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Author Topic: Let children know everything?  (Read 11642 times) Average Rating: 0
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GammaRay
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« on: July 05, 2009, 10:27:58 AM »

Okay, I'm not a parent (not even an adult), but this topic may interest parents, so I'm posting it here.
Still, I have enough younger friends who enjoy talking with me about God.

My problem is, should we let children below the age of 13-14 know everything? I can't even imagine my little cousin's reaction by reading Genesis 19:5!
What about Hell? I know that we -Orthodox- believe in Hell in a much different way, but should we let kids know what Jesus said about fire and gnashing of teeth?

Socrates (in The Republic) once suggested that even if we treat something as symbolic/an allegory, we should not tell children about it, in case it contains anything violent.

Your views? Huh
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« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2009, 10:41:52 AM »

Okay, I'm not a parent (not even an adult), but this topic may interest parents, so I'm posting it here.
Still, I have enough younger friends who enjoy talking with me about God.

My problem is, should we let children below the age of 13-14 know everything? I can't even imagine my little cousin's reaction by reading Genesis 19:5!
What about Hell? I know that we -Orthodox- believe in Hell in a much different way, but should we let kids know what Jesus said about fire and gnashing of teeth?

Socrates (in The Republic) once suggested that even if we treat something as symbolic/an allegory, we should not tell children about it, in case it contains anything violent.

Your views? Huh

We have to teach them about pedophiles, why not about Gen. 19:5?
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« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2009, 11:28:59 AM »

Shouldn't we just keep them in a bubble of ignorance until they reach 12 or 13?
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« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2009, 01:30:16 PM »

Well, I am a parent of three, ages 16, 13, and 10, two gifted and one with Special Needs, that is, he has mild Down Syndrome, so I think I have some experience in this area.  This is not a "binary" situation of "Bubble of ignorance" or "Full Disclosure of Everything".  It is a matter of teaching things bit by bit according to each child's understanding and ability to learn.  A "core dump" of information on a child is not going to lead to full understanding or even a great deal.  It might instead just be confusing and perhaps scary.  So it's a matter of gauging what is the right amount of information for each child and giving enough but not too much.

As to "anything violent"  does that include some of the favourite folk tales and fairy stories?  I'd have to find it, but Ogden Nash wrote a humourous poem about how children like stories where the bad guys get theirs and other "violence". 

Ebor
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« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2009, 03:12:09 PM »

Shouldn't we just keep them in a bubble of ignorance until they reach 12 or 13?

And what happens when that bubble bursts?
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« Reply #5 on: July 05, 2009, 04:40:54 PM »

Progressive knowledge is the best route. You introduce basic concepts and then build upon them as time goes on. So the initial concept is introduced in the most basic way and then as they grow older you revisit the concept and build their knowledge base. This is a method called "classical education" amongst home schooling crowds. But it also works well in teaching about life in general.

Say you take the example of human sexuality. Initially you just teach about how boys and girls have different genatalia, then teach about how a man and a woman both have a part of what it takes to make a baby, then you continue to build upon the prior foundation of knowledge.

You also can't exactly set a specific age to teach many of these concepts. All children are ready at different times. To either teach an idea too early or too late is damaging.
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« Reply #6 on: July 05, 2009, 09:03:30 PM »

I have already expressed my view on this. No. Solid, firm no. Christianity is an adult thing, period. Children should not read the Bible or listen to adults explaining it. It will be distorted, watered down - and that's bad. Kids should live in the kids' world, with funny heroes like Elmo or Robert Desnos's "Capitaine Jonatan" or fairies or Peter Pan or whatever.
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« Reply #7 on: July 06, 2009, 10:38:19 AM »

And what happens when that bubble bursts?
The kid gets to know the whole truth.

Thanks for the help, everyone. I think I mostly agree with Heorhij.

By the way, our society tends to "teach" children everything in a quick and agressive way. I don't think there will be anything left about sexual intercourse, TV will cover up everything (in an awful way).
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« Reply #8 on: July 06, 2009, 11:12:16 AM »


But, if you don't teach children from a young age, why even bother taking them to church, then?  Shouldn't they know the basics of their Faith?  Should they not be told about the Liturgy and what they are witnessing?  Shouldn't they be told about Christ and the saints?

You cannot exclude everything from them, because when you finally decide they are old enough...they simply won't care, and it will be too late.

I have four godchildren (aged 6 - 13) and I give them honest answers to any questions they should come up with. 

I make sure that they hear the Gospel that is read at Liturgy.  It's read in Ukrainian, so in the car on the way to church I give them the church calendar and have them look up what will be read, and then they pick up the Bible and read it in English in the car.  As we go along, we pause often and have a discussion about what was just read.

I believe little children know more than we give them credit for.

I would not read the entire OT to them, as there is "adult" material, however, I would not exclude everything in order to avoid those few sections. 

Besides, it you want to preserve their innocence, make sure you keep the TV off, do not take them out to the malls, or to movies, or the zoo in Spring time, etc. 



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« Reply #9 on: July 06, 2009, 11:57:32 AM »


But, if you don't teach children from a young age, why even bother taking them to church, then?  Shouldn't they know the basics of their Faith?  Should they not be told about the Liturgy and what they are witnessing?  Shouldn't they be told about Christ and the saints?

You cannot exclude everything from them, because when you finally decide they are old enough...they simply won't care, and it will be too late.

I have four godchildren (aged 6 - 13) and I give them honest answers to any questions they should come up with. 

I make sure that they hear the Gospel that is read at Liturgy.  It's read in Ukrainian, so in the car on the way to church I give them the church calendar and have them look up what will be read, and then they pick up the Bible and read it in English in the car.  As we go along, we pause often and have a discussion about what was just read.

I believe little children know more than we give them credit for.

I would not read the entire OT to them, as there is "adult" material, however, I would not exclude everything in order to avoid those few sections. 

Besides, it you want to preserve their innocence, make sure you keep the TV off, do not take them out to the malls, or to movies, or the zoo in Spring time, etc. 





Pani Lizo, yes, of course I agree that children should not be shielded from reality. While it is certainly wise to keep them away from pornography, there is nothing wrong about them watching TV or non-pornographic movies (and these reality scenes in the zoo or elsewhere, as well Smiley ).

But I am just not sure whether this whole notion about "teaching them faith from their young age" is really a good one. I don't know. I have doubts. Sometimes, when I read what people write on this forum, like that Ang Lee's "Ice Storm" is a carefully crafted Hollywood plot, etc., I think, thank God my own daughter was never exposed to "the teaching of the faith." It's good that she grew up non-indoctrinated in anything.

I do hope I am not insulting you personally by writing this, because I am sure that you are a wonderful teacher of the faith. But still, I just have my doubts...
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« Reply #10 on: July 06, 2009, 12:02:21 PM »

And what happens when that bubble bursts?
The kid gets to know the whole truth.

Does the child get to "know the whole truth" or does she/he get a swamping of so much that they can't take it all in or understand it all or even much of it?  Few children could handle that in any area.  For example, one might try to drop the entire concept of calculus on a child, but they won't learn anything from it unless they first had counting and arithmetic and multiplication etc to build the foundation for more complicated things.

I agree with Heorhij that a small child should/can not read the Bible. Unless the child is a prodigy it wouldn't make any sense.  But one can teach simple things like "Don't do things to others that you don't like" along the lines of "Don't pull the cat's tail." or "Don't take all the cookies".  Parents can model that in their behaviour: "I'm sharing with you.  You share with your brother/sister/friend".  

Quote
By the way, our society tends to "teach" children everything in a quick and agressive way. I don't think there will be anything left about sexual intercourse, TV will cover up everything (in an awful way).

Kind of the "mile wide and an inch deep approach" to learning?  But that is not *really* learning and understanding how things work and fit together.  We still use books and discussions in our house.  Smiley
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« Reply #11 on: July 06, 2009, 12:11:23 PM »


Heorhij,

Of course I am not insulted.  This is a forum for open discussion, and learning from each other.

I just wonder "what" is the right age to begin teaching them the Faith?  When is it considered they are old enough to "handle" it?

Of course you won't be reading the Bible in it's complete glory to a 3 year old.  However, they also should not be in a bubble.  They need to know about God.  They need to know that they go to church on Sunday to the House of God.  They need to know who is depicted on the icons. 

To each their own.  I don't judge.  However, I for one, take every opportunity to teach the kids about God. 

Matthew 19:14 (King James Version)

 14  But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.


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« Reply #12 on: July 06, 2009, 01:35:42 PM »

I just wonder "what" is the right age to begin teaching them the Faith?  When is it considered they are old enough to "handle" it?

