Saturday, November 29, 2008

Raising Them Up

Monica asked:
"How did you grow in her love for the saints?
My son is 5, and I pray that God will build the faith in his heart despite all of my bad influence! My son can recite Johnny Cash or Bob Dylan more readily than sing about a saint."

Monica, in our culture, this is a perennial problem. I don't have answers, but this is what we do.......

DD4 is the only one of my four who was actually baptised Orthodox, LOL.

We have loads of icons. A full scale icon corner in the dining room, with lampada, though it is only lit occasionally. Each child has icons of Christ and the Theotokos and Guardian angel in their rooms. The only room without an icon is the bathroom.

I have quite a few picture books about the Saints,and we read them occasionally. When DD4 was tiny (18months+), she was used to a routine of dropping her sister off at school and we would go home and I would pray Morning prayers at the icon corner, virtually every day, and venerate the icons. She just naturally followed the veneration, so I made sure there were icons on shelves at her level; she would pick up various icons and kiss them repeatedly, at all sorts of times as she was passing. Her particular favourite was the Great Martyr Barbara :-)

Once she was old enough, I read the bible story of her Saint, righteous Abigail. She kisses her bedroom icons every night on her own, and will not sleep without praying. I hang my head in shame and freely admit she is far closer to Christ at age 7 than I will **ever** be.

I also pray the Akathist to the Theotokos, Nurturer of Children.
My "background noise" at home is usually The Ark radio station, so she is used to contemporary Orthodox Christian music as well as chant, when she is not watching TV .

At the end of the day, it is each individual child's individual response, and it cannot be predicted.
Elder Porphyrios once said that if you are anxious about your child, don't take it to your child, take it to God and the Theotokos and pray. God will lay it on your child's heart what it needs to know and hear....... I pray this is true.
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1 comment:

magda said...

Thank you for this. I'd love to hear more. Right now I am trying to make sure to say my daily prayers out loud (usually while nursing) ... and that helps me make sure to say them. We have icons in Teddy's crib (plastic laminate ones: not too heavy and safe for drool). I agree that the Orthodox internet radio stations are wonderful: sometimes Teddy will fuss, I'll turn one on, and his whole body will simply relax.

How do you make yourself into an Orthodox example for your children? I am really struggling with the "example" thing: I can present what is good, but until I can show what is good, I can't really hope or expect that I am doing my best to help him become a saint.