The research was carried out to discover the role of the church in the upbringing of a child in the Umuahia Central (Jerusalem) District of Assemblies of God Nigeria. The work tried to investigate the role the church is playing in the upbringing of a child in the District. Whether the immoral behaviour of children in the district is caused by the ineffective contributions of the church. Tactful sampling techniques were employed and used in the study with Pastors, Deacons. Deaconesses and members constituting the population. Questionnaires were used for gathering data. Literature works of the scholars relating to the subject matter were accessed. Based on the findings it was highly revealing that the role of the church in the upbringing of a child cannot be overemphasized. It was discovered that the church does not play its role in child upbringing very well. Sequel to this, it was highly recommended that the church should endeavor to train the children in the district.
1.1 Background to the Problem
One of the responsibilities of the church in the upbringing of a child is to lead a child to Christ. Children are a blessing from the Lord. With these blessings also come responsibilities. As stewards of God’s children, parents are responsible for helping children grow physically, intellectually, emotionally and spiritually. Churches have a responsibility toward children too. This responsibility of the church includes all the basic teachings provided by the church to nurture, provide an environment in which children are safe, taught at an age-appropriate level, and are encouraged to develop a relationship with Jesus Christ (Armstrong, 1987:56).
Hall (1980:129) said, “In today’s world children need the security which only an intelligent faith in God can give.”
Oti (1998:33) said:
Each Local Assembly has many things she can do in order to encourage the children members to grow up as well as trained members. If the children are just left to grow up anyhow, the tendency is for them to grow up bad and line lines, not in agreement with the beliefs and practice of the assembly.
The scripture says “train up a child in the way he should grow, when he is grown up he will not depart from it (prov. 22:6). Again the rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame (proverbs 29:15)
According to the scripture, the church is the body of Christ. It includes all those who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ for salvation (John 3:16, 1 cor. 12:13). Local churches are gatherings of members of the universal church. The local church is where the members of the universal church can fully apply the “body” principles of 1 Corinthians chapter 2: encouraging, teaching, and building one another up in the knowledge and grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Victoria (2008:65) has this to say “the church ministers to the spiritual needs of children through a children’s ministry program” The need for this program is evident in that many young people reach adulthood and decide not to follow Christ because they had not been prepared to accept him as their Saviour. One reason for this is that some churches do not have an effective ministry to children neither do they have a program to help them receive Jesus into their lives.
According to Martin (2009:25) “the direct responsibility of educating children in the Christian faith id given by God, not to Sunday Schools, but to parents”. In order for this to happen the church’s responsibility to parents, in their district and complementary roles, is to teach them all that God requires of them, and all that they must do to bring their children up in the discipline and instruction of the lord (Eph. 6:4). The church provides the organization and means for teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ to all of God’s children. It caters to the spiritual and scriptural development of children following a syllabus provided for this purpose, which they do this through Bible Teachings on Sundays, organization of quiz and on annual children adoption service. The kingdom of God belongs to little children. The way the church perceive and treat children will determine their ability for the kingdom of God, as Jesus warned:
And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me. But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea (Matthew 18:28)
The church at all levels, whether the gathered, church on the comer on the many manifestations of Christians sacrificing, serving and sharing is God’s uniquely chosen instrument to complete His work of salvation and redemption, making children a significant part of their ministry. Martin (2009:60) in his view stated that “the church must educate children directly by teaching believing parents directly” This includes or involves teaching parents the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27). This, of course, requires that each Christian parent has a genuine, growing spiritual life that shows itself in a humble and teachable spirit. In this regard Victoria says:
According to victoria (2008:78), “if you are not growing in grace and knowledge (2 Peter 3:16), walking in the light (1 John 1:7), loving others sincerely (1Peter 1:22), and taking every thought captive in obedience to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5), how will you be able to teach your own children about trusting in and loving for Christ?”
The church has been given the responsibility to instruct the children to grow in both grace and the knowledge of God and commanded to ‘grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that is building itself up in love (Eph. 4:15-16). Children must learn from the word how they must honour, respect and obey their parents (Exodus 20:12, Eph. 6:1-3). With this in view, its interest, the researchers to revitalize the church on her role in the upbringing of the total child, which aims at giving children proper spiritual direction, so that they will be able to withstand temptations and become good and also develop integrity and make a clear distinction between right and wrong.
1.2 Statement of the problem
The objective of the church in child upbringing is to provide coordination of all ministries to children within our district and to cultivate effective and meaningful Bible training for children as well as conducting kids camps filled to capacity, in order to reach as many children as possible but it is quite important that these objectives have not been fully achieved as a result of negligence of the church to teach, provide qualified children teachers as well as conducive environment for worship for children. Due to this, this study aims at investigating the role of the church in the upbringing of a child in the Umuahia Central (Jerusalem) District of the Assemblies of God Nigeria.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of this study is to examine the role of the church in the upbringing of a child. Specifically, the work seeks to:
- Find out whether the church plays her role in the upbringing of a child in the Umuahia Central (Jerusalem) District of AGN.
- Find out how the church guides the child in spiritual matters
- Discover how the church develops the academic life of her children
- Ascertain how the church builds up the physical life of her children.
- Discover how the church builds up the social life of her children.
1.4 Research Questions
- Does the church play her roles in the upbringing of a child in the Umuahia Central (Jerusalem) District of AGN?
- How does the church guide the child in a spiritual matter?
- Does the church develop the academic life of her children?
- Does the church build up the physical life of her children?
- Does the church build up the social life of her children?
1.5 Significance of the Study
The results of this study will be relevant to churches in Umuahia Central (Jerusalem) Districts Assemblies of God church Nigeria and children teachers etc. on the role of the church in bringing up a child. Therefore, the study is significant in the following ways:
- Churches in Umuahia Central (Jerusalem) Districts will find the findings of the study very significant because it will relent to them the sole responsibility and implication of child negligence in bringing up a child.
- Children Teachers: every child’s teacher will find the findings of this study very important because it will help them relate positively with the children under their tutelage.
- Another benefit of this study is that it may serve as a bedrock to future investigators who may want to research the subject in both seminary and secular schools.
- Finally, it will be as relevant to Assemblies of God Church Nigeria, for it will add to their knowledge on how to batten organize children’s ministry in our contemporary.
1.6 Delimitation of the Study
As a result of the time limit given for this project work, the study will be limited to the role of the church in the upbringing of a child in Assemblies of God Umuahia Central (Jerusalem) Districts Abia State.
1.7 Limitation of the Study
Many limitations face the research during the course of the study and they include time constraints, high financial implications and death of relevant materials on the project. But by the grace of God with determination, the researcher through the help of the superior and family who supported financially enhanced the success of this work.
REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE
This chapter is organized under the following subheading concept of child upbringing, methods of child upbringing, agencies of child upbringing, the role of the child in child upbringing, the problem in child upbringing, the impact of child upbringing.
2.1 Concept of Child Upbringing
The term child upbringing has been conceptualized by different authors in many ways. According to Encyclopedia of bible difficulties, “child upbringing is a Greek word meaning chastening”, chastening (child upbringing) is no punishment meted out by an angry judge who wants to uphold the law; rather it’s difficult permitted by a loving father who wants his children to submit to his will and develop godly character. Chastening is an expression of God’s love (Prov. 3:11-12), and the Greek word used in Heb. 12:15-13 means “child upbringing, instruction, discipline”. In the same manner, the bible exposition commentary defines “child upbringing as narrowing a child’s conduct away from evil and toward godliness and starting him in the right direction”. The above definitions are in agreement that child upbringing involves preparing the child for his future responsibilities. On its popular meaning, Chromey (1995:8) considers child upbringing as, instruction, dedication, discipline, and love. In the same vein, Roy (1978:817 defines child upbringing “as an organized activity aimed at imparting information and/or instructions to improve the child performance or to help him on her attain a required level of knowledge or skills”. According to Oti (1998:78), the children are future members of the church. If the church hopes to exist till the lord comes for the saints, she should be careful over the children of the church”. Greystone (1998:4) quoted the scripture saying that “children are a heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward” (Ps. 127:3).
Moreover, Oti (1998:4) said that “the life of the church in the future largely depends on the children members of the church. The child of today is the mother or father of tomorrow”.
These definitions have the implication that a certain method of child upbringing must be stressed in order to have a proper understanding of the concept. Chromey’s definition carries the implication that child upbringing involves teaching that compresses both instructions in the procedure, a process to guiding children to the information they will need and challenging them to engage in thinking about the concept they construct in their minds.
2.2 Areas of Child Upbringing
Children should be encouraged to own Bibles and bring them to church. Regularly, but not over-frequently, possibly once a week, ask children to look up a particular verse to show that something you want to discover about God is contained there.
Oti (1998:7,19) posits that “a church without children is a poor church. The children are a very important section of the church. No community without children is complete and certainly, such a community will not last longer than a generation. The child born in the church is a free gift to the church. God counts on the church to lead the child to the kingdom of God. Paul said to Timothy,
“But continue thou in this things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them: and that from a child thou has known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus (2 Tim. 3:14-15)”.
Timothy’s mother took the time to teach him as her own mother taught her.
Oti (1998:7,19) explained that;
The child in the Christian family and in the Christian congregation is planted there by God for the people of God to teach him and by teaching and correcting lead him into God’s kingdom. The child’s mind tender and pliable. When you begin early to impress upon the child’s mind certain truths of life, such impressions make deep marks that cannot easily be erased”.
Njoku (2013:31) said, “the church should provide her members with good and effective guidelines on childhood education and spiritualization such as Readiness- create readiness in the children by right approach, Interest- make the learning experience interesting for them, Good learning climate- provide good learning spot and behaviour, Motivation-provide intrinsic and extrinsic factors, Participation- makes every child feel free in the group activity.