Perhaps from whenever THEY, on their own, become curious about it and eager to learn about it. And that, I believe, happens to most people when they are adults and when there have been some tragedy in their life. Before that, they are pink optimists, sure that the world is good and "progressing" (like my daughter, 25, and her husband, 29, still are) - which is, of course, totally incompatible with Christianity. And let it be... until...
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« Reply #13 on: July 06, 2009, 01:58:41 PM »

I don't mean to be insulting Heorhij, but isn't your daughter an atheist? I don't know that you can say that your method is all that effective if your one child you have raised this way has completely rejected God. Whereas there is a long history of teaching the faith from an early age that is has resulted not only in many children staying on that path, but the fathers and mothers of the church that we admire as saints.
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« Reply #14 on: July 06, 2009, 03:05:39 PM »

I don't mean to be insulting Heorhij, but isn't your daughter an atheist? I don't know that you can say that your method is all that effective if your one child you have raised this way has completely rejected God. Whereas there is a long history of teaching the faith from an early age that is has resulted not only in many children staying on that path, but the fathers and mothers of the church that we admire as saints.

Yes, Quinault, she is an atheist - and yet I still like it that no one indoctrinated her in anything. I do not hide my faith from her, and I believe she is a God-seeker, like all of us, essentially. His will be done.
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« Reply #15 on: July 06, 2009, 03:49:31 PM »

Yes, Quinault, she is an atheist - and yet I still like it that no one indoctrinated her in anything. I do not hide my faith from her, and I believe she is a God-seeker, like all of us, essentially. His will be done.

Maybe it's life experience. You have an non-religious background, correct? Born into a black Baptist family, we knew about the Holy Trinity before we knew how to add. I used to request "Adam and Eve" after most baths (I was 3-4), I still remember the illustrations from my children's Bible, and it was always a preschool dispute about whether you could say "hell" (it was in the Bible, after all). True, I didn't come back to any kind of faith until later, and this doesn't guarantee that all children will always believe. I guess that's what the St. Monicas of the world are for.  Smiley
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« Reply #16 on: July 06, 2009, 07:43:28 PM »

Yes, Quinault, she is an atheist - and yet I still like it that no one indoctrinated her in anything. I do not hide my faith from her, and I believe she is a God-seeker, like all of us, essentially. His will be done.

Maybe it's life experience. You have an non-religious background, correct? Born into a black Baptist family, we knew about the Holy Trinity before we knew how to add.

So, you really believed in God, in Christ, in the Incarnation, etc.? I have a hunch, Rowan, that you had no clue, forgive me if I am wrong... You see, "knowing" all these nice words is not the same as really experiencing sin, fall, redemption, incarnation etc. And when you "know" the watered-down didactical version of "Christianity," then, I am afraid, it's a lot better when you are a secular humanist.


I used to request "Adam and Eve" after most baths (I was 3-4), I still remember the illustrations from my children's Bible, and it was always a preschool dispute about whether you could say "hell" (it was in the Bible, after all). True, I didn't come back to any kind of faith until later, and this doesn't guarantee that all children will always believe. I guess that's what the St. Monicas of the world are for.  Smiley

Yeah, a fat load of good these Monicas did to all the Augustines.. Sad
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« Reply #17 on: July 06, 2009, 08:31:42 PM »

I just wonder "what" is the right age to begin teaching them the Faith?  When is it considered they are old enough to "handle" it?

Perhaps from whenever THEY, on their own, become curious about it and eager to learn about it. And that, I believe, happens to most people when they are adults and when there have been some tragedy in their life. Before that, they are pink optimists, sure that the world is good and "progressing" (like my daughter, 25, and her husband, 29, still are) - which is, of course, totally incompatible with Christianity. And let it be... until...


In my experience though, it's been the total opposite. When life is half-way going decently, it is MUCH easier to believe in God.  It's when every single thing possible goes wrong and prayers are simply not answered that it becomes impossible to believe...
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« Reply #18 on: July 06, 2009, 08:53:19 PM »

I just wonder "what" is the right age to begin teaching them the Faith?  When is it considered they are old enough to "handle" it?

Perhaps from whenever THEY, on their own, become curious about it and eager to learn about it. And that, I believe, happens to most people when they are adults and when there have been some tragedy in their life. Before that, they are pink optimists, sure that the world is good and "progressing" (like my daughter, 25, and her husband, 29, still are) - which is, of course, totally incompatible with Christianity. And let it be... until...


In my experience though, it's been the total opposite. When life is half-way going decently, it is MUCH easier to believe in God.  It's when every single thing possible goes wrong and prayers are simply not answered that it becomes impossible to believe...

Maybe so, Rosehip, believe in God, probably...

But believe in the reality of sin? Like, your father and mother and whoever they tell you are "good" are the worst sinners, just like yourself - no matter how they or you try?

And, regardless of how your life goes, when you are young and innocent and full of life and hope and strength, and purity, and love for life and justice and innocence, and when you are not really INDOCTRINATED, will you really believe that:

a) any murder is murder, including the murder of that poor man who gathered firewood to keep his family warm on Saturday? Or, far more, that the genocide of these absolutely innocent people who resided in Palestine merely because your "god" "ordered" you to slaughter them is a 1,000,000x murder for which you are 1,000,000x more guilty and answerable, unless your "god" is a total pervert?

b) women should cover their heads because they are second to men ("Eve was created next, not Adam")?

Honestly, imagine yourself not told "good" "moral" "building your faith" stories in childhood - and won't you answer yes to (a) and no to (b)?

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« Reply #19 on: July 06, 2009, 08:58:30 PM »

Yes, Quinault, she is an atheist - and yet I still like it that no one indoctrinated her in anything. I do not hide my faith from her, and I believe she is a God-seeker, like all of us, essentially. His will be done.

Maybe it's life experience. You have an non-religious background, correct? Born into a black Baptist family, we knew about the Holy Trinity before we knew how to add.

So, you really believed in God, in Christ, in the Incarnation, etc.? I have a hunch, Rowan, that you had no clue, forgive me if I am wrong... You see, "knowing" all these nice words is not the same as really experiencing sin, fall, redemption, incarnation etc. And when you "know" the watered-down didactical version of "Christianity," then, I am afraid, it's a lot better when you are a secular humanist.

Well, I'm sure I wasn't up on my the theology of Christ's Incarnate Nature when I was 3! I just knew that God loves us and sent His Son to die so we can be saved. I knew to be thankful for the gifts that God has given me and to ask forgiveness for my sins (yes, we learned about the fall and I knew what a kid could possibly know about being 'bad'). I knew that God sends everyone guardian angels to protect them, babies can see angels, and one day I would see my angel again in heaven.

Growing up, we all spoke the same language, and God was as much a given as breathing. I've never let go of that. I was confused, I was a pagan, but never an atheist. It was impossible to be a kid in my family and be secular. It's like that Earth, Wind, & Fire song, "A child is born with a heart of gold, the way of the world makes that heart so cold." That's why I said a part of this discussion could be your background. It's hard to explain being born in a bold, strong faith.

I used to request "Adam and Eve" after most baths (I was 3-4), I still remember the illustrations from my children's Bible, and it was always a preschool dispute about whether you could say "hell" (it was in the Bible, after all). True, I didn't come back to any kind of faith until later, and this doesn't guarantee that all children will always believe. I guess that's what the St. Monicas of the world are for.  Smiley

Yeah, a fat load of good these Monicas did to all the Augustines.. Sad

My grandmother got me back with her prayers, and who knows who else keeps me there by them (we've had very young deaths in our family before).
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« Reply #20 on: July 06, 2009, 09:05:12 PM »

Rowan, your posts are somehow very touching to me...

Heorhij,

I know I would definitely have said "yes" to a), but to b)? I don't know. I grew up surrounded by women who covered their heads all the time. It seemed a beautiful, noble, almost aristocratic custom. I always, even as a very young child, before anyone explained it to me, thought it was something I wanted to emulate. I was creating and designing my own headcoverings from a young age. That was something I saw as beautiful and proper and becoming in a very feminine way. I never viewed that as oppressive of women at all. All the women I knew who covered their heads were very capable and queenly in their wonderful domestic domains. It's something for which I strove.
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« Reply #21 on: July 06, 2009, 09:26:39 PM »

Yes, Quinault, she is an atheist - and yet I still like it that no one indoctrinated her in anything. I do not hide my faith from her, and I believe she is a God-seeker, like all of us, essentially. His will be done.

Maybe it's life experience. You have an non-religious background, correct? Born into a black Baptist family, we knew about the Holy Trinity before we knew how to add.

So, you really believed in God, in Christ, in the Incarnation, etc.? I have a hunch, Rowan, that you had no clue, forgive me if I am wrong... You see, "knowing" all these nice words is not the same as really experiencing sin, fall, redemption, incarnation etc. And when you "know" the watered-down didactical version of "Christianity," then, I am afraid, it's a lot better when you are a secular humanist.

