An Environment of Obedience
Today we visited St. Raphael in Iowa City for their altar feast (first Saturday of November: St. Raphael of Brooklyn). Since we all travelled together and my husband always wants to be in time for Orthros, the kids and I were in and out of the sanctuary quite a bit. In their bookstore, there was a little booklet I hadn't seen before called On the Upbringing of Children by Bishop Irenaius. Lucia hadn't had any breakfast, so I fed her a breakfast bar and skimmed the chapter on obedience.
Bishop Irenaius (of Ekaterinburg and Sibirsk) wrote that if the environment is not one of obedience, then any lessons in obedience will not take root in the child. That is, the parents must obey God, the Church, and the laws of man. He also spoke of showering the child with love as well as tolerating only prompt obedience from the child.
Recently I have been pondering the meaning and practicing of love. If I say I love my children, but only feel lovingly towards them and do not act lovingly towards them, how can I mean what I say?
I fall down on the job so many times, it is hard to see that I am ever rising to struggle forward.
I want our children to become good Christian adults, and that is enough of a motivation to wash the dishes, run the laundry, and scrape up the layers of debris which have collected over the office and living room (layer one: crayons, layer two: laundry, layer three: an entire box of stationery) so that everyone will have bright and cheerful rooms to greet them when they come downstairs. Okay, so that at least the first person (probably Lucia) will have bright and cheerful rooms to greet her when she comes downstairs, and everyone else will have at least a brief reprieve from stepping on crayons and looking for socks and slipping on pieces of paper. ...although it was pretty funny to watch Lucia struggle to wear Teddy's underwear on her head, pull the waistband over her eyes, and then snuggle up to Daddy as though she'd accomplished everything on her to-do list for the day.
I may not fall and get up and fall and get up, but at least I can creep forward on hands and knees.