Sunday, October 12, 2008

as time passes

It is Thanksgiving Sunday today, and I have been thinking about how we get caught up in certain things. Several years ago when my 15-year-old son was about 8, there was a great furore among Christian circles over the Harry Potter books -- were they occult and dangerous, or were they getting your kids to read. Which was the lesser of two evils?

It started me thinking about the role of parents in their children's discernment, which ultimately led to writing a book about making wise discernments with your teenagers (it has not been published, nor raised any interest, but that's another story). After an incredible amount of research and several rewrites, my son finally turned 13, but it was only in the past six months or so that I have come smack up into the face of the teenager, and can truly write and know what it's like.

And for all that research, and all that experience, the sum of it is this: love. Sounds simple, love them and they will turn out fine, but it's hard. When children know they are loved, they are more inclined to be good. When we spend time with them, reassuring them of their worth, they will know it when they hear that their Heavenly Father loves them and values them. When you really love them, your discipline is in their best interest and not out of anger.

St Paul really had it right on when he wrote:
1If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
13And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

It's also incredibly difficult to follow.

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