Well, I'm sure I wasn't up on my the theology of Christ's Incarnate Nature when I was 3! I just knew that God loves us and sent His Son to die so we can be saved. I knew to be thankful for the gifts that God has given me and to ask forgiveness for my sins (yes, we learned about the fall and I knew what a kid could possibly know about being 'bad'). I knew that God sends everyone guardian angels to protect them, babies can see angels, and one day I would see my angel again in heaven.

Rowan, but - except sending Son to die (why?) and the guardian angels - everything you wrote above is the teaching of EVERY culture and religion, not just Christianity. Something in this world is great and good and powerful, and bigger than us, and it is benevolent - yes, of course, my totally atheist daughter knows that as well. We are all showered with a multitude of gifts and we ought to be thankful for these gifts - and that she also knows. We do a lot of bad stuff, and when we do, we ought to ask forgiveness and rethink our ways - and that is also a very familiar concept to every single atheist, unless he/she is a crooked and sorry person. Heaven - what's that, where's that? Son sent to die - what Son? Whose? Why die? Have you really understood it when you were 3, or 13, or will you really understand it when you will be 30 or 70?

Growing up, we all spoke the same language, and God was as much a given as breathing. I've never let go of that. I was confused, I was a pagan, but never an atheist. It was impossible to be a kid in my family and be secular. It's like that Earth, Wind, & Fire song, "A child is born with a heart of gold, the way of the world makes that heart so cold." That's why I said a part of this discussion could be your background. It's hard to explain being born in a bold, strong faith.

But in what?
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« Reply #22 on: July 06, 2009, 09:31:10 PM »

Rowan, your posts are somehow very touching to me...

Heorhij,

I know I would definitely have said "yes" to a), but to b)? I don't know. I grew up surrounded by women who covered their heads all the time. It seemed a beautiful, noble, almost aristocratic custom. I always, even as a very young child, before anyone explained it to me, thought it was something I wanted to emulate. I was creating and designing my own headcoverings from a young age. That was something I saw as beautiful and proper and becoming in a very feminine way. I never viewed that as oppressive of women at all. All the women I knew who covered their heads were very capable and queenly in their wonderful domestic domains. It's something for which I strove.

Rosehip, but if they KNEW from their early childhood on that it is OK to NOT cover their heads, just like men do not - would that make them less good, less aristocratic, less "queenly?" Are you sure?
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« Reply #23 on: July 06, 2009, 09:41:31 PM »

We've read to our kids from the bible and the lives of the saints since our oldest was born and its been nothing but a blessing. Our oldest is 9 then we have an 8,7,4,2 year old and a new born due at the end of the August. It might be easier for us because we do lots of activities together and they only get to watch TV on Sunday's, and even then its movies we approve of.  So we don't have any attention span problems.  Tonight we played outside shooting baskets, throwing the ball, doing chores and when we came in everyone was tired and ready to sit around and let me read the daily bible reading.  It's not hard if you make it a priority.

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« Reply #24 on: July 06, 2009, 09:52:23 PM »

We've read to our kids from the bible and the lives of the saints since our oldest was born and its been nothing but a blessing. Our oldest is 9 then we have an 8,7,4,2 year old and a new born due at the end of the August. It might be easier for us because we do lots of activities together and they only get to watch TV on Sunday's, and even then its movies we approve of.  So we don't have any attention span problems.  Tonight we played outside shooting baskets, throwing the ball, doing chores and when we came in everyone was tired and ready to sit around and let me read the daily bible reading.  It's not hard if you make it a priority.



Wonderful, but I am positive that Kermit the Frog has as much positive influence on the kids. Smiley
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« Reply #25 on: July 06, 2009, 09:55:53 PM »

Rowan, your posts are somehow very touching to me...

Heorhij,

I know I would definitely have said "yes" to a), but to b)? I don't know. I grew up surrounded by women who covered their heads all the time. It seemed a beautiful, noble, almost aristocratic custom. I always, even as a very young child, before anyone explained it to me, thought it was something I wanted to emulate. I was creating and designing my own headcoverings from a young age. That was something I saw as beautiful and proper and becoming in a very feminine way. I never viewed that as oppressive of women at all. All the women I knew who covered their heads were very capable and queenly in their wonderful domestic domains. It's something for which I strove.

Rosehip, but if they KNEW from their early childhood on that it is OK to NOT cover their heads, just like men do not - would that make them less good, less aristocratic, less "queenly?" Are you sure?

I really don't know, Heorhij. All I know is from the most tender age I would literally inhale (on the sly) my mum's art books. And I loved the way women were portrayed with headcoveirngs. Modern women looked so masculine to me.
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« Reply #26 on: July 06, 2009, 10:14:53 PM »

We've read to our kids from the bible and the lives of the saints since our oldest was born and its been nothing but a blessing. Our oldest is 9 then we have an 8,7,4,2 year old and a new born due at the end of the August. It might be easier for us because we do lots of activities together and they only get to watch TV on Sunday's, and even then its movies we approve of.  So we don't have any attention span problems.  Tonight we played outside shooting baskets, throwing the ball, doing chores and when we came in everyone was tired and ready to sit around and let me read the daily bible reading.  It's not hard if you make it a priority.



Wonderful, but I am positive that Kermit the Frog has as much positive influence on the kids. Smiley

In fact, it is wonderful. While Kermit the Frog might very well be a good role model for young children and one you recommend as a substitute for Bible stories, when my young girls spend a couple hours painting pictures, or my 9 year old boy finishes a 300 page mystery and excitedly tells me about it, I can't ever remember anyone in the midst of that missing Kermit the Frog.

But you might be right, if we had let them watch Kermit the Frog they might very well be better readers, better listeners, more patient, less distracted and just better overall children. Roll Eyes

When I got home today my kids wanted to go outside and play with me, TV wasn't and is never mentioned.  How often do you see that happen nowadays?
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« Reply #27 on: July 07, 2009, 12:27:00 AM »

We've read to our kids from the bible and the lives of the saints since our oldest was born and its been nothing but a blessing. Our oldest is 9 then we have an 8,7,4,2 year old and a new born due at the end of the August. It might be easier for us because we do lots of activities together and they only get to watch TV on Sunday's, and even then its movies we approve of.  So we don't have any attention span problems.  Tonight we played outside shooting baskets, throwing the ball, doing chores and when we came in everyone was tired and ready to sit around and let me read the daily bible reading.  It's not hard if you make it a priority.



Wonderful, but I am positive that Kermit the Frog has as much positive influence on the kids. Smiley

Why? Are we raising children to become amphibians?

I don't know what exactly "hiding" things is supposed to accomplish.  What should be hidden?  How long?

I always read from the Children's Bible, which included David and Bathsheba.  In the Ten Commandments, there is the scene of the slaying of the first born, and we watched that over and over.  I don't see any problems from any of it.
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« Reply #28 on: July 07, 2009, 02:19:27 AM »

If we are going to shield children until adulthood, why have them baptized as infants?

The entire purpose is to have them baptised as infants, and have them grow in the faith. We start taking children to the chalice as infants, receiving the gifts, participating in the Liturgy, being an ACTIVE member of the parish from the youngest ages. While they may not understand the incarnation of Christ as an infant, we can and SHOULD begin teaching them basic concepts at a very early age.

I remember going to Sunday school as early as pre-K, learning that Jesus loves me, and how to say the "Our Father." Each year more and and more concepts were introduced.

Just as you don't teach Quantum Physics to a 5 year old, contemplating the Incarnation of Christ may be a little heavy for them.

But a 5 year old can be taught how to cross themselves, venerate icons, and the they were created by a God that loves them.

Like any other lesson in life, you start with the principal basics of faith, then build upon them as time goes on.
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« Reply #29 on: July 07, 2009, 07:53:53 AM »

It seems like we are talking about different things.

I am not actually talking about "shielding." My issue is that children CANNOT possibly understand the mystery of Incarnation and Redemption. We, adults, cannot understand it either - we experience it, sort of, each of us in his or her unique way. When we think we understand it rationaly, with our "left brain" - we only fool ourselves (and then others).

So, "left-brain" "teaching" children faith from books - the Bible, or the sweet pink watered "children's Bible" - means teaching them DIFFERENT "faith," no matter what we think and believe. Our delivery to them of what we think are "the principal basics of faith" is the delivery of something other than what they will (hopefully) experience themselves when they are grown, when a certain tragedy (the "fall") strikes them. And that delivery of something else, I am afraid, may actually HAMPER their later independent coming to the real faith.
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« Reply #30 on: July 07, 2009, 09:20:42 AM »


I am truly amazed that one would keep "God" from their children.  If so, then how strong is our own faith, that we fear to share it with our children, lest it corrupt them? 

Who cares that they don't grasp it in it's entirety.  Adults can't even wrap their brains around half of it.  It's a life long struggle, it's a life long goal, it's a ladder you climb your whole life. 

