A Mother’s Role In A Changing World
A Book Review
Title: A Mother’s Role In A Changing World
Author: Diane Akinkanju
Publisher: Inspired Writes Ltd. London, UK 2016
‘Every child is born good and perfect regardless of your beliefs, custom or religion….They are pure and unsullied, whatever they become is a testament to how we have moulded and formed them over the years’ – Diane Akinkanju
Diane Akinkanju is very clear about her intentions, her prayer and her hopes in writing this book. She wants to inspire, offer insight and guidance to mothers of every kind and however they have become mothers, mothers to be, married and single. The author also leaves no doubt about her dedication to and love for all things Godly.
‘A Mothers’ Role In A Changing world’, is a 114 page book with an attitude. It sets its agenda very quickly in the first chapter that is titled ‘In the Beginning’, and for the next nine chapters you are left in no doubt of the authors’ convictions and attitudes to motherhood and the adherence to the teachings of God in raising family.
In her book dedication Diane says…’ I dedicate this book to Jesus, the Glory and lifter up of my head….To my husband, the love of my life, my soul mate, my Honey Bee..Most of all you make me laugh like no one else can. I love you. My children, my rewards….You make me complete. You make me proud. You make my heart sing and you are the reason I am called mother’.
That pretty much tells you all you need to know about this author. She is uncompromising about her faith, love for family, commitment and love of service to humanity.
Diane addresses the need to be prepared for the task ahead of motherhood right from the onset, mentally and physically.
The whole book is punctuated with bible verses and prayer points, which are not necessarily finger wagging, accusatory, or religious fervour but can be experienced as friendly words of teaching, advise, guidance and encouragement.
‘For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it’. Luke 14:28
Diane’s love of nature and all that is creative can be observed through her exploration of the change in seasons to the beauty of horticulture
‘When there is cold we hope and long for the heat. We start to envision the long warm days ahead….We plant vegetables or seeds…and you picture in your mind’s eye….When the flowers are in full bloom and the fruit and vegetables are ready for harvesting.
In the first few chapters Diane shows her deep understanding and empathy for some of the complexities of motherhood by sharing her own personal experience as a single mother at a point in her life. She does this to further attempt to make connections and to keep things as real as possible.
‘I also empathise with women who are reading this book at the present time. Women who have become mothers, not by choice, but by the dictates of native custom, or through other unfortunate circumstances’
Bonding with a child at different levels and in different ways is very important to Diane and she refers to this throughout her book.
‘A mother never forgets her child. Even in the most unfortunate event of losing a child or having to give up a child. A mother never forgets!’
Diane makes references to great mothers in the bible who were challenged with various maternal issues.
‘Jochebed, the mother of Moses had to give up her son, not by choice, but because of what circumstances at the time dictated’
‘Rebekah was a mother instrumental to what her sons became. She favoured one son Jacob over the other Esau’
‘Hannah the mother of Samuel was instrumental in him becoming one of the most impressionable prophets of the Old Testament’.
Diane uses these examples to stress or impress upon mothers the need to be cognizant of the impact, effect we have on determining the futures of our children. She feels this knowledge must be guarded jealously, respected and honoured. She talks about the words we speak to and about our children and how we must be cautious and mindful about them.
‘Lord, help me to speak that which is right over my child/children. Luke 6:45
‘Help me always to remember that the words of my mouth can result in a good or evil report in the destiny of my child/children. Proverbs 18:21
The author describes her own deep sense of responsibility and dedication to this principle, which she adhered to by taking a hands on approach in guiding the spiritual lifes of her children.
In chapter two which the author titles ‘Speaking the right words’, she explores further about a subject I concur strongly with, which is the positive or negative impact the power of a mothers’ words can have on the child.
‘Words that are spoken constantly and vehemently, whether in anger or in prophesy, begin to take deep root in the spirit of the child. Wrong words can, over time build a wall so thick that it could take years to conquer the obstacles a mother inadvertently created’.
Diane suggests this can lead to the child developing health problems such as bed wetting, low self esteem which can result in a vicious cycle of latching on to poor role models. This is acutely relevant in our age of social media, bullying and the like.
