“Having children is a matter of nature; but raising them and educating them in the virtues is a matter of mind and will.” ~ St. John Chrysostom
St. John Chrysostom’s teachings have carried through the centuries and are still applicable today. Here are a few of his teachings on raising children.
“By the duty of raising them I mean not only not allowing them to die of hunger, as people often limit their obligation toward their children to doing. For this, is needed neither books nor rubrics, for nature speaks of it quite loudly. I am speaking of the concern for educating childrens hearts in virtues and piety—a sacred duty which cannot be transgressed without thereby becoming guilty of the childrens murder, in a certain sense.”
“If the Apostle commands us to take more care for others than for ourselves, and if we are guilty when we neglect their benefit, then is it not a much greater guilt when this concerns those who are so near to us? Was it not I, the Lord will say to us, Who gave place to these children in your family? Was it not I Who entrusted them to your care, making you masters, guardians and judges over them? I gave you complete authority over them; I placed all care for their upbringing in your hands. You will tell me that they did not want to bend their necks to the yoke, that they threw it off. But this should have been averted from the very beginning; you should have mastered their first impressions placed the reigns on them before they had the power to break away from them…”
“The youth to whom you give a good upbringing will not only enjoy general respect, he will also become dearer to you yourselves! Your attachment to him will not be a mere natural attraction—it will be the fruit of his virtue. For this, during your old age, you will in turn receive from him the services of his filial love. He will be your support. For just as those who do not revere the Lord also have contempt for their own parents, those who revere God, the Father of all men, will have every respect for those who gave them life.”
Read a meditation on further teachings on parenting, by St. John Chrysostom, at http://dce.oca.org/resource/246/. More of his quotes can be found at http://orthodoxinfo.com/praxis/parenting.aspx. Thanks to both of the above sources for sharing his wisdom with all parents.
St. John Chrysostom, please intercede for us parents, and for our children, that we may be saved.