Thursday, January 30, 2020

The Three Hierarchs and the Upbringing of Children

By Monk Moses the Athonite

According to the most-wise Basil the Great, the first seven years of a person's life is particularly important for the subsequent course their upbringing receives. According to the divine Chrysostom, the upbringing of children should not be exhausted in learning through an education and the arts but in the adornment of the virtuous soul with godliness. He insists that this will be achieved as long as the soul is flexible and can be appropriately shaped and inspired.

The same Holy Father gives particular attention to the tongue, because the young child must learn to say words truthfully, modestly, purely and beautifully, and not, according to the Apostle Paul whom he loved very much, words that are derogatory, scornful, blasphemous and shameful.

The divine Chrysostom also gives attention to hearing. He insists on listening to divine discourses willingly and carefully, as well as participating in divine worship at church.

He also recommends the physical exercise of the body that leads to virtue. Exercise is a sport that contributes to alertness.

The anger of adults at young people's mistakes usually doesn't help. Gregory the Theologian has argued that the submission to reason can help more than excessive anger. The same Saint harshly stigmatizes demonic anger and says that anger utters hurtful words that results in wounds, and wounds create traumas, and traumas kill.

Basil the Great blasts disreputable spectacles that fuel the imagination with lewdness and pornographic songs, which make souls ugly.

According to the divine Chrysostom, fasting, attending church and praying strengthen young people spiritually. The measure is very basic for the life of a young person. The divine Chrysostom writes: "Enjoy baths, eat, drink wine moderately, even eat meat, no one is stopping you, try everything, just distance yourself from sin!"

Basil the Great himself confesses that the education he received about the concept of God came from his mother Emmelia and his grandmother Macrina. In his famous discourse to young people, he considered a classical education useful for entering into the true wisdom of the Gospel.

Saint Gregory the Theologian blesses his parents for his upbringing, especially his mother Nonna. He gives a beautiful image of the important role of good parenting by example. He writes: "If a child walks sideways like a crab, it is because they learned how to walk from their mother."

Well known is the saying anyone who is truly wise often says in their life: "I don't know."

There is a need to develop the spirit of sacrifice and offering with the lived example of adults, with the fruits of their pure self and their spiritual life. We all need to be more concerned with children and young people. Young people will be helped by acquiring moral standards, having healthy models that cultivate their personality and character, and building healthy, sacred and beautiful relationships with their parents, teachers, classmates and friends.

May the memory of the Holy Three Hierarchs, John Chrysostom, Basil of the Great and Gregory the Theologian, be awakening, refreshing and transformative for all of us.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.