The Role of Women in Character Development for Nation Building

By Sr Veronica Edivri 

Parental care and guidance have been fundamental to child upbringing; children are the joys of life as well as a source of pride, seeds of “arrogance,” cause of distress, and allurement,  and as parents, we are responsible for the right information about their personality.  

The impact of parents on their children helps bring responsibility, respectability, kindness, friendliness,  humility, and honorable and amiable adults throughout their life.  Children should be taught the principle of humility, tolerance, patience, and other such behavioral traits that strengthen their personality traits. 

 Raising godly children is a high calling, and the love that the mother gives is a guiding influence on her children as they grow up.  When mothers do not love their children as they should, signs of decaying society ensue; but when mothers love and teach their children as they should, the children’s and the nation’s futures look good.  

Women as Custodians of Heritage

We have a rich heritage that should form a vital part of our nation-building efforts.  And women are the custodians of this heritage that makes up our history, tradition, and cultural values.  This places them in a vantage position to advance the cause of nation-building.  

Theodore Roosevelt, one of America’s greatest presidents, described mothers as one supreme asset of national life; she is more important by far than the successful statesman, businessman, artist, or scientist.  This goes to prove how indispensable women are in nation-building. 

Although it is the responsibility of all to build our nation, it is still imperative to encourage women to play their vital role in building a virile nation with the male folks.  Males and females are gifted differently, and we can work harmoniously to accomplish great good.  Women, by divine endowments and natural disposition,  possess unique attributes which, if wisely and consciously harnessed, would enhance the building of a virile nation of our dreams.  Today’s world needs women who are sensitive to their nature and role, with their greatest task being to nurture and rebuild human values to avert humanity self- destruction. 

Women are a vital segment of human society as they are entrusted with the guardianship of life.  They do not only come to this world to push and birth babies but also push and birth  Cosmic purposes as well.  By Margaret D. Nadauld, “The divine light which you carry within your soul is inherited from God because you are His daughter.  Part of the light which makes  you so magnificent is the blessing of womanhood.” From the Fiddler On The Roof: “We  will all have peace in our hearts and knowledge of our true identity when we know who we  are and what God expects us to be.” This rightly concerns women.  Therefore “to whom  much is given, much is expected and required.” 

The issue of nation-building should be uppermost in the heart of every woman and every good citizen.  The children women bring into the world need to be nurtured to maturity in modesty and chastity with motherly care, love, and kindness.  “She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness” (Prov. 31:26 NKJV). 

 As mothers and children’s first teachers, women must go a step further to be positioned to play a vital role in nurturing, teaching, and properly training children in the way of God to become assets to the nation.  

The mother who does her part in rearing and training aright boys and girls who are to be men and women of the next generation is of greater use to the community and occupies, if she only would realize it, a more honorable as well as more important position than any man in it.  Our thanks go to mothers for shaping souls and building character.  

By James Montgomery Boice, “A nation’s strength is found not in the number of its laws, but in the character of its people.” For proper nation-building, parenting must be taken seriously because exemplary men and women who have the responsibility to build the nation must have a good upbringing at home before they are exposed to the larger society. 

 Confucius opined that “the strength of  a nation derives from the integrity of the home,” and Martin Luther King Jr. said that though “a mother’s place is inside her home, she should also make certain she gets outside that home  enough to help worthwhile crusades and actively mold the country her children will live  in.” The woman and mother hold a key position in shaping the fate of the nation.  This role must be recognized and respected and cannot be ignored and denied because their efforts and contribution determine the level of growth of the nation. 

Being providers and maintainers, women are given to establish peace and cooperation.  By nature, they are peace crusaders for good governance.  

As Gipsy Smith once said, “If we are  to beat the Devil, we must beat him with the cradle.” And since the hand that rocks the cradle is the hand of motherhood, mothers, therefore, hold in their hands the supreme opportunity of moving the world for God.  According to Obauditus, “Children are the seeds of our future.  Plant love in their hearts and water them with wisdom and life lessons.  When  they are grown, give them space to grow.” 

Distinctive Characteristics of Women

A nation may not reach its fore-ordained destiny without the contribution of women  through their inner spiritual strength, as affirmed by Rudyard Kipling; “God could not be  everywhere, and so He made mothers.” Since women are perfect workmanship of God,  responsibility on young women stands as witnesses of God at all times and in all places in finding happiness and fulfillment as they respond to the deepest feeling of their soul.  Distinctive feminine nature belongs especially to women in roles they play, whether married or single, with such characteristics as gentleness, warmth, untiring generosity, love for details, quick-wittedness and intuition, simple piety, and constancy.  

