Monday, March 28, 2011

94) Teach children lessons - Forbearance

"If you suffer from a bad man's injustice, forgive him lest there be two bad men."
Saint Augustine.

The papers report crimes of different kinds - deception and cheating, molestation and rape, thefts and robberies, stabbings and shootings; the list is endless. The vile acts shock us and we are quick to condemn both the crime and the criminal. But have to stopped to consider that we are no less guilty?

We desire another man's wealth and scheme how to steal it from him. We lust beautiful women and women crave for virile men. We plot the downfall and death of those who harm us. The only difference is that we commit the crimes in our minds, others carry out their nefarious plots. We stop with the plan and fear to carry it out because of consequences. The truth is that we are partners in crime with those convicted. We are the shadow criminals.

We are watched by our children who are quick to pounce on those who err - sibling, classmate, teacher. They condemn others although they are guilty of the same faults. Unless they learn from us to forbear the wrongs of others, they will be held down by their double standards - viewing their own faults leniently and being merciless in pulling down others. Only forbearance will give them a balanced view.

Monday, March 14, 2011

93) Teach children lessons - value life

"It is great to be alive", was a sign at the entrance to San Fransisco many many decades ago, when the town had a population of only 500 people but many thousand graves.

During the Second World War ll a Dutch Jew who was a Jeweler was held captive in a Nazi concentration camp. Hidden in a safe place was some gold that he managed to smuggle into the camp. He hoped that he could use it when he was free again. The rations in the camp were meager and he was hungry for most of the time. He knew he could not take it longer, so he decided to trade his gold for food. With the guard he bargained. After much time and many words the guard gave him two dried potatoes for his gold. But the Jeweler accepted the potatoes because he valued his life more than the gold. He wanted to live to be free again.

Viktor Frankl a psychiatrist who was also a prisoner in a concentration camp made an important finding after much observation and study: prisoners who had a reason to live outlived those who gave up hope; who did not have a reason to live.

Do we have a good reason to live? Not just the reason of amassing wealth? Can we honestly say that we live purposeful lives, because we value the life we have? Do we teach our children to value the life God has given them? From us they will learn if we believe that "it is great to be alive" - to live purposeful lives, for ourselves and for others.