My mother read to us from the Bible as children.  I may not have completely understood it, but, I had an idea...the seed was planted...and it was up to me to make sure that seed grew and flourished.  At least I had a seed to nurture.  If my parents had not planted that seed, who knows....I would be like many other kids, raised on Kermit, who could not care less about God, who never go to church, who thing organized religion is a scam.

You are drawn like a magnet to that which you were exposed to as a child.  Religious or otherwise.

I will bet that everyone loves the type of food they were raised on.  You will eat fast food, but, when you get some homemade yummies like mom made, that's when you are truly happy.

Your heart yearns for the days of your childhood, and the things you were exposed to at that age.

All good things must be available for children.  How selfish to keep the Faith from them.

One may think that they will find God all on their own when they grow up, but, they stand a better chance of staying with God, if they've known Him their whole lives.

I am honestly sad when I look at society and what it values.  The rich and well-off.  Parents push their kids to be "something", make lots of money, drive fancy cars, etc.  Then they are considered a "success".

One must remember, that we are on this planet for maybe 90-100 years?  Maybe.  However, what waits for us on the other side is an eternity.  Good, or bad, but, an eternity.

I would rather give my kids a good, strong foundation.  I would rather indoctrinate them than have them face their Creator completely unawares and unprepared. 

As a godparent, I took an "oath" that I would ensure that my godchildren grew up in the Faith, that they would be responsible and loving Christians.  It is the godparents responsibility to do what they can to promote the safety and salvation of their godchildren's souls.  I take that responsibility seriously.  I will do whatever I can to make sure those four godkids of mine, know and love God!  May the Lord help me!



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« Reply #31 on: July 07, 2009, 09:55:06 AM »

It seems like we are talking about different things.

I am not actually talking about "shielding." My issue is that children CANNOT possibly understand the mystery of Incarnation and Redemption. We, adults, cannot understand it either - we experience it, sort of, each of us in his or her unique way. When we think we understand it rationaly, with our "left brain" - we only fool ourselves (and then others).

So, "left-brain" "teaching" children faith from books - the Bible, or the sweet pink watered "children's Bible" - means teaching them DIFFERENT "faith," no matter what we think and believe. Our delivery to them of what we think are "the principal basics of faith" is the delivery of something other than what they will (hopefully) experience themselves when they are grown, when a certain tragedy (the "fall") strikes them. And that delivery of something else, I am afraid, may actually HAMPER their later independent coming to the real faith.

I really have no idea why you think that tragedy is the path to God, even "hoping" that children come to God in this way, rather than being "indoctrinated" (which is simply teaching children the faith...). Children should just grow up agnostic, with no foundation, falling for the next ridiculous spiritual trend, get themselves in serious trouble with excessive drinking and sex, and then finally climb up from rock bottom to God? Well, I am in my twentys, seen all of this play out, and I really wouldn't wish it on anyone, let alone my children.

Of course, there are most who grow up irreligious and end up just fine because they have a good head on their shoulders and a clear vision of the path they want to take in life, but then why should this path be secular (having not learned about the faith of their fathers)?

Since we're discussing Orthodoxy, maybe you're assuming that Orthodox teens and young adults will stay even culturally Orthodox, and so that will provide them with a softer cushion on which to fall? That most certainly will become less and less true (I go to school with Orthodox twenty-somethings who I only see at school...).

I'm really (maybe ironically) trying to figure this position out. The faith is experiential, but the Nicene Creed (and the prayers, and the liturgy) articulates what we believe. Precise, true doctrine is the opposite of fuzzy heresy, and believe it or not, the doctrine of Orthodoxy is very precise.
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« Reply #32 on: July 07, 2009, 09:59:03 AM »

I am honestly sad when I look at society and what it values.  The rich and well-off.  Parents push their kids to be "something", make lots of money, drive fancy cars, etc.  Then they are considered a "success".

It's a real disappointment. I know I'm naive at times about just how much money matters, but all that comes up about my goals are what big houses and nice cars I'll be able to afford.  Undecided
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« Reply #33 on: July 07, 2009, 10:58:41 AM »

I am honestly sad when I look at society and what it values.  The rich and well-off.  Parents push their kids to be "something", make lots of money, drive fancy cars, etc.  Then they are considered a "success".

It's a real disappointment. I know I'm naive at times about just how much money matters, but all that comes up about my goals are what big houses and nice cars I'll be able to afford.  Undecided

My wife and I never did this kind of "pushing," and neither did our parents who were agnostic or atheist. On the other hand, if we just read what good Orthodox people write on this forum, praising greed on Politics, blasting "Hollywood conspiracies" in the Other Topics or Free-for-All section, totally misunderstanding art...
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« Reply #34 on: July 07, 2009, 11:05:25 AM »

I am honestly sad when I look at society and what it values.  The rich and well-off.  Parents push their kids to be "something", make lots of money, drive fancy cars, etc.  Then they are considered a "success".

It's a real disappointment. I know I'm naive at times about just how much money matters, but all that comes up about my goals are what big houses and nice cars I'll be able to afford.  Undecided

I was pretty shocked when I became Orthodox to see just how worldly they were (having come from a culture which did not emphasize the same values). My first terrible shock was hearing Orthodox people bragging amongst one another about which Ivy League university they had got their PhD from.
After spending many years serving as a volunteer working amongst very poor people, it was a terrible cultural shock, to say the least. None of the Orthodox appeared interested in going abroad as Orthodox missionaries living in poverty. I think we can learn from our Evangelical counterparts in this regard-to value souls more than education and success.
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« Reply #35 on: July 07, 2009, 11:30:51 AM »

I am honestly sad when I look at society and what it values.  The rich and well-off.  Parents push their kids to be "something", make lots of money, drive fancy cars, etc.  Then they are considered a "success".

It's a real disappointment. I know I'm naive at times about just how much money matters, but all that comes up about my goals are what big houses and nice cars I'll be able to afford.  Undecided

I was pretty shocked when I became Orthodox to see just how worldly they were (having come from a culture which did not emphasize the same values). My first terrible shock was hearing Orthodox people bragging amongst one another about which Ivy League university they had got their PhD from.
After spending many years serving as a volunteer working amongst very poor people, it was a terrible cultural shock, to say the least. None of the Orthodox appeared interested in going abroad as Orthodox missionaries living in poverty. I think we can learn from our Evangelical counterparts in this regard-to value souls more than education and success.

A lot of Orthodox have another issue going on: immigration mentality.  Most were driven to come here for a better life, and drive their kids to achieve the "American Dream."  A generation or two is needed for that extreme to be moderated.  And indeed, a lot of second and third generation cradles are interested in missions (as in actually going) etc.
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« Reply #36 on: July 07, 2009, 11:32:55 AM »

I think you are right, Ialmisry (although many of these people who shocked me so much were not first generation americans)!
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« Reply #37 on: July 07, 2009, 12:31:53 PM »

My wife and I never did this kind of "pushing," and neither did our parents who were agnostic or atheist. On the other hand, if we just read what good Orthodox people write on this forum, praising greed on Politics, blasting "Hollywood conspiracies" in the Other Topics or Free-for-All section, totally misunderstanding art...

I appreciate your passion, but you started the thread on the movie where "Hollywood conspiracies" came up and you did it by posting the following comment which was bound to get a reaction from someone, "God, please have mercy on us all... You proponents of the American "right" wing politics - please... this was (and is) the reaction to what you thought you'd achieve... the very, very legitimate one..."

In my opinion, your phobia and stereotyping of "right" wing politics comes across just as emotional and irrational as those postulating "Hollywood conspiracies".
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« Reply #38 on: July 07, 2009, 12:43:26 PM »

My wife and I never did this kind of "pushing," and neither did our parents who were agnostic or atheist. On the other hand, if we just read what good Orthodox people write on this forum, praising greed on Politics, blasting "Hollywood conspiracies" in the Other Topics or Free-for-All section, totally misunderstanding art...

I appreciate your passion, but you started the thread on the movie where "Hollywood conspiracies" came up and you did it by posting the following comment which was bound to get a reaction from someone, "God, please have mercy on us all... You proponents of the American "right" wing politics - please... this was (and is) the reaction to what you thought you'd achieve... the very, very legitimate one..."

In my opinion, your phobia and stereotyping of "right" wing politics comes across just as emotional and irrational as those postulating "Hollywood conspiracies".

Maybe you are right. Sorry.
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« Reply #39 on: July 09, 2009, 10:40:48 AM »

(Too many posts to read them all.)

The fact that Heorhij's daughter is an atheist does not necessarily mean that it was his mistake for not Christianizing her. We can't know for sure what other circumstances and/or events may have affected her current path.

Christianizing a child and (kind of) "forcing" it to grow up as a Christian, will only make him/her hate it even more (if (s)he ever leaves). On the other hand, it may be good for him/her.

