Every work of art and every form and expression of human creativity is beautiful in its own way to people who understand and appreciate it. But ultimately, almost every work of art is the result of one individual’s creative labor and talent. Experiencing a live performance of a symphonic orchestra is something quite different. Yes, they still perform music composed by a single individual, but every performance and interpretation is different and unique. It requires absolute coordination and cooperation from a hundred or more musicians. They are all professionals, masters of their instruments and maybe even one of the best in the world. But none of that matters unless they all work together and most importantly learn to recognize and interpret every facial expression and body language of their conductor. The conductor’s presence hovers over the entire orchestra. It directs and guides every vibration, every twist and turn of the sound. The orchestra’s success depends entirely on their ability to trust, understand and follow a conductor’s directions and guidance.
Today, as we celebrate the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross and reopen the doors of our Sunday School for our children, let’s also examine and reflect what role and impact does the life-giving Cross and Christian faith have in the upbringing of our children and parenting in general. In the same way that a great conductor guides and leads every musician, instrument, sound and vibration in the orchestra, God is actively engaged and present in the lives of our children. He will always be there guarding and watching over them, leading and guiding them. Sometimes, God emerges in our lives powerfully in ways that we can almost physically feel his presence and touch. But a lot of times, God’s voice is silenced by all the noise, corruption and sin of the reality we live in. Therefore, it is an essential survival skill for our children to learn how to recognize and discern the gentle loving whisper of the Lord talking to them and guiding them.
As parents, we strive and do everything possible and impossible for our children. We teach, guide, mentor, forgive and love, give and provide, encourage and support them tirelessly and selflessly in order to make sure they are healthy, happy and on the right path to success, safety, stability and happiness. But it is often quite easy to overlook the crucial role of faith in parenting and child-rearing.
Much can be said and written about the benefits and absolute necessity of faith in our lives. But above all, it is important for us, as parents, to recognize that no amount of success, education, achievement, status, recognition and wealth can ever make our children happy. While essential and good, these can merely provide our children with stability, safety, security, but never with true joy, purpose in life and happiness. It is our Christian teaching and firm faith that wholeness, true personal peace and joy can only be forged and carved through our relationship with God and the people around us. From the first chapters of the Bible, we learn that we are both physical and spiritual creations, unlike anything God created. Our spiritual side can’t simply be silenced, ignored, covered with material gain and success. Any such attempt will eventually result in disappointment and lead our children to despair, loneliness and unhappiness.
Let us continue to actively encourage our children to embrace faith, hope and love, search for and experience the voice of the Lord calling them by name and guiding them. Let us expose children to the life-giving rays of prayer and scripture reading through which God will always speak and support them. Let us help our children to build and forge a friendship and relationship with their only true best friend and Savior who loves them unconditionally, selflessly and will always be there to rescue, carry and guide them.