In his song titled Ulimbe Mtima from the album Cease Fire, musician Lucius Banda says bearing a child is simple, but raising that child is a different issue. Yes, it is difficult to raise a child, especially when it comes to monitoring and controlling their behaviour. This task is becoming more difficult than before.
This problem has not spared Christian families.
Children of some pastors, reverends and other devoted Christians are troublesome in communities. Their behaviour does not match the Christian teachings they learnt at Sunday School. They are a nuisance.
In the evening, parents invite them for prayers at the sitting room. After the prayers, the children leave for their bedrooms where they close the Bible and turn on the cell phone or laptop to watch pornography.
While parents forward holy messages to their friends on WhatsApp, the children are busy forwarding dirty messages to their peers. Shame!
When the parents are asleep, the children sneak out to nearby night clubs to drink and engage in all sorts of immoral behaviour. The following morning, they join their parents to praise God at church.
“I have no kind words for most young people of this generation. In our time, we were so obedient to our Christian values. My own children are troublesome; they sleep out at will,” complains one parent from Chitawira in Blantyre.
But one wonders why children from Christian families behave immorally. Reverend Father Michael Mtambo of Independent Anglican Church says the problem is that many Christian parents teach their children about spirituality only without telling them other realities of life.
“Many young people are misbehaving because what they are told in their homes is different from what they meet when they are at school or in the streets. Once these youths go out and meet their friends, they are easily introduced to bad things in the name of enjoying life,” says Mtambo.
He adds that most of the young people misbehave when they are away from their parents, for example, when they are at a boarding school.
Many children are no longer obedient to their parents. Some go as far as fighting their own parents. Of course, Matthew 10: 21 predicted that children will rebel against their parents, but it is becoming too much among youths and one wonders what kind of church leaders these youths will be.
One of the youngsters, Stella Phiri from Madisi Trading Centre in Dowa District, says some youths misbehave when set free because their homes are so restrictive.
“Parents should accept that we are grown-ups now so their restrictions should have limits,” says Stella.
Mtambo urges parents to enlighten their children both spiritually and socially. “Parents should tell children about both spiritual and social life. Let them tell the children both the excitement of social life such as love affairs and the consequences of such behaviour,” he says.
Will really these lost youths someday return to their Christian senses? In Luke 15:11-32, Jesus talks about a young man who got his share of his father’s estate—the story of the prodigal son.
Jesus says: “When he came to his senses, he said, `How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worth to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men’.”
The father forgave the lost son. This shows that young people who have gone astray can change and start walking the Christian path again.
“It is not too late for the lost young people. Let them return and adhere to Christian values,” says Mtambo.n