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Children and Parents

“God is not just Father of the divine Word, but stepfather to all who are baptized. God is not just a friend in Christ, but the stepbrother of all who are baptized. Through the Spirit and in Christ, persons, children and adults alike, increase in God’s own image, an image that illumines the full meaning and purpose of the offices of child and parent.” (Vigen Guroian)

“God is there for us like the parent of an anxious child. Many parents can relate to having to send their kids off to something that they are fearful about. Their knowledge is limited, however ours as parents is not so limited. We know what they do not and we urge them forward even though they are afraid. We cannot save them from all discomfort. Inevitably they will have to feel some pain, fear, and disappointment. However, through all of it, we have not abandoned them, we are present and watching, and providing comfort. We accept this quite readily in our own parenting, let us apply this to God’s parenting of us, in this world in which we must go forward.” (Fr. Joshua Makoul)

“A fish cannot survive out of water; it will soon die. Likewise, a demon cannot function in an environment that is hostile to his nature. He cannot function in an atmosphere of praise, for praise binds him (see Psalms 149); and neither can he work in an atmosphere of love, for love is contrary to the devil’s nature (see John 8:42–44). Love prevents Satan from wreaking havoc in our relationships. This is why the Word of God exhorts husbands to love their wives, wives to love their husbands, parents to love their children and Christians to love one another. Love defeats the devil, but keeping alive the wounds of rejection within us opens doors of opportunity for the devil to do his divisive and oppressive work.” (Frank Hammond)

“The Father loves the Son with an infinite parental sense, comforting Him with the unending sensitivity of a perfect Father, and the Son responds to this parental love with the filial sense of one who feels comforted by a perfect Father . . .the sensitivity of the Father for the Son assumes the hypostatical and comforting image of the Holy Spirit…The Persons communicate their nature as an energy. Everything is an energy which is communicated from one person to another. Their love is perfect; they radiate their whole nature from one to the other.” (Fr. Dumitru Staniloae)

“The true heart, so often hidden from our awareness, is paradise. And, as such, it contains “many mansions.” Many things, even all things, dwell there, but not as they were. What we find in the depths of the true heart is Christ, and all things in Christ. Much of what I ever knew in the past was make-believe, or imaginary. For example, no child truly knows their parent. What we see of them is the tip of an iceberg, often surrounded with things we imagine to be true. A child might mention a moment that endures in their memory which the parent cannot even recall. All we could ever find, were we truly able to travel into the past, would be a shadow, a shade, a ghostly apparition that mocks reality itself. These things have no place in the true heart.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

“This is a strong reason why Christian theology resists and rejects conceptions of childhood that conceive of it as either an ephemeral stage of human existence or that deny its universal status. When we become adults and parents, we do not simply leave behind the office of child like the crab that sheds its first shell for a second and a third. Through the whole of our lives, we naturally continue to relate to our parents as their children. We also find it needful to “remember” and, in some real sense, recapitulate our childhood, so that we will be good and successful parents. Similarly, in our relationship with God, we never wholly cease to be children nor do we completely “outgrow” the virtues of childhood, although they take on a different meaning and character.” (Vigen Guroian)

“Even when we become mothers and fathers, adult parents, we are still children of God. Understanding we exist as both parents to our children and children of God simultaneously and continuously is very important to our continual formation as persons, and how our personhood manifests itself in our various vocations in life to include being parents. Professor Vigen Guroian points out that trust, humility, and obedience belong especially to the office of child, whereas the virtues of the office of parent are presence, authority, and loving care. As adults and parents, we never outgrow the need for the virtues of childhood. If we can maintain these virtues and those of the office of the parent, which we do through our union with God, we will resist sin and be good parents to our children.” (Sacramental Living Ministries, Vigen Guroian)

“Become saints and you will have no problems with your children. The sanctity of their parents releases the children from their problems. Children want to have saintly people at their side, people with lots of love who will neither intimidate them nor lecture them, but who will provide a saintly example and pray for them.” (Elder Porphyrios of Kafsokalyvia)

“Precisely in family distress and family affliction can the New Testament message ring most real, most profound. In the family, the question "How do I enter the Kingdom of God?" finds an answer. I enter the Kingdom of God by finding joy, overflowing joy, superabundant joy, the joy found in the Holy Spirit, because of and within the heart-ripping suffering experienced and the blessings given in my family. The joy of the Holy Spirit is inextricably based upon suffering. But I am not here to look for suffering or to create it, only to live it as it enters my life. I turn from suffering to joy by accepting, embracing, and working with the reality that these persons are my family, and therefore God's family for me.” (Albert S. Rossi)

“…let us not overlook the powerful spiritual bonds between parents and children! There is much support in Scripture for the belief that the blessings and curses of God-fearing parents on their children are effective. Noah’s prayer is a case in point. He blesses God as he prays for Shem and Japheth, and blessings do indeed fall to their descendants. Unquestionably, blessings can and do flow from God through the prayers and example of our parents.” (Dynamis 4/7/2021)

“What saves and makes for good children is the life of the parents in the home. The parents need to devote themselves to the love of God. They need to become saints in their relations to their children through their mildness, patience, and love. They need to make a new start every day, with a fresh outlook, renewed enthusiasm and love for their children. And the joy that will come to them, the holiness that will visit them, will shower grace on their children.” (St. Porphyrios)

“Parents should love their children as their children and not as their idols. That is to say, they should love their children as they are and not how they would like them to be—to be like them.” (Elder Epiphanios Theodoropoulos of Athens)

“Speak more to God about your children than to your children about God…. The soul of the teenager is in a state of an explosion of freedom. For this reason, he has a hard time accepting various counsels. So, rather than counseling him continuously and reproaching him now and again, leave the situation to Christ, to the Saints, asking them to bring him to reason.” (Elder Epiphanios Theodoropoulos of Athens)

“Neglect of children is one of the greatest sins, and it is the highest degree of impiety…God Himself takes great care over the upbringing of children. That is why He placed such a natural attraction in parents toward their children—in order to put parents in inescapable necessity of caring for them.” (St. John Chrysostom)

“The best role model a child can have is a parent whose heart is centered on the Lord.” (Foundation Study Bible, Deuteronomy 4:9)

“The primary lesson for life must be implanted in the soul from the earliest age. The primary lesson for children is to know the eternal God, the One Who gives everlasting life.” (St. Clement of Rome)

“If we pray, and learn little by little to live in the spirit of prayer, we create an atmosphere in which children taste prayer and God’s presence. If we dwell in this spirit, even without words, even before children can speak, they can acquire a natural taste for prayer, and the desire to know God.” (Sister Magdalen)

“We must see God in the faces of our children and give God’s love to our children. The children should learn to pray. And in order for children to pray they must have in them the blood of praying parents." (Elder Porphyrios the Kapsokalyvite)

“Every gesture we make, every word we speak, every tone in our voice, every expression on our face, every action we take communicates a message to our children about their value in our eyes, as their parents, and in the eyes of God.” (Father David L. Fontes, PsyD)

“Our actions speak louder than our words. This is especially true in the home. Children learn values, morals, and priorities by observing how their parents act and react every day. If parents exhibit a deep reverence for and dependence on God, the children will catch these attitudes.” (Life Application Study Bible, Proverbs 1:8)

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