Also, the church can provide children retreat, vacation, Bible school family camps, workers with children Seminars and workshops.
Njoku (2013:135) posit that,
The Christian church has been given the duty to help teach and train the children in the way God wants them to go so as to function in it when they become adults. They are of great importance to the church, the family as well as the nations.
Hall (1980:38) said that “the church should help children to experience success more often than failure. This does not mean that a child should never be allowed to fail. We will all meet failure sometimes in life and can learn from it. Also, Oti (1998:28) said, “Church should plan some form of activity for children each time they are on holidays. VBS (Vacation Bible School) is a program plan VBS for them at least once every year. Declare a whole week, children’s week and let the church carry out a number of activities for the interest of children. The children should be separated from the adults, needing their own Pastor person or persons to take care of them. And start Bible story hours for the children, then choose a day in the week other than Sunday and gather in the church premises to sing, play, hear Bible stories and pray, as led by their Pastor.
Oti (1998:18) comment about the problem in the church saying,
It is very unfortunate that a great percentage of our children whose fathers and mothers long to the church, who were born in the church and dedicated to our Alters grow up and leave the church in unbelief. Children of prominent Christians grow up and fail to hold to the faith of the parent’s family. Rather, they turn to be rogues, gamblers, drunker, fornicators, prostitute, blasphemers, and in fact, everything that is unchristian”.
The church should be careful about how to handle the children because the children both the primary class and the cradles of the nurseries department are the leaders of tomorrow in the church and outside the church.
According to Seifart and Huffing (1965:55),
A social learning theory simply means. A child who learns by observation must be able to pay attention to the model, must remember what she has learned until there is an opportunity to try it out, and must possess enough physical or motor skill actually to try out what she has learned.
2.2.1 Spiritual development
Meier (1977:91) comments that “we are made up of body, soul, and spirit. So if we feed a child well and use healthy psychological principles, but ignore his spiritual development, we will be developing only two-thirds of a person. It is good to believe that the development of the child’s spirit is the most important of the three. Psychological development will enable our children to live in society and earn a living, but spiritual development will enable them to understand the meaning of life.
God said to fathers, that he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should teach them to children, that the generation to come might know, even the children yet to be born, that they might arise and tell them to put their confidence in God, but keep His commandments (Psalms 78:5-7 NASV).
Njoku (2013:44) said that “the children will be taught and trained on the spiritual and moral way of living meaningfully and purposefully as to achieve their life goals.
2.2.2 Spiritual upbringing
The church through the Christian education of children provides spiritual upbringing. Our parents need more than natural shelter, food, dress and education for their children who have spiritual needs and problems. These negatively affect them if they overlooked by parents and guardians. To avoid the evil effect the parent’s minds of children can be directed. Toward God through the teaching role of the church in the upbringing of a child by their parents, Sunday school teachers, and local church children teachers.
2.2.3 Moral upbringing
The period of childhood is an impressionable period of human life and as such the first five years of their life are the most receptive years in all of their life stages. It is the duty of the church to provide Christian education of children, also to provide children’s parents and teachers with a broad understanding of what to do to bring up good well-behaved children. Significant on relevant encouragement, direction, approval, support, and visions of greater goals yet to be achieved in their future should be given to the children by their teachers and parents as directed by Christian education of children and the Bible.
Jones (1980:38) states, “Living for Christ calls for the highest and best in each of us. It takes determination and courage, and these important qualities need to be developed in childhood. We should allow helping with tasks around the house or at church when a child learns new skills or performs a task well, he grows in his sense of accomplishment. Avoid comparing the child with others on making negative comments about him.
Hall (1980:38) notes,
It is one thing to correct a child’s behaviour, pointing out what he did wrong. It is quite another to constantly tell a child, you never do anything right, or you are a liar. I can never trust your statements like this reduce a child’s feeling of worth and may time cause him to behave in exactly the way you are condemning.
Dobson in Hall (1980:38) explains,
A child’s sense of personal worth is influenced most of all by the attitudes of his parents toward him. If those adults continually criticize him, compare him with others, laugh at him or reject him in other ways, his self-esteem will suffer unfortunately, the expectations of our society do nothing to help this.
2.2.4 Intellectual upbringing
The church through the Christian education of children appraises the intellectual development of children. Intelligence contributes much to their interest, good behaviour, attitude and reasoning ability. Foundational knowledge areas like physical upbringing and economic upbringing can also be accorded the children in their early years for their successful future life goal achievements and happy living.
Benjamin and Mario (1965:23) commend, “Children work hard at learning to do things for themselves. They often attempt things that are too hard for them. Children needs and education that will develop his capacities and give him the opportunity to be self-supporting, if that is possible”.
2.2.5 Social upbringing
According to Njoku (2013:45-46), “Christian education of children encourages good social upbringing of children and an effective approach to it. They learn faster and more by observation, watching and imitating the actions than by theoretical statements”. Benjamin and Mario (1965:23), asserts,
Although a baby is almost totally dependent upon other people at birth, he soon learns to grab, sit, stand and walk. Before long he wants to put his own clothes on. When he is able to take care of himself in theses rudimentary ways, his sense of security no longer depends so much on the knowledge that his mother or father is just around the corner. Going to school exposes him to a whole new world of independent ventures; he learns things his parents don’t know. He makes more and decisions for himself.
2.3.1 Intellectual development
Butler (1970:7) also says that “Good programs for young children are built on the conviction that during early childhood a base is formed for the abilities, attitudes, interests, and values that will develop over a lifetime”. The parents and teachers have observed how nursery schools and kindergartens have offered experiences capable of enriching the lives of the young child. Current investigations show that some children grow up in such that they may suffer lasting consequences.
2.3.2 Personality development
By the time the child enters his first preschool classroom, he has had many experiences that are of profound significance for personality development. The self-picture of the child is fairly integrated by the third year of life. Once the concept of self has developed, it becomes the evaluation, selection, judger, and organizer of future experience and the child’s behaviour enhances and maintains his view. Possibilities for change are always present but the long behaviour persists the more difficult it is not fixed at age three, but the general view of the world and of oneself is already presents.
2.3.3 Physical development
Early childhood furnished the same important basis for physical development that it provides for development in cognitive and affective areas. Until recently early childhood programs have tended to provide children with opportunities for muscle activities such as climbing, riding a tricycle, and building with large blocks, without identification of specific values to be derived from them. A father who complicated the acquisition of data in this area is the view that all motor abilities are developmental.
There are many differences in philosophy regarding the objectives of early, childhood education and the implementation of educational programs. The goals of an early childhood program will influence what kind of housing, staffing, and equipment will be needed and other administrative decisions. The goals of a clearly set forth before any educational program can be implemented. These objectives are related to all aspects of the child’s affective or social and emotional development, physical motor development and cognitive or intellectual and language development.
Fafunwa (1974:15) says in his views, “the Greek idea of an educated man was one who was mentally and physically well balance”. In particular, “African education emphasized social responsibility, job, and moral values. Children learn by doing, that is to say, children and adolescents were engaged in participatory education through ceremonies, rituals, limitation, recitation, and demonstrations. Fafunwa (1974:15) observes that “the education of the child in Nigeria society starts from infancy just as in any European, Asiatic or American society, a baby is fed regularly, mostly through breastfeeding and weaned at the appropriate time”. Moreover, “all societies train their children in toileting, eating, socialization, and general behaviour. At his initial stage, the child is more intimately involved with his mother than his father” Fafunwa (1974:15).
Every child between the ages of 1 and 3 is curious and watches his mother’s gestures and expressions. He learns his language from his mother and knows what it means when she smiles, frowning or weeps. As the child learns his language from his mother and knows from his path, lest he stumbles on them or breaks them while playing. The mother carries him and puts him or her back wherever she goes, tends him when sick and puts him to bed.
Adaralegbe (1972:236) states that,
We need teachers better trained as regards academic qualifications and professional skills. We need teachers earnestly devoted to the full education of the child. The infant school demands highly trained especially teachers to lay the foundations and to give children the proper orientation for life. The pupil is not better than his teacher; poor teachers produce more other than poor pupils.
Durojaiye (1976:20) in his view suggested certain child-rearing practices that need to be developed to achieve the positive psychological objectives necessary for the development of the African child. It indicates how achievement motivation can be inculcated in young children by “correct and progressive upward shifting of adventurous experiences and of levels of aspiration in the home.”
2.4 Challenges Associated With the Upbringing of Children
According to Oti (1998:2), “the child is very important in the continuity of the family, the church or society. But the problem of child training is grossly overlooked by parents, the church and the decision-makers of the society”.
2.4.1 Misconception of children education
This is a major problem that can be discovered in the child’s upbringing. It is in various ways; starting from the parents to the church. And to the purpose which will lead to the setting of goals in children Christian education.
2.4.2 Misconception of teaching
Sometimes the young child is being overstimulated with too many Bible facts and concepts that are too advanced for them. This always led to confusion and distortion on the child’s hearing and understanding abilities. Therefore, if the church would be effective in the character training of the child, they must follow the fundamental principles of learning in their teaching.
Another area of misconception is seen in the way the parents or teachers measure the method of the teaching they apply. They mistake quantity for quality. The child is often persuaded to memorize numerous Bible verses without understanding the real meaning of the scripture verses. He is taught hymns and choruses that contain concepts too advanced for him to comprehend.
On this issue, Zuck and Clark (1975:130) state that “when the child is given much data that is too advanced, it results in confusion and misconception”. Furthermore, “a better principle is to provide the child with smaller units of information and experience he can digest healthily” Zuck and Clark (1975:130). To this effect, it is not to teach the child theological concepts that will be intellectually high for the child to comprehend.
