Few parents will forget that first day they left their little one at nursery or school, or let go when the child was learning to ride a bicycle. Worse yet, watching their teenager drive off in the car (your car!) alone for the first time.
Firsts like these can be a steep learning curve for parents, never mind the children. We all want our children to be safe and happy, but over-protecting and stifling them isn’t the answer. My husband and I found that the more we were able to see God as the real caregiver of our two children, the happier and safer we all were. Even before our children arrived, we tried to understand that any children we might have were God’s children first. He is their Father-Mother. In her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy writes, “God is the parent Mind, and man is God’s spiritual offspring” (p. 336). We are all His children.
Knowing God as the Father and Mother of all has been the foundation for our family. My husband and I always reasoned that as parents we were here to express the qualities of God’s fatherhood and motherhood in ways our children could understand and feel as we all grew. Our love and care for them were expressions of God’s love for them. We tried to help our son and daughter understand that God is always with them, caring for them and keeping them safe, even when we weren’t with them.
When children are small, you can literally hold on to them, make rules, discipline them. As a parent, you seem to have more control at this time, and this is quite right until they are able to look after themselves and understand their responsibilities to others. However, as the years go by, your children don’t hold your hand anymore, you aren’t with them much of the time, you don’t make all the rules, and, one day, you probably won’t be living under the same roof! You have got to let go mentally even if you’ve already let go physically.
At these times my husband and I had the opportunity time and again to acknowledge that our son and daughter do not depend on either of us for their good. When I prayed for them through the years, the seven synonyms for God found in the Christian Science textbook—Principle, Mind, Soul, Spirit, Life, Truth, and Love—often came to thought (see Science and Health, p. 587). I would know that our children are always in God’s presence, and therefore always in Love’s care. Because of this they are protected from harm and can feel loved wherever they are. I would affirm that as children of divine Mind, they know the rules that will make them happy and healthy. And as reflections of divine Principle, they naturally obey these laws—automatic discipline! As expressions of divine Life, our children are active and productive members of society. As expressions of Soul, they are inspired and joyful. These are facts, not possibilities. They indicate the spirituality of God’s children as the expression of God, Spirit.
God, Mind, speaks directly to our children, just as He does to each one of us.
I’ve found that quite often what parents call “protecting” their children is really a mask for fear. This fear can come from a false sense of responsibility which says, “If I don’t look after them, tell them what to do, do things for them, and so on, it won’t happen.” But God, Mind, speaks directly to our children, just as He does to each one of us. His messages come to us more often than not as spiritual intuitions—in the feeling that “this is the right thing to do,” or perhaps, “this is not the right place to be.” One might not recognize these thoughts as coming from God, but I’ve found that I can trust that my children will hear and heed these messages because it is their nature to do so. We parents are not a medium for our children any more than we are for a spouse or friend. Our calm thinking and trust in God’s care will give us the confidence to know that all is well.
This is where I found peace when our son was attending university in the middle of a large city in northern England. It also calmed my thought when either of them was traveling and my husband and I had no idea where they were.
As time went on, my husband and I were aware that both children were beginning to think about the future and perhaps having a family. In each case there had been more than one serious relationship that had not worked out, and there always seemed to be something missing in the relationship. This saddened me for I wanted each of them to feel loved and needed, and I felt each would have a lot to contribute to a wider sense of family.
I realized that I needed to lift this sense of sadness and lack from my own thought. I began by affirming that “God is love” (I John 4:8) and we are each the expression of His love, both in loving each other and in feeling loved. My love for our son and daughter included seeing each one as a complete, happy, fulfilled expression of divine Love. Lack and sadness are no part of Love. I also reminded myself that God’s ideas (each of us) relate to each other in the way that God knows is best for each one. This may or may not include a spouse, but it will always include complete fulfillment for each one and the best opportunities to serve God and our fellow man.
As with many things, however, we often want to plan how this will happen or, at least, know what God, Mind, has planned! Then we’ll see if it’s OK. That doesn’t work! Part of love is trust, and I knew I could leave it with the Father to look after all of His children, including those who might some day join our family. As I realized this, all the sadness and concern left me. I had a lovely feeling that all was well.
Through the years I’ve seen how God has taken care of my children in ways better than I could have planned. As they have grown up and happily moved on with their lives (my husband and I now have three lively grandchildren), we have grown to think of them as our two best friends.
We’ve learned through the years that it is our job as parents to trust that God is their Mother and Father, and He will take care of the rest.
Susan Thomas lives in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, England.