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God comes First


This blog is the sixth of a 12-part series on ‘Parenting is a Journey’. Ignatius Fernandez also blogs at http://thechildisfatheroftheman.blogspot.in/.

A small audience requested a famous Shakespearean actor to read the Psalm of the Good Shepherd. He consented on condition that a preacher, who was in their midst, would recite the same Psalm after he had finished. Reluctantly, the preacher agreed. The actor read with splendid intonation. There was loud applause when his reading ended. Then the preacher began to read, rather haltingly. At times his voice cracked. When he finished, there was no applause – only silence, and moist eyes. Taking in the situation, the actor concluded, with some humility, that he knew the Psalm, but that the preacher knew the Shepherd – God.

Honestly, how well do we know God? Only if we know Him can we give our children some understanding of His caring ways. We cannot give what we do not have.

Starting with this post, we shall cover a few points that fall under Parental Instructions. We shall begin with: God comes first.

Reading the lives of holy people is edifying. In the lives of many, there is a common factor – the influence of parents on the choices they made. Some add that it was at the knees of their mothers that they learnt of God’s love and mercy.

In sharp contrast, one father speaks of scaring his two children into submission. When there is a loud clap of thunder and flashes of lightning, he tells them that God is angry with them because they are naughty. Cowering in corners, they promise to behave better, for fear of God’s punishment.

How do we see God? As a merciful and forgiving Father, who loves us unconditionally? Or, as a Taskmaster and Tyrant, spotting faults and waiting to punish us? Or, as one who needs to be bribed into granting us favours? Visit churches, temples, mosques, make pilgrimages, recite prayers and throw a little money in charity. Since we have done something for Him, it is time He did something for us, and we slip in our wish list. Because there is “a constant funeral going on in us of dead desires and aborted aspirations”(John Powell), we continually prefer ‘things’ to the God, and some of our relationships take precedence over our relationship with Him. The question is: Are we just admirers of God or His followers?

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