2.4.3 Social Influences
Roy (1989:34) said,
Attitudes strongly affect how we perceive and respond to other people. It is somewhat ironic, then to recognize how strongly other people influence attitudes. Children’s early attitudes are influenced by their parents. Later on, their attitudes are influenced by peers.
Roy (1989:74) further states that “both parents and peers influence attitude through three processes: providing information, reinforcement, and identification”. Most of the earlier likes and dislikes of children are influenced by parents. some of the attitudes that form the basis of parental influence will change, but many will remain the same form as they begin to go to school, have friends, hearing from teachers, learning to share with others imitating unbelievers children in the yard.
2.4.4 Peer pressure
According to Roy (1989:7), “when a child is about 8 years of age, he or she begins to move with his or her peers and so begin to adhere to the influence of his or her peers than that of his parent or denomination where he or she belongs”. So such a Christian child begins to deviate from the parental influences.
2.4.5 Bad habit like wrong dressing (code)
Through the media young children have been lured into believing that the way to attract a person of the opposite sex is by dressing provocatively. Films and advertising on TV and in magazines give this impression. Satan wants to use the wrong dressing to spoil normal relationship by stimulating sensual desires.
But Christian children should be told that the way we dress shows what we think of ourselves, as Christians we should have high standards. It also shows something of our moral values to others. They said charity begins at home, so also can we not prevent influence, rather we can prepare our children to face influence in a positive manner (2 Tim. 2:9, 2 Peter 3:3-4).
2.4.6 Alcohol drinks
Many children begin taking alcohol drinks between the ages of 10 and 13. Some Christians say that they feel free to drink because the Bible speaks of it (1 Tim. 5:23). We have drinkable water in our homes today; the alcoholic beverages available are much more dangerous and intoxicating.
2.4.7 Gambling and cultism
In Europe, materialism is the most popular religion. This religion teaches that money brings happiness, that success is being rich and that wealth and possessions make a person important. Also, children are caught up in the craving for consumer goods, for luxuries and this race to attain an easy life.
Roy (1989:34) states that,
Throughout Western Europe, there is a renewed interest in the occult, which is being furthered in different ways, horoscope in newspapers, books about the occult, including the same cosmic books for children, films where witchcraft is involved. For video and TV (masters of the universe is one example). Fantasy games like “dungeons and dragons”. The Ouija Board and some computer games, Leary-metal music, especially black metal fortune tellers, palm readers, astrologers, mediums, wearing of charms, black and white magic. Children are being lured into dabbling with the occults.
2.5 Areas of Neglect of Children
The children need protection from evils of the world; but today’s children are exposed to sex, lust, violence, and profanity. They see it on television, hear it on the radio, and observe it in the lives of adults who have abandoned the traditional values which were once commonly held even by non-Christians. During this time, children are not only exposed to sex and voidance but their values are also being shaped in other areas.
In other words, firstly, children need children’s ministry. Today, more than ever before, children need attention, love and help understand their deepest needs and who want to help boys and girls experience the quality of life God intended for them to have.
Psychologists and educators have discovered that where we praise a child, we encourage him to live up our estimate of his potential. Conversely, when we criticize, we also set a standard for him to live up to – but it is a negative standard. Furthermore, criticism lowers a child’s self – esteem, making it harder than ever for him to perform well. Liberal amounts of honest praise can have a beneficial effect on even a very discourage child.
2.5.1 The church
The church has misconceptions about the children. One of the misconceptions is seen in the relationship between the children and the church. The church normally refers to the children as the church of tomorrow, while they are part of the church of today. Jesus affirmed this when he said, “let the children come to me and do not stop them, because the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these” (Matt. 19:13-15). In this context, the disciples saw the children as the church of tomorrow and tried to stop them from the blessing of relating to Jesus. They thought that Jesus’ presence in the world was only for the adult and the need for the salvation of the children should not be emphasized until they grow to adulthood.
But Jesus corrected this notion by telling stating that presently, the kingdom of God already has more rooms for children more than adults. The church of God should change their view of children as tomorrow’s church into the present-day church.
According to Buck (1988:93),
This assumption “Maybe politically and economically correct to describe children as society’s leaders of tomorrow. In organizational terms, it may even be true of the church. But it is a denial of their destiny, and the design of its master, for the church not to include all ages and stage”.
2.5.2 Parents not taking their children to church
All together another area of failure on part of the parents. It may as a result of ignorance of divine responsibilities on them as the priests of the family. God instructed or commanded the parents what to do unto their children;
“And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hands, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates. (Deuteronomy 6:7-9 KJV).
For parents not to take their children to church is direct disobedience to the almighty God, who gave them the children, whom they will give account of their parenthood to the parents failure does not only create problem to the immediate and extended families, but also to the community and to the nation, and to the entire world or humanity.
Aja (1989:18) says;
The church is very important to the children of believers. “The church is the immediate community to which the Christian child belongs. It is in the church that the child finds other children of his age with whom he can associate in the proper way. It is the church that provides the children with people (other than their own parents) who teach them and guide them on things of God. Also, it is in the church that those children see models whose disciples they become.
The parents should inculcate the attitude of going to church in the life of the child early enough. When parents do not take their children to church, it causes those precious children to miss the education they should receive from the church, which is their immediate community. As a result, those children will be lacking models to emulate and the church will also lack disciples. If the trench continues, what happens to some church denominations in advance countries will happen to us in this part of the world. Therefore, the problem of parents not taking their children to church will result in not having people to take over when the parents must have gone. If they will be, it will be the generation who know not the lord as it happened in the Bible days.
2.5.3 Negligence of the word of God (Bible)
Most parents pick up the Bible on Sunday normally and carry to church and return to the shelf, and will not pick up again until the following Sunday. So many children are not seeing their parents reading and living by God’s word.
2.5.4 Lack of Bible-based discipline
In the Bible, Absalom, David’s son, rebelled and attempted to usurp the throne in David’s old age because never in his life had his father corrected him or asked why he behaved as he did (1 Kings 1:6). Termination of a priestly dynasty, Israel’s rejection of God, and treason in the royal family all were the result of the failure of some of God’s greatest servants to discipline their children. Today, parents are bombarded by a battery of authorities, doctors, and psychologists, government day-care advocates, and experts who leave the impression that we know absolutely nothing about the upbringing of our own children. To be sure, we can all use help, but Christian parents must not be intimidated to the point of relinquishing their straight and narrow course of life (Proverbs 29:15-17).
Any child who lives without parental discipline is doubly cheated. First, he is being taught to be self-centered. Secondly, he is subconsciously learning that his parents are not genuinely concerned about him. Any parent who really has a love for their children will provide the necessary discipline it causes to grow into well-adjusted adult life.
2.6 Method of Child Upbringing
In the bible both the old and the New Testament seem to assume that under normal circumstances a home will be blessed with children. For this reason, the following methods were assigned to the parents for the proper conduct of their children.
2.6.1 Teach with words
The parents were instructed to teach their children. God commanded that parents were to verbally instruct their children in the faith. Downes (2009:25) quotes:
My people hear my teaching; listen to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth with a parable; I will utter hidden things, things our ancestors have told us. We will not hide them from their descendants; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done. He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which he commanded our ancestors to teach their children, so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they, in turn, would tell their children. Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands. They would not be like their ancestors a stubborn and rebellious generation, whose hearts were not loyal to God, whose spirits were not faithful to him (Psalms 78:1-8).
Apostle Paul restates this principle: You fathers, again, must not goad your children to resentment but give them the instruction and the correction which belongs to a Christian upbringing.
2.6.2 Teach by example
The omnipotent God knew that children would watch their parents prepare for worship. In the Bible Deuteronomy 6:4-9 identifier parents’ responsibility to communicate faith by example. Miller (1987:245) quotes:
Hear, O Israel; the Lord our God, the lord is one you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bird them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates (Deut. 6:4-9).
The parents teach by the way they themselves observe the word of God. Under normal conditions, children become much like what their parents are, largely by copying their parents and decide if their behavior is consistent with their words. They observe parents’ responses to joy and disaster. Then they usually begin to respond to situations much as their parents do in the church.
With these, therefore, the church is responsible to teach the parents by example as much informed as it is formal. Family devotions, holiday traditions, mealtime prayers, bedtime prayers, and family conversation provide the atmosphere in which faith is communicated, the ways by which Christian parents can help teach their children.
On the other hand on its formal method, evidence from reviewed related literature had indicated that the following methods, such as Visual (Spatial), Aural (Auditory), and verbal (linguistic) are the major methods for children’s education should be employed in the church.
2.6.3 Visual (spatial)
Tracing the methodology of children back to the visual method. Squire (1992:43) writes “Visual thinking is a learning style where the learner better understands and retains information when ideas, words, and concepts are associated with images”. In the same manner, Coffield (1991:67) says “Visual learning is a teaching and learning style in which ideas, concepts, data, and other information are associated with images and techniques. It is one of the three basic types of learning styles in the widely used which the church should adapt to exchange learning”.
2.6.4 Aural (auditory)
Smith (1993:86) points out how the auditory learning method helps children in learning. In the study, he carried out. To him, aural learners thrive on teaching techniques that involve sound”. Making up a story or a song with the directions or the main concepts of the lesson will help this type of learner succeeds, encouraging them to rewrite the lyrics to their favorite songs to learn new things. The auditory method uses music to set the mood of the learning environment for younger children, the use of oral storytelling and sing-alongs help them, team, better in the church. This kind of method is implored when teaching important lessons. For example, if you are teaching about different body parts, sing the “Heads, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes” song.
