Children - Some Observations
Through our children we see our sins – by our sins our children know us.
The greatest gifts in life are children. They are new life, innocence, purity, humour, laughter, tears and above all joy. They are also the fruits of love between man and woman since time immemorial. The mystery of the creation of life has been dissected yet still remains a mystery despite the advance of medical knowledge. For those blessed with children their lives are changed irrevocably – life will never be the same again and they will never sleep so well as before their children’s arrival. For those who do not have their own children it is fostering, adopting, Godchildren, nieces and nephews, cousins and the children of friends. We all inhabit the world of children.
2. The Bringing up of children
The parents usually assume this role but children do not belong exclusively to anyone, not even their natural parents. Within the extended family grandparents and uncles and aunts play a vital role. The aim should be not to placate and satisfy the child but to challenge him or her to reach for the highest standards and thereby focus his mind. The core of parental affection will remain with the son and daughter all their life and hold them in good stead. Yet if that son and daughter are not propelled forward to an independent and properly structured life the parents have failed in their duty. Our progeny should stand up for what is right and develop their skills to optimum level. No child should be “buried in the field” – rather the talents should multiply. Each adult was a child and that adult should always remember that, act on the call to duty and make the most of what he or she has been given by his or her parents.
3. The essence of parenthood
Not to force anything down your child’s throat literally or metaphorically. The truly fair parent will not trespass on his son and daughter’s free space but leave them a clear run. This does not mean the parent opts out. In fact that parent can do far more through the implied and unspoken word to educate his children. The explicit is not memorable – the hushed word of command is resonant and irresistible when it finally comes. Clearly each family works out its own philosophy and some families are calmer and more quietly persuasive than others. The family should cater for all personalities young or old. In my experience matters should be brought to the surface but the “double entendre” will never be obliterated. The rule of thumb in a family is everyone should speak out and each member should listen patiently. There will always be leaders and by God we need them in our families and our world.
4. Favouritism and inequality
This is greatly misunderstood. A father or mother may rightly lean closer to one child on account of his or her likeness to that parent thus enabling this parent to better understand the child than another child and likewise the child that parent. They “feed off” each other well, as they say. There may be a subconscious desire to support a child for whatever reason in his or her childhood (maybe an element of narcissism has made itself known). Paradoxically to neglect to concentrate upon or ignore such exaltation may be worse than to give more attention to that child. The children must always come first. Each family creates its own inner politics – if you cannot live with that political climate in your life you are a poor member of your family. We bounce off each other in our families and that is the way we move forward. We are not and should not all be the same. This diversity is the truth within children and their parents – do not stop parents being parents I say. Let them approach each child the way they decide. They know best. Without variety, contrast and difference family life becomes very mundane.
5. Ageing parents
Parents never stop being parents but they do grow older. The natural process of ageing leaves the children to take care of the aged parents – a great privilege and honour. At the end of the day in modern society very few parents are cared for daily 24/7 by their children however much the children might like to do so. Such is the standard of care available the aged parent will live far longer than previously, placing pressure on the children or child caring for that parent. The children know their duty and at the end of the day nature will take her course and thanks will be given for a life well lived in that parent.
Of course the children will give the ultimate vote of thanks to their parents for their upbringing and life style acquired from those parents. “Good breeding” is far more important than genetic makeup. “Breeding” does not mean high social class – it requires service to your children in all aspects of your life. It means a selfless life in every meaning. It goes down parent to child but is remade with each birth and rearing of that child across all society. Good breeding is invisible like all the best things – you will never detect it save in your mind’s eye. When breeding goes wrong we know by the aggrandising selfishness and base foolishness of certain members of our society. It can always be put right by the next generation, if not the errant individual himself or herself. The children can redeem their parent I argue. What about the sins of the father being visited on his sons – a Biblical phrase, more difficult to understand. Why should the sons take the blame for their father’s sins? You cannot divorce the sons from the father. At the end of the day they fly the same flag as their father. You will know they are this father’s sons by their fruits. The father’s lineage and breeding will always come through in his sons later if not sooner – the sons will not let their father go un-avenged. Mark my words!