 Huh
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« Reply #40 on: July 09, 2009, 10:47:14 AM »

(Too many posts to read them all.)

The fact that Heorhij's daughter is an atheist does not necessarily mean that it was his mistake for not Christianizing her. We can't know for sure what other circumstances and/or events may have affected her current path.

Christianizing a child and (kind of) "forcing" it to grow up as a Christian, will only make him/her hate it even more (if (s)he ever leaves). On the other hand, it may be good for him/her.

 Huh

Thank you for this, GammaRay. I am out of this discussion though because it is too emotionally draining for me. I don't know how to reply to Liza's and Rowan's points, just lack an eloquence.
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« Reply #41 on: July 09, 2009, 02:27:34 PM »


Heorhij!    Sad

Dear brother, I hope I have not offended you with my statements.  Honestly.

It's just that I think it is our responsibility to enrich our children, and what better gift to give them than the knowledge of God.  Even knowledge in it's simplest forms.

Please forgive any offenses.  None were meant.

Liza

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« Reply #42 on: July 09, 2009, 03:00:39 PM »

I don't want to cause any hard feelings-just some thoughts I've had. Why should we baptize infants if faith is only for adults? Shouldn't we then practise adult baptism instead? And what about the sponsers/godparents? I was under the impression that their duty was to ensure that the teachings of the Church were instilled in the child? And the Sciptures say, "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.". Actually, I do know some very rare churches where the children are intentionally not trained much about the faith-the church stance is that they should not be indoctrinated in any way and they should independently choose to receive baptism as an adult. The problem with this is that that church is dying out...very few children choose to join the church or even participate in its services...kind of sad, really.
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« Reply #43 on: July 09, 2009, 03:10:12 PM »


Heorhij!    Sad

Dear brother, I hope I have not offended you with my statements.  Honestly.

It's just that I think it is our responsibility to enrich our children, and what better gift to give them than the knowledge of God.  Even knowledge in it's simplest forms.

Please forgive any offenses.  None were meant.

Liza



Pani Lizo, no, no offense, none, really. It's just... I don't know. I see thousands of these "well-trained in faith" students from local Southern Baptist families, every semester, and see that the vast majority of them are... you know. Wildest partying, dope, sex, even in the local high school hallways, quite in the open. And I just don't know, am not sure whether the proportion of these totally wild, headless kids is bigger here or in the families of atheists and secular humanists; I have a hunch that here,. it is bigger. Kids don't like being told what to do, never have. The highest incidence of teenage pregnancies is, where? Right, in the Bible Belt. The highest frequency of sexually transmitted diseases? Yes, also here. And another thing, - it's SO easy to confuse our kids and to give them the message that our faith is all about "being good," "behaving well," "listening to your mother," etc., and about THIS WORLD (hence all these campaigns to change the legislature, etc.). And yet another thing: Rowan says that our Orthodox doctrine is "precise." Is it? What does it say about Christ now? He is fully human, correct? So, WHERE is He? And how come we eat His fully human body? Is this easy to explain to a child? Is this POSSIBLE at all to explain to a child, or to an adult for that matter?
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« Reply #44 on: July 09, 2009, 03:16:55 PM »

I don't want to cause any hard feelings-just some thoughts I've had. Why should we baptize infants if faith is only for adults? Shouldn't we then practise adult baptism instead? And what about the sponsers/godparents? I was under the impression that their duty was to ensure that the teachings of the Church were instilled in the child? And the Sciptures say, "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.". Actually, I do know some very rare churches where the children are intentionally not trained much about the faith-the church stance is that they should not be indoctrinated in any way and they should independently choose to receive baptism as an adult. The problem with this is that that church is dying out...very few children choose to join the church or even participate in its services...kind of sad, really.

Rosehip, but SHOULD the Church really grow, actually, in numbers? What you and others say does make sense, I know, and yet, it is a huge concern of mine that kids are "trained up," i.e. merely indoctrinated in things they cannot possibly understand and in things that they actually do not experience... That's why I am for secular upbringing, free, non-indoctrinating. Maybe I am wrong. Perhaps I am wrong. Forgive me.
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« Reply #45 on: July 09, 2009, 03:25:03 PM »

There is NOTHING to forgive, Heorhij! I appreciate your perspectives! It seems to me most parents want to pass on to their children whatever it is they hold dear. In many ways, faith and culture are interwined, so teaching your children about your faith is also passing on one's culture/identity, not merely "faith".

You mention how degenerate the southern baptist style kids are. This is so  hard for me to believe. I grew up so afraid of breaking any law, any rule or regulation and I thought premarital sex, drugs etc were very, very wrong for Christians. Almost none of the young people in my former church engaged in any of these things. This strong teaching and belief completely prevented me from going near any of those things with a ten-foot pole.
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« Reply #46 on: July 09, 2009, 05:22:48 PM »

Pani Lizo, no, no offense, none, really. It's just... I don't know. I see thousands of these "well-trained in faith" students from local Southern Baptist families, every semester, and see that the vast majority of them are... you know. Wildest partying, dope, sex, even in the local high school hallways, quite in the open. And I just don't know, am not sure whether the proportion of these totally wild, headless kids is bigger here or in the families of atheists and secular humanists; I have a hunch that here,. it is bigger. Kids don't like being told what to do, never have. The highest incidence of teenage pregnancies is, where? Right, in the Bible Belt. The highest frequency of sexually transmitted diseases? Yes, also here. And another thing, - it's SO easy to confuse our kids and to give them the message that our faith is all about "being good," "behaving well," "listening to your mother," etc., and about THIS WORLD (hence all these campaigns to change the legislature, etc.). And yet another thing: Rowan says that our Orthodox doctrine is "precise." Is it? What does it say about Christ now? He is fully human, correct? So, WHERE is He? And how come we eat His fully human body? Is this easy to explain to a child? Is this POSSIBLE at all to explain to a child, or to an adult for that matter?

I think the difference that you're underlining, though, is that so many kids are essentially forced to behave a certain way by their parents because that's what is socially acceptable within their circles.  In my experience, Baptist kids get this frequently (I used to be one Wink).  There seems to be an unspoken rule that Baptists just never sin and therefore their kids must also be sinless, and the worst sin of all is to not be in church every time the doors are open.  So for the sake of appearing to be good Christians, parents force their kids to go to church to fulfill their "raise them in a Christian manner" obligation but rarely have I seen those same parents actually sit down and discuss what the Bible means, who God is, etc.  These kids grow up knowing nothing about their faith but they can develop a hatred for it since they've been forced to attend something that seems irrelevent to them.  My old Baptist pastor used to say he had a drug problem... his mama drug him to church every time the doors were open. 

As Rosehip also mentions, there's another end of the spectrum here:  The kids who were scared to death to break a rule.  I grew up somewhere in between, being partially afraid to do anything wrong and not seeing any point in going to church when all I experienced there was incomprehensible stories and Play-do. 

Personally, I think a good approach is to expose your kids to the church (gently, of course, as some of the biblical stories are pretty racy for kids) and to discuss, discuss, discuss.  Why do we hold XYZ part of the faith to be so important?  Why did Jonah get swallowed by the whale?  Kids are Why factories, so there is no shortage of questions to answer.  Of course they'll make their own decisions on what they believe at some point, and that's fine.  I just think it's better for them to understand why we believe what we do at a pace they can handle.
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« Reply #47 on: July 09, 2009, 05:53:18 PM »

Pani Lizo, no, no offense, none, really. It's just... I don't know. I see thousands of these "well-trained in faith" students from local Southern Baptist families, every semester, and see that the vast majority of them are... you know. Wildest partying, dope, sex, even in the local high school hallways, quite in the open. And I just don't know, am not sure whether the proportion of these totally wild, headless kids is bigger here or in the families of atheists and secular humanists; I have a hunch that here,. it is bigger. Kids don't like being told what to do, never have. The highest incidence of teenage pregnancies is, where? Right, in the Bible Belt. The highest frequency of sexually transmitted diseases? Yes, also here. And another thing, - it's SO easy to confuse our kids and to give them the message that our faith is all about "being good," "behaving well," "listening to your mother," etc., and about THIS WORLD (hence all these campaigns to change the legislature, etc.). And yet another thing: Rowan says that our Orthodox doctrine is "precise." Is it? What does it say about Christ now? He is fully human, correct? So, WHERE is He? And how come we eat His fully human body? Is this easy to explain to a child? Is this POSSIBLE at all to explain to a child, or to an adult for that matter?

