Healing the impulse toward child abuse
SOMETIMES adults find themselves overwhelmed by the demands of child rearing. Perhaps they are wrestling with unsolved personal problems, feeling frustrated or sick at heart, and they find the child's constant requirements irritating. Tolerance breaks down. Anger explodes-child abuse.
Does Christian Science have an answer to this challenge?
It does.First, the Science of Christ brings needed assurance to the adult by showing him that God's cherishing love for him is close and comforting. The shepherding care of divine Love embraces both sheep and lamb. Immediately available and effective, it deflates a moment of passion, robbing it of both motive and power. The book of Isaiah describes this shepherding aspect of God's love: ''He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.'' 1
n1 Isaiah 40:11
One day, while caring for her son and his playmate, one mother found herself in an extremely annoying situation. She needed to clean her house, but the children constantly interrupted and pestered her. Many times she tried to interest the youngsters in some happy play activity, frequently setting up new projects so she could proceed with her work. But they wouldn't settle down. Finally, one more whiny demand was just too much. Annoyed and frustrated, she slammed the worst offender into a highchair, plopped a popsicle in front of him, and marched away!
The child began screaming more unbearably than ever, ignoring the popsicle, kicking furiously, and demanding to be picked up. The mother's actions had only intensified his bad behavior. Both of them now furious, her temptation was to seriously harm the child.
This mother considered herself a kind person and a loving mother. But in that moment she felt the driving nature of vengeful rage. Frightened by the temptation to harm the child, she turned her thought to God.
The determination to push her cleaning project through began draining away. She took both children outdoors where they sat together, savoring the freshness of a clear spring day. They all became very quiet.
''I have no right to treat a child like that,'' she thought. At that moment a clear thought came to her: ''Right ideas don't conflict.''
''But of course,'' she reasoned. ''One can express intelligence and love at the same time. Joy and honesty are never in conflict. All the God-derived attributes abide harmoniously together. So the companionship and comfort they (the children) need aren't in conflict with the peace and order I need.'' She recalled that Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, relates power to meekness when she writes of Christ Jesus, ''In meekness and might, he was found preaching the gospel to the poor.'' 2
n2 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, pp. 30-31.
How did Jesus handle interruptions? He surelyput them into perspective. When he was on his way to heal a dying child, a woman with a need for healing suddenly appeared out of a crowd.3 This interrupted his trip, but Jesus stopped to heal the woman and then proceeded on his journey, thereby dealing effectively with both the trip and the interruption. He had to be listening to God, divine Mind, and not preconceived notions, in order to do this.
n3 See Luke 8:41-56.
Now the mother and children walked back into the house. The events that followed proved the needs of each one had been met by that moment of spiritual awakening. For the rest of the morning, the children paddled happily after her, selecting toys contentedly, freeing her to finish her work. But more important, a moment of violence had been averted, and comfort and tenderness had been felt by both adult and child. Furthermore, the temptation to be violent never again appeared to that mother. She has been able to prove that, as Mrs. Eddy writes, ''all that God imparts moves in accord with Him, reflecting goodness and power.'' 4
n4 Science and Health, p. 515.
DAILY BIBLE VERSE I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart. Psalms 40:8