Summer is over, family vacations taken, new clothes and school supplies purchased, children ready to go back to school; and parents are ready for them to go! These are August traditions and part of our getting back into routine.
Accompanying our children’s education, there are some other areas with which parents need to concern themselves in relation to students’ spiritual and moral lives. Below are a few questions for personal reflection. Since we are approaching the Church New Year, perhaps some of these can be “resolutions” for our families.
• Am I more conscientious about getting my child to extracurricular activities than getting him/her to Church and catechism?
• Am I concerned about my child’s spiritual nourishment as much as I am about his/her physical nourishment?
• When I take my child to Holy Communion, do I set an example in preparation and receiving myself?
• Do I let my child get away with contrived excuses for not attending the services or youth outreach of the Church? Do I look for excuses myself?
• Do I demonstrate by my example that other activities, such as sports and recreation, are more important than worship and good works?
• Do I encourage my child’s generosity by being generous myself? Does my tithing and charity reflect generosity or selfishness?
• Do I challenge my teenager to keep his/her purity because it is God’s command to do so? When I talk to my teenager about sexual matters do I teach what the Gospel says about fornication? Am I afraid to call sexual promiscuity sinful?
• Do I truly expect my children to be polite and respectful to their elders? Does my child either refuse to speak to adults or answer with curtness?
• Do I defend my child even when he/she is wrong? Do I refrain from correcting my teenager for fear that he/she will leave home?
• Do I gossip about my neighbor in my child’s presence?
• Do I think it is normal for my child to use bad language? Has he/she heard the same words at home?
Many parents today do not believe that being Christians obliges them and their children to be different from the world. If we want to bring our children up in the Orthodox Faith, to be “in the world but not of it”, we must accept that this means being different; and it’s a good difference! It’s an attractive difference! We must not fear that the observance of Christian standards makes us stand out. If we fear this peculiarity, we, and our children, end up estranged from the Body of Christ.
Source: St. Lawrence Orthodox Church