I think the difference that you're underlining, though, is that so many kids are essentially forced to behave a certain way by their parents because that's what is socially acceptable within their circles.  In my experience, Baptist kids get this frequently (I used to be one Wink).  There seems to be an unspoken rule that Baptists just never sin and therefore their kids must also be sinless, and the worst sin of all is to not be in church every time the doors are open.  So for the sake of appearing to be good Christians, parents force their kids to go to church to fulfill their "raise them in a Christian manner" obligation but rarely have I seen those same parents actually sit down and discuss what the Bible means, who God is, etc.  These kids grow up knowing nothing about their faith but they can develop a hatred for it since they've been forced to attend something that seems irrelevent to them.  My old Baptist pastor used to say he had a drug problem... his mama drug him to church every time the doors were open. 

Yeah, that's very much what I see here. I used to give my "Baby Biology" (BIO101) students written assignments: explain a certain concept to your younger friend, someone who is still in high school or even middle school. (I really do believe that people begin to understand complex biological concepts when they learn to explain these concepts to someone who knows less than they do, and when they try to avoid the technical terminology.) A big part of my class routinely finished their assignments with words, "So, Jane (Jim, Carol, etc.), I hope this explains to you what X or Y means. See you in church on Sunday!" They really go to their churches two or three times a week, and also go to mission trips, etc. But sometimes they share with me their Facebook images and I am, well, if not horrified, then kind of... surprised. There are some really wild pictures, discussions of absolutely insane drunk parties (I almost wrote "orgies"), etc. And I know that the majority of these kids have already tried a lot of different drugs, and some of them might already be addicts. And of course guys openly talk about girlfriends, and girls about boyfriends, and quite a lot of them share apartments with boy/girlfriends, etc.

Personally, I think a good approach is to expose your kids to the church (gently, of course, as some of the biblical stories are pretty racy for kids) and to discuss, discuss, discuss.  Why do we hold XYZ part of the faith to be so important?  Why did Jonah get swallowed by the whale?  Kids are Why factories, so there is no shortage of questions to answer.  Of course they'll make their own decisions on what they believe at some point, and that's fine.  I just think it's better for them to understand why we believe what we do at a pace they can handle.

Thant sounds great. What worries me though is that very many biblical stories are not just racy - they are quite... evil. I just can't find another word to refer, for example, to Israelites killing every single man, woman, child, and even domestic animal in the Palestinian cities they captured. Or the story of Mordecai and Esther. Or the book of Revelation with its mentioning of how sinners will be tormented in the lake of fire for ever and ever in the presence of the Lamb (!). I am afraid that there is always a danger of developing in kids this "contractionist" attitude: it's OK that Jews killed Canaanites, because they are God's chosen people, and so are we, you and me.
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« Reply #48 on: July 09, 2009, 07:58:03 PM »

And yet another thing: Rowan says that our Orthodox doctrine is "precise." Is it?

You'd be surprised at how the even the Creed is too much of a commitment for people.

And I agree with EofK. I wasn't aware we were talking about keeping up "Christian appearances" in our discussion of "indoctrination" (kind of sounds like "brainwashing"...). That's hollow, false, and not going to take root in the soul. That's not even close to what I meant.
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« Reply #49 on: July 09, 2009, 10:42:58 PM »

And yet another thing: Rowan says that our Orthodox doctrine is "precise." Is it?

You'd be surprised at how the even the Creed is too much of a commitment for people.

And I agree with EofK. I wasn't aware we were talking about keeping up "Christian appearances" in our discussion of "indoctrination" (kind of sounds like "brainwashing"...). That's hollow, false, and not going to take root in the soul. That's not even close to what I meant.

But that's what's actually happening when kids have the "proper" "religious" upbringing. The only thing that changes it is a tragedy later in their life. IMHO, of course.
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« Reply #50 on: July 10, 2009, 01:01:05 AM »

I think the difference that you're underlining, though, is that so many kids are essentially forced to behave a certain way by their parents because that's what is socially acceptable within their circles.  In my experience, Baptist kids get this frequently (I used to be one Wink).  There seems to be an unspoken rule that Baptists just never sin and therefore their kids must also be sinless, and the worst sin of all is to not be in church every time the doors are open.  So for the sake of appearing to be good Christians, parents force their kids to go to church to fulfill their "raise them in a Christian manner" obligation but rarely have I seen those same parents actually sit down and discuss what the Bible means, who God is, etc.  These kids grow up knowing nothing about their faith but they can develop a hatred for it since they've been forced to attend something that seems irrelevent to them.  My old Baptist pastor used to say he had a drug problem... his mama drug him to church every time the doors were open.

Replace Baptist with Orthodox and the same picture appears in many an Orthodox Church whether one wishes to admit it or not.
 
Personally, I think a good approach is to expose your kids to the church (gently, of course, as some of the biblical stories are pretty racy for kids)

I didn't see an explicit content warning label on my Bible.   Roll Eyes

and to discuss, discuss, discuss.  Why do we hold XYZ part of the faith to be so important?  Why did Jonah get swallowed by the whale?  Kids are Why factories, so there is no shortage of questions to answer.  Of course they'll make their own decisions on what they believe at some point, and that's fine.  I just think it's better for them to understand why we believe what we do at a pace they can handle.

That's how I explained how Jehovah's Witnesses differ from Orthodox Christianity to my estranged wife and her niece.   Smiley
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« Reply #51 on: July 10, 2009, 01:23:57 AM »

I have to reply - as a young father, ex-drug addict and a HUUUUUGE! sinner.

 May I suggest a theory, If one wants to lead an Army, and has to prove His own mettle to His army, should he not be at the front lines?
I use this philosophy in my kitchens...Although I'm working with adults (you should agree that adults do not always act as such) I find that if I work the hardest, most (not all ) will follow in my passion and spirit to do a job well done.
The same goes with my oldest, five yrs. old. When I push her to pray with me or ask her to say the blessing over the food, I get opposite of what I want. But when I am doing these things and not asking for her help, she wants to...contrary, sweet, little, willfull child.  Wink She will now bring me a book of a saint or a story about Jesus - 1 out of 10 - not everytime but enough. She stands in church more often now too. I don't push too hard, just encourage by example. 
I find the same thing happens with adults that I am in charge of at work ( with inspiring them to do the job with passion for perfection ) or adult friends that do not know God yet. When they see little pieces of my spiritual life, it makes tham desire for some of that too.
Human beings IMHO are always striving for what they don't have, so if you want them to have something,  do it yourself for yourself. Some of them catch the bait!

(the reason I added the back history on my past is because I am working within a framework with my children where I do not speak about my past history with drugs yet. I will tell them that Daddy was doing some bad things before he met Mommy but people can change if they want to, God will heal them. This is enough for them for now. When they need more info and ask for it, I'll go a little deeper but not much. )
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« Reply #52 on: July 10, 2009, 10:13:56 AM »

Personally, I think a good approach is to expose your kids to the church (gently, of course, as some of the biblical stories are pretty racy for kids) and to discuss, discuss, discuss.  Why do we hold XYZ part of the faith to be so important?  Why did Jonah get swallowed by the whale?  Kids are Why factories, so there is no shortage of questions to answer.  Of course they'll make their own decisions on what they believe at some point, and that's fine.  I just think it's better for them to understand why we believe what we do at a pace they can handle.

Thant sounds great. What worries me though is that very many biblical stories are not just racy - they are quite... evil. I just can't find another word to refer, for example, to Israelites killing every single man, woman, child, and even domestic animal in the Palestinian cities they captured. Or the story of Mordecai and Esther. Or the book of Revelation with its mentioning of how sinners will be tormented in the lake of fire for ever and ever in the presence of the Lamb (!). I am afraid that there is always a danger of developing in kids this "contractionist" attitude: it's OK that Jews killed Canaanites, because they are God's chosen people, and so are we, you and me.

Indeed, and those are the stories that I confess, I don't really understand the reasoning behind them either.  (Even though I minored in Biblical studies in college, I feel like St. Paul when he says everything he knew before encountering Christ is like a pile of feces... I find I can't rely on most of what I learned since it was so far off theologically.)  In those cases, I think honesty is the best approach.  I would tell my daughter, "You know what?  I don't understand that either.  Let's ask Fr. Andrew about that."  I think it's important, too, to balance the history in the "Old Testament" with the life of Christ and the lives of saints.  That's one thing I felt deficient in when I was a young'un in church; I never felt like I could reconcile the genocide, adultery, incest, etc. with what Christ said and did.  My family stopped going to any church when I was around seven, though, so maybe I missed the advanced lessons. Wink
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« Reply #53 on: July 10, 2009, 10:36:46 AM »

I think the difference that you're underlining, though, is that so many kids are essentially forced to behave a certain way by their parents because that's what is socially acceptable within their circles.  In my experience, Baptist kids get this frequently (I used to be one Wink).  There seems to be an unspoken rule that Baptists just never sin and therefore their kids must also be sinless, and the worst sin of all is to not be in church every time the doors are open.  So for the sake of appearing to be good Christians, parents force their kids to go to church to fulfill their "raise them in a Christian manner" obligation but rarely have I seen those same parents actually sit down and discuss what the Bible means, who God is, etc.  These kids grow up knowing nothing about their faith but they can develop a hatred for it since they've been forced to attend something that seems irrelevent to them.  My old Baptist pastor used to say he had a drug problem... his mama drug him to church every time the doors were open.

