Parenting with LOVE’s Wisdom
Julio C. Rivas, CS
What makes a good parent? We know that the biological ability to produce children does not necessarily make us one. Having responsible and loving male and female role models can go far in forming a right sense of parenting. When these are lacking, there is always man’s real parent, who is divine Love, to correct, guide and impart a spiritual sense of parenting.
Jesus Christ had a rich sense of man’s spiritual relationship to his heavenly Father-Mother, God. In fact, he personally referred to God as his “Abba,” or “daddy” in a modern context. Jesus calls God by this name when he is praying about having to face the crucifixion. To face such a horrible trial, he is drawing on the courage and power that only His heavenly Father can give him.
The apostle Paul also refers to God as “Abba” when showing us that through Jesus’ example we can all find man’s spiritual son-daughter-ship to divine Spirit, God. Paul writes, “And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ” (Gal. 4: 6, 7).
M. B. Eddy writes of God as man’s divine Parent, as the one Father-Mother, God: “Father-Mother is the name for Deity, which indicates His tender relationship to His spiritual creation” (S&H p. 332:4-5). And she also says that “Man and woman as coexistent and eternal with God forever reflect, in glorified quality, the infinite Father-Mother, God” (S&H p. 516: 21).
Since God is both Father and Mother, sexual gender cannot limit our spiritual capacity to express both the fatherhood and motherhood of infinite Spirit, God. We reflect the tenderness of Love’s motherhood as well as the strength of Principle’s fatherhood.
Christ Jesus demonstrated the mutually supportive qualities of compassion and firmness, forgiveness and authority, gentleness and strength because he reflected the wholeness of God. We reflect the completeness of our Father-Mother, God.
To know that man is the reflection of the one divine Parent, God, translates our dearest hopes to be a good parent into practical reality. We can rely on more than personal skills. Infinite Love, God, has given to us a vast array of divine qualities. As we get pride and fear out of the way and listen to God’s intelligent guidance, we can express the precise Soul-given qualities to meet our needs. We are then parenting, in some degree, as our Father-Mother parents us.
Paul says that we can love God “because he first loves us” and “That he who loves God loves his brother also” (I John 4: 19, 21). Paul is confirming that everything good starts with divine Love because it is the center and fountain of all spiritual being and harmonious action. To prayerfully realize this is to feel His presence, encircling us and our children. The one divine Parent imparts the divine thoughts that bind us together as spiritual children in His perfect love.
Human love can be fickle, manipulative, possessive and selfish. But by understanding and expressing a greater degree of divine Love we overcome our personal shortcomings. As divine Love moves in our hearts it heals what may be years of deep-seated habits of violence, anger, impatience, domination and fear. God's regenerative and purifying influence heals the wrong done to us and that which we have done to others.
M. B. Eddy points out the weakness and, sometimes, the wickedness of fleshly ties. She writes, "mortals, or the 'children of men' in material sense, are discordant and ofttimes false brethren." But then she adds that "Immortals, or God's children in divine Science, are one harmonious family." (S & H 444:27)
It is encouraging and transformational to perceive that, in spiritual reality, we are Spirit’s offspring and not the "children of men.”
In spiritual reality there is one universal, divine family and this one is made up of God as Father-Mother and of man as His spiritual child. The human family is lifted higher in its capacity for good as we take in a sense of Soul’s spiritual family.
Soul is the one all-inclusive divine Principle, the infinite Mind, in whom all His spiritual children, or ideas, live in perfect harmony with each other. Every spiritual child, or idea, is unique in Soul and so loved and protected. This spiritual fact, accepted and lived, unfolds Soul’s intelligent grace in parents and children.
My father grew up an orphan and my mother was raised mostly by her grandparents. In spite of the lack of their own parents, their relationship with God made them very loving parents. Although my father’s early years as a parent were troubled by the tendency toward physical punishment as a form of parental discipline, through prayer and spiritual growth, he was freed from it. Christian Science taught my parents to see themselves as the beloved children of Father-Mother, God, and to accept His spiritual qualities as their God-given heritage. It healed them of certain negative personality traits and lifted them above the pains suffered while they were growing up. As they learned to know God as their true Father-Mother, they found His grace sufficient to illumine them as parents and in their continual individual growth.
Spiritual wisdom can heighten our understanding of effective parenting. It corrects a heavy sense of responsibility, or impatience, or control. When we perceive that our children are spiritual offspring of Soul, we feel a richer and deeper spiritual relationship to them. Our intercommunication is more effective and rewarding when are listening and expressing divine Mind’s guidance. We then feel more of Love’s effortless joy and peace.
Children develop best emotionally, intellectually and spiritually when they learn to have a loving and trust-filled relationship with God. In fact, spirituality is innate to children. Parents just need to cherish and encourage it. By turning to boundless Intelligence-Love for everything we find the confidence and understanding that triumphs over problems, including physical illnesses.
One could say that a true sense of family, and of parenting, is a sense of unity with perfect Love-God. Love-Mind can be the head of the household.
Parents, as well as children, can reflect Love’s healing intelligence and grace.