How to be a good parent
What parent doesn't yearn at times for a sure guide to bringing up children -- a guide that will have the perfect answer for every situation? Of course, volumes abound describing various methods of parenting. Many are helpful. But others are confusing. Human opinions often do confuse.
However, if we turn to God, the one divine Mind, and listen to His Christ, we will get the answers we need. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes, "Christ is the true idea voicing good, the divine message from God to men speaking to the human consciousness." n1
n1 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,m p. 332;
The Christ brings to humanity the wise realization that God's creation is not a material organism, subject to dangers, pressures, and the limitations of matter. Man, including our own true being and the true being of what we perceive as children, is God's loved immortal offspring. The Christ translates this eternal relationship of God and man in a way humans, including those in family situations, can understand. The Psalmist gives this reassuring Christly message: "I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye." n2
n2 Psalms 32:8;
Some years ago I learned the value of turning to God for guidance. I was expecting a new baby. Eager to give this little one the very best opportunities for development, I began a reading program to educate myself further in the popular ways of bringing up children. I read the opinions of a number of child guidance experts. As I read I tried to decide which opinion was the best one to follow. Midway through one book outlining a rather unconventional approach to child rearing, I began to feel pain in my back, and it continued for several days.
I put the book aside and began to pray. It soon became clear to me that I was trying to carry a great burden of responsibility for the upbringing of this child. I was thinking that I needed to decide what were the best ways to make this little mortal into a model human being. This task seemed very difficult to me and loaded with dangers. And indeed it would be, so long as I considered this child to be my own mortal creation.
But the fact was this child was not really a mortal at all but, in its true being, a spiritual idea of God. God was its only Father-Mother. The responsibility for its development was ultimately His alone. My job was to understand and love God more, to love the true being of my child and myself -- to see both completely cared for and guided by our perfect Parent -- and to obey , and demand obedience to, God's law. This understanding, I saw, would lead naturally to my own wise human care for the child. Clearly, I could do more for this child by holding in thought its pure, unselfish, spiritual nature than by studying human ways and means to correct faults. I dropped by burden, and my back was free of pain. That was the end of the trouble.
During the years following this healing, my husband and I have constantly turned to God for guidance in raising our daughter. Whatever the situation -- it might concern discipline, her relations with others, schooling, use of talents, or some other question -- we have always found that the best decisions were arrived at through prayer. Prayer has helped not only to spritualize our concept of our child, to see her as God's child, but also to improve our own example to her. Childhood fears, undesirable traits of character, and physical illnesses have faded away as all three of us have relied completely on God for solutions.
The prophet Isaiah promises, "Thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left." n3
n3 Isaiah 30:21.
The more we listen to what God has to teach us about His spiritual family, the better parents we will be. Before making any decision concerning our children, let us stop, turn to God, and listen. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Whither shall I go from they spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? Psalm 139:7