To Josemaria Escriva, “A woman’s femininity is genuine only if she is aware of the beauty of this  contribution for which there is no substitute and if she incorporates it into her life.” Other associated traits are web thinking, mental flexibility, the ability to embrace ambiguity,  imagination, a penchant for long-term planning, verbal acuity, executive social skills, the capacity to collaborate, and empathy.  

Women must ask the question “Who are we?” to determine what we can give the nation, and education has a vital role as it provides the platform for addressing this fundamental question.  Women should have personal goals that coincide with womanhood and good education and skill training.  As Walter Farrell aptly puts it, “There is nothing in an age that so sharply mirrors its philosophy as the lives of its women.” Our nation needs men and women who are imaginative, dedicated and committed to putting honor, service, and patriotism above all else.  They are not only required in politics but also in business, traditional institutions, youth organizations, academics, and all works of life. 

The Power of Parental Influence

According to psychologists, every child comes into this world with a clean mind, like a blank slate waiting to receive whatever would be written on it.  However, some schools of thought, like the Rosicrucian Order AMORC, advocate that the child before birth needs to be implanted with good seeds, great ideas, and the right values.  

Mothers are afforded the opportunity to sow spirituality that is pleasing in the sight of the God of their Understanding.  When this task is not done properly and correctly, and since nature abhors a vacuum, the family is considered the cornerstone of individuals’ growth and development.  

Women perform the entire responsibility of childbirth and much of child raising.  Mothers care for their children’s physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual well-being.  During its developmental stage, her interaction with the child develops his behavior pattern as she is in charge of maintaining the highest discipline in the household.  Being the first teacher, she transmits to the child foundational principles, values, and attitudes that the child needs to be a good citizen of repute.  The infant learns manners and moral codes from the mother.  Thanks to her close and long-term interactions with the infant.  She discovers and nurtures unique characteristics and behaviors that are crucial to the young child in forming their personality.  Mothers should take advantage of every moment, no matter where they are.  The best time to start nurturing relationships is anywhere and at all times. 

Parents as Guardians of Life

Parents have the eternal responsibility to their children and humanity to guide and guard their children in commensurate measure to their nature and nurture, as they know themselves, realize themselves, and become scientifically minded, rounded characters who know what true comfort is but make no fetish about it, who are brought up in a milieu of ethnic bigotry but grew above them.  From Unto Thee I Grant: “……Teach him Justice, and he shall be honored by the world; teach him sincerity, and his own heart shall not reproach him.  Teach him science, and his life shall be useful; teach him religion, and his  death shall be peaceful.” 

Parents need to harmonize the heart and head in raising children who right the ills of society that negligence causes.  Through the heart, we understand the child and his temperament; for no two children are the same.  Training should be done in love and correct modeling.  To Anne Swetchchine, “There is a transcendent power in example.  We  reform others unconsciously when we walk upright.” Your lifestyle is the most important tool in shaping and molding your child’s character.

Preparing leaders for the future is certainly the most important goal for any serious thinking parent, society, and organization, and the education that we give our children is to prepare them for independent life for themselves and those around them.  Parents and would-be parents are responsible for creating an enabling environment for the highly dense soul personalities seeking means to express themselves through service delivery and, in the process, develop to the next rungs of the ladder of evolution.  

Mental and physical contact of women with life is much more lasting and comprehensive than men’s.  Committing to their primary roles as homes and nation builders is imperative, as we inculcate in our children moral values and good relationships with their spouses in anticipation of establishing godly families for nation-building. 

Women should curb the evil influences of their children to the barest minimum and teach them the way of knowledge, which is the path Rosicrucians indulge in as perhaps the greatest gift a parent can give their children beyond providing for their basic material needs.  

The English  West Africa Jurisdiction of the Rosicrucian Order AMORC has the Child Culture Institute for would-be mothers and the Junior Order of Torch Bearers Series for our children.  Proper home training and religious education curb unfortunate incidents of terrorism, banditry, and other social vices.  Proverb 29:15 says, “The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.” Discipline your children; they will give you peace of mind and make you glad. 

The Value of Integrity

Building character benefits all in many ways, besides helping us attain difficult goals; good personal character makes us trustworthy and admirable and makes us obey all the rules that exist, thus keeping us from trouble.  While it calls for a level of discipline and self-control, it results in improved life and social acceptance that are worthy of the sacrifice we make.  

