Parents in the Middle East and North Africa are carrying extra weight on their shoulders. They have dreams for giving their children better lives, but they also have fears. A father in Egypt tells us he worries, “What if my children are kidnapped on their way to school?” Syrian refugees in Lebanon are wondering, “Why aren’t my children allowed into Lebanese schools? What will we do if we can’t find a generator for our heater before winter comes?” Too many fathers are hanging their heads, thinking, “What if I can’t find work next week and we have no food or rent?”
And somewhere in the midst of these adult concerns, they are supposed to make room for childhood concerns. Millions of parents are exhausted, just teaching their small blessings how to brush their teeth or tie their shoes for the first time, answering hundreds of “why?” and “what’s that?” questions every day. This is our chance to bear one another’s burdens and support our Christian brothers and sisters overseas with Godly encouragement and practical parenting tips.
The second season of With Smyrna, produced by Rawad Daou and currently airing on SAT-7 KIDS and SAT-7 ARABIC, is dealing with issues of trauma. It aims to build awareness among parents so that they can recognize and deal with troubling behaviors. As a mother herself, Smyrna is passionate about integrating psychology with the Bible to provide practical help to parents. She explains, “My heart is for families, to reach out and help people have healthy family relationships.”
Smyrna goes on to describe the challenges, “There are a lot of parenting styles that are not reaching children in our region. Parents sometimes don’t give children a voice to explain that ‘I need to be respected; I need to be cared for; I need to be talked to in a positive manner and I will listen.’ One thing I repeat in every episode is that Moms and Dads need to model the behavior they want to see in their children.” It’s easier said than done, but children learn more from observing parental behavior than from listening to their instructions.
Just this month, on September 3, a new episode of With Smyrna taught parents about the best gifts they can give their children. In the 21st century age of technology, ubiquitous advertising, and child safety alerts, the pressure on parents to provide more and more for their children is heavier than previous generations experienced. But Smyrna’s advice goes deeper than consumerism.
In the short four-minute episode, she offers four priceless gifts parents can give their kids:
- a safe, loving home;
- a knowledge of biblical principles, right from wrong;
- valuing morals over success; Smyrna says, “Don’t get me wrong. We all want our children to be successful. But it’s more important to help others and to be compassionate.”
- unconditional love, just as God loved us before we loved Him.
Through SAT-7 programs like With Smyrna, your support is giving lessons to last a lifetime, not just for children, but for parents too. Thank you for the eternal difference you are making!
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© SAT-7 2017