It is not often that families gather for serious talk. People are just too busy these days. It is the same with my family. We wake up early and start getting ready for the day. Even in our daily prayers, school runs, and outings we rarely have serious or detailed discussions to plan the way forward. God in his infinite mercy has been planning and directing the course of our lives.
The Apostle Paul wrote in the book of Corinthians that “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” This is very true. You see the love we share as under this roof is encompassing, it propels the family. I have seen families torn apart by sibling rivalry, quarrels between parents, etc but when I think of what God has done for my family, I am always blown away.
But whenever we are on vacation I try to pass some wisdom nuggets to my kids. My dad did the same and I tell my kids much of what he told me.
Recently we shared that quality time again, and here is an excerpt from our discussion. Read on….
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….now let me tell you this truth. Your mum and I have rarely made serious plans in our 18 years of marriage. We don’t sit down to draft a blueprint on the way forward but somehow our love for each other and trust in God have kept us going. God took charge of this marriage from day one. Starting from our wedding to Nicole’s conception many temptations which I cant narrate now were nullified.
We did not plan to live in Ireland. My siblings and I inherited what can be rightly described as a business empire so living abroad was not in my plans. We only planned to have a child/children with dual citizenship to give our offspring the broader opportunity it offers.
However, after Nicole’s birth, the floodgates of blessings opened. Your mother and all those who had babies before December 31st, 2004 were offered immediate resident permits. Perhaps it was the Irish govt’s token of benevolence to the last batch of citizens by birth in the state which was to end on the 31st December of that year.
We had a decision to make. Should your mum stay back or return? Our friends suggested that she should stay back. Nigerians who had Irish kids were flying in from Nigeria to take up residency we were told. Why should my wife turn down the offer?
Your mum can tell better about the debate that ensued when I came to bring her and Nicole back to Nigeria in January 2005. Choosing an option was problematic because Nigeria and no other place had been home for both of us. I had friends in Ireland and she had made a few herself but it was nothing compared to home.
In the end, our friends persuaded her to stay back and take up the residency. It was a difficult decision as she was young and our marriage was also young. I know some who have a different tale but ours has been wonderful and all glory to God. Then Mel and Orla in addition to other blessings came. The rest is history and here we are.
You grew up largely under your mother’s tutelage. And she did fabulously well in training you while studying and working. I am sure you know that is why I call her my superwoman. I equally did my bit by providing, visiting as much as I could, and taking the family on regular vacations. Then in 2015 I relocated and joined you mainly for a reason.
To live together under the same roof as a family so that I can play my role as a husband and father.
It has been awesome. I wouldn’t trade the last 6 years for any other time. Unfortunately, Covid disrupted the last 20 months or so. But we can be grateful that we are alive and healthy.
Now we are about to commence what I can say is a new phase, the new normal and incidentally your teenage years. Even though we have found favour in God’s eyes there is a saying that “heaven helps those who help themselves”. So going forward we have to start planning, especially now that you guys are about to become young adults.
It is now crucial that we interact and bond more like a family because let me tell you the truth; we are all we have. Family is everything. It is also important because in a few years you will start living on your own, partly independent as undergraduates, so you need to learn more about social relationships and life out there.
For you to be prepared, we need to teach you from experience so that you can avoid the mistakes that we may have made and live a more fulfilling life. You need to be responsible citizens who care for the less privileged and contribute positively to your immediate community wherever you may find yourselves.
So for starters, we want to teach you two basic things in life:
Please pay attention because they are very important!
1. You must practice SELF-LOVE but don’t be SELFISH. NEVER, I repeat NEVER try loving another person just because you want to be loved because your happiness isn’t dependent on anyone else. You are solely responsible for your happiness.
2. Holiness is in the RIGHT action and courage on behalf of those who are less privileged. What God desires is in your head and your heart. Your head to be rational and your heart to be compassionate. So you must always try to strike a balance between rationality and compassion.
Okay, so these two basics will do for now. As the days go by we will be learning more.
Lord help me to give my children the best of myself and not of things, cherish them on good and bad days, accepting them for who they are and not for what they are or do.
Let me give them a home where respect and integrity will bring enough happiness to raise the roof, let me provide moderately all their needs so that from the joy of getting they will learn the joy of giving.
Let me teach them that the reward of hard work is not wealth but excellence, and when the honours come however small, let me rejoice with them without taking the glory, for my children are enough glories.
And above all let me groom them well in your truth and love.
This I ask in Jesus name, Amen.