When a small child learns to walk, parents usually pay special attention to the safety of the house, closing the electrical outlets, hiding sharp objects, and so on. How can we ensure the safety of the child’s moral in teenage years?
For the child’s spiritual and moral safety the child must be within the Church. At first, the Church is the community of believers. In this sense, the child should be surrounded by faithful people, feel their impact, receive good instructions and examples. But it is also very important that the child is often in the church building, in a place for prayer.
Only in the Church, the person has such a state of spirit, a process of mind, peace, and tranquility of spirit that cannot be achieved in any other place. Inside the church, spiritual songs, sounding prayers, ceremonies bring such a harmony and calmness to the human mind and soul that is not possible to feel anywhere else. It is true, that we can pray in any place, and God with His omnipotence and omniscience will listen to us everywhere, but the prayer, which is the unity and communication with God, is the most fruitful in the church.
Inside the church, icons and images of the cross, subjects symbolizing eternity do not let that our mind disperses with other things, and raises it to God. Also in this reality, the man can be strengthened spiritually within the church. Therefore, for a child’s spiritual and moral security, for the establishment of a virtuous life, it is very important, that child is inside the church.
Some parents try to keep their teenage children under twenty-four-hour control, hovering over them and monitoring every move. Sometimes such behavior of parents pushes the teenager skillfully to hide the committed deed. It is clear that control is not the answer. What are the solutions?
Permanent supervision, coercion may lead to opposite consequences. Christianity does not affirm its truth with a compulsion and attaches great importance to freedom of choice. When Christ sent his disciples forth by two and two for preaching (Mark 6:7; Luke 10:1), He said: “And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet” (Matthew 10:14, Mark 6:11, Luke 10:11).
Christ taught, that Christian values and lifestyle must be confirmed with the choice of free will. So the baby should not be forced, but left to the right of freedom of choice, truly leading his choice. Christian commandments, lifestyle should render with attractiveness, that they would be desirable for children.
When children begin to believe, their faith is stronger in trust in God than adults’ faith, for their thoughts, soul, and look are clear and pure and are not yet numbed because of sins. That is why Christ called unto Him a little child and, showing him, said to the disciples: “Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:23).
The child greatly loves God. We do not teach the child to love the light. He already has this desire and tendency. Thus we do not teach the child to love God, but the baby, learning about God and believing in Him, greatly loves Him. For this reason upbringing of children should be implemented in a serious understanding of child psychology.
We do not make harsh and sharp orders – you shall not do this, this is forbidden, you must do this or that: such behavior brings a sense of violence and opposition. But we have to teach and say, that God wants that we behave in such a way, God will not like when you do bad deeds, you will sadden God with this kind of move. And the child, knowing the will of God, will try to do God-pleasing deeds and keep himself away from the steps that lead to sin.