Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Judging Children Rightly

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Judging Children Rightly

Article excerpt

HAVE you ever scolded a child, only to discover soon afterward that the child had done nothing wrong? At heart children are naturally inclined to do good and serve the right. But their God-given innocence is hidden from view if we anticipate guilt. How important it is that we gain a proper understanding of our--or anyone's--children's actions before we jump to conclusions about whether they've done something wrong!

We act according to our expectations. If we're seeing children as prone to error, always getting into trouble, that's how we'll treat them. Instead of solving problems, this attitude only compounds them. But if we lift our perception of possibility above discord to the spiritual fact that God guides the actions of our offspring (as well as ourselves) and His guidance is always good, we will see more good happening in their lives.

God is the one Father-Mother of us all. Parenting is so much easier when we see the disposition of children as originating in God, rather than being the product of a haphazard mix of social and environmental circumstance, hereditary lineage, and chance. God, Spirit, created man in His own image and likeness and has endowed man with His own good qualities. Children have full ability to express these God-given spiritual qualities. When we recognize that each of us is actually God-created, and therefore wholly spiritual, we see that wisdom, spiritual-mindedness, infallible memory, obedience, and so on, are inherent within the spiritual demeanor of all little ones. We can be actively looking for these positive qualities rather than for their opposites.

One morning, my wife and I had this need to judge our children's behavior rightly brought home to us in an interesting way. We were reading in the living room. Suddenly we heard our four-year-old daughter, who was playing with her younger brother in another room, yell out most offensively, "Get out of my way! Get out of my way! Get out of my way!" Not approving at all of her speaking to her brother that way, we hollered down the hallway to tell her to stop being so rude to her brother. After we had scolded her, my wife recalled that the day before she had been in a toy store with the children. …

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