Saturday, November 4, 2006

Parents and Children (Part III)

This is the final part in this series. “Parents and Children” September 24, 1941 Children are like reeds shaken by the wind; they are flowers from which even the softest breezes pluck some petals; they are untouched flowerbeds deep within which God has placed seeds of goodness…Who will strengthen these reeds? Who will protect these flowers? Who will cultivate these flowerbeds and make the seeds of goodness grow despite the wiles of evil? First of all, the authority which rules the family and the children: your authority, dear parents. Fathers and mothers frequently complain these days that they can no longer make their children obey. The little ones are unruly and listen to no one. Growing children spurn all guidance. The older boys and girls accept no advice, turn a deaf ear to all warnings and bent upon having their own way in everything…If we were speaking now to children we would like to examine and consider the causes of their disobedience. But since we are addressing you, who have just begun to exercise parental authority, we wish to direct your attention to another aspect of this important subject. The normal exercise of authority depends not only on those who must obey but also in great measure on those who have to command. To put it more clearly, the right to possess authority and give orders is one thing; it is something else again to possess that moral pre-eminence which constitutes and succeeds in imposing it upon others and obtaining their obedience. The first right is conferred upon you by God by the very act which makes you parents. The second prerogative must be acquired and preserved; it can be lost just as it can be increased. Therefore, the right to command your children will have little or no effect upon them if be not combined with that power and personal authority over them which guarantees that you will be truly obeyed. (Dear Newlyweds, p. 182-183) My friends reflection: The most effective leaders are those that practice what they preach. Essentially, parents are leaders and they will most effectively guide and teach their children by practicing the virtues that they would like to instill in their children. This is true especially in the minor details of everyday living – remaining calm and patient under stress, arriving on time for appointments, being organized and productive, showing hospitality in our homes, etc. Pulling the planks out of our own eyes will give us the moral authority to pull the slivers out of our children’s eyes.


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