Many times we yell at our children “do this” or “don’t do that” – but unfortunately the end results are not what we expected.
We think that they are to be blamed but most of the times we are at fault.
We must always bear in mind that they are not stupid – they just lack experience in life and maturity of age.
We tell them:
“My son, I was at your age” – “You weren’t at my age” or “you are from the stone age and you don’t understand me”, is the typical response from a youngster.
“My son, I too was on the same path of life in which you are now tredding”. “please, take heed and respect my many years of experience in life, take heed! If you feel that something is murky, don’t take risks, but ask.”
Firstly, we shouldn’t command our children to do this or that but rather we should inspire them to be obedient, especially when they are till 15-16 years of age and this must be done on a concrete but subtle manner.
We will reward obedience in the following way or somewhat similar: If they ask for permission on something then we will tell them “normally I wouldn’t have given you the permission, however, since you asked, then the permission is granted.”
In a same manner we will despise the disobedience, e.g: we will be informed that they did something without telling us. We will say with a touch harshness to stress our disapproval but seasoned with pain and love of the heart: “Why didn’t you tell me? You know that I would have given you the permission to do so or something better. Always ask, so that I can advise and help you!”
In this way, they will learn that obedience and dependence is the path to follow. This was our Lord’s example for us whenever He gave account to His Father, and Christ acted like this because it is the existential law of our being. We cannot succeed without it.
Abbot Ephraim chating with children at our monastery.