Thomas Awiapo

Thomas Awiapo: A Personal Message to Children

St. Augustine – one of the early fathers of the Church once said, “God created man without man, but cannot save him without him.” God created us out of pure love; we had no choice, we were passive in the process. Now that He has created us, we are no longer passive and He cannot save us without us. We have the free will to accept God’s offer of salvation or reject it. God does not impose salvation, He offers it. It is our ultimate choice to accept or reject it.

In a very similar way, our parents gave birth to us without us; we didn’t have the opportunity to choose whether to be born or not. We didn’t also have the chance to choose who should be our parents or where we should be born. Now that we are born, we have the free will to choose the sort of person we wish to be in society in the future. We can choose to be good or bad, to succeed or fail, to be worthy or worthless citizens in society.

The greatest reward and joy of any parent is a well groomed child. I guess this is why most parents do the best they can to bring out the best out of their children. Parents send children to the best schools and work day and night to keep them there. A lot of parents incur serious financial debts to keep children in the best schools. They leave no stone unturned to inculcate the best religious, social and cultural values into their children. I have encountered parents who have sleepless nights, constantly afflicted by stress and anxiety, developed serious health conditions as they pursue their hopes and aspirations for their beloved children. I am a parent and I want to take this opportunity to pay tribute to all parents as we continue to engage in these noble and joyful struggles for the sake of our children.

However, on the flipside of the coin, this is my humble message to all children: Though your parents have given birth to you and undoubtedly wish you the best of the best in life and continue to work hard to help you realize that dream, the choice is yours to accept or reject the offer. Your parents gave birth to you without you but cannot make the best out of you without you. They need your cooperation and collaboration. Parents can make the best efforts, the greatest sacrifices you can possibly imagine to make you unique and special children but unless you believe in your parents and lend them a hand, all their unwavering efforts and sacrifices will be in vain. Unless children open up themselves and allow parents to help transform them into great and worthy citizens, parents rising early and going to bed late for the sake of their children will all be fruitless.

Fellow parents, let’s continue to love, care and serve our children with due attention and diligence. They are precious and delicate. I know it’s tough, it’s demanding and challenging but please, please, do it joyfully with great love…and don’t you forget to thank God for the gift of children. Children, as you enjoy the love and care of parents, do make a conscious effort to thank God everyday for the gift of parents and pray that they live long to see you grow to realize your dreams. You never know the true value of parents until you don’t have them and I can tell you that.

– Thomas Awiapo
As a child in Ghana, Thomas Awiapo was a beneficiary of CRS school feeding programs. Now, as an adult, he works for CRS Ghana and travels to the U.S. annually to tell his inspiring story to American Catholics at schools, parishes and communities. Thomas will be a featured guest blogger and will be reporting from Ghana about the issues he witnesses firsthand.

Watch the video: Empowered for Life: The Thomas Awiapo Story.

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