2.6.5 Verbal learners
Here Squire (1992:43), relates Verbal Learning centers on the use of words. He states that: “Copying down phrases and words taking their own notes during lectures, reading out loud, listening to audio recordings and discussions are effective teaching methods and techniques for this type of leaner”. Teachings spelling by having them write out the word correctly multiple times on a piece of paper or on a whiteboard, help the children understand rules by writing them on a poster board that they can see and refer to.
Still on the method of child upbringing Rapunzel (1982:2) said there are four general methods of children’s upbringing which parents adopt and that generally, children’s upbringing is a combination of parental affection toward children, and parental demand, and restrictions on children. Runzel further explained that the methods used by a given parent depend on temperament and nature of the parents; in this regard, she identified the four methods of child upbringing by parents, namely: Authoritarian, Permissive, Uninvolved and Authoritative.
Authoritarian parents have high expectations for their children and rarely show affection. The authoritarian parents run a family more like a dictatorship. What they say goes and a child’s input is not welcome. Praise and encouragement are rarely ever given and negative consequences are used frequently without explanation. Children raised in an authoritarian household frequently are unable to solve problems creatively and either rebel or become passive in life.
Permissive parents are the ones who want their children to have everything. They give lots of love, but not guidance or discipline. Here rules are rarely ever set and enforce even less. Permissive parents are more interested or more of serving as their child’s friend than their parent. Children raised in a permissive family do not know about boundaries or limits. Because of this, these children generally have a hard time adjusting to the outside world where there are boundaries. The children raised with a permissive parenting style also frequently have low self-control and are impulsive and rebellious.
Uninvolved parents are neither too strict nor too relaxed, they are just not involved. The uninvolved parents do not spend much time with their children and they generally devote most of their time to a job, social life or other interest. When they are around, uninvolved parents might feel uncomfortable in the role of the parent because they do not spend much time with their children. Sometimes, one parent is uninvolved because they believe the other parent is taking care of the parental duties and they are not needed. The children raised in an uninvolved family generally have low self-esteem and self-confidence and are poor achievers.
Authoritative parents show affection toward their children, but also set boundaries and limits as they raise their children. The authoritative parenting is seen as the most balanced approach to child-rearing. These parents are nurturing and supportive, but also clearly layout rules and consequences. If a child disagrees, they are willing to listen even if it does not change the outcome. Consequences are explained and are delivered in a calm, non-judgmental way. The authoritative parents serve as role models for their children and show respect for each other as well as their children. Children raised in an authoritative household usually have good self-control and strong confidence and tend to succeed in the outside world.
2.7 Agencies for Child Upbringing
The major agencies for child upbringing are Home, School, Peer Group, Mass Media, and the Church. The extent, involvement, and impact of these agencies for child training are very obvious. Hence it will be clearly considered in this section of the work.
2.7.1 The home
According to Oti (2001:79), the home has a greater influence on the child. Out of 168 hours in the week, the child spends 3 hours in the church on Sunday school, 25 hours at public school and 140 hours at home. Therefore the home is bound to have the greatest influence on his/her behaviour. Furthermore, he said that the child is “outside” what the home has made him “inside”. And the son will most likely be what his father is; likewise, the daughter is most likely to be an image of her mother. Consequently, if parents want to project a good image of their home outside, they should train their children in the fear of the Lord.
Defleur, Antonio, and Lois (1976:161) stated that the home has been central to every theory of personality formation, socialization, and child-rearing that has been formulated within the behavioral science. It is the home that has always born the major responsibility for teaching children the essentials of social order and culture and for guiding their personal development. Therefore, it is pertinent to consider the following: Home and socialization: A changing role and Stranger Danger.
- Home and socialization: A Change Role
Writing on socialization, Kenkeland and Voland (1975:222), presented the role of the home as an agent of change in the sense that parents advise ways of bringing up their children.
Kenkeland and Voland (1975:222) said, “Though it is a major socializing agency, the home is not the only one. Most societies devise other ways to help socialize the young. Modern societies have schools, churches, youth groups, and the like”. Kenkel and Voland stated further that even in non-literate societies, adults outside the home has some parts in teaching children the beliefs, values, and practices of the culture. In the Israeli Kibbutz, from their birth on, children live separately from their parents in children’s houses, where they are reared by specially trained nurses. Children visit their parents for an hour to two daily. But parents are not the chief agents of socialization. In the Kibbutz, the home has a minor role in the socialization of the children.
Moreover, Renvoiz (1986:94), in her book, “Incest-A family pattern” cited in Inchley, replying to a question that is often asked, “How do we judge between being too warm with our children and not warm enough?” He says:
… I think the only possible reply is, do what you feel is right. What is appropriate behaviour for one person may be positively frigid for another or almost torrid for yet another. What has to be wrong is to hold back affection out of a fear of being misinterpreted, and at the other extreme, to touch in a way that is exciting you sexually.
Renvoiz in Inchley (1986:91) said parents should be careful about how they cuddle and pet their own children. Younger children are more likely to need this than those who are older, but it should never be refused by the parents whatever the age of the child. Parents must always remember that physical contact is essential for children. They normally enjoy touching and being touched, and holding and held, and it is the responsibility of parents, and especially fathers, to distinguish between what is normal and what is sexual.
- Stranger Danger:
Inchley (1986:91) on the other hand stressed that children should be taught about “stranger danger”. It is reckoned that at least three in every 1, 000 children suffer some kind of sexual abuse or molestation and that eighty-five percent of these are girls. Men are the chief offenders and one of the difficulties is that very often they are not strangers at all but relations or friends of the family. Parents have to be alert to detect changes in their children’s usual behavior-depression, moodiness, tension, sleeplessness, nightmares, and sudden refusal to play outdoors with their friends.
2.7.2 The school
Defleur, Antonio, and Lois (1976:162) presented the school as a formal structure, a rationally organized bureaucracy. It is a social machine designed to “process” batches of human beings, who are fed into the system at the bottom and are expected to emerge some years later with useful and socially approved modifications in their knowledge, skills, values, attitudes, and general orientations to society. Charles, Ikoh, and Inyamba (2011:226) also added that the schools have a major impact on the child’s values, aspirations, and worldview as well as on academic knowledge. Leadership styles, the size of the school and the spatial arrangement of classrooms have effects on the child. Communication between children and teachers declines as the class size increases. Eye to eyes contact is an important prerequisite for potential communication.
2.7.3 Peer group
Eze (2011:150) sees a peer group as another strong agent of child training. It comprises persons of roughly the same age. The group provides a way in which children can become less dependent on family authority. It provides the child with experience in an egalitarian relationship which was not possible in the family. Another socializing function of the peer group is that it exposes the child to knowledge which he or she may not have access to in the family. An example is sex education and others. Besides, they use reward and punishment on members of the group as a way of encouraging and motivating them to knowledge. Also, they provide through their leadership behaviour models for all members and all strive to join.
Moreover, they have norms and values, which they all strive to conform to by formulating rules and regulations. Charles, Ikoh and Inyamba (2011:227) supported that peers are more influential in a situation involving friendship choices, challenges to authority, interpersonal behaviour, and in establishing personal or group identity. It has been found across a wide range of cultures and societies that aggressive behaviour, sociable behaviour, and pro-social activity are strongly influenced by peer relations. To add to what others have said about the peer group, Piaget in Defleur, Antonio and Lois (1976:163); the eminent Swiss psychologist who said that:
Peer-group interaction is essential if children are to become fully developed morally. Unlike the family and the school, a peer-group does not deliberately try to socialize its members. Its major purpose is to provide enjoyment. Due to the fact that primary interaction with close friends is emotionally satisfying, the codes and expectations of peers are usually strongly internalized by individual members.
2.7.4 Mass media
Eze (2011:16)described the media like books, magazines, newspapers, and posters in public places, advertising billboards, films, television, and the radio. In the past, it was necessary to consider the media when discussing the relationship of school to other social institutions. In the transitional sector like the Nigerian society, it is beginning to play an important educational role. In the modern sector, it plays a powerful role. In particular, they said television is a critical force in the socialization of American children.
Defleur, Antonio, and Lois (1976:163) stressed that the average American today spends a substantial portion of each day with the mass media, particularly television: pointing out that recent census figures show television ownership approaches saturation in families with young children-99%.
According to Defleur, Antonio, and Lois (1976:161), Wilbur Schramm has estimated that from ages three through sixteen the child spends more time on television than at school. Besides, all the agencies of child upbringing should try to teach their children social competence. Spencer in Defleur, Antonio, and Lois (1976:165), defines social competence; as the ability to obtain successful outcome from interaction with others, said social competence in interpersonal relationships has a significant long term influence upon psychological, academic and adaptive functioning.
2.7.5 The church
The church as one of the agents for child upbringing must carefully consider how it can best support and enhance parental leadership. A key presupposition is that the church and family must develop and cultivate a symbiotic relationship that is mutually supporting. Both of these divine institutions are vital to the kingdom and they need each other. Parrish also stated that some traditional approaches to ministry are detrimental to the family because they follow societal norms and patterns, such as age segregation and separating children from their parents.
Eze (2011:17) presented the church to be one of the most important or relevant in child upbringing, especially, in views of numerous complaints that the moral level has fallen. It is said that the young are not as virtuous as their parents were, although they are better educated. Religious authorities may say that the reason is insufficient attention paid to religion and moral teaching in schools and homes. As a matter of fact, society looks up to the church as magic makers. They expect the church to transform situations.
