Monday, July 8, 2013

More on Raising Children and Making Time for Prayer



Today we lead such busy lives that many say, "I don't even have time for prayer.  At the end of the say I am so tired. With Children and the trend of both parents working this is a common problem these days. The only solution is to make sure you have the right priorities in your life.  To lead a balanced life you need to struggle to simplify it.  First examine why it is necessary for a mother to work while the children are living at home.  Is this a necessity or is it just to gain material things.  

Elder Paisios advises: 
It's better for a mother to be involved with the nurturing of her children... A mother [if she is not working a full time job] can speak to her children about Christ; she can read the Lives of the Saints to them. Thus, at the same time she will be occupying herself dusting off her own soul so that it will be spiritually shiny. The mother's spiritual life will then quietly help the souls of her children. Thus, her children will live happily, and she will be joyful because she will have Christ within her.  If a mother doesn't find the time to say even the Trisagion, how can she expect he children to be sanctified?
When she does her housework, can't she pray at the same time?  It was my mother who taught me to way the Jesus Prayer. When we were children and had done some mischief, and my mother was about to get angry with us, I remembering her saying, "Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me." When she put the bread in the oven, she would  say, "In the name of the Christ and Panaghia."  And whenever kneading, or cooking, again, she constantly said the Jesus Prayer. In this manner, she herself was blessed, as were the bread and the food whe was preparing, and so were those who partook of it later.
I wonder if in today's world we appreciate the significance of a spiritual upbringing.  The elders of our Church tell us the mother's traditional role is a most important one. Elder Paisios says, "The mother's devotion has great significance. If the mother has humility and fear of God, then family life is smooth." The challenge today with its materialistic orientation is to seek to simplify life so one parent can dedicate themselves to the nurturing of their children both physically and spiritually. Children are geared to learn by observation.  You are the models they will begin their life with. Make that model as close to the image of God as is possible.

A good friend told me a story of his early child raising days.  He had the habit of not going to Church each Sunday, but he instead stayed in bed and then getting up after his wife and children had gone to church to read the Sunday paper in peace. One day, is young son made the comment to his Mom,  "I cant wait until I get as old as Dad.  Then I won't have to get up and go to Church each Sunday.  I can stay home and read the paper and relax." He over heard his son saying this and this woke him up.  He realized he was setting a bad example for his son.  From that day on he never missed a day in Church.

Reference: Elder Paisios of Mount Athos Spiritual Counsels IV: Family Life,  pp 95-96

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