Diane talks about the importance of being vigilant in our children’s lifes so as to be able to pick up on the tell tale signs they usual tend to give off to let us know when they need help or are in trouble in some way. Each child is different and it is up to us to find out how are individual children are communicating with us.
She talks about her own personal experience of picking up on the signs that her 8 year old was being bullied at school and she chose to be proactive in resolving the problem.
I found this to be very true in my experience in raising my own children and even up to this stage when they are young adults and they have an excellent command of language, to say what they need and how they feel. I am still trying to decipher those words and read between the words, look under and over the words when I sense they are in need of something else. That role of a mother changes over the years in its application but remains complex, and still requires vigilance.
In Chapter Three, Diane deals with the knotty issue of discipline, corporal punishment. This is a topic that has been politicised in the western world, but raises many questions and can be polarising.
‘For whom the Lord loveth, he correcteth, even as a father the son in whom he delighteth’. Proverbs 3:12
‘My children shall not be destroyed because of indiscipline’. Proverbs 19:18-19
Diane is very honest about her own experience and subsequent reaction to how she was disciplined as a child. She talks about feeling resentment at times when she was not clear and did not understand why she was being punished. While she is clear she is not averse to discipline, she says she believes children should be schooled in the mistakes they make and should always understand why a punishment is being doled out.
She says, ‘chastening or punishing is not always about smacking, beating or brandishing a whip’. There are other equally important, possibly more so, ways of meting out appropriate punishment that recognises accountability, responsibility and consequences for poor behaviour.
The author recommends spending as much quality time as you can with your children as again this builds a strong bond and is also a time to explore those sticky and uncomfortable topics such as puberty, sex drugs, etc.
She takes this a step further and suggests trying to engage the friends of your children. To encourage your children to bring their friends home and try to welcome and entertain them with open arms. This was a strategy that I energetically employed and I was greatly rewarded by it. I found that not only did it allow me to be aware of who they were associating with and give me some insight into their interests, it also as the author suggests allows your children’s friends to feel comfortable around you and in your child’s home.
Chapter Five is called ‘Strange Children’ and I was quite intrigued at what it would contain. In this chapter Diane explores the concept of ‘dark forces’ in relationship to children conceived under questionable circumstances. This is what she refers to as ‘strange child’. She says this is a child conceived from a strange source.
‘The source of our children determines the outcome of their lifes and destinies’. She goes on further to say, ‘I also think it is pertinent to mention that it is not always that the children come from a strange or alien source. Sometimes the things and vessels they come into contact with could become channels or vessels through which a child begins to demonstrate strange behaviour and negative behaviour.’
These are issues that are very personal to your own individual beliefs and faith. It will resonate or not with different people.
The author is adamant that parents need to be more aware of the company their kids keep, the information that their children are exposed to and the materials their children have access to. These particular views have definitely been my personal modus operandi with my children.
In Chapter Seven, Diane addresses the important issue of treating children as our possession. This is particularly relevant in African culture. She says in the opening paragraph, ‘They are not our possessions. They are given to you by God so that you can love, watch over them, and nurture them’.
Diane suggests we have been entrusted and blessed with the gift of children and should hold that responsibility lovingly by allowing them to fulfil their God given destinies. I hold no arguments on that one.
‘A Mother’s Role In A Changing World’ will mean different things to different people. If you are a Christian then it more than likely will represent a parent’s Holy Grail. If you are not, it holds many gems that will equally be of great value to you.
It’s a little book with a big punch. Its accessible, it’s funny, it’s generous, it’s gentle, it’s loving……I met its author Diane Akinkanju and these are all words that I would use to describe her!
Diane Akinkanju works in London with the rehabilitation of offenders. She is married three adult children.
You can catch Diane on www.dianemusings.co.uk
Official Book Launch: Saturday 17th September 2016-09-11 4:00 pm – 7 pm
At Christian Life Centre. 11 Arnott Close, off Titmus Avenue. Thamesmead SE28 8BG