It is in this regard that the role of counseling that the church offers situates and is essential in child upbringing both to the parents/guardians and the children as well. Meier, Minirth, and Wicherm (1982:291) defined Christian counseling as the relationship in which one individual, by virtue of both spiritual and psychological insights, seeks and solves his/her own problem in accordance with the word of God. Njoku (2011:10) also defined counseling as the process by which a helping relationship is built between the counselor and the counselee. The counselor helps him/her to deal effectively with the problem of life by applying biblical and tested psychological principles and techniques. Moreover, Christenson Larry in Adiele (2007:30), saw counseling as an indispensable instrument in child upbringing that stressed the child’s unguided decision will evidently lead the child into difficulty and even a more serious one. That is the reason God protects the children by putting them under parental authority and supervision. It is unbelievable that even in this jet and technological age, some parents leave their children to their childish decisions in the guise of avoiding “Child Abuse”. Consequently, counseling plays a vital, fruitful and indispensable role in the child’s upbringing.
2.8 Factors that Affects Child Upbringing
Roy (1989:34) said; the factors that affect how a child grows up are nearly infinite. However, psychological research on children has found that the age of a child’s parents has a significant effect on many of the important aspects of growing up. Though the effects of raising a child at a later age tend to be positive, this does not mean older parents are necessarily better parents. A good parent is one that utilizes a good parenting style, regardless of age.
Buck (1988:93) says that studies across many disciplines from sociology to developmental psychology have looked at how the effect a parent’s age can have on the children she raises. According to Mayer, writing for the ministry of social development, the overall connection is that older parents tend to raise children that are better in many aspects, form social functioning to educational attainment. However, psychologists are careful to draw drastic conclusions from such studies because of the possibility of other aspects that weren’t focused on. For example, parental age and parental income are strongly related, so the characteristic making “better parent” might not be age but income. In any case, though the trend is that older parents tend to raise “better” children.
Buck (1988:93) insist that besides the ability to spend increased income that tends to come with age on children’s education, parenting information and extracurricular activities, an older parent also has the ability to share his plentiful experiences and knowledge with his child. The older a person gets, the more mistakes, he makes, the more knowledge he gains and the more social skills he gains. An older person is also more focused on strengthening his family relationships that are focused on personal gains such as in a corporate office that requires employees to work overtime to excel. Thus order people are likely to spend more time and mental effort on raising their children Kenkeland and Voland (1975:222).
According to Roy (1989:34), just as a child interacts with his peers in a different manner as he grows up, parents interact with their children differently as they grow. The parenting practices of older parents differ from those of younger parents, according to the article “partied parental stress: The Relative Contributions of child and parent Characteristics”, which appeared in the 2011 issue of the “Journal on Developmental Disabilities”. Specifically, older parents tend to show and feel less stress in their parenting efforts, use better-coping strategies and engages in more positive reinforcement. Such a parenting style, commonly referred to as the authoritative style, tends to yield the best results in the academic performance, mental stability and social success of children. Child-rearing practices differ from one parent to another. Different child-rearing practices lead to different child upbringing. It is one of the causes of individual differences. One is far different from another because of how the person was brought up by the parents. according to Jane Artisan, the differences are due to the following factors:
Social class has a great effect on child-rearing practices. Parents that were raised in the middle class or upper class of the society tens to teach the kids of social etiquette. They teach their kids to appreciate music, literature and more. They provide their kids with skills that they believe can help them in their future. They supervise the kids to see that they get into proper school, eat the right food and can have medical services at any time. On the other hand, parents who were raised from the working class raised their kids on the way they see the world. They cannot even provide their kids with toys and other leisure moments. They have less time to spend with their children’s supervision because their jobs prevent them from doing so. A child who grows from the upper class of the society has more confidence than the one raised in the working class.
Income also affects child-rearing practices. Parents who receive low income let their kids work at an early age. On the other side, wealthy parents have a connection in the world to make sure their children get the best jobs.
Here religion has a role to play in raising kids. Christian parents can raise morale and spiritual children. Pastors and spiritual leaders share a part in molding their kids also. Parents let their spiritual beliefs, no matter the religion they practice; reflect on the way they raise their children.
How parents were raised also adds up to how they will raise their own children. Mothers tend to follow their mother’s child-rearing practices. The great factor here is how their mothers treated them. Likely, it is how they also treat their children. Parents are seen to follow their mother’s actions, whether good or bad. A mother that was raised by a disciplinarian mother will surely get strict with children. Studies show that fathers do not follow their mother’s parenting practices.
Culture may play a part in a child’s upbringing. A Japanese daughter is different from an American when one goes to another country; the person can easily notice personality differences resulting from cultural upbringing background.
Holden, writing on children’s upbringing said a child is a precursor of the future adult, and its upbringing should ensure it develops physically, intellectually, socially and spiritually. As a result, parents have to ensure that their children get a holistic upbringing. Such responsibility calls for the dedication of time and resources to ensure the child gets to develop in the best way possible. Consequently, Holden enumerated some factors that affect children upbringing to include:
A child’s environment, especially the home, directly influences growth. Holden citing Garry Evans, a researcher at Corel University, said a negative home environment can show a child’s ability to learn basic skills such as reading and communication. Children from a happy and quiet home are often cheerful and calm, whereas children who grow up in noise, overcrowded and violent home tend to come violent and aggressive, according to Evans. Evans further explained that such an environment can lead to anxiety at a young age.
Spending time with one’s children to explain life helps them understand their surroundings, additionally, thinking aloud with children helps them think and speak. They also learn to express themselves articulately; this can happen by engaging children in family discussions. Which builds their self-confidence and helps nurture a sense of responsibility? For example, if a parent is planning outdoor activities, involving children helps to choose activities everyone will enjoy and participate in willingly.
The disciplinary measures parents take on their children affects their upbringing. According to Dewar in Holden, advised setting strict boundaries and providing guidance in the process, according to parenting science. Com. The boundaries teach children that actions have consequences while guidance helps them make the right choice independently. Strict disciplinary measures can instill fear in the children, which affects their ability to communicate. However, being too lenient might foster a lack of discipline and affect the child’s performance in school and in behaviour within the community.
Parenting style plays a significant role in a child’s upbringing and has a strong influence on them. Spending time with them boosts their confidence and gives them a sense of belonging. By spending time together as a family, children learn to value the relationship and are able to socialize and share with other people. In addition to that, children learn how to behave in society and to respond to circumstances by observing you.
2.9 The Role of the Church in Child Upbringing
The mission of the church is to make disciples; this includes children and youth (Matt. 28:18-20). The church is given the command to disciple individuals and to teach them to obey God’s ways. Believing parents have an important role to play, but this does not negate the mission of the church. The church is called to make disciples of all ages. The role of the church is concerned with the spiritual life of the child. However, the church is called to disciple all its members, administer the ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s supper, and coordinate the corporate worship of God. Evidence from literature has reviewed that the church is responsible for the spiritual development of the child.
2.9.1 Spiritual development of the child in the church
The terms “spiritual development”, “faith development” and “development of religious understanding” have different meanings but are often used interchangeably. According to Thompson (2007:67), spiritual development “concerns the board search for transcendental meaning that may be as a young child’s inquires into how the world came into being or a complex as a theologian’s metaphysical analysis”. In this study also, he defines faith development as the development of a belief in divinity, and the development of religious understanding “involves an individual’s progressive adherence to a propositional network of values, creeds, and practices of organized religion. In the same vein, Andrews and Kaufman (2008:45) define “spiritual development as associated with or incorporation with faith development and religious understanding”.
McConnell (1996:23) in his opinion says that God’s intention for children in the church is that every child in every generation comes to understand how precious he or she is in his sight and to have the right relationship with him through Jesus Christ. And God intends for his church to be a witness to children so that they may know and follow his purposes in their lives. The important biblical framework development by Vira, Jeremy & Tarcher (1987:56) and others in understanding God’s heart for children puts it this way:
Children are essential to the life and ministry of the church, bringing spiritual gifts and abilities and fulfilling definite roles. The church needs to be a place where children may dynamically connect with God and engage in meaningful participation; disciple, equipped and empowered for life and ministry. As members of the family of God, children are to be cared for as sons and daughters and are part of the admonition to love and serve one another. God intends for churches to provide children with opportunities to know Him and fulfill their calling in the body of Christ.
Hendricks (2004:66) further says that,
Much of our theological anxiety about very young children is a projection of our own concern for them. There is no biblical reason one should not trust the compassion and mercy of God to extend to children until they can make meaningful and depth-level decisions for themselves. In fact, the covenant of grace between God and mankind expressed in Christ gives us every reason to pressure that the young are kept by God in His compassionate concern,
2.10 Problems in Child Upbringing
According to Taiwo & Fay (1990:89), important obstacles that constrain a parent’s ability to become actively involved in their children’s education includes Time factor, Conflicts, and Family resources. These obstacles, however, can be overcome by schools and through training.
Caplan (1980:158) in his opinion says that “lack of time is the major reason given by family members for why they don’t get more involved”. To him, lack of transportation and child care also keeps families from participating. Other obstacles of child upbringing include:
A shift from a partnership with fixed roles to a partnership with fluid roles. Before World War II, family patterns were clear. Fathers were the breadwinners, and sons usually followed in their vocational footsteps. Mothers were homemakers, and daughters were expected to follow their example. But such fixed roles no longer apply.
Another obstacle is the shift from the extended family to a nuclear family unit. Prior to the past three decades, when most people married they settled near their parents and also, increase in technology is another obstacle. It is obvious that changing technology permits more leisure time for parents and decrease the possibilities for teaching children to work and responsibility.
Still, on the obstacles to child upbringing, Duckworth (1990:87) states: “most parents are less involved than they should be identified in their children education as a result of time conflicts which lower their levels of involvement”. In the same vein, Flouri (2008:135) says that “thirty-eight percent of parents identify work or a full-time job as a major obstacle and 26 percent said that a lack of time and scheduling conflicts interfered with their involvement”. These two groups represent more than two-thirds of all parents who are less involved than they should be, regardless of where their children go to school. This is a relatively unsurprising finding; given an existing body of research that confirms that time is a major barrier to parental involvement.
