Today I join the multiplied millions of parents around the world to wish our children a Happy Children’s Day. As the world celebrates you, the church and indeed we, your parents, celebrate you much more. On this children’s day, let me assure you that in-spite of all the rot in our nation, there is hope for your future. The Lord Himself will preserve you because you are the seed of the righteous.
Children, I am truly excited by the fact that you are the generation of the upright that will be blessed; you are God’s own heritage and you shall be mighty upon the earth. By reason of the grace of God upon your lives, you will shock your world and you will contend with the enemy at the gate. I declare that you will wax strong in spirit and grow up in the nurture and admonition of God. The Lord will keep you from the evil and viruses of this age and cause you to be all that He has ordained for you. You will be great and positively impact your world for the Kingdom.
As we celebrate the children, I want to use this opportunity to encourage all parents to consciously train these children in the statutes and way of the Lord. One legacy you owe these children apart from education is to ensure that they are trained in the way of the Lord, knowing that when they grow, they will not depart from them. The scriptures declare in Genesis 18: 19 concerning Abraham saying, ‘’For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment; that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he has spoken of him.’’
Beloved, as the world becomes more and more developed, the issues competing for our children’s attention also increases. For instance, our children are daily exposed to 24hour Cable and Satellite TV, Internet, social media and all kinds of video games that help to shape their thoughts, beliefs, intellect and lifestyle. As good as these technological devices are, they could however be potentially dangerous to our children in terms of ‘content’. We therefore have a responsibility to keep our children focused at all times and also give them better alternatives to what the world has to offer.
We must also consciously work hard to ensure that they inculcate Biblical virtues: by showing them the right path and be seen to follow those paths ourselves. I encourage you to call them out for morning devotion and allow them to also lead in one capacity or the other. When it is time for church, make sure you bring them along because they also need to hear the word of God. Take genuine interest in their school work and help them out with their home work. Allow them talk to you and be free with them so that you can truly understand the challenges they also go through. Share in their fun and challenges, listen to what they have to say, and celebrate them on special occasions like their birthdays.
Let me quickly use this opportunity to salute our Children Department Teachers for the great work they are doing. My prayer is that the God of children will reward you immensely for all your sacrifices and labor of love.
As you go into this week, the Lord will strengthen, fortify and sustain you and your household.
I bless you.
In His Royal Service
Dr Mike Okonkwo
The Presiding Bishop