There are very few things that I do that give me the same sense of fulfillment I feel deep inside me than when I am reading to the children at the Book reading events organised by Laterna Bookshops. It takes me back to one very special year of my life when I got to play mommy and wifey FULL TIME! No work, no nothing! I had regular story and prayer times with my two children at the time and it was just glorious I tell you. Glorious!
Sometime last year, I was reading to children (ages 6 to 8 years old) and as part of my ice-breaker I asked the kids to introduce themselves and then tell me what their first names meant. Boy, was I impressed when many of them were able to break their names down for me! I say ‘well done!’ to all those parents out there who have taken time to educate their children about this. It is very important!
We take such precious time prayerfully choosing names for our children these days. Awesome names like Ifeoluwakitan, Aboluwarin, Toluwanimi, Aniekanbong, David, Beracha, Rereloluwa, Kamsichukwu, Amarachukwu, etc. Please let’s be sure that as soon as these precious kids are old enough we begin to tell them what their names mean and why we chose to give them those names. I tell you, the sooner a child understand his/her name, the easier by the grace of God, it will be for him/her to walk in fulfillment of what that name means. Don’t you think?
If you agree, let me share some other practical bits of information I think our young children should know:
1. Your names. I have a colleague who shared that when she asked her young son what her name was, he answered ‘Mommy’. When she told him what her name was, he found it quite extraordinary that she had the same last name as him! In fact, I think he told her she was fibbing! Lol!
2. Your home address. Never too early for them to know this. God forbid they will ever need to tell someone BUT let’s be sure they know it should they need it.
3. Your profession. I just asked my last born son what my job was and you know what he said? ‘Being my mother!’ Lol! As far as he is concerned I did not have a ‘real’ job because all I did was sit in front of the computer all day! Even now, I am not sure he really gets the whole Human Resources Adviser thing but at least he knows that is what I am now. Funny enough, he gets his Papa’s job. It is way easier for him to understand being the owner of your own company that produces water! Anyway, as best we can, let’s share who we are and what we do with our children.
4. Your State of Origin. Just so they don’t answer like my son by saying ‘I come from Ibibio!’ Lol! I was mortified because he really was old enough to know this but he did not. Now he does. Your children should too. It’s funny because our sista-moms outside Nigeria are better at this than we are. I have a friend who has lived in the UK forever yet her sons not only know where they are from, they totally understand the language!
5. Your phone number. My two older children know the phone numbers of my mgm and I by heart. I need to get my last born son to know at least one number by heart too. You just never know and one’s child should be able to reel off one of his/her parent’s cell phone number. By the way, did you know that 767 is Lagos State’s emergency/ambulance service number? Ha! Know now o! And it works too!
Anyway, there you have it. Stuff that, in my humble opinion, our young children should know about us the moment they are smart enough to tell you what programme they want to watch on Disney Channel *smiling*.
So let me close by bragging on God for Laterna for the good work it is doing getting our children to love books and reading. I also hail all the parents, especially the Dads who took out time to bring their children for the Book-Reading for Children! These parents did not just sit there looking bored, watching their wrist-watches. No. They were fully ‘present’ participating too!
I Loved it. And I love you too for taking out the time to read my column every Saturday! God bless you some more!
Bola Essien-Nelson (aka Salt) is a blogger/author based in Lagos, Nigeria. You can connect with her via her blog – The Salt Chronicles on Blogger where she is ‘seasoning’ the world around her one salt blog at a time.
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