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Slaying a parent’s Goliath

BY: Kobina Ansah's Shrine

The month of September will forever be etched on my memory because it reminds me of what I lost. Next month marks the first anniversary of my dad’s passing and it brings back all sorts of uncomfortable memories. 

It has already been a year full of reminiscing about the time spent with him and the priceless lessons he taught us. Though he will be away forever, the values he inculcated into us will live with us forever.
Looking back at how, as a parent, he was able to do so much with so little, it subtly throws a challenge to me as a parent. Even though all he had was a Middle School Leaving Certificate (MSLC), he was bent on sacrificing to see all his children through their tertiary education, and he successfully did.

One lesson I carefully learnt from my beloved father as I saw him go every length to give us a life he never had was that our children must go a step further than us in life. They must slay the giants we struggled to slay.
Those who will come after us must enter places we only dreamt of. We must give them opportunities that will make them climb farther than we ever did.

Life must be progressive. If our children remain at the same height we reached, we have not done well for them. Like mentorship, our children must be the better versions of us. If we conquered cities, they should conquer nations!

Every generation has its own Goliath. The Goliaths of our fathers are not the same Goliaths we are fighting in our day. Our fathers and forefathers were free from the new challenges that, for instance, the internet and social media have brought upon us today.
This means that if our parents didn’t slay the Goliaths of their time, they carry such forward to us. We will have to win their battles before we even start fighting ours.

This is why parenting must be very intentional. It must be an intentional mentorship process to endow our children with skills, experiences and mindsets that will make them our best successors. Parenting must be an intentional effort to win our battles so as to level the playground for our children.

If you had no education as a child, give your children good education instead of using what you were denied as an excuse to deny them too. If your parents gave you a good education, endow yours with a better one if you can afford such. Strategically position them in places that will expose them to people and opportunities that will eventually add up to their value in life.

It is such an irony to see some well-to-do parents deny their children luxury because they struggled when they were younger. Inasmuch as we want to teach our children the lesson of valuing what has been entrusted into their care, we must be careful not to put them in a place that will not make them give their best shot at life. We must not deprive our children opportunities that will make them better… just because we never had such.

If we could achieve so much with the little our parents gave us, imagine how much our children can achieve if we give them something more. If we have been able to come this far despite the hurdles we had, imagine how far our children can go if these hurdles are removed.
Life is a battle. Those who win are those who are armed. The cache of weapons one has determines how well they can fight. If we want our children to slay the giants that slayed us, we must be ready to give them weapons we never had. It will require an intentional effort to acquire such weapons.

Information is a weapon in the world we live in. Soft and hard skills are weapons. Exposing your children to your network of friends is a weapon that must not be taken lightly. The Bible even reminds us to “train” our children in the way they should go. Training is intentional, not coincidental.

Every parent must be intentional about arming their children to wage their life’s battle. This will not only set them apart from others but will also give them an advantage over them. Some may arm their children with the wrong weapons. However, be intentional about arming yours with the right weapons they need to solve life’s challenges.

The intentionality of parenting cannot be understated. Everything about parenting is to be willing to be a great mentor to the children we have been privileged to have.

If you spot any beautiful garden, the first thing you must note is that it has a dedicated gardener whose duty is to intentionally keep it beautiful each day. They water it, prune it and take care of it consistently. Such is parenting. It is intentional. It is consistent. It takes great dedication.

We must all make a vow to be better parents than our parents. If you were abused, don’t hand over that baton to your children. If you were denied freedom, don’t turn your home into a jail. Parenthood gives us a rare opportunity to right the wrongs our parents committed. This is the only way we can raise children who will travel way farther than we ever will.

Great parents don’t fall from the skies. People become great parents not because they are endowed with some special skills that make them have everything figured out. Instead, they put in their little efforts with the hope that everything will get figured out eventually.

Next month, God willing, my wife and I are launching a book for our son, Animuonyam, to celebrate his first birthday. It is a children’s book on bullying. If we cannot buy him the world, at least, we can afford to give him a spot in the world.

Kobina Ansah is a Ghanaian playwright and Chief Scribe of Scribe Communications (www.scribecommltd.com), an Accra-based writing firm. The launch of his son’s animation book, Animuonyam The Bully Stopper, is slated for Saturday, September 17, 2022 at British Council at 4:00 p.m.