In contract, almost one-quarter of parent attributes their lack of involvement in non-time related reasons.
Twelve percent cite a lack of information, communication, and knowledge of what is going on, six percent say they would like to have more contact from the school. Only five percent cite their own lack of education and knowledge about what is being taught at school as a barrier to their involvement in their own child’s academic success. These parents are referred to as “shut-out” although they have time to be involved at school; they are not as involved as they should be. In all, parents from low-performing schools are far more likely to be shut-out than are parents whose child attends a high-performing school. Thirty-seven percent of low-performing school parents list one of those four reasons for lower levels of involvement, while only 21 percent of high-performing school parents do.
Peter (1995:25-50) in his opinion says: “parents who list time-related reasons for lower involvement in many ways resemble parents who say they are involved as they should be”. Presumable, busy parents may be their nature be fully engaged in work and other commitments, and would likely be highly involved in their children’s education if circumstances were different. Parents who list other reasons for lower involvement, on the other hand, may have the time and the desire to be involved with their children’s education, but some other obstacle is keeping them from doing so. However, busy parents show higher levels of satisfaction with their child’s upbringing than parents who cite other reasons for lower involvement.
2.11 Impact of Child Upbringing
The importance or relevance of a solid foundation in education is obvious, early childhood training is where the foundation is laid. Poor performance in the other levels of academics can be traced to this foundation level. So a thorough knowledge of what and how training is been handled at this level is imperative.
In support of the above, Tori – Any (2009:105) Says: early childhood is a crucial stage of life in the terms of a child’s physical, intellectual, emotional and social development. The growth of mental and physical abilities progress at an astounding rate and a very high proportion of learning takes place from birth to age six. It is a time when children particularly need high-quality personal care and learning experiences.
Speech development is one of the first tools that a child will demonstrate in his/her lifelong education. Wordlessly at first, infants and toddlers begin to recognize familiar objects and to formulate the laws that systematically govern their proportions. Children’s education with encouragement through books and interaction makes toddlers pick up with the reading of their literature and vocabulary and in most cases, enable the child the Bible well.
Still stressing on the need for early childhood education, Igwe (1999:54) opines “it is important to recognize that high-quality education early in life gives children the best start. Moreover, He stresses that in early childhood education, children are safe and well cared for by people who have a qualification and share an understanding of what is important for the child.
More so, children’s education creates an opportunity for them to develop skills by playing with others and taking part in activities that build on their abilities and interest. In addition, parents will be supported in caring for their children. This will create increasing opportunities for the parents to work, attend appointments or recreational activities or have time for themselves.
Evaluations of well-conceived programs designed to foster early development demonstrate that children who participate in these programs tend to be more successful in later school, are more competent socially and emotionally and show better verbal, intellectual and physical development during early childhood than children who are not enrolled in high-quality programs. Benefits of ECD intervention and lower dropout rates, higher school completion rates, improved nutrition, and health status, improved social and emotional behavior. The improved parent-child relationship, increase earning potential and economic self-sufficiency as an adult and increased female labor force participation.
Still, on the impact of child upbringing, Cain (2009:19) added; child traumatic stress as the physical and emotional responses of a child to events that threaten the life or physical integrity of the child or of someone critically important to the child (such as a parent or sibling). To him, traumas “build upon one another creating a cumulative impact shaping the child’s world view, their response to their environment their ability to regulate these emotions and impair their judgment and cognitive processes used in learning and decision making. And to that shame and misplaced guilt and self-blame that often accompanies abuse – you have a recipe for disaster”.
According to the Acts.net (NTCSN), the impact of a potentially traumatic event depends on several factors including the child’s age and developmental stage, the child’s perception of the danger faced; whether the child was the victim or a witness, the child’s relationship to the victim or perpetration; the child’s past experience with trauma; the adversities the child faces following the trauma; the presence/availability of adults who can offer help and protection.
Also still on the impact of child upbringing; when we talk of the impact of child upbringing it will be good to consider these benefits: child disciplines and character formation.
According to Posse and Melgosa (2005:85), discipline is not only the application of corrective action. It is a process that extends throughout life. In the beginning, the source of discipline comes from within. It is a matter of directing children onto the path that will lead them to self-discipline. To achieve the desired result, a purpose for discipline and how to go about the discipline has to be established, character formation and religious upbringing.
As said by Posse and Melrose (2005:85), a character refers to the moral qualities of an individual and is precisely the meaning it has taken in modern psychology. One’s character either speaks for or against him/her. Parents should always stop their children’s violence and counsel them in a better response. A wise maxim said: “sow a thought and reap a destiny”. Adults should always try their best to help the child in their character formation; because things that are not corrected in childhood may not be corrected ever in adulthood. Posse and Melrose (2005:85) enumerated measures to observe when helping in the character development of a child. They include good habits, consistent, the establishment of limits and spiritual values.
A repeated act, which turns into a habit, is necessary to achieve a particular character trait, for this reason, teaching desirable behaviours through repetition is especially necessary to provide a good example. Where character is concerned, an example is the best teaching method. Children tend to produce, almost automatically, the behaviour of those whom they admire.
Consistency plays a fundamental role in character formation. To disapprove of lying and then say: “If someone calls, tell him I am not at home”’ confuses the child who begins to imitate the behaviour rather than the moral counsel.
Make the child understand clearly correct behaviour is and that wrong behaviour is unacceptable. This will help the child in the process of development.
The spirituality of men and women of proven honour and truthfulness, when taken as an example, can become a transforming power for even the most difficult character.
Man is a religious being after the image of God the creator. Man is created for worship, to worship God and have a relationship with the divine. This trait of a man is visible in virtually every aspect of life. This explains why man prays, meditates and seeks spiritual answers and clarity over issues of life. Besides, God gave a charge to man to worship only God and to transmit the same to his offspring (children). Man as a religious being professed faith and communicates the same to others. Deuteronomy chapter 6 is clear that our faith in God is to be talked about and that includes when we walked along the road, when we lie down and when we get up. God wants His people to always share their faith. Holmen (2007:4) says that: “most Christian parents do not believe they are doing a good job at facilitating the spiritual development of their children”. Holman (2007:47) supports this statement with a survey that shows how people are weak in communicating their faith.
12% of children have a regular dialog with their mother on faith/life issues. 9% of children have experienced regular reading of the Bible and devotions in the home. when the survey is stated in the positive; it says: 88% of children do not dialog with their fathers on faith issues. 9% of children do not have regular Bible and devotions in their homes.
In view of this, parents should endeavor to always encourage their children to seek the Lord in all they do, so as to enjoy the blessings of God.
Sex education here involves making the children understand their respective sex roles, and the developmental phases of their sexual organs, and how they should respond and react to it. Nwachukwu (2000:87) opines that sex-role describes ideas and expectations of what they hope to achieve as members of their different sexes. Sex – role adaptation concerns those psychological characteristics which the culture defines as appropriate for one sex or the other. For instance, Nigeria culture does not expect a girl to climb trees or engage in work that requires many physical powers. By the same token, it is often regarded as absurd when a man is found performing such house chores as cooking and dishwashing. Girls are taught to always learn from their mothers while the boys should also learn from their fathers. It is also the role of the parents to help the children understand the changing nature of the body system according to the respective sexes as they grow.
Children have the fundamental right to education as enshrined in the UNESCO charter. This right is to be guaranteed by parents. They are therefore under obligation to send their children to school to be developed mentally, intellectually, and otherwise. God has positioned Christian parents in this role as the Bible makes it clear that they should provide religious and other forms of education for the children. The church through Sunday school has also given parents a platform for the development of their children educated in a Christian way.
2.12 Consequences of Neglect of Child Upbringing
The disastrous consequences of parents indulgence are dramatically illustrated in the lives of three of God’s great servants, Eli, Samuel, and David, Eli’s sin was so serious that it caused God to condemn his house, was that his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not. Those boys’ conduct was so offensive that worshippers began to hold the lord’s sacrifice in contempt. Israel rebelled against God because Samuel’s son did not follow in their father’s footsteps, but was intent on their own profit, taking bribes and perverting the course of justice.
2.12.1 Some Things parents deny the children when they are not properly using the bible
Children may not show growth in love for the Bible, they may not understand that Bible is the basis of the Christian faith and find authority on faith conduct, They may not understand the Bible contents, customs, history, and geography, and They may not know how to apply the truth of the Bible in their daily living.
2.12.2 Poor moral development
One paramount responsibility that God gives to married couples is the duty of training and nurturing the children that come out of their wedlock. Unfortunately, some parents overlook this duty and their children scatter and fall prey to wild environments as sheep without shepherds.
2.12.3 Poor Mental Development
Njoku (2013:86) states that
Poor intellectual ability is not God’s perfect will for them. The home is the first nursey school developing children intellectually among other areas of their development. It is meant to be so because childhood is the foundation upon which the other stages of human life are built. It is upon the child-hood stages of human life that spiritual, moral, intellectual, social, etc. developments are laid.
By neglecting child upbringing in the home, family, church, and society. There are disrespect and dishonesty to parents and authorities. Hardly could some children be trusted, disobedience to parents, steal live wildlife, tell lies, fight, destroy, properties and late work. Njoku asserts that “child neglect does not only hamper the moral, mental and the spiritual development of children but can also hinder Njoku (2013:87) write that,
The church should educate the parents on the proper and effective use of every child’s educational program developed by the church. It also provides encouragement and counseling to make the program successful. There should also be education criterial to find out success and failure areas and come up with the right approach (es) and solution (s) and thereby bring to successful areas.
Also, the church should help by encouraging family devotion and Bible study, making its concern felt in every need of the family, establishing nursery schools for its children. Njoku (2013:87) describes Christian education as, “Bible-based Holy Spirit-empowered, and Christ-centered teaching-learning process.
