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Manipulating your children to live a life you should have lived is ‘witchcraft’

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“Of all freedom, the most important is the freedom to be you”- Jim Morrison
Many parents have turned their children to victims by forcing and manipulating them to live a life that they themselves should have lived when they were younger. I want to emphatically say this to all parents: Manipulating your children to live a life that you should have lived is witchcraft. Manipulation is modern witchcraft.

Many parents already have a script that they want their wards to fit into for their own selfish interest. They obsessively try to control their children and dictate how they are supposed to live their life. These parents want to live their lives through their children, neglecting the fact that those children have their own lives to live.

As parents, we must prepare our children for their future, instead of using them to correct our own past. Wanting our children to be who we should have been is a waste of who they are.Don’t make your children the best version of yourself; make them the best version of themselves.

This is a very common mentoring error that must be avoided by all parents. Our parenting skills would always take a wrong turn anytime we set out to manipulate our children. Our work as parents is to nurture the individuality and uniqueness in our children/wards and not to beat them into the shape or picture we have in our minds.

We are responsible as parents to help our children discover their gifts, use their unique abilities, unravel their hidden talents and help them fire up their passion. The world is in a dire need of kids that can solve problems with their gifts and talents.

Designing the future of a child is beyond parental ‘jurisdiction.’ I want to use this platform to specially advise parents in the words of Thich Nhat Hanh, who said: “You must love in such a way that the person you love feels free.” Parents should avoid the temptation of forcing their children to fit into their own design, but rather provide them with a platform to stand out with their uniqueness.

As a youth coach, I have observed that the country is producing outwardly submissive, but inwardly rebellious children; children with violated destinies, children that have been denied the platforms to be themselves. The greatest gift parents can ever give to their children is to provide them with a platform to be themselves. Parents are meant to nurture the uniqueness in their wards. The greatest parental sin and abuse is to manipulate our children to live a life that is not theirs.

In my time of mentoring youths, I have discovered that when expression is hindered, the result is absolute depression and rebellion. We should nurture our children to become whiz kids (expressive, innovative, passionate, curious and inquisitive). Alexander Trenfor said: “The best teachers are those who show you where to look, but don’t tell you what to see.”

The amazing story of mega star, Arnold Schwarzenegger, is a true ‘rags to riches’ tale of a penniless immigrant making it in the land of opportunity, the United States (US). With an almost unpronounceable surname and a thick Austrian accent, who would ever believe that an ordinary body builder from a small village in Austria would become one of Hollywood’s biggest stars and one day be the Governor of California!

He rose to fame as the world’s top body builder, launching a career that would make him a giant Hollywood star and later, the governor of California. His father, Gustav, who constantly ridiculed Schwarzenegger’s early dreams of becoming a body builder wanted him to become a police officer just like him.

Regardless of his father’s intimidation, the young Arnold held tenaciously to his dream and would not allow his father mold him into what he was not. On several occasions, he vehemently refused to tread the path that his father had laid for him. As an escape for all the ridicules at home, Arnold turned to live his passion: body building and the movies in a foreign land. He eventually became a fugitive for his passion, an intense passion that would later bring him to international limelight. The legendary actor has this to say in one of his speeches in 2001, ‘’My own plan formed when I was 14 years old, my father had wanted me to be a police officer like he was, and my mother wanted me to go to trade school.’’

Sometimes I ask myself, what kind of ‘Arnold Schwarzenegger’ would his parents had given to the world if they have succeeded in manipulating him to become a police officer or a trader? Dear parents, you are not in your children’s life to manipulate their destinies. Stop manipulating your children to live a life that you should have lived. Stop being a toxic parent to your children’s future. Embrace their passion and the reality of who they are. Instead of making them into what you want, allow them to express themselves and impact the world. Even if their chosen career is not appealing to you, allow them to be who God created them to be. When your children live a fulfilling life, they will ultimately be a blessing to you and to the world.

I want to reach out to all the youths out there in the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson: “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” It is never too late to become what you should have been. By being yourself, you put something wonderful in the world that was not there before. You will never influence the world by trying to be who people want you to be. Never be bullied out of what God has designed you to be. You’ve got to discover the one thing you were created to be and be willing to pay the price to be it. Control your destiny or someone else will. Steve Marraboli said, ‘’The most amazing gift you can ever give the world is you.’’

We are living in a world where we are so accustomed to disguise ourselves to others that in the end we become disguised to ourselves! The hardest battle you’ll ever have to fight is the battle to be yourself and whatever makes you weird is probably your greatest asset. Joyce Meyer said, “One of the favourite tricks of the devil is manipulating our identity because if he can keep you from realizing who you really are, he can keep you from doing what you were created to do, and he can keep you from enjoying the life God has for you”. Be yourself, everyone else is already taken.

Rita Mae Brown said, “I think the reward for conformity is that everyone likes you except yourself.” You are designed by God not to blend in, but to stand out. There is only one thing that God will never call you to be in life and that is being someone else. You aren’t called to be anyone else; you are called to be ‘YOU’. Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are; there is only one you for all time. Fearlessly be yourself!


In this article:
Gbenga Adebambo
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