Five years ago her husband died, leaving her alone with two little girls and a one year old boy. For years she struggled to take care of them all, to feed her children, to make sure they had a roof over their head to keep them dry in the rain, and give shade in the heat. Before he died her husband had cared for cows. She took over his job. All day she grazed the cattle, taking them to water, and lighting smoke fires at night to keep the insects off of them. Day and night she was busy, making sure there was enough to feed her children when she came home at night.
They survived. For 5 years they have survived. Her son is now 6. He never listens to her. If she says, “Come here”, he runs away. If she tells him to give her something he throws it away. She had no idea what to do. Nothing she tried was working.
Two months ago the Charis Family Education Team came to her village for the first time. The first class they taught was on Early Childhood Education. As she listened to how important it is to have a trust bond between a parent and child, and how healthy attachment is the foundation for all other interactions and learning, she began to understand what was happening.
“I’ve been so busy making sure we have food to eat, I never took time to build a bond with my son. I didn’t know it was important. My children think I don’t care about them. They only see that I’m too busy to spend time with them.”
She went home determined to change things. She worked on building attachment with her son. She started taking him with her in the evening when she had to go out. She talks to him and asks him questions. She tells stories. She listens to his stories. She decided to lay down to sleep at the same time as him every night and lay close together.
“Now he feels that I love him,” she told us, just 5 weeks later. “Now there is love between us. I think we have an attachment now.”
Her son’s behavior has completely changed. Now he is eager to please his mama, to be close to her and spend time with her.
“Our whole house is more peaceful now.”
When her daughter failed a test last month, she didn’t shout at her and beat her, as she had in the past. She’s learning to encourage, to give strength with her words. Instead she said, “It’s ok. Try harder. I’m sure you can do better next time if you try harder.”
Her daughter’s response was, “Yes mom, I will try. I will do my best!”
“It is so different now in our home than it was in the past,” she said.
This is what we mean when we say that Family Education gives parents tools that help them raise their children to be strong and healthy adults. Our goal for this class was to give illiterate migrant parents the ability to raise children who would go on to be smarter than their parents. But they are getting so much more than that. They are getting the tools to bring peace to their homes, and show love to their children in ways that their children understand and actually experience as love.
You help bring love back into families again.
You can support family education and help families grow stronger together by donating today.
Carrien is co-founder of The Charis Project, Family Education Curriculum Developer, and mom of 6.
You can get her free mini-course on Making Your Family More Resilient here.