a partnership. I don’t think good women ask for too much: they simply want companionship (friendship), commitment (love) and constancy (faithfulness & trust) from their men. But seriously, let’s focus on ‘Somebody’s son,’ our male children & teens, and our men, a bit.

As parents of boys, are we raising our boys to become excellent ‘somebody’s sons- version Best!!?’ Note that i didn’t say ‘perfect,’ but excellent, because truly no man can be perfect but every man can strive to be excellent- which means striving to be the best version of himself. It doesn’t mean he won’t make mistakes but acknowledging his mistakes, correcting them and genuinely taking steps towards ‘continuous improvement’ is commendable.

We can raise excellent boys (somebody’s sons) and should continue to be deliberate or intentional about parenting them (correcting
they when they do something wrong, praising them for good behavior, paying attention or being attentive to what is going on in their lives, affirming our love for them, praying with them, etc). On a personal note, I cast my mind back to 23 years ago when I met my ‘somebody’s son,’ my husband, or remember how I prayed to God fervently to make it possible for me to marry a man that had the loving attributes and values of my dad, who is an excellent ‘somebody’s son.’ I share some of the unique attributes that i have observed in these men over the years and hope that I can continue to help my sons build up these attributes as well. Hopefully you can share some of the attributes that you would like to see in an excellent man as well.

An excellent ‘somebody’s son’ WILL

  1. Have the fear of God: ‘the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom’ may sound like an old-time Bible verse but our sons should have a fear of God by acknowledging his supremacy and authority over the earth and their lives. You may not be religious but let there be an authority figure in the lives of your sons- one that he reveres, regularly consults with and learns from. No man is an island- we need each other. An excellent man will typically have one or two persons he is accountable to. Accountability facilitates humility, open-communication and problem resolution, when he faces life’s challenges.
  2. Love his children and spouse/partner: I have written a lot about love. Read 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7 again to get a summary of what it means. I think that it is difficult to say that a man loves when he doesn’t demonstrate love in his actions, which should be consistent. He loves by genuinely caring for his family and taking interest in learning about those that are important to him. He sees the short comings and the positives of his spouse/partner/children and accepts and values them, and when necessary work on ways to help them improve their weaknesses. We can’t really change a grown man or woman but our positive actions or disposition toward them can help them become a better version of themselves. Of course, much younger children are more amenable to corrections and an excellent man takes firm but loving actions to invest in the physical, spiritual and psychological development of his loved ones. In a nutshell, an excellent man will simply show up for his family.
  3. Acknowledge his wrong doings and take proactive steps to change. An excellent ‘somebody’s son’ will be willing to right his wrong and take the necessary steps to maintain or improve his relationships
  4. Set goals- he is responsible and resourceful: Typically, women like their men to be in charge and lead. It is important to note that leading doesn’t mean controlling other people. One of the things that endeared me to my husband was how he sets goals and timelines. I watched how he affirmed his goals consistently and took the necessary steps to fulfill those goals at special points in time. He is resourceful and always find ways to resolve any problem that comes up. These qualities and many more continue to endear him to me.

Am I or are you raising ‘Somebody’s son’ best version? This question is worth pondering but we must never forget that we may just be raising a FUTURE husband, father, country or company’s president, world leader or role model, renowned or world’s scientist, or ……(fill in the blank). We better get it right!

HOW DO YOU WANT TO GIGO YOUR WAY?

This weekend, I spent every single day cooking. “Should women spend so much of their time in the kitchen?” is up for debate at a later time 😂. Well, at least 4 hours of my time was worth it because my two boys had their first share of broiled chicken, took seconds and thirds, left me with almost no left-overs and sent me to the store to get more chicken that I will need to prep and grill again.

Seriously, the meals I made this weekend turned out well because I was determined to GIGO my kind of way. It wasn’t at all easy or convenient but i did it anyway- I stayed up cleaning, washing, chopping. seasoning, spicing, until all was done and ready for the oven. Then I had to stay on to clean afterwards. I put in the work and i am glad it turned out well. Parenting can be exactly like my weekend. It is hard work… Sometimes, you do it right and sometimes there will be slip ups. However, realizing our errors and retracting from them so that we are back on the right track make parenting worthwhile.

