“Si you just know the way children are?”
“With experience, you will get to know that all house-helps are the same”
“Teenagers behave like that…wait until yours is that age”
“Your workers never keep time? Worry not, that is Africa for you”
This kind of statements are very common in our everyday conversations, you must agree. Some of us have said them, while the rest of us have in the very least, heard them.
During a recent reading in my BSF bible study, I was very amused to learn that Aaron of the bible also said such statements.
The story goes like this; God delivered Israelites from Egypt where they had been in captivity. On their way to the Promised Land, they camped in the desert and there God gave them the Ten Commandments. Now, we all know about the commandments, don’t we? God did inscribe the commandments Himself, and while at it, He had Moses, the leader of the Israelites, up on Mount Sinai. Meanwhile, Aaron had been left in charge of the Israelites. But Moses took long in coming down, and the Israelites got tired of waiting, even if in the chapters preceding Exodus 32 they had always promised to do EVERYTHING The Lord had commanded.
Anyway, the Israelites got tired of waiting for Moses and decided they needed a god, as is in the nature of human beings to worship something/someone…if not God, there most certainly is a god. The Israelites went to Aaron and asked him to make them a god. Aaron obliged, and made them a golden calf. This golden calf they gave their worship, until Moses returned and found them wild and out of control.
Moses asked Aaron, “What did these people do to you, that you led them into such great sin?”
“Do not be angry, my lord,” Aaron answered. “You know how prone these people are to evil.”
Re-read that excuse above, and re-think how many times you too have given it. While you cannot control the actions of everyone, there are people that God has placed under you, these begin with your children and the other people in your house such as your employees. You are responsible over these people, you are the one in-charge.
A child refuses to give way to an adult, we say children are like that. A child refuses to share, we say children are like that. A child says something mean that embarrasses us, we say children are like that. A child rolls on the ground because she wants the toy another has, we give in, because children are like that! We all know how children are, don’t we?
A teenager will not answer when talked to, we say teenagers are like that. A teenager decides to dress skimpily for the obvious reason of attracting sexual attention, we let them be, and say teenagers are like that. A teenager gets the parents summoned to school every now and then due to mis-conduct, parents sigh, and then say teenagers are like that.
Your house help never takes seriously your instructions, you say house-helps are like that. Your house help lets your child watch or listen to unhealthy content on TV and Radio (or on their phones). This content later gets practised out or at least said or sung out loud. You are appalled yes, but what to do? House helps are like that!
Or maybe in your work place you are the head of department where things pretty much run themselves. Deadlines do not always have to be met, office hours are not to be seriously observed. Your company could do better if you were more proactive, but come on, employees are always like that! It is in human nature, we say. But if we dare be stern with ourselves about it, the problem is that we are not responsible enough. We are so afraid of not pleasing the people we are in charge of that we will not exercise our due responsibility.
Come on! For every one of the above behaviours, someone has created an enabling environment. That person is the in-charge, the one with the responsibility. That person is the parent. We may blame the society, blame the media and blame our children, even blame the birds of the air and the fishes in the sea, but until the day we learn to see Aaron as a mirror, reflecting us, we will always be at war with the wrong enemy.
It is very unsettling, even painful, to look into ourselves and identify cases in which we are creating an enabling environment for bad behaviour. Aaron was in the same position, he could also see that the Israelites were running wild and out of control, but the best excuse he could come up with for Moses was “You know how these people are!”.
Moses did not buy that excuse, neither did God. The Israelites suffered the consequences of their sins.
You owe it to your children to be a responsible parent. Part of that involves putting your foot down…do not be too nice to do that when a change is needed, even if that is how children are!