Replace Baptist with Orthodox and the same picture appears in many an Orthodox Church whether one wishes to admit it or not.

Correct.  It's a problem in every faith, not just in Protestant churches.  I've seen and heard of many Orthodox kids who grow up just as unconcerned with Orthodoxy because it's never seemed like it was relevent (and not in the jazz-it-up, introduce rap and puppets way).  They don't see any connection with the way they live and what they do on Sunday.  Again, I think it comes down to really discussing with kids what we believe and why and living our faith ourselves.  Of course no kid is going to think church is relevent if they see their parents only acknowledge it once a week.
 
Personally, I think a good approach is to expose your kids to the church (gently, of course, as some of the biblical stories are pretty racy for kids)

I didn't see an explicit content warning label on my Bible.   Roll Eyes

There used to be a time when things didn't require warning labels... it was assumed the person using the item could employ common sense.   Wink
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« Reply #54 on: July 10, 2009, 10:52:43 AM »


Ok...I beg forgiveness before I even make the next statement...because it seems I am kicking a dead horse.

However, let me give you an example from my parish.

When I was a child, there were many families in the church who had children my age.  Dozens.  A few of those families made a point of "dragging" their kids to church each Sunday.  You may call it indoctrination or whatever you like.  However, those kids were in church, by choice or not, I don't know.

Other kids were left to "rest" and have fun, while their parents came to church.  After all, those poor kids have been in school all week, and they really need to sleep in once in a while.  It's all good.  They will find God in their own time, in their own way.

Forward 15 years.  The kids who were coming to church with their parents were still coming.  The others still weren't.  At the church parish meetings, the parents of the MIA children would yell and shake their hands at the priest.  He's not doing his duty to excite the youth...to bring them into the fold.  Is it really the priest's duty alone?  What about those parents? 

Forward another 15 years.  The kids who were going to church with their parents, are still in church on Sunday's with their kids, now.  The one's who got to sleep in, well, they haven't found God, yet.  They don't show up unless it's Easter or Christmas, and most don't even do that.

So, if given the choice of indoctrinating our youth...so that as adults they flourish and of their "free will" want to learn more about their faith and appreciate it....and come and bring their kids....I am all for it!

I pity the souls who have completely lost their way.  The parents are now old.  They can't see, they are bent over....and half of them can't even come to church anymore, because they can't drive...and ..oh, their kids don't care enough to take them to church.  Those "kids" are sleeping in after a hard week at the office.

Teach them when they are young....they will always learn more if they want to...and if they don't care for Orthodoxy, they can leave at any time!

Hit, while the iron is hot!  Don't miss the opportunity.

That's all I have to say on this subject!

Peace to all!

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« Reply #55 on: July 10, 2009, 11:00:29 AM »

Simplygermain:  I agree with you, and especially sympathize with having a sweet, willful child.  Pushing her to do something I want only ends up with her digging in her heels and screaming, "NO NO NO!"  However, if she sees Mr. Y and I doing something, she naturally wants to join in.  For example, there were several services of St. Andrew's Canon during Lent that we just couldn't make it to our parish, so we prayed the service at home.  Caitlin did several prostrations with us and I know there's no way I could persuade her to do a prostration.  Kids are just naturally curious so they'll typically mimic what their parents do and then ask why later.  It's a natural catechumen class.

I totally agree, too, on being honest with kids at a level they can deal with and not be overly disturbed.  I've done enough stupid things in my past that I'll eventually have to own up to with my kids but I'm not going to spring everything on them all at once.  I'll just explain it that mommy did some dumb, selfish things and then when they get older, I'll explain a little more detail but nothing too gory.  They don't need details, they just need to know that I messed up, I repented, and I moved on.
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« Reply #56 on: July 21, 2009, 02:40:15 AM »

Remember the old Roman Catholic (Jesuit?) saying: "Give me the child until he is seven and I care not who has him thereafter." Religious indoctrination at that early age becomes an integral part of the psychology of the person. Heorhij seems to see this as taking away the free will of the child as an adult. He would like his child to be Christian, but wants his child to freely choose that path.

Others argue that molding this religious foundation in a child is not only right and proper, but commanded. There is scripture to support this view. I must say that overall I tend to agree with the second position, much as my secular background wants to agree with Heorhij. I think what's needed is a balance, where the child is taught the Faith but also, at an appropriate age, made aware of other faiths and even disbelief as ways people can choose to live.
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« Reply #57 on: July 21, 2009, 01:57:02 PM »

This really isn't even a subject up for debate. If we read the Holy Scriptures, there is only one way we should approach this subject.

Ephesians 6:4
And ye Fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: But bring them up in the nurture & admonition of the Lord.

And Again...

Proverbs 22:6
Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.

I could find ten more in the Bible if needed without taking anything out of context.

I know this has truth in it. For when I was old enough to make up my own mind, I chose to stray from the church of my youth, "down a slippery slope to perdition", one might say. But when I was in my twenties I began to thirst for truth and the experience of God and finally made my way to the Faith.
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« Reply #58 on: July 21, 2009, 02:02:51 PM »

This really isn't even a subject up for debate. If we read the Holy Scriptures, there is only one way we should approach this subject.

Ephesians 6:4And ye Fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: But bring them up in the nurture & admonition of the Lord.

Again...

Proverbs 22:6
Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.

I know this has truth in it. For when I was old enough to make up my own mind, I chose to stray from the church of my youth, "down a slippery slope to perdition", one might say. But when I was in my twenties I began to thirst for truth and the experience of God and finally made my way to the Faith.

It seems it is a topic worthy of debate, though.  These verses only show that we are to train children, not showing detailed information on what is appropriate at each developmental stage.  It's not a question of "Do we teach our children?" Obviously, we do.  In my opinion, there is not a hard and fast rule, like when they hit age six they should be exposed to XYZ.  Each child learns at a different rate and some have the emotional, mental, and spiritual maturity to handle something that their peers may not. 
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« Reply #59 on: July 21, 2009, 02:26:17 PM »

Are we not to be living out the Faith before our children all along? How can we keep them from something if we are living it ourselves? Of course they can't understand the mysteries, many adults don't have a full grasp on many elements of the Faith. However if we aren't doing something our neighbors are doing, and our kids ask why, then its going to come up. One way or another.

I don't think we can shelter them as much as we used to be able to do, what with tv and the net being what they are. My daughter had to learn about sexual crimes at a very young tender age, and I could never quite shelter her the same way again. So for all my effort to create a bubble, through no fault of my own it was burst.  Yet so far I have been able to shield her siblings from the same fate and only have exposed them to knowledge as I feel they are ready. Usually that comes as a result of them expressing interest themselves. Reading aloud some fictional stories of the faith at various historic periods really got my boys attention. Less so the little ones, but you do what each child needs as they need it. And you live out your faith in action in the meantime. That will be what they know.
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« Reply #60 on: July 21, 2009, 02:35:34 PM »

This really isn't even a subject up for debate. If we read the Holy Scriptures, there is only one way we should approach this subject.

Ephesians 6:4And ye Fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: But bring them up in the nurture & admonition of the Lord.

Again...

Proverbs 22:6
Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.

I know this has truth in it. For when I was old enough to make up my own mind, I chose to stray from the church of my youth, "down a slippery slope to perdition", one might say. But when I was in my twenties I began to thirst for truth and the experience of God and finally made my way to the Faith.

It seems it is a topic worthy of debate, though.  These verses only show that we are to train children, not showing detailed information on what is appropriate at each developmental stage.  It's not a question of "Do we teach our children?" Obviously, we do.  In my opinion, there is not a hard and fast rule, like when they hit age six they should be exposed to XYZ.  Each child learns at a different rate and some have the emotional, mental, and spiritual maturity to handle something that their peers may not. 
IMHO, it seems evident that if there is no letter of the law concerning these things, each parent is endowed with the right to choose how we should expose our children to certain truths. The Bible doesn't directly tell us how to Lead a Country but gives examples of those who were in the position to do so and analyze it for ourselves. With the Law on our Hearts, we are guided by the Spirit and the Scriptures on how we, in our individual experience, should go about the daily work.
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« Reply #61 on: July 21, 2009, 03:08:39 PM »

Are we not to be living out the Faith before our children all along? How can we keep them from something if we are living it ourselves? Of course they can't understand the mysteries, many adults don't have a full grasp on many elements of the Faith. However if we aren't doing something our neighbors are doing, and our kids ask why, then its going to come up. One way or another.


