What’s best for children?

A Christian Science perspective: We all want what’s best for our children.

Like most parents, I wanted my children to have the best of everything: the best shoes, the best crib, the best toys, and on and on. But they grew out of the shoes, the crib, and the toys in the blink of an eye. One day I noticed that the thing they liked most about the toys was actually the packaging the toys came in. They enjoyed hours of fun making creative inventions out of the packaging, while the costly toy lay in the corner unused. This made me think I might have bought into a false sense of what’s best for children.

To better understand what would really be best for them, I thought about what had helped me most in my own life. I realized it had not been the quality of the things I possessed but the spiritual thoughts I entertained that had improved my life the most. In the textbook of Christian Science, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” Mary Baker Eddy explains, “When understanding changes the standpoints of life and intelligence from a material to a spiritual basis, we shall gain the reality of Life, the control of Soul over sense, and we shall perceive Christianity, or Truth, in its divine Principle. This must be the climax before harmonious and immortal man is obtained and his capabilities revealed” (p. 322). As I thought about this, I could see that to give our children a spiritual basis of understanding is to give them the very best.

Christ Jesus teaches us how to cultivate this spiritual basis when he says: “Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? ... for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:31-33).

To be secure and fulfill their potential, children need to be encouraged to discover God’s goodness and feel His presence. Give them an understanding of their oneness with God – the all-powerful, ever-present, all-loving Father-Mother of us all – and children will discover they have the courage to face their fears, whether these fears take the form of a math test, a climbing wall, or a bully. Even young children can be taught the simple truth that God, who is all good, made them good, like Himself, because they are His image. So they can expect to be happy, healthy, and strong (see Genesis 1:26, 27). Both parents and children will feel more secure when the children know they can pray at any time to affirm the presence of God’s goodness and look to their Father-Mother for help. Doing so brings confidence, peace, and even healing to their lives.

Children will never outgrow spirituality because it’s inherent in them. It belongs to them because it expresses Spirit, God, their Father-Mother. Their spirituality will only become deeper and even more useful as the demands to discover and prove their real selfhood expand. To give your children the best of everything, give them a spiritual basis for thought and action – an understanding of God that will support, protect, and heal them.

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