How do you want to GIGO your way? Do you want to ‘Garbage in, Garbage out?’ Or do you want to ‘Great in, Great out?’ I like to do the later, and put in ‘great’ effort to get ‘great’ result. However. it takes persistence, determination and resilience to keep at it.

Here are some tips for staying on track or to ‘Great in Great out’ on your parenting journey.

  1. Remember the reason why you are doing what you are doing. There are benefits to sticking it out and not giving up at any point in your parenting journey i.e. the peace of mind that you get when your children are doing well in their endeavors is priceless.
  2. Focus on the end goal. What are you looking to get out of your parenting journey? With this target in mind, you are motivated to keep going. For example, I was determined to ensure that my boys have a healthy meal over the weekend, so I did all that was necessary to make that happen.
  3. Enlist the help of others along the way because you will need them. It is also okay to vent and let out your frustration, if you get to that point. Take a break from a particular task if needed. In my particular situation, I negotiated with my boys and told them that they had to wash the dishes and do the other weekend chores. Alternatively. If push had come to shove, I could have considered getting a chef or ordered out healthy meals for us to eat. The lesson here is, don’t sweat it, if you are not up to it.

It is most important that you don’t ‘Garbage in Garbage out.’ if we don’t take care in parenting effectively, how do we want to get effective results? Remain focused on your goals and aim to put in the requisite effort, time or whatever it takes to make you proud of the outcome you desire. Finally don’t forget to enlist the help of others as you go along. Till next time, “‘Great in,’ so that you can ‘Great out.’

DON’T YOU EVER FORGET THIS…YOU FIRST LOVED THEM!!! PRAY FOR THEM!!

I spent most of my childhood years in Nigeria, West Africa, from the early 80s to the mid 90s, and learned from a very young age that respect was demanded by parents from their children. Parents never believed that they had to earn the respect of their children; in many homes, respect was demanded and simply formed a part of the upbringing of a Nigerian child. A girl kneels down to greet her parents and a boy prostrates to show reverence for their parents. This wasn’t necessarily bad, after all, we are to ‘honor our parents so that it may go well for us,’ but several parents in those years equated respect to servitude- the child didn’t have an opinion of their own and had to do exactly as the parents said.

Respect wasn’t servitude in my household. My parents didn’t provoke us children to anger but instead brought us up in the discipline and instruction that came from the Lord. I disagreed with my dad on a number of issues and was considered the ‘bold’ child, but I followed our traditions- I knelt down on my two knees to greet my parents early in the morning and, in turn, was prayed for, while growing up, and had to do this on my wedding day (pictured).

My understanding of love was first learned from my parents and over the years, I reciprocated that love to my parents because they first loved me. The memory of this early morning tradition from my childhood is still vivid and has never left me. This tradition was so impactful that I carried it on in my family. My parents loved my siblings and I so much that they were kind enough to deposit those seeds of prayers into our lives for decades- they blessed us and didn’t curse us and prayed for God’s blessings, good health and prosperity for us- those prayers have carried us through life and still do today. I have also been inspired to be creative about praying for my children and those that I love. When my children were younger, i deposited the seeds of prayers into their lives just like my parents did for my siblings and I. As my children have grown older and I see less of the older teens, I have been more deliberate about carrying on this tradition of ‘daily prayer.’ Whether I am praying with them, in agreement, about their prayers requests, or praying for them over the phone or praying over their passport photos, which typically lay on my bedside table, you will find me praying for my children because I love them.

From the moment children are born, as parents, we first loved them. We love them even when they offend us. We love them and they learn from us how to love. They love us back because we first loved them when they were born… when they are were young impressionable. We also don’t provoke them to anger… instead we pray for them. We have been asked to pray for our enemies (those that persecute us), but let us start with those that we love- this is an easy place to begin. Perhaps our relationships truly can be better if we pray for those that we love. Could there be hope for a more loving world? DON’T YOU EVER FORGET THIS….YOU FIRST LOVED THEM. STAY PRAYED UP!! Read at https://spidnetworking.com/2021/09/12/dont-you-ever-forget-this-you-first-loved-them-pray-for-them/