Functionally it is an education that seeks to guide individuals at all levels of growth through contemporary teaching means toward knowing and experiencing God’s purpose and plan through Christ in every aspect of living to equip them for effective ministry.
Hall (1998:31) says,
The church through caring adults can help to meet many of the child’s basic needs for love, security, belonging, significance and recognition. In the church’s educational program, the teacher can express and exhibit God’s love for the child in Christ, the child can find security. In the fellowship of the church, he can find a sense of belonging. In pleasing Jesus and serving others, he can give love and find self-esteem and recognition.
Children need love; a child who receives love feels valued. There are many ways to express love to a child. One way is by sharing our time as well as our possessions, by listening to the child and doing things with him. We also show the child he is loved when we accept him as a unique person and help him to find satisfaction in doing the things he does well. Children need to hear words of love spoken to them. They need to know that parents and teachers enjoy being with them.
2.13 Summary of Related Literature
In this chapter, “Literature Review”. It has given attention to the concept of child upbringing. To this end, the researcher observed that child upbringing involves teaching that encompasses both instructions in procedures, a process to guiding children to the information they will need, and challenging them to engage in thinking about concepts they construct in their minds.
The materials examined from various scholars revealed that the concept of child upbringing cut across the globe and has passed through developmental stages. Children are the next generation of human existence and their upbringing is very fundamental. God charged parents to undertake the upbringing of children in love and discipline.
The study considered the opinion of scholars on the methods of child upbringing. The research submitted that following the biblical principles, parents were instructed to teach their children by word and example. The researcher also observed that the church is responsible to teach the parents by example as much information as it is formal.
Family devotions, holiday traditions, mealtime prayers, bedtime prayers, and family conversation provide the atmosphere in which faith is communicated, the ways by which Christian parents can help teach their children. Also, parents apply many methods in the process of bringing up their children, ranging from authoritarian, Permissive, uninvolved and authoritative.
There are also agencies involved in child upbringing as the researcher observed, notably; the home, school, peer group, the church, and the family, it is in the family that parent interacts with children, with parents caring out designated responsibilities.
Also, factors that affect child upbringings such as Age of parents, social class, educational level, culture, income, religion, a parental background of the parents, home environment, communication, disciplinary measures, and parenting style were observed and treated by the researcher.
Discussing the role of the church in child upbringing, the researcher observed that the church is given the command to disciple individuals and to teach them to obey God’s ways and as well is responsible for the child’s spiritual development.
On the problem of child upbringing, the major reason given by family members for why they don’t get more involved is lack of time and some attributed it to lack of information, communication, and knowledge of what is going on. Getting to the impact of child upbringing, the researcher found out that early childhood training is where the foundation is laid. Poor performance in the other levels of academics can be traced to this foundational level. So a thorough knowledge of what and how training is been handled at this level is very important.
Also on the impact of child upbringing, certain benefits like child discipline, character formation, sex education role, religious role and provision of education were all observed.
Finally, on the consequences of neglect of child upbringing, the researcher observed three things, namely: somethings we deny the children when we are not using the Bible properly, poor moral development and poor mental development. These are the reason why children fail. With regards to this: the paramount responsibility which God gives to married couples is the duty of training and nurturing the children that come out of their wedlock.
This chapter discusses the method and the procedure employed in the study. It is organized and carried out under the research design. Area of study, the population of the study. Sample and sampling techniques, an instrument of data collection, and administration of instruments and methods of data analysis were critically treated. The research was conducted with the approval of Assemblies of God Divinity School Nigeria, located in Old Umuahia, Abia State. The data collection methods are/were questionnaires and individual interviews.
3.1 Research Design
The descriptive survey design was employed in this study. Gay, (1996:35) wrote that survey research focuses on eliciting information from a sample of a population about their beliefs, opinions, attitudes, motivations, and behavior towards phenomena. This design is ideal for this study because it was concerned with obtaining information on the role of the church in the child upbringing of a child in the Umuahia Central (Jerusalem) District, Assemblies of God, and Nigeria.
3.2 Area of Study
The research covers the geographical area of Umuahia North Local Government Area and Bende Local Government Area of Abia State. The area is selected due to some deviance in the child upbringing and child abuse in the area. The area is dominated by civil servants, business settlers and few farmers.
Umuahia Central (Jerusalem) District is closely surrounded by other sisters District, Umuahia North (Jerusalem) District, Umuahia Main (Jerusalem) District and Aliudo District. Currently, Umuahia Central is made up of eighteen (18) sections; namely: Urban 1, Urban 2, Ibeku 2, Ibeku 3, Oboro 1, Oboro 2, Oboro 3, Oboro 4, Ariam, Awomuzie, Oloko 1, Oloko 2, Okporonyi, Uraka, Ibere 1, Ibere 2, Bende 1 and Bende 2.
3.3 Population of the Study
The population of this study centers on the entire membership (churches and sections) in Umuahia Central (Jerusalem) District of Assemblies of God.
Data from the Umuahia Central (Jerusalem) District first Triennial council meeting booklet 2018 states that there are 18 sections, 59 set-in-order churches, 37 non-set-in–order churches, and 96 churches in total. Also, the same data shows that there are 18 sectional leaders, 107 ordained ministers, 9 retired ordained ministers, 28 licentiate ministers, and 4 exhorters, thereby making it a total of 148 ministers, all in Umuahia Central.
But in the course of this research, two hundred (200) personality was selected comprising of 15 selected pastors, (25) Deacons, (30) Deaconesses, and (130) members.
The table shows the population of district churches, sections, number of set-in-order churches, number of non-set-in-order churches, and a total membership of churches in the district studied, where the research was done.
|Sections||No. Of Set-In-Order Churches||No. of Non-Set-In-Order Churches||Total Membership|
Source of information: Umuahia Central (Jerusalem) District first Triennial Council Meeting booklet 2018.
3.4 Sample and Sampling Techniques
A stratified random sampling technique was used to selected pastors, Deacons, Deaconesses and members of the Umuahia Central (Jerusalem) District of Assemblies of God, Nigeria. They comprise of 200 personalities, being 15 pastors, 25 Deacons, 30 Deaconesses and 130 members. They are in a good position to identify the challenges facing the children in the district, and also they have knowledge of the problem facing the children and how to help them solve it.
3.5 Instrument for Data Collection
The instrument that was used for data collection was a research-developed questionnaire titled “Role of the Church in the Upbringing of a child”. The instrument consisted of two sections. Section A consisted of 6 open-ended items that required information on the respondent’s, name, sex, a local church, position in the church, year of experience and marital status. Sections B, comprised of 24 items that were separated into 5 clusters. Cluster 1 had 4 items that concerned with information on how the church plays her role in the upbringing of a child, cluster 2 has 5 items that dealt with how the church guide the child in spiritual matters. Cluster 3 consisted of 8 items that sought information from the respondent on how the church can develop the academic life of her children. Cluster 4 has 5 item that seeks to know whether the church build up the physical life of her children and cluster 5 contains 5 items that concerned the information on how the church build up the social life of her children. The items in the questionnaire are structured on a modified type of 3 point scale that ranges from yes, no, and neutral which are more suitable to the nature of the questionnaire items.
3.5.1 Validity of the instrument
The tool for the data collection is the questionnaire titled the role of the church in the upbringing of a child. The researcher submitted the instrument to his supervisor to validate, he examined it in terms of its relevance, appropriateness, and adequacy to elicit information to answer the research questions and hypothesis in relation to the research title. He modified it and corrections were made, it was produced and used in the study.
3.5.2 Reliability of the instrument
The Crombach alpha method was used to estimate the internal consistency of the questionnaire items by subjecting the instrument to test and re-test method. In doing this, copies of the questionnaire were administered to 15 pastors, 25 Deacons, 30 Deaconesses and 130 members from Umuahia Central (Jerusalem) of Assemblies of God, Nigeria.
The questionnaire was administered to the respondents, completed and collected. The Crombach alpha techniques were applied in analyzing the data collected from the pilot sample.
3.6 Administration of the Instrument
The research visited the pastors, in their churches and distributed copies of the questionnaire. He allowed each pastor to visited some hours to respond to the items before retrieving the filled questionnaire. Similarly, the sectional headquarters were visited and the questionnaire copies were distributed to the sectional leaders. Provisions were made for a repeat visited so that members were given opportunities to fill in their responses. At the end of the exercise, all the distributed questionnaires were collected back.
3.7 Method of data Analysis
The results of the data obtained from the respondent were analyzed using a table at the simple percentage and interpretations were made.
Where f = frequency of respondents.
DATA ANALYSIS AND PRESENTATION
This chapter presents the analysis of data collected for the study in relation to the research objectives and research questions. 200 questionnaires were distributed and there was a 100 percent return.
Data obtained from the study are presented below:
4.1 Research Question One
Does the church play her roles in the upbringing of a child in the Umuahia Central (Jerusalem) District of AGN?
Table 4.1 Show the roles the church play in child training in the area
|1.||Church guides the child in spiritual matters.||100||100||0||0||0||0||100%|
|2.||Church develop the academic performance of her children||90||90||10||10||0||0||100%|
|3.||Church builds up physical life of her children||85||85||15||15||0||0||100%|
|4.||Church builds up the social life of her children||55||55||45||45||0||0||100%|
From table 4.1, 100 respondents, representing 100%, said yes while none said no. In the analysis above opined that the church guides the child in spiritual matters. From the above 90 respondents that represent 90% asserted that the church develops the academic performance of her children. Also in the light of the above table, 85 respondents that represent 85% notes that church builds up the physical life of her children.
