"The solution is to be found through the sanctification of the parents. Become saints and you will have no problems with your children." Father Porphyrios , Wounded By Love

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Sunday, February 28, 2021

Uprooting Passions in Children

"Do not neglect to uproot from the hearts of children the tares of sins, impure, evil and blasphemous thoughts, sinful habits, inclinations and passions; the enemy and the sinful flesh do not spare even children; the seeds of all sins are to be found in children too; show them the danger of sin on the path of life; do not hide sins from them lest through ignorance and want of comprehension they should be confirmed in sinful habits and attachments, which grow stronger and stronger and bring forth corresponding fruits when the children grow up." - St. John of Kronstadt

As parents and youth workers we face a common task to raise the children that God gave us in a holy manner. But correcting bad behaviors, and offering discipline is one of the areas most difficult, especially when we ourselves are struggling with our own passions like anger, lack of compassion, and little patience.

The good news is that every child created in His image has His grace, which acts as a checks and balance system within the conscience. However, children who grow up without confirmation from parents or other adults can become very confused. They test the waters, but cannot swim in the deep end of the pool without sinking, often without the spiritual tools to stay afloat.

Elder Porphyrios taught that, "Our religion wants children to learn the truth from an early age." He stated, "You must tell the truth for a person to learn it. Otherwise you sustain him in ignorance... so to a child you must tell the truth and scold it so that it knows what it is doing is not good."
He offers these suggestions as well, "The medicine and great secret for children's progress is humility... The children who come from humble parents do not get angry when their error is pointed out, but rather they try to correct it and pray that God may help them not to become egoists...Children should learn to seek God's help in everything."

For further reading, check out these 6 (edited) steps listed by St Tikhon in more depth at http://fr-d-serfes.org/orthodox/parents.htm

1. Remind them often of holy Baptism and that at that time they promised God to live decently and steadfastly, to serve Him with faith and righteousness, and to keep away from every evil and sin.

2. Repeat to them that we live not for this temporal life, for honor, glory, and riches in this world.

3. Let them understand Who is the God of Christians, and what He requires of us, that He hates evil and loves good...and to do what is pleasing to Him.

4. Enlighten their inward eyes as to Who Christ is and to our own sinfulness.

5. Teach them the Law of God, and tell them what the Law demands of us: That is, that we should love God and every man; and truly repent and correct ourselves for the day of Judgment.

6. Set before them the last things: death, Christ's judgment, eternal life, and eternal torment, that the fear of God may so abide in them and preserve them from every evil. Pour these and other things like milk into their young hearts, that they may mature in piety.

"Lord Jesus Christ, give Your light to my children. I entrust them to You. You gave them to me, but I am weak and unable to guide them, so, please illuminate them." - Prayer by Elder Porphyrios


Pres. Kathy said...

Thanks for this wonderful article on the passions. I pray to God that He will take care of all the childrne of the world.

Anonymous said...

Although I agree that the passions can become rooted in children--even at an early age--I think we need to blame ourselves for that first and foremost.
Furthermore, we need to be very cautious about trying to blame bad behavior on the passions because it could be-- developmentally speaking--very age-appropriate. For instance, the example of removing a child from church because "giggling or talking is not pleasing to God" reflects more our own fears about being judged by others rather than what God expects from a young child. This could potentially be demoralizing and have the opposite effect on our children.
Parenting is probably the most difficult yet sacred vocation there is. It would be nice to have a few formulas to go by every time our children misbehave. Unfortunately, reality has taught most of us that what works for one child doesn't necessarily work for another. Knowing what works means getting to really KNOW our children. It requires time, effort, prayer and most of all LOVE. Our God is a personal God, "who calls his own sheep by name." May God have mercy on us!

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