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Help your kids to become who God wants them to be

By Gbenga Adebambo
26 February 2022   |   2:34 am
The greatest gift parents can ever give to their children is to provide them with a platform that will make them be themselves. Many parents already have a script that they want their wards to fit into.

Arnold Schwarzenegger

The greatest gift parents can ever give to their children is to provide them with a platform that will make them be themselves. Many parents already have a script that they want their wards to fit into. They obsessively try to control their children and dictate how they live their lives. 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. Benjamin Greene once said: “The biggest atrocity of all is to indoctrinate our children into a system that does not value their creative expression, nor encourage their unique abilities”.

Many adults are living unfulfilled lives simply because they ended up living the lives that their parents have actually designed for them through manipulation. I have seen many parents waste their children’s natural gifts, talents and potential through manipulation. Many parents are suffocating their children’s individuality, creativity and originality. This makes it difficult for them to mature. Many never outgrow the need for ongoing parental guidance and control. As a result, their parents continue to invade, manipulate, and frequently dominate their lives. Many talented and gifted children have been ‘wasted’ through forced careers. Children who are product of manipulation don’t end up living a fulfilling life. Keep your kids motivated, not manipulated.

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. When we tamper with the way people are designed and wired, we ultimately set them on the journey of identity crisis. When we refuse to accept children the way they’ve been wired, we kill them subtly by trying to turn them to something else. We must help children to find, discover, and express themselves instead of trying to change them. Don’t make your children the best version of yourself, make them the best version of themselves. Our parenting skills will 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 wards and not to beat them into the shape or picture that 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 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 of America. 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 the Governor of California?

Arnold Alois Schwarzenegger was born on July 30, 1947, near Graz, Austria. 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 mould 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.

His sojourn into body-building brought him both fame and fortune. In all, Schwarzenegger won five unprecedented Mr. Universe titles and seven Mr. Olympia crowns during his body-building career. Arnold, with his great physical strength and sense of humor catapulted himself into the top echelon of the acting world and has become one of the highest-paid action film star in Hollywood, with several films to his credit. After years of blockbuster movie roles, Schwarzenegger went into politics, becoming the governor of California (2003 – 2011). Arnold ran as a Republican in 2003 in the California recall election that ousted the incumbent Democratic Governor, Gray Davis. He was re-elected in a landslide in 2006 elections.

In 2012, he returned to his acting career, starring Jean-Claude Van-Damme, Bruce Willis and Sylvester Stallone in the star–studded film, ‘The Expendables’. Within one week, the movie had climbed to the Number One spot at the Box Office, bringing in nearly $28.6million. His foray into politics has made him an active and respected member of the Republican Party with the hope of becoming a possible future Republican presidential candidate of the United States of America. 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 had 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.

Designing the future of a child is beyond parental ‘jurisdiction’. I specially advise parents in the words of Thich Nhat Hanh: ‘’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.