Based on the table above, 55 respondents that represent 55% said yes while 45 respondents that represent 45% said no and non were Neutral. From the table above said that the church builds up the social life of her children.
4.2 Research Question Two
How does the church guide the child in spiritual matters?
Table 4.2 shows how the church guides the child in spiritual matters
|1.||Intensive biblical study||95||95||5||5||0||0||100%|
|2.||Exemplary Christian living||100||100||0||0||0||0||100%|
|3.||Visual method of learning||75||75||25||25||0||0||100%|
|4.||Lecture method of learning||70||70||25||25||5||5||100%|
|5.||Verbal method of learning||97||97||3||3||0||0||100%|
From the table above 95 respondents that represent 95% said the intensive biblical study, while 5 respondents that represent 5% said no and none were Neutral.
Base on the 100 respondents that represent 100% said exemplary Christian living, while none said no. still, on the table, 75 respondents that represent 75% said visual method of learning and 25 respondents that represent 25% said no.
Also, on the table, 70 respondents that represent 70% said the lecture method of learning and 25 respondents that represents 25% said no and 5 respondents that represent 5% were Neutral.
In the light of the table, 97 respondents that represent 97% said verbal method of learning and 3 respondents that represents 3% said no.
4.3 Research Question Three
Does the church develop the academic life of her children?
Table 4.3 shows how the church develops the academic life of her children
|1.||Lack of time by the parents||85||85||25||25||0||0||100%|
|2.||Christian literature availability||90||90||10||10||0||0||100%|
|3.||Available Christian teachers who are devoted||95||95||5||5||0||0||100%|
|4.||Inadequate children Bible club in the church||40||40||55||55||5||5||100%|
|5.||Lack of good learning environment||65||65||35||35||0||0||100%|
From the above table, 85 respondent that represents 85% said yes, while 25 respondents that represent 25% said that lack of time by the parent.
90 respondents that represent 90% said availability of Christian literature while 10 respondent that represents 10% said no. From the table also, 95 respondent that represents 95% said availability of a Christian teacher who is devoted, while 5 respondent that represents 5% said no.
Also, 40 respondents that represent 40% from the table above said inadequate children Bible club in the church, while 55 respondent that represents 55% said no, and 5 were neutral.
The table also shows that 65 respondent that represents 65% said Lack of good learning environment, while 35 respondent that represents 35% said no.
4.4 Research Question Four
Does the church build up the physical life of her children?
Table 4.4 shows how the church builds up the physical life of her children
|1.||Moral growth of a child||90||90||10||10||0||0||100%|
|2.||Spiritual upbringing of a child||98||98||2||2||0||0||100%|
|3.||Development of the society||75||75||25||25||0||0||100%|
|4.||Moral decadence of the child||5||5||95||95||0||0||100%|
|5.||Foundation for life||45||45||55||55||0||0||100%|
From the table above, 90% of respondents said yes that the church is responsible for the moral growth of the child 10% of respondents said no, while none was neutral.
The table also shows that 98% of the respondent said yes that the church is responsible for the spiritual upbringing of a child, while 2% respondent said no.
Still on the same table75% of the respondents said that the church is responsible for the development of the society, while 25% respondent said no.
In the same table, 5% of the respondents said yes, while 95% said no that the church is not responsible for the moral decadence of the child.
Finally, on the same table, 45% of the respondent said yes that the church sets the foundation for life while 55% said no.
4.5 Research Question Five
Does the church build up the social life of her children?
Table 4.5 shows how the church builds up the social life of her children
|1.||Educating the parents||80||80||20||20||0||0||100%|
|2.||Sound biblical teaching among parents and children||100||100||0||0||0||0||100%|
|3.||Provision of educational resources||80||80||20||20||0||0||100%|
|4.||Provision of social amenities||65||65||35||35||0||0||100%|
|5.||Provision of projections||55||55||45||45||0||0||100%|
From table 4.1.5, 80% of respondents said the church builds the social life of her children by educating the parents, while 20% said no. the table also shows that 100% of the respondents said that the church builds the social life of her children through sound biblical teaching among parents and children.
On the same table, 80% of respondents said the church builds the social life of her children through the provision of educational resources, while 20% of the respondent said no.
Still, on the table, 65% of the respondents said yes the church builds the social life of her children through the provision of social amenities, while 35% of the respondents said no.
Also, 55% of the respondents said that the church builds the social life of her children through the provision of projection, while 45% of the respondents said no.
4.6 Analysis of Result
The result of the table shows that: firstly, the church guides the child in spiritual matters, develops the academic performance of the child, builds up the physical life of the child, and also builds up the social life of the child. Secondly, the church guides the child in spiritual matters through intensive biblical study, exemplary Christian living, visual method of leaning, lecture method of learning and verbal method of learning.
Thirdly, the way the church develops the academic life of her children includes lack of time by the parents, Christian kinds of literature availability, available Christian teachers who are devoted, inadequate children bible club in the church and lack of good learning environment. Fourthly, the church builds up the physical life of her children through the moral growth of the child, development of the society and foundation for life.
Finally, the church builds up the social life of the children by, educating the parents, sound biblical teaching among parents and children, provision of social amenities, provision of educational resources and provision of projectors.
SUMMARY, CONCLUSION, AND RECOMMENDATION
This chapter discusses the summary of the findings, conclusions, and recommendations on the “Role of the Church in the upbringing of a child in Umuahia Central (Jerusalem) District of Assemblies of God Nigeria.
The study was investigative research that evaluated the Role of the Church in the upbringing of a child in the Umuahia Central (Jerusalem) District, Assemblies of God Nigeria; a careful study has been successfully carried out. The aim of this study was to examine the role of the Church in the upbringing of a child, to know the areas of child upbringing challenges associated with the upbringing of a child. Areas of neglect of children. Also to identify the methods of child upbringing in the church. To know the agencies for child upbringing.
Also to investigate the factors that affect child upbringing, investigate the problems in child upbringing in the church, examine the impact of child upbringing, and evaluate the consequences of neglect of child upbringing.
In Umuahia Central District, there are various agencies that are involved in the upbringing of a child. This means that children’s upbringing is not entirely left for the church. Agencies such as the home, school, peer group, the mass media, are involved in the task of children’s upbringing and exert one form of influence or another on the children.
The study further showed seven challenges associated with the upbringing of a child which the child must correct with sound Biblical teachings. This include; misconception of children education, the misconception of teaching, social influences, peer pressure, a bad habit like wrong dressing (Code), alcoholic drinks, then gambling and cultism.
The study further shows the various areas of neglect of children. Which includes, the duty of the parents, the church (misconceptions toward the children), parents not taking their children to church, negligence of the word of God (Bible), and lack of Bible-based discipline.
In order to achieve the above aims, four research questions were posited to guide the proper conduct of the study. To obtain answers to these questions, a 16 item questionnaire was formulated based on the research questions and was administered to the sample area made up of the churches in Umuahia Central District with a total population of one hundred which were randomly selected.
In carrying out this research work, in the end, it will serve as an insight into the church on children’s upbringing. Those (churches) whose children are not well trained, shall be the beneficiaries of this work.
The success of a child’s upbringing lies in the hand of the parents. The privilege of teaching and training children in the way of Jesus belongs to the parents and the church. They are the ones whom God will hold accountable. From the research carried out, the researcher has come to the conclusion that church and parents who have the mind of bringing the children into a Christ-like manner should carefully guide the children.
Therefore, there is a need for them to receive adequate academic training by the church and parents who have determination. The child should be made to understand that God must be worshipped in spirit and in truth. The church and parents should always remember that he/she is a worker for God. And can fully rely on God’s grace to supply the human lacks that will help him/her to bring up the child as a good citizen who will become an instrument of change, in the school, home, community, and church as a true Christian believer.
With teachers, tutors, coaches, instructors, and other specialists in the children’s lives, it becomes increasingly important that the church does not succumb to the pressure to be just another specialist to do the work of faith training and instruction. Instead, the church needs to shift the paradigm so that parents are given not only the lead role in the faith development of their children but also the confidence to do so. Therefore, the church’s role is to come alongside parents in a ministry of support to equip and encourage them. Lack of proper Christian education to our children lures the children to open misconduct both at home, school, society and even in the church.
This study on the Role of the Church in the upbringing of a child in the Umuahia Central (Jerusalem) District, the researcher has succeeded in propounding efficient recommendations which will be of immense help to child training both in the church and society at large if it is duly implemented.
The following recommendations are made from the findings and conclusion of the study for further improvement of the Role of the Church in the upbringing of a child in Umuahia Central (Jerusalem) District, Abia State.
- The church should endeavor to educate the parents since the parents are entrusted with the responsibility of child training because it will help to enhance the child’s training at home.
- Church and parents should be encouraged to provide their children with the needed materials for studies such as textbooks and other necessary materials for studies such as textbooks and related materials for their education.
- The church and parents should endeavor to impose their educational status so as to provide the needed advice and environment for their children to learn effectively.
- The church should employ dedicated teachers who are devoted to children’s education for sound biblical, spiritual and moral development of the child.
- Teachers should try to relate positively with children, because some may not have the same ability to meet up with academic work because of their educational background.
- The church leaders should make efforts to provide adequate teaching facilities and a conclusive environment for children’s training.
- Efforts should be made to train and retain children’s teachers so as to improve service delivery.
5.5 Suggestion for Further Studies
The researcher made the following suggestions for further studies:
- The study can be replicated in a nearby District such as Umuahia north (Jerusalem) and Umuahia (Jerusalem) District of Assemblies of God Nigeria.
- The challenges of modernization in children’s upbringing in Umuahia central (Jerusalem) District assemblies of God Nigeria.
- The church and the spiritual growth of the child, in Umuahia central (Jerusalem) District assemblies of God Nigeria.
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