WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
OCTOBER 30, 2021
TOPIC: DON’T BE AN ABSENTEE PARENT
BY T. O. BANSO
“But Jesus said to her, ‘Let the children be filled first, for it is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs’” (Mark 7:27 New King James Version).
Many children are suffering from parental absence. It could be that the parents are divorced or the parents, though not divorced, have limited involvement in the lives of the children. Sometimes the parents are not divorced but are separated for a short or long period for some reasons such as employment.
Research has shown that children who are separated from their parents or parent for long suffer from depression, loneliness, anxiety, and anger. They also suffer behavioural problems at school, low academic achievement motivation, and a lack of self-esteem. In addition, they misbehave, engage in truancy, and steal. However, these negative effects could be avoided where there is enough support for such children from the parent who is present, family members, guardians, and so on.
However, my focus s not on divorced parents and the negative impact divorce has on the children. Neither is it on parents who, because of the peculiar nature of their work, live temporarily apart from the family. My focus is on parents who are living with the family but have no time for their children. They are too busy for their children. They are so engrossed in their work and don’t spend time with their children. This is the sense in which I use the term “absentee parent” in this message. Both parents could be absent or one of them. Sadly, children of absentee parents are at the risk of the negative effects I highlighted earlier.
Some men and women are acknowledged as successful in their various professions in public especially in the media but, unfortunately, they are failed fathers and failed mothers at home. Success in a career can never compensate for failure at home. Your children represent your future. They are your legacy. To neglect them means to sow a bad seed for the future.
Galatians 6:7 says we should not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. And as long as the earth remains, there will be springtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, day and night (Genesis 8:22).
The story is told of a woman who, while the children were growing up, had no time for them. Although she didn’t deny them of material things they needed, she was not always available to spend time with them to meet the deepest need of children for love, support, encouragement. She had no time to monitor their developmental milestones. She delegated everything. Even during important events in their schools, somebody would represent her if their father wasn’t available.
Thankfully, God helped the children. They grew old and went their different ways to start their lives, got married, and started their families. The mother also grew old and retired from work. The work that kept her busy didn’t need her again! Then, she had plenty of time to be at home but the children were gone.
She was lonely and would ask the children when they would come to see her. The children would tell her they also had no time. They were busy. They also sent her money and anything else she needed. That was what she gave them, too. It was harvest time for her! When they needed her, she had no time but gave them things. She needed them but they also claimed they had no time.
I hope the story is fiction. But the moral is that whatever you sow that you shall reap. If you sow the wind, you’ll reap the whirlwind (Hosea 8:7). This woman could also be a man – an absentee father, a father who neglected his children because of his business or career.
Everybody returns home each day no matter the success recorded in the office or his/her business. Nobody sleeps in the office except he is on night duty! And everybody will return home eventually after his career in business or public service is over. But which home will those who have neglected their families – their wives and children especially – return to?
This is one reason that no one should try to build a successful career or business at the expense of his/her family. Anyone who does that will be an unhappy man/woman later in life. He/she will retire into loneliness not because the children or family are far away but because he/she had disconnected from them long ago. Success at work will never compensate for anyone’s failure at home. Let what will matter in the future matter to you now.
Create time for your children. They will not always be with you. Maintain balance in your life. As important as your work life is, don’t make it the centre of your life. Work will end one day. Your office, business, or career will no more need you one day but you’ll always need your family. Your work will one day no longer be relevant to your life but your family will always be. Cultivate personal relationship with your children now; don’t be an absentee parent. Parenting is more than meeting the financial needs of your children.
Malachi 2:15 says what God wants from the union of a man and a woman in marriage are godly children. This won’t happen automatically. You have to work towards it. You must invest time in your children. They will not become godly just because they have been born or you are a church-goer or a professed Christian. Raising godly children requires much spiritual work to be done beyond just providing the basic material things of life, sending them to good schools, etc. You must invest in their spiritual, physical, emotional, mental, and social development. It is serious work.
One cannot overstress Proverbs 22:6 that says one should train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it. Catch them young. Ensure that you make a godly impact on them by living an authentic Christian life and teaching them the Word of God so that this will shape their lives and give them the right direction.
Don’t make the mistake of ignoring your family today. Your family will be more important to you tomorrow than they seem today. Anyone who is neglecting his/her children will not have an enjoyable future, no matter the joy he/she seems to have now. I pray that you will not have a foolish child who will bring grief or bitterness to you (Proverbs 17:25). Your children will be wise and make you glad in Jesus’ name (Proverbs 10:1, 15:20).
The truth, however, is that children won’t turn out to be wise children on their own; parents, especially fathers, must invest time to train them in the way of the Lord so that they can have peace and joy in the future. Fathers must be like Abraham of whom God said, “For I have known him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the LORD, to do righteousness and justice, that the LORD may bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him” (Genesis 18:19 New King James Version).
Any father who closes from work and spends all his evenings at the club or playing golf will not be able to make on his children the godly impact that God expects from parents through biblical teaching and examples. Jesus said, “Let the children be filled first, for it is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs” (Mark 7:27 New King James Version). Jesus said this with regard to giving priority to healing the children, referring to the Jews. The relevance of His words here is as regards parents giving priority to their children. Parents must not spend on less important things the time they should devote to their children. Their children must be filled first.
Absentee parenting is not God’s ideal for raising children that will assure parents of a peaceful and joyful future. Parents must reorder their priorities and spend time with their children. Husbands must not abandon this to their wives. Maybe you have abandoned your family; you’ve moved out of the family; return to your family now. Don’t be an absentee parent. The parents and the children suffer the negative impact.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner, and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner, and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, help me not to be an absentee father. Holy Spirit, help me to reorder my priorities, manage my time well, and spend time with my children. Whatever has caused a dislocation in my family making it difficult or impossible to spend time with my children, Father, remove and restore godly order in my family.
(For over 600 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
WhatsApp No: +2349081295947