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Spiritual growth: an absolute requirement of parenting

From the July 1992 issue of The Christian Science Journal

To be completely honest, I find parenting very challenging. Even though my children are grown and living on their own, the demands, while different in what they require of a parent, are still there. When the children were small, I found that parenting required so much in terms of time, energy, flexibility, and stamina on all fronts, that I wasn't sure that I had what it takes to be a parent. I realized right off that spiritual growth was an absolute requirement of parenting, so I was forced to grow in ways that might not have been recognized as necessary. I had to learn what it really means to be unselfish, to live for others, and to find a solid sense of identity in doing so.

Christian Science brought light to all these areas of need because it gave me a model for parenting in our FatherMother God; it told me of the true, spiritual nature of man when I was struggling with limited, mortal concepts of parents and children that seemed so real; and it taught me that the socio/psycho/medical laws that society lays out for the general population are not law at all; that under divine Principle, Love, families can be a law unto themselves.

I found absolutely imperative at every stage of raising children the need to trust God and His care of His children; to trust Him to establish their intellectual, emotional, and social well-being; to trust Him to maintain their health and harmony; to trust Him to be the foundation of their identity and independent thought; and to trust Him to be the ground of their moral, ethical, and spiritual footing. This trust in the Father-Mother God, while never absolving parents of their responsibility to their children, does take away a burdened sense of this responsibility.

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