Nurturing the next generation
The Bible has much to say about the role of parents and caregivers in shaping and nurturing the next generation. SAT-7 is seeking to support parents in this unique and vital role through a series of practical lessons shared on With Smyrna, written and presented by family counsellor, Smyrna Khalaf.
The culture of the Middle East and North Africa often denies the rights of children. “There are a lot of parenting styles that are not reaching children in our region,” explains Smyrna. “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 Mums and Dads need to model the behaviour they want to see in their children.”
The second series of With Smyrna, currently airing on SAT-7 KIDS and SAT-7 ARABIC, is dealing with issues of trauma. In this series, Smyrna aims to build awareness amongst parents so that they can recognise and deal with troubling behaviours. This is particularly important in a region facing political turmoil, war and terror such as the recent attack on Christians in Minya, Egypt. With Smyrna helps parents provide stability for their children, by discussing how to respond to trauma from a biblical standpoint. In a future series, Smyrna would like to tackle the difficult topic of sexual abuse.
Smyrna seeks to integrate her background in psychology and her love of the word of God in her teaching. As a result, With Smyrna not only shares parenting skills but also aims to deepen emotional and spiritual understanding to improve family dynamics. With only three minutes per episode, Smyrna’s parenting tips are straight to the point, infused with biblical values and engaging to watch. Children often tune in with their parents and parents often download the short clips on YouTube to watch again.
As a mother herself, Smyrna is passionate about helping parents create a strong and stable environment in which children can flourish. She explains, “My heart is for families, to reach out and help people have healthy family relationships.” Within healthy families, where tolerance and respect are valued, there is hope for future generations who can, in turn, share these qualities with their own children.
- Give thanks that With Smyrna is able to provide practical information which is grounded in biblical truth. Pray for parents watching With Smyrna. Ask that they would learn new truths about parenting with grace and love.
- Pray for writer and producer, Smyrna Khalef, as she develops new material for future series dealing with difficult issues. Pray for children suffering from trauma as a result of war and terror and for parents as they seek to help them through difficult times.
- Pray this verse for families in the Arab world: “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it” (Proverbs 22:6). Ask God to intervene in the lives of people watching With Smyrna, that they may be the start of a new generation of families whose dynamics are marked by tolerance and respect.
- Pray for Smyrna and her family – that they would know God’s protection and continue to grow together in love.
It’s a truism that Middle East societies are male-led and patriarchal. But how do you enable those men to lead well – to lead as people who will serve their families wisely and thoughtfully as well as seek to succeed in their own right?