God: our Father and Mother

When everything in a family is going along smoothy, it is all too easy for a parent to throw up his hands in horror at the behavior of other parents toward their children, or vice Versa. But then there are those difficult times when he is tired or worried. His own children behave badly, something explodes inside, and he feels the same violent feelings he has been condemning in other people.

Is there a remedy for the confusion of feelings that many parents have: a great love for their children and a sometimes violent impatience and frustration? There is, and the sooner this solution is understood and practiced the better, because friction often appears early and needs to be uprooted before it can become dominant.

The fundamental answer to problems of relationship between parents and children can be found in the Bible. The idea of God as the only creator is developed and explored throughout this book. Christ Jesus specifically and frequently emphasized the fatherhood of God, teaching his disciples to pray, "Our father which art in heaven." n1 Many times, when talking of God to his followers, he said "your Father," making it quite clear that everyone was included, that all were in fact the children of God.

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n1 Matthew 6:9

Christian Science, which coincides with the bible and especially the teachings of Jesus, expands this idea of the fatherhood of God and shows that God is our Mother too. This gives an essential completeness to our understanding of the creator and His creation. In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,m Mary Baker Eddy, n2 in giving what she understands to be the spiritual sense of the Lord's Prayer, writes:

n2 Mrs. eddy is the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science

"Our Fathe which art in heaven,

Our Father-Mother God, all-harmonious."m n3

n3 Science and Health, p. 16

Elsewhere in the same book, when referring to God, she states, "Love, the divine Principle, is the Father and Mother of the universe, including man." n4

n4 ibid.,m p. 256.

Once the idea of God as our Father-Mother is glimpsed and put into practice in relation to others, the burden of parenthood, with those unpredictable roller-coaster sensations, is eased. From the moment of a child's birth, for example -- and even before -- it is important to establish quite clearly that this child is the child of God, and so are the parents. Each, in his or her true identify, has a unique place in god's spiritual creation, and each is bountifully endowed with God's qualities: joy, goodness, health, love, grace.

As these ideas become the ideals for our action as parents, the child will more naturally respond to the care of his Father-Mother God, losing willful tension, aggression, or self-assertiveness. The parents, too, can be released from anxiety and a burdened sense of responsibility in caring for the needs of the child -- feelings that arise from the assumption that they as human beings created this child's God-given identity. The tendency to emphasize or excuse behavior problems on the grounds that they are inherited can be replaced by the happy assurance that child and parents are in truth heirs of God, that only Godlike traits really belong to man. By claiming with understanding their own special relationship to God, and that of their offspring, parents can feel God's intelligent guidance and direction in all aspects of home and family life.

As a parent and teacher, I have found that when I've clearly established these facts and worked at applying them, anxiety arising from children's behavior or health problems has eased, and the difficulties have been resolved. Children naturally love goodness, and love to be good and happy. It is sensible and rewarding to affirm ne's own and the child's relationship to God each day, so if a crisis does arise, the turning to God and trust in His control have already taken place. Then feelings of inadequacy, frustration, anger, have no opportunity to build up. They can find no resting-place where God's great and tender love for each one of His children is already discerned. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Is there a God beside me? Isaiah 44:8

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