Viewpoint: raising children

The decision to bring a human being into this world is one of the most important decisions two people can make. It brings with it a sacred responsibility that lasts for a lifetime and beyond…

Once the decision is made, many questions naturally arise…how can we be successful parents? How do we know if we are doing the right things? If we want our children to be successful inhabitant of this planet – how will we know if they are becoming successful human beings? How do we measure such a thing?

Perhaps if our child is the brightest in his class or her school, or region or country, then maybe that will be success…or perhaps if he is the best at something…anything…but the best. But, if it were that important for our child to be the brightest or the best, then we would also be filled with very negative wishes for the other children who may perhaps stand in the way of our child’s success. And those feelings would be hard to hide from our child and she may begin to share such feelings and model our attitude…becoming something frightful in the process. And then what if someone does come along who is a little bit better or a lot better, will our hopes and dreams of successful parenting and raising a successful child be dashed to ruin?

If we are planning to bring a human being into this world, we need to understand that we humans are spiritual beings, temporarily housed in a physical body to live a relatively short time (compared to eternity) in this physical world. When our soul (our spiritual reality) separates from our bodies, it continues to exist in the spiritual worlds of God for all eternity in the state and condition that we have created for it during our fleeting moments in this spiritual world. The real purpose of our lives is to prepare our soul for life in the spiritual world. And as much as we need eyes and ears and feet and hands in this physical world for our existence, so our soul needs spiritual qualities and the heavenly attributes for its life in the next world. Were an embryo in the womb of its mother to refuse eyes, ears, legs, hands, etc…for which it certainly has no need while it lives in that environment…it would be born into this world in a handicapped condition. In the same say, if we refuse to acquire and develop the spiritual qualities of our soul as the most important goal in our lives and the lives of our children, then we too may enter the next world in a state and condition that will handicap us for all eternity.

Our hopes and aspirations, then as parents should be foremost to ensure that our children turn their faces towards God and we should work day and night to instill into them the love of God and help them to develop the spiritual qualities of love, compassion, justice, truthfulness, patience, peacefulness, and many others. If our children also accomplish things in this physical world, it will be light upon light, but if we neglect to make their spiritual development our and their first priority, then whatever they accomplish will be temporary and perhaps achieved at the expense of what is praiseworthy and acceptable before God.

The beauty of this is that, the development of spiritual qualities is within the capacity of every human being to accomplish and we are not left alone as parents to figure it all out ourselves…consider these words of guidance:

“From the very beginning, children must receive divine education and continually be reminded to remember their God…”

“The parents must exert every effort to rear their offspring to be religious, for should the children not attain this greatest of adornments, they will not obey their parents, which in a certain sense means that they will not obey God…”

“Take the utmost care to give them high ideals and goals, so that once they come of age they will cast their beams like brilliant candles on the world…”