Exactly.  Smiley  That, to me, is where the "training" comes in, when we explain to the kids why we do prostrations or why we cross ourselves and what it means. 
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« Reply #62 on: July 21, 2009, 03:12:57 PM »

IMHO, it seems evident that if there is no letter of the law concerning these things, each parent is endowed with the right to choose how we should expose our children to certain truths. The Bible doesn't directly tell us how to Lead a Country but gives examples of those who were in the position to do so and analyze it for ourselves. With the Law on our Hearts, we are guided by the Spirit and the Scriptures on how we, in our individual experience, should go about the daily work.

Right, each parent should have the right to choose how to raise their children.  It's because there is no clear cut path, no 12-step program that we have debates over what is the right, or even the most effective, way to go about it.  Even guided by the Spirit and the Scriptures, there are so many dissenting voices that it's hard to decide where to start.  (I'd throw in there, also, the guidance of those experienced with raising children.  There are far too many widely ranging interpretations of scripture and of what the Spirit is saying for me to be comfortable with that.)
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« Reply #63 on: July 21, 2009, 03:30:51 PM »

Even guided by the Spirit and the Scriptures, there are so many dissenting voices that it's hard to decide where to start.  (I'd throw in there, also, the guidance of those experienced with raising children.  There are far too many widely ranging interpretations of scripture and of what the Spirit is saying for me to be comfortable with that.)
"Debate" - To explain, I was referring to Heorij's original thoughts on whether children should be raised in the teachings of the church or not.

 Though I feel it is very important for us to learn what others with experience have tried, once we have acknowledged that it is important. In the decision to train up our children by action, as personal examples, lessons, the "how's and why's" etc....this is up for debate. And a good one at that. Wink
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« Reply #64 on: August 13, 2009, 11:51:04 PM »

I wish my parents had read the bible to me growing up (appropriate ones), talked about faith, God and the whys of it, instead of sending me to church, and nothing about religion was talked about at home. Maybe it would of changed some of my stinkin thinkin about "church", even though I always believed in God the father, the Son and the Holy Ghost- thanks to the influence of my Grandma (baptist sunday school teacher and primary 1 room school house teacher).  I, in turn, with my own children, read the bible "stories" to them, even when I wasn't attending any church.  Tis a good and right thing to do.
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« Reply #65 on: August 28, 2009, 01:47:34 PM »

yes tell to children many , but not in details so that you don`t mix their heads.Always let room for them to imagine and picture mysteries;Let the mystery work into the mind of children.
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« Reply #66 on: September 10, 2009, 05:08:02 AM »

I think the difference that you're underlining, though, is that so many kids are essentially forced to behave a certain way by their parents because that's what is socially acceptable within their circles.  In my experience, Baptist kids get this frequently (I used to be one Wink).  There seems to be an unspoken rule that Baptists just never sin and therefore their kids must also be sinless, and the worst sin of all is to not be in church every time the doors are open.  So for the sake of appearing to be good Christians, parents force their kids to go to church to fulfill their "raise them in a Christian manner" obligation but rarely have I seen those same parents actually sit down and discuss what the Bible means, who God is, etc.  These kids grow up knowing nothing about their faith but they can develop a hatred for it since they've been forced to attend something that seems irrelevent to them.  My old Baptist pastor used to say he had a drug problem... his mama drug him to church every time the doors were open.

Replace Baptist with Orthodox and the same picture appears in many an Orthodox Church whether one wishes to admit it or not.
 
Personally, I think a good approach is to expose your kids to the church (gently, of course, as some of the biblical stories are pretty racy for kids)

I didn't see an explicit content warning label on my Bible.   Roll Eyes

Don't give anyone any ideas  Sad

The simple truth is the culture we inherited is not always in line with our religion.  The idea that children should be shielded from anything that might upset them was invented by the Victorians, and has no basis in scripture that I'm aware of. 

Whenever secular a tradition seems to come into conflict with what is transmitted to us via scripture and holy tradition, the choice for me is clear. 


If a child is old enough to formulate a question he's usually old enough to get at least a partial answer.  Otherwise you risk lying to him.  And for what?  Because the British Aristocracy might not approve?
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« Reply #67 on: March 16, 2010, 12:19:11 AM »

if I would have learner the more scary parts of Christianity when I was a little one, it sure would have affected my childhood behavior!

tell them!  they'll be better off for it.
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« Reply #68 on: March 19, 2010, 04:53:10 PM »

Just Wednesday at Bible Study, I took my 3.5 month old daughter up to the front of the class so that she could see the icon of the Entry into Jerusalem and Transfiguration (which actually should occur around this time, but that's a different story). While the person who is our expert in icons was explaining the icons, Sophia was giving her complete and undivided attention. She was watching the icon the entire time, not even paying attention to anyone or anything in the room. Yes, she didn't understand what was being spoken about and she couldn't identify any of the characters, but it did her good and she probably learned enough to be familiar with the icon next time she sees it like she is familiar with Mommy and Daddy and Grandpa and Grandma, etc.

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« Reply #69 on: July 19, 2010, 11:34:37 PM »

Okay, I'm not a parent (not even an adult), but this topic may interest parents, so I'm posting it here.
Still, I have enough younger friends who enjoy talking with me about God.

My problem is, should we let children below the age of 13-14 know everything? I can't even imagine my little cousin's reaction by reading Genesis 19:5!
What about Hell? I know that we -Orthodox- believe in Hell in a much different way, but should we let kids know what Jesus said about fire and gnashing of teeth?

Socrates (in The Republic) once suggested that even if we treat something as symbolic/an allegory, we should not tell children about it, in case it contains anything violent.

Your views? Huh
I think that when a child is mature enough, just truthfully answer their questions, but use caution.  when I was 5, my grandmother told me that the world will end someday.  I could barely stop crying, and didn't sleep for three days in fear that the world would end in my sleep.
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« Reply #70 on: July 19, 2010, 11:45:59 PM »

Okay, I'm not a parent (not even an adult), but this topic may interest parents, so I'm posting it here.
Still, I have enough younger friends who enjoy talking with me about God.

My problem is, should we let children below the age of 13-14 know everything? I can't even imagine my little cousin's reaction by reading Genesis 19:5!
What about Hell? I know that we -Orthodox- believe in Hell in a much different way, but should we let kids know what Jesus said about fire and gnashing of teeth?

Socrates (in The Republic) once suggested that even if we treat something as symbolic/an allegory, we should not tell children about it, in case it contains anything violent.

Your views? Huh
I think that when a child is mature enough, just truthfully answer their questions, but use caution.  when I was 5, my grandmother told me that the world will end someday.  I could barely stop crying, and didn't sleep for three days in fear that the world would end in my sleep.
LOL. My son (13) has been convinced that the world will end in 2012,and he wont' get his license.
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« Reply #71 on: July 19, 2010, 11:47:37 PM »

Okay, I'm not a parent (not even an adult), but this topic may interest parents, so I'm posting it here.
Still, I have enough younger friends who enjoy talking with me about God.

My problem is, should we let children below the age of 13-14 know everything? I can't even imagine my little cousin's reaction by reading Genesis 19:5!
What about Hell? I know that we -Orthodox- believe in Hell in a much different way, but should we let kids know what Jesus said about fire and gnashing of teeth?

Socrates (in The Republic) once suggested that even if we treat something as symbolic/an allegory, we should not tell children about it, in case it contains anything violent.

Your views? Huh
I think that when a child is mature enough, just truthfully answer their questions, but use caution.  when I was 5, my grandmother told me that the world will end someday.  I could barely stop crying, and didn't sleep for three days in fear that the world would end in my sleep.
LOL. My son (13) has been convinced that the world will end in 2012,and he wont' get his license.
ah yes, that old myth.  I have several friends that have given up on schoolbecause they "are just going to die in a couple years".
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« Reply #72 on: July 20, 2010, 01:47:51 AM »

I cannot wait for 2012 to be over and done with.  When pseudo-science and superstition get together, too many minds fall victim.  Plus, the History Channel & Discover Channel where bad enough before the countless specials on "polar shifts" and the Horsemen of the Apocalypse...  Tongue
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« Reply #73 on: July 20, 2010, 02:00:17 AM »

Before the 2012 hype was the 2000 hype. I grew up being told that the rapture would happen 2000 and that the tribulation would start. Basically all of humanity would be in a hell on earth starting in 2000.
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« Reply #74 on: July 20, 2010, 06:45:39 PM »

Before the 2012 hype was the 2000 hype. I grew up being told that the rapture would happen 2000 and that the tribulation would start. Basically all of humanity would be in a hell on earth starting in 2000.
Hey, I was taught that too!  Cheesy For a while (up until I was 14 or so) whenever it got too quiet around the house or my parents were gone for a long time I thought they had been raptured. It probably didn't help that I thought the "Left Behind" books were second to the Gospel. Tongue

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