Turn to Love's parenting

Turning to God, divine Love, for inspiration and guidance brings greater wisdom, peace, and joy to parenting efforts.

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Things in our house kept going missing. It was stressful. One day, when there was yet another item that couldn’t be located, my six-year-old daughter turned to me and, almost too quietly to hear, said, “Mom, have you asked ... God?” And then she ran off.

It stopped me in my tracks. Had I turned to God? Or was I running myself ragged trying to keep it all together? As I got quiet, considering this, I suddenly knew where the needed item was.

It was such a tiny moment, but it has reminded me again and again of how different the awesome responsibility of parenting can feel depending on whether we’re trying to do it through our own frenetic efforts or through a moment-by-moment trust in infinite Love, God. To turn toward Love is to see that “the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21). This kingdom is felt in “unselfishness, goodness, mercy, justice, health, holiness, love” reigning within us, within our consciousness, as the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, explains (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 248).

From that perspective, being a mom or dad is more about having the privilege of seeing our Father-Mother God express Her care for our children through us than about feeling pressure from that too-common belief that our kids’ success depends entirely on how we perform as parents. That can feel crushing.

The fact is, the spiritual qualities God expresses in parents and children are the core of our being – we’re not products of beliefs or behavior patterns conditioned in us from childhood. Forming models in thought on the basis of the qualities of the kingdom of heaven sets a foundation for positive parenting, and we don’t feel at the mercy of our upbringing, of struggles or stress, or of others.

While the fear of not doing the right thing for our kids can loom large at times, pausing to understand our true relation to God conquers fear. I know I mother best when I’m clear how I’m being mothered by God. Understanding cause and effect as originating in God alone, we all can get clearer, higher views of ourselves and our kids and express our authentic, spiritual selves, which are not subject to human history. Doing the right thing comes from being the divine expression we are perfectly designed to be. Divine power rectifies past mistakes and gives us a present awareness of God’s care for everyone.

When we feel divine Love loving us, this love overflows to our kids. Hymn 139 in the “Christian Science Hymnal” includes this line: “Give of your heart’s rich overflow” (Minny M. H. Ayers). Securing our own sense of being parented by God gives us an unshakable sense of satisfaction and approval, so we don’t feel the need to get these things from others and their response to us. Pausing to turn to Love helps us to not live in reaction to our kids, or to anyone else.

It’s a trap that when our kids are successful, we feel good, and when they mess up, we feel terrible. It can leave us feeling that our happiness is at the mercy of their successes or failures. Yet divine Love’s compassion keeps us from getting pulled into drama or feeling that our mood is tied to others’ behaviors and actions. How crucial it can be during demanding “mom (or dad) moments” to take a step back mentally and remember that our children are not a task to accomplish but a blessing to be grateful for. It helps us stop trying to calm the situation and lets Christ, the true idea of God, calm us. And as a result, the whole situation settles into the harmony of divine power over all.

To know that we live wholly in Spirit, God, is to see an underlying spiritual purpose in everything. It helps us frame our experience in families as a time of deepening our understanding and experience of Love and its expression. Love’s care and guidance never leave us. The light of divine Love lets us embrace the adventure and joy of parenting rather than agreeing to being run ragged. Turning to God, pausing in the midst of daily demands – or even upheaval – we can appreciate the childlikeness in our kids and ourselves and let it teach us of its beauty and wonder.

Originally published as an editorial in the May 3, 2021, issue of the Christian Science Sentinel.

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