How often do we hear the word “obedience” in conversations about parenting? People of the old generation often say that our children are disobedient, that they are ill-bred because they do not obey, that there is a need for punishments for disobedience, that obedience is the basis of all education.
At the same time, we know from experience that abilities and talents are not developed by obedience, that all growth, both mental and physical, is associated with a certain freedom, with the ability to try your hand, to explore the unknown, to find your own ways. And the most wonderful and good people do not come from the most obedient children.
No matter how difficult this issue is, parents have to solve it, they have to determine the measure of obedience and freedom in the upbringing of their children. It is not for nothing that it is said that a person is not given not to decide. Whatever we do, whatever we do, there is always a solution one way or the other.
Obedience in early childhood is, first, a safety measure. It is necessary that a young child learns to obey when he is told: “Don’t touch it! or ” Stop!”; and any mother will not hesitate to force a small child to such obedience in order to avoid trouble. A person learns to limit his will from an early age.
Obedience is necessary. Without obeying the known rules, there can be no peaceful family life, no social structure, no state, or Church life. But in obedience, there must be a certain hierarchy, gradualness: who should be obeyed, whose authority is higher. Moral education consists precisely in developing in the child the ability to consciously submit himself — not to violence, but to freely recognized authority, in the end to his faith, to his beliefs.
The ability to recognize the highest authority is given only by education directed to freedom, that is, by the education of freedom of choice, by the education of the ability to decide for oneself: “This is good!” and “This is bad!” and: “I will do so because it will be good!
Parents need to work hard to teach their children to obey certain rules. But it is even more necessary to work to develop in children the ability to understand which rules are the most important, who and what should be obeyed. And these children learn best from the example of their parents.
Obey you should not because “I want it so!”, but because “it is necessary!”, and the obligation of such rules is recognized by parents and for themselves. They do it one way or another: “Because it is necessary”, “because God has ordered it”, “Because it is my duty”.
The penalty must be the consequence of a violation of the rules-immediate, swift, and, of course, fair. But obedience does not apply to the tastes and feelings of children. You can’t demand that children like the book or program that their parents like, that they are happy or sad at their parents ‘ request, and you can’t get angry with children when something that their parents think is touching is funny to them.
I am always struck by the story of the Evangelist Luke about the twelve-year-old boy Jesus (Luke 2:42-52). His parents went with Him to Jerusalem for the feast. At the end of the festival, they returned home, not noticing that Jesus Christ had stayed in Jerusalem because they thought That he was going with others. They searched for him for three days, and finally found Him in the temple, conversing with the Jewish teachers. His mother said to Him: “Child! What have You done to us? Behold, Your father and I have sought You with great trouble.” And Jesus Christ answered, ” Did you not know that I should be in the things that belong to My Father?»
Obedience to the Heavenly Father was higher than obedience to earthly parents. And added to this are the words that immediately follow in the gospel: He went with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them… and he prospered in wisdom, and age, and in the love of God and men.
These few words contain the deepest meaning of human upbringing.