"We are loved not because we are good. We are good because we are loved." Desmond Tutu
The sooner we discern the wisdom in the Archbishop's words, the better. Children turn out good, not because of the things or riches we give them, but because of the unconditional love we give them. Parenting is all about loving children without taking time off, and expressing that love in more than a hundred ways - through example,wise instructions and discipline; by building self-worth and inculcating good practices in them; by shepherding them through difficult phases in their lives and letting go of them, when they can manage life on their own. With great wisdom, Hodding Carter wrote:"There are two lasting bequests we can hope to give our children. One of these is roots, the other is wings". When they have sprouted wings, they should learn to fly and not be nest-bound. The whole thing is epitomized in our lives. The lives we lead will largely determine the kind of lives our children will follow.
When we have stuck to the code, our children will develope some sterling virtues.
1) CHARITY: They will have a loving, helpful and forgiving disposition.
2) PRUDENCE: They will be guided by sound principles, and live fearlessly.
3) JUSTICE: They will be fair and defend the truth, even when tempted with riches.
4) FORTITUDE: They will endure hardships for a just cause, without complaining.
5) TEMPERANCE: They will live disciplined and regulated lives.
Since they are enriched by these virtues, they will hold us in high esteem, trust us, share our concerns and be emotionally close. Because they are genuine, these qualities will find scope and expression outside the immediate family. The Golden Rule will be part of their code. By living such lives, children will bestow on parents awards that surpass public recognition.
When all is said and done, what kind of a family are we left with? A healthy family, with a strong sense of oneness; rich in tradition; where respect, responsibility, praise and forgiveness are woven into the family fabric; where success and the lack of it, are accepted with composure; where a sense of fun keeps the family in good spirits; where each one pursues his or her own special interest, supported by the rest of the family; where frequent and purposeful communication keep the links in place; where time spent with one another is valued; where faith in God is the anchor;
and where trust in one another is silently and strongly built.
A.J.Cronin, in his book, Adventures in Two Worlds, extols the virtues of a nurse, who through selfless service gained the respect of her patients. With such splendid performance, he finds it difficult to understand why she is underpaid. A gross injustice, he thinks. But the nurse's response, which spoke of her purpose in life, had him admire her all the more. She said: "If God knows I'm worth it, that's all that matters to me". When we can say that, we would have travelled well on our parenting journey.