Malankara World

Ideal Parenting in Christian Perspective

by Rev. Fr. Dr. V.M. Abraham

I am here to remind you all, about the responses of the children of the contemporary world, as I am well experienced in dealing with the School going and College going children for a reasonable period of time. In St. Luke 2:40 we read, “the child grew”.

The growth has two impacts, out of which one is the bodily growth and the other is the growth of the brain or wisdom. The mental growth is purely due to the Holy Spirit. A human being needs the growth of the body and spirit in a good proportion. If the balance between the growth of the body and spirit is disturbed, the growth will not reach the desired dimension. If the growth is taking place in one side only, the other side will perish. The sight of the unhealthy children is the example of the growth without proportion. Their physical body as a whole is not growing in proportion. When the head is growing in extra size, the other parts of the body remain in lesser growth. The total lives of such unhealthy children are hazardous.

A few years ago our young children were taken to Church by the grandparents. The grandparents or parents used to hold the tiny finger of the small child while going to church on Sundays. These days, parents are holding the fingers of their young children and walk on roads in the morning to send their wards to the School and again in the evenings to collect their wards, from Monday to Saturday, without fail. But those parents/grand parents are not seen on Sundays, holding the hands of their children/grandchildren and leading them to the Church.

This is a dangerous trend. The new generation is not guided to God and the worship, and, as a result, their spiritual growth gets dull and void. We have to realize that God’s wish and desire is that we all must be controlled by the Holy Spirit. The spirit is supposed to control the mind and the body. But, in reality, now a days mind is controlling the body. We all know what happened in the life of Lot’s wife. While trying for the salvation, she was controlled by the mind, and hence she became a victim of disobedience. She was interested in the mind and body. We should not forget the truth that good reading will provide an opportunity for the growth of wisdom. Due to the advancement of Science and technology, we seldom get enough time to read good books or articles. We waste a lot of time for watching TV and similar Media, which often provide us entertainment for the mind and body. When one reads good stuff, the ideas grasped would go to mind and would return back as noble actions. We often forget to close our eye lids and keep on watching programs in TV etc one after the other. The eye lids are meant to close against the views of unpleasant scenes. Our children keep on changing channels and God alone knows what they are searching with the remote control. They do not keep on watching a program as their interest is to search wherever they could. It is to be realized that they keep on searching scenes for emotional satisfaction. This is dangerous for the spiritual growth.

St. John the Baptist lived his life in the desert, which is a place of scarcity. The scarcity is a pre-condition of the spiritual growth and that is why our forefathers have instituted certain restrictions with the Lents and fasting. Some of our children brought up with spoon feeding might find it difficult to withstand the ‘ragging’ in the professional colleges. Recently one girl was asked to sing a song, by her seniors. When the compulsion increased she ran away from there without the permission and information of the College authorities. Parents must take care of granting practical training in facing the life to their young ones. Let us create a feeling of scarcity in every step of our lives.

Atmosphere is another need of the growth of the spirit, mind and body. Womb of the mother is the first environment, which is much secure and safe for the growth of the infant. St. Gregory of Nyssa advocated a triangular type of relationship with the father, mother and the child of a family. In such a condition, ‘love’ flows from one point to the other unceasingly. Now children are watching the unrest and absence of peace among the parents. And the parents try to get support of their children for the family issues. In such conditions father might say the drawbacks of the mother to the children and the mother might tell about the weaknesses of the father. In the competitive attempt of the father and mother, the children accumulate hatred and unrest in their tiny minds.

Parents must be particular to have their food together, without TV. Parents and children must find time to share their daily experiences while they are together on the dining table. Parents must listen to their kids patiently and allow the children to communicate with the parents with good faith and happiness.

Discipline is a must in the family but the core rule of discipline must be love. Parents must try to avoid authoritative mentality while dealing with issues of their kids. And it must be replaced with a loving action. When the parents might say ‘no’ to their kids, immediately the kids might ask back ‘why’. The parents will have to explain why the need cannot be granted. The parents must be patient and good enough to answer their kids in detail. If so, the parents could enjoy more peace and happiness from their children.

May God bless one and all.

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