About raising children

The prayer is a sign of faith in God. When the faith in God is complete there is no need to pray for something because God takes care of everything. Then you have to wait patiently until the fruit is ripe and falls from the tree. For this reason parents entrust your children to God because you gave them only their body but God created their soul. So He is bound to take care of them.

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Another elder shared the following words:

`A child needs much guidance and love. Watching TV is harmful.`

`A man gives his child flesh from his own flesh. But God creates the soul of the child. When a child grows his parents are not responsible for him anymore. God gives a guardian angel to everyone to help that person all along his lifetime. So shouldn’t’ we trust God?`

`You should help your children until a point. Beyond that leave them in God’s care. Their guardian angel is always with them. Somebody could say: `If someone falls into temptation the guardian angel stays away. But the angel doesn’t despair. He stays by his side. Even when somebody goes astray God sends him good thoughts by his guardian angel.`

`We should not estrange of God because that’s very painful. The guardian angel tries during life to inspire good thoughts to people, he waits and suffers, he saddens when the man sins and stands before God without being able to do anything. Let’s think about that! This simple thing causes so much pain. For this reason men should  not strange of God refusing to accomplish His will. For some angels is harder and for others is easier to bring to God the soul of a man. But there are other angels who struggle hardly and they suffer and they are in pain and they come before God with empty hands. It is so painful! Just imagine. It is worth to struggle  with dignity only do not upset the guardian angel! There are so many people who saw their guardian angel. If someone sees his guardian angel he doesn’t ask for anything else.

When we see small babies smiling in their sleep that happens because they see their guardian angel. You should teach your children how to pray because God listens to their prayers. The prayers should permeate the hearts of the children. The prayers have no results if they don’t come from the bottom of the heart.

When the children are small help them gently to understand the meaning of life. Always behave gently with them.

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A hermit used to advise the pilgrims about raising their children :

`I am still sad that I didn’t go to confess before 18 yo. I am still sad because of that. When a child is 6-7 yo he needs to have a spiritual confessor. This is what you should do.

Thus after you leave the Holy Mountain and return to your homes give attention to children, catechize them and guard them especially though your prayers. Pray as patriarch Jacob prayed for his children. Pray like this: `Most Holy Theotokos protect help and take care of my children. Make the sign of the cross when you pray and sing a hymn to Theotokos. Watch over them. Know where they go in the evening and with whom. Bad company spoils a good education. The child may be good but someone might have a bad influence upon him. This is my advice for all the laymen.`

Source: Athonite Patericon