Helping my children chart their paths

By Harriet James
Wednesday, June 9th, 2021 00:00 | 4 mins read
Dr Theresa Atinuke Ogbewekon’s children; From left, Annointing, Ruth, Miracle,Perfection and Wisdom. Photo/PD/HARRIET JAMES

In the year 2010, Dr Theresa Atinuke Ogbewekon, a pastor with Jesus Covert International Prayer Center, Nigeria, was faced with a tough decision.

Her husband, a pastor as well in the same church, was being transferred to Nairobi and she was reluctant to move with him. 

“I had a big home, my life was stable. I had a strong network,” she recalls. 

She visited Kenya for a Ladies’ Conference in 2010 and then came back to tour the country with her children the same year.

She began to warm up and prepare psychologically for her stay in the country.

In 2011, they moved to settle in the country. Theresa is happy because of the choice she made.

The family have had many opportunities to serve. Together with her children, they have also been involved in charity. 

Dr Theresa and her husband Rev Dr Godwin Ogbewekon during Ruth’s graduation at Havard University. COURTESY

“I’m the chairperson of the friends of Tabitha Initiative, a community based organisation, which reaches out to orphans and girls rescued from early marriages and sexual abuses here in Kenya.

I offer consultancy services too once in a while, especially translating Nigeria languages,” she says 

A parent concern, worry

Theresa is glad that her children adapted well in Kenya and have passed through the 8-4-4 system smoothly.

“My first and second children who are 25 and 23 years respectively are all lawyers while the third born who is 20 years is in the university.

The last two who are 18 and 17 years are in secondary school. They also speak Kiswahili in addition to their Nigerian languages,” she says.

However, raising the five children has not been easy and Theresa admits to have faced various challenges in the journey. Not to forget that each child is different.

“One of the greatest challenges I faced was raising my first-born son who was a sickly child. He had seizures as well as asthma from birth and had water in his lungs.

He also had blocked tear glands, which required surgery, but we never did as he was miraculously healed.

We were in and out of the hospitals, spent a lot of sleepless nights and a lot of prayers too,” narrates Theresa 

When it came to her second born, Theresa recalls how she was worried of taking him to a boarding school.

“I feared that she would be negatively influenced. That she would fall to peer pressure. But I still let her go by faith and my husband and I just trusted that we had instilled enough virtues in her to carry her through.

Thank God she only went to school and became a great influence to others positively,” she says 

Her youngest child greatest weakness was gadgets. “From the time he was like three years, he could operate anything by himself.

He has become my teacher in all that and also my gym instructor. I have learnt a lot from him,” she says. 

Another thing that Theresa had to learn is getting to her children’s level in order to control rebellion.

“I didn’t have to sit there, high and mighty. I chose to become their friend, share interest with them such as doing workout with the boys, talking current and trending things in social media.

So they can feel free to talk to me and they can open up to me even if they are doing wrong because they know that I will not judge, but help them,” she explains 

To ensure that they are grounded, being a Christian, Theresa ensures that they pray together.

She also gives them assignments from the scriptures. which they share with the family in the evening during prayer time. 

“When they are not in the country I call to remind them of fellowship wherever they are. I even Google church location for them over there so that they don’t have an excuse of not going to church.

My youngest son has played piano in the church since he was seven years up to now, while my youngest daughter plays bass guitar for the church.

My second daughter is a Sunday School teacher while my eldest son is a praise worship leader.

Raising teenagers can be very dramatic, but I keep on telling them I’m in for the drama,” Theresa shares.

Different path

In addition, she ensures that all her children including the boys do house chores. “I stopped employing a house help and insisted that everyone must clean up after himself/herself.

When they leave their stuff behind rather that putting it in the right place, I confiscate it,” narrates Theresa 

Another area that Theresa struggles with is the fact that her children desired to take a different path instead of being pastors just like them.

While Theresa embraced the decision with an open mind, her husband was resistant and hoped that they will one day be pastors even in their different fields. 

“I personally left that for God to decide. I encourage them to do that which will give them satisfaction and fulfillment.

My major aim is to raise children who will bring honour to their family, to their nation and to the body of Christ.

My daughter wanted to study international relations so I suggested to her to do law and major in international law.

By so doing I did not remove her from her path just guided her to do an international stuff. As a professional, she heeded without resistance.

She did her bachelors here in Nairobi before proceeding to Harvard University, USA on grants to major in international law. She is presently working in the UN,” Theresa reveals.

Theresa writes about this journey on raising her children in her book, Call  Me Blessed, written to help parents, especially mothers raise children they will be proud of.

“In our society today we have various forums and platforms addressing issues in marriages and how to be better spouses.

We also have platforms advising on how to overcome financial challenges. But it’s rare to see forums addressing issues on how to be better parents,” she says in conclusion.