E C. Mackenzie admonishes us thus: “In your search for riches, don’t lose the things that money can’t buy;” on this premise, it is pertinent to say at this time, that there are three fundamental values (honesty, sincerity, and morality) that every family should live by and all three are based on integrity that unifies characteristics of a higher standard of behavior.  Integrity is being honest with our dealings with others and extending the right to live by our standard, so long as it does not cause harm to others.  In essence, it makes us to be credible and trustworthy.  

As parents, we must instill in our children, through examples and active teaching, that personal integrity is demonstrated with honesty.  The lesson of integrity requires constant and conscious efforts on the part of parents and guardians.  Since every child and situation is different, parents must adapt, always keeping the lesson of integrity in mind. 

Instilling children with integrity and a realistic understanding of the world gives them the strength of character and awareness needed to avoid destructive people, prevent conflicts and hold their heads high in adversity, knowing they have made the right choices.  

From Unto Thee I Grant; “Prepare him early with instruction, and season his mind with  maxims of truth.” Self-confidence and self-control emerge as integrity is learned and imbibed, carrying our children into the future with better ethical behaviors.  Integrity leads us to stand by our words, keep our promises, clean up after ourselves to do our best work,  and treat others with respect and dignity.  

By considering other Family values, we see  that integrity is the “Mother of good behavior, good morals, and a successful, well-respected life.” What more could mothers ask for their children, their future, and the future of the nation? 

What the Woman Symbolises to Mankind

The woman symbolizes restoration and healing, the Creator that dreams courageously and trusts deeply in the intrinsic co-creative connection she shares with the Divine and the  Natural world.  She nurtures herself, those around her, and the planet.  She is the guardian and protector of the magical essence of life.  If we can separate true inspiration from personal ambition, then we are free from the competition for power that grips so many men and women today. 

 Our ideas and beliefs are just part of the way we navigate life.  Who and what we are is beyond our ideas and beliefs, and the challenge for women is to assume greater responsibilities.  If everybody sees the training of children as a task that must be done,  then we would make the family, society, nation, and the world a better place to live in as  God intended it to be.  To Taylor Hudson, “God is not saving the world; it is done!  Our  business is to get men and women to realize it.” 

When the family bond is fortified with good values, we make the world a better place.  Since God has not kept us in the dark in His  creation, we should not fail in our parental assignment: For in God’s assignment is His  enablement (2 Cor.9: 8).  

According to Theodore Roosevelt, “alone of human beings, the  good and wise mother stands on a plane of equal honor with the bravest soldier; for she  has gladly gone down the chasm of darkness to bring back the children in whose hands rest  the future of the years.” This indicates that women should leverage this power bestowed on them.  

The woman’s task is not an easy one, but in doing it, and when she has done it, there shall come to her the highest and holiest joy known to humanity; and having done it, she shall have the reward prophesied in scripture; for her husband and children,  yes and all people who realize that her work lies at the foundation of all nations happiness and greatness, shall call her blessed. 

If we are going to find our individual calling in life, we must put that as the highest priority.  We find our true purpose and fulfill it within our circumstances of the world for a truly integrated nature and greater responsibilities that satisfy the needs of the soul.  

Women constitute the present and future, hope and dream of a better world.  Being a  parent is the toughest job with heavy responsibility, and parents give an account of how they raised their children for incredible blessings and gifts from our Creator.  We must always ensure that we are the best parents we can be to them.  Prophet Muhammed PBUH  said, “Indeed, each of you is a shepherd, and each of you will be questioned regarding his  flocks.” (Tirmidhi) Let us stand side by side with the men folk and bring love, joy, and peace to the world because we are truly blessed. 

To Conclude

Let me conclude by emphasizing that the role of parents is to “raise their  children properly and correctly.” Most parents no longer carry out their duty as they should.  This is because parents have either given up on this domain or no longer possess the necessary reference points to see the task through.  Yet the future of humanity depends greatly on what children of today will make of it.  

According to  Serge Toussaint, it has become a matter of urgency to(re)educate children properly so that in adulthood, they may do the same for their own children and thus work towards the emergence of a more harmonious society that is committed to the respect and well-being of all.  

Serge Toussaint, the Grand Master of the AMORC, in his book Education Safeguard for Humanity, expressed the fact that the aim of education is indeed to guide children towards the symbolic heights of wisdom, which gives it a connotation that is both ethical as well as mystical.  It is with this mind that adults should strive to educate and instruct them.  If they were willing to make such an effort, society would undoubtedly improve from generation to generation and reflect the best in human nature, individually and collectively.

The Role of Women in Character Development for Nation Building

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