There are so many books on Parenting - I've even read some myself. A few months ago, I listened to an interesting message titled "Motherhood and Fatherhood incorporated" by Pastor Nike Adeyemi (Daystar Christian Centre) that hit the nail on the head of my current pain in the trend I'm seeing in parenting. I've seen 3 types of parents...
Chicken, Ostrich, Penguins.
The Bible talks about the first 2 types:
When talking in Matthew 23:37b Jesus wanted to "be like a hen who gathers her chicks under her wings." (NIRV) For those of us who know that chicken doesn't come from the stores, we may have been opportuned to see how protective the hen is of her eggs and chicks. My husband tells the story of how many years ago he had a pet hen. They got along well until the day she saw him taking one of her recently laid eggs. After that, every time she saw him, she chased him. She definitely had a reason to be upset...I'd do same.
It goes without saying that hens are not only protective of their eggs, they are also protective of their chicks. I've noticed that there are number of such parents, especially mothers. And there are some parents, especially fathers, that are like the cock who don't know (or even care) what incubating the eggs or caring for the chicks entails. Sometimes were so protective of our children that it can be destructive - to ourselves, our marriages, our children and their own homes. For instance, some mothers make it seem like if they are not home, her husband who is the father of the children is not important or competent enough to take care of the children.
Let's move on. Job 39: 13-18 - "The ostrich flaps her wings futilely - all those beautiful feathers, but useless! She lays her eggs on the hard ground, leaves them there in the dirt, exposed to the weather, Not caring that they might get stepped on and cracked or trampled by some wild animal. She's negligent with her young, as if they weren't even hers. She cares nothing about anything. She wasn't created very smart, that's for sure, wasn't given her share of good sense. But when she runs, oh, how she runs, laughing, leaving horse and rider in the dust." (The Message)
Can you believe that? She takes the time to lay the eggs and then leaves them - to get on with her life. I wonder where the father of the chicks-to-be is in this? I've noticed that there are some of us that are so plugged into excelling in our careers - out running the horse and the rider - that we leave our children to the dust of the world. That is so sad isn't it? We need to be more attentive of your children by our presence not our presents. We must be there with and for our children...both father and mother. I know the Bible says: "To discipline a child produces wisdom, but a mother is disgraced by an undisciplined child." (Prov 29:15) but it Proverbs started with "My child, listen when your father corrects you. Don’t neglect your mother’s instruction." (Prov 1:8 -NLT) Both parents!
Now on to the Penguin parents. My first appreciation of how penguins parent was when we watched the film: "Happy Feet." My entire family had a great laugh all through the film especially since we all knew our own "Happy Feet." He's such a blessing - with the music in his bones, his happy feet & all. Let's keep moving...
For this posting, I did some more research...see my sources below
Obviously the female penguin lays the eggs but the Mommy & Daddy penguins - except the Emperor specie* - take turns to keep the egg warm until it hatches while the other penguin parent goes to get food. If the egg hatches while Mommy penguin is away, Daddy penguin is able to feed the chick though he would have been fasting for weeks - amazing isn't it?
Both penguin parents are actively involved in caring and raising their chicks. In Happy Feet, when the chick started expressing his uniqueness, Daddy penguin was quick to take responsibility for letting the egg roll. We are jointly responsible for our children - it's not a matter of "see your what your child is doing." Prov 6:20 is clear that mothers can only build on what fathers have said: "My son, keep your father's [God-given] commandment and forsake not the law of [God] your mother [taught you]." (Amplified) God expects both parents to: direct their children onto the right path, (by their examples) and when they are older, they will not leave it. (Prov 22:6 - NLT paraphrased)
Additionally, penguins live in the cold region so they have to huddle together to keep warm. Talk about the benefits of a family being together. There is nothing like spending quality family time - another thing we should learn from the penguins. The world is cold.
The other thing is: "Parents are able to identify their chick by its distinctive call."**
For me it is sad when I see a mother rush to say the nursery when she hears her child's voice and the father doesn't even notice that a child cried out or even if he does turns over to his wife and asks her to check on their child. It's plain wrong. I was so proud when one of my brother's stopped his wife from going to check on their crying child and went to attend to their child - he got one of my gold stars for that.
Penguin parenting is one sure way of getting things right in the world today. Like Confucius said: "To put the world right in order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the nation in order, we must first put the family in order; to put the family in order, we must first cultivate our personal life; we must first set our hearts right." Ultimately: We must have the right priorities and live by the right principles.
Now it's time for me to say: Congratulations for reading this...you each get one of my gold stars for coming all the way. It is my prayer that as we celebrate International Children's Day, we'll agree with the UN Secretary-General that: "We were all children once. And we all share the desire for the well-being of our children, which has always been and will continue to be the most universally cherished aspiration of humankind."*** Then go beyond that and play our part in raising them right to God's glory.