Manual Not Included
Written By: Alena Baker

You've just purchased the latest electronic gadget. You open the box, remove the plastic bubble wrap and you have it in your hands! You run your fingers all across it touching all the buttons, enjoying every square inch of its texture. You immediately reach in the box for the instruction manual. You want to learn all about your new investment. You look in the box further to find that not only is there an instruction manual but there's a poster! Yes, everything is all mapped out for you. It is time to enjoy your new investment.

Don’t you wish children came with instruction manuals, maybe even a poster? I mean, after all, they are an investment. You spend an undisclosed amount of money on them throughout their lifetime and you spend countless amount of time with them. Sounds like an investment to me. So why don’t they come with instruction manuals?

I remember the first day that I brought my little four pound, eight ounce investment home from the hospital. He was the cutest thing that I'd ever seen. He was soft, sleek and so priceless that all I wanted to do was hold him in my hands. As I ran my fingers all over him to coat his supple skin with lotion, I reached in his bag for a diaper, but not soon enough to avoid being sprayed with fresh pee!

I thought to myself, where is my instruction manual? I needed it to give me step-by-step instructions on giving my baby a massage without being sprayed with pee. I wiped my face and the baby's face off and continued. I was so going to learn the workings of my new investment.

Flash forward eighteen months. The little investment is pointing, babbling in foreign sentences and throwing tantrums when I don’t understand what it is that he is saying. Again, I don’t have an instruction manual. I will have to figure this out with patience and unfortunately, repetition. This investment is worth my time. I will reap all the benefits in the long run. Right?!

Children, like some PCs, come with just the basics. A child has the ability to open and shut its eyes, and the ability to cry when he needs something. Everything else has to be programmed. It is your responsibility to nourish them and to instill values. As long as you nurture and train your children as they navigate through life, you will be able to rest easy at night. Your children are a reflection of you.

Even though children don’t come with instructions, as parents it is our task to provide them with the best quality of care. Remember, you brought them into this world and they are a reflection of you. Love, cherish and respect your children.

I challenge you to come into a covenant with me to touch your little investment daily by giving him/her a hug and a kiss. The love that you program into your child now will last a lifetime.