Educating children within the family PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 25 May 2015 08:26

REFLECTION

BY FR. ROY CIMAGALA

Let’s always remember that the education of children always starts at home within the family atmosphere. The parents are the primary teachers and the home is the first school. Schools play only a subsidiary role.

Let’s hope that more and more parents realize this. We cannot deny that many parents think that the education of their children is mainly the responsibility of schools, teachers, tutors, and other specialists. We have to explode that myth.

Parents not only bring children to existence. Precisely as parents they have the primary duty to bring up their children properly. And this responsibility is not only in the material aspects, like feeding and clothing, but more in the spiritual and moral aspects that in the end are a matter of education and formation.

That’s why parents should first of all realize very deeply that they need a good and ongoing human and spiritual formation. Let’s remember that this aspect of formation serves as the foundation for any education and training parents give to their children.

The practical aspects of learning can only be truly effective if they rest on a good, solid and consistent human and spiritual formation. Obviously, the basic human and spiritual values and virtues are learned by giving the children the appropriate basic responsibilities, like greeting or kissing parents to instill the virtue of respect, doing some household chores to inculcate the idea of responsibility and concern for others, etc.

But the bigger responsibilities can only be pursued and developed if the children already would have some mastery of virtues like humility, hard work, sincerity, simplicity, thoughtfulness, economy or the healthy sense of poverty, etc.

Parents should also realize that to create a proper and conducive atmosphere of learning, they should try to create and keep an atmosphere of peace and cordiality at home. Since there will always be differences and conflicts, not to mention, mistakes and failures, parents should know how to handle these events without compromising that air of peace and cordiality at home.

Also very important for parents to carry out is to introduce their children as early as practicable to a life of piety. The rudiments of prayer and faith should be planted in the children as early as possible. This is a very important aspect that should not be regarded as only secondary in the priorities of what to teach the children.

Unless this aspect of the children’s education is firmly put in place, there will always be the danger that whatever accomplishments the children may have in other areas would only occasion pride, vanity, greed, self-centeredness, etc.

Parents should tutor their children in the proper exercise of freedom, making them understand that freedom ultimately is a matter of following the truth that in turn comes from God. That is, that freedom and obedience to God’s will and to the proper instrumentalities of God (those with certain authority) always go together. In other words, children should realize as early as possible that freedom and obedience are not in conflict.

In dealing with their children, parents should try their best to put themselves in the level of their children. Friendship, affection and intimacy should be fostered, such that there is trusting openness between parents and children, even if the right to privacy is also respected and, in fact, promoted.

Parents should know how to open new horizons to their children in a gradual and pleasant way. Parents should always think and plan of how to demand a little bit more from their children, since this is the way children truly grow toward maturity.

Parents need to know their children’s assets and liabilities, their strengths and weaknesses, their talents and defects, and on that knowledge map out the way for the children to develop, blossom and mature.

Also crucial is for parents to help their children have a good and correct knowledge of the origin of life, and the role of human sexuality in our life, and the importance of chastity. This is not to be prude, but rather to be realistic.

Let’s remember that in this area especially, many children, starting in their adolescent stage, meet great difficulties that oftentimes are shameful for them to open up. The parents should take the initiative to take up this topic with the children.

Parents should also guide their children with respect to choice of schools, friends, how to study and accomplish their school assignments.

It should be presumed that parents really spend quality time with their children, having individual confidential chats with them and developing the practice of family get-togethers and outings.