I was a teenage mother and when I gave birth to my only daughter, I remember wondering how was I going to care for her. My concerns and fears heightened with the joy of holding her in my arms for the first time.  Struck by the reality of motherhood and the incredible responsibility I was faced with, I did not know what I was going to do, but I knew I would protect her with my life. I also knew that I could not raise her in the way she should go, all by myself. I would need God and a village of family and friends. Fortunately for me, I had the strength and support of my family when I needed them. Friends came much later with willing ears, wise counsel, and shoulders to lean on.

I was watching a bald eagle couple on the nature show one night, and I was in total awe of the care they took in protecting their eggs. Father and mother worked together steadily and diligently to build a nest. When the nest was finished, they took turns incubating the eggs until they hatched, and then brought their young ones food. They fed the babies and protected them from the elements and enemies. Some parents believe that as long as they provide food, shelter, clothing, and perhaps protection, they have fulfilled their parental responsibilities. However, most animals, if not all, provide these necessities for their young ones until they are old enough to fend for themselves.

I am sure that all parents know that as humans we have a greater obligation towards our children. We owe it to them and to ourselves to raise them within a framework of godliness, truth, forgiveness, and perseverance. We need to speak life and love and positive words into their lives so that they will understand their value as God’s creation. I read somewhere that children are like wet concrete for the first few years of life. That would suggest that parents have a small window of opportunity to mold and shape them, and whether we realize it or not, a huge part of shaping our children is by example. From the day a child is born, we begin to affect his or her life, and the way we behave when we think they are not watching or listening is who they believe we truly are. So good and effective parenting is not something we can fake until we can make it. Once the damage has been done there are no do-overs—only painful repairs, if we are lucky.

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