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Sister Bohdanna
Why is it so important to raise our children
the Christian way?
Українська Православна Катедра св. Володимира
St. Volodymyr Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral

Sunday School - Недільна Школа

We love our children a lot, we wish them to become brilliant, to become as we are, and even more - to become better than we are. We try to arrange their lives in a way, that they avoid the difficulties we had to meet in our lives. Don’t we?

How do we put this goal into practice? As a rule, we try to provide them with a nice education. We make them learn something useful for their body and mind - like hockey, dancing, music. We do our best to meet all their needs and wishes.

What happens next? We strive to successfully fulfill our plan, but we find that their behaviour towards us isn’t what we expected. Not everyone experiences negative behaviour, but many do. We believe that because we have done enough that we deserve gratitude and respect! But we don’t always find it to be true. Let’s examine the situation. Maybe we set goals from our personal point of view but we may have missed the values our parents instilled in us. Maybe we satisfied all the wants of our children but they didn’t receive the ingredients of happiness. Maybe their souls are still thirsty.

There are many examples of successful Christian families. On 14/1 January we celebrated the New Year Feast and the Feast of St. Basil the Great. Why was St. Basil (c. 330-379 AD) given the name “Great”? Only a few people in the world were ever given the title - “Great”! Alexander the Great was so-called because he conquered the world, but St. Basil was called “Great” because he conquered the hearts and souls of men for God. How could he get such a title?

Basil received a good Christian education from his parents. St. Basil’s father’s name was also Basil, he was a lawyer and renowned teacher. St. Basil’s mother, Emmelia was the daughter of a martyr. They both were very devoted to the faith and they imparted their love of God to their children with such success that six of them came to be canonized. St. Basil’s parents are Saints of our Church; they are commemorated on May 30. As for their children, on 14/1 January we commemorated St. Basil the Great; on January 22/9 - St. Peter, Bishop of Sebaste; on January 23/10 - St. Gregory, Bishop of Nyssa and St. Theosebia, the Deaconess; on August 1/July 19 - St. Macrina, the Abbess, and St. Naucratius, the anchorite. This family is an obvious example of how important a good upbringing is that the parents can give.

St. Basil’s spiritual heritage is the treasure of the Christian community. Basil became one of Christianity’s most eloquent spokesmen, earning world renown for both his oratory and his writings. Although he could have had any high governmental position he wished, St. Basil had no desire for high office. Instead he was granted his wish to return to his native city, where he was ordained Bishop of Caesarea on 14 June 370.

A man of considerable talent, Basil applied himself to establishing and setting down the rules of monasticism. With this accomplished, he turned to the formalization of the Divine Liturgy which bears his name. The Liturgy of St. Basil became the standard of Orthodox worship. In fact, the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom is a shortened version of it. The Liturgy of St. Basil is celebrated on more solemn Church observances, including Christmas and Easter.

An innovator as well as a creator and planner, Basil was the first to fulfill the desperate need for charitable institutions; he directed the creation and development of orphanages, hospitals, and homes for the aged. His concept of mutual love and respect and his practical application of brotherly love later led to the formation of Christian philanthropic societies.

Many centuries have passed, but humanity still appreciates the name and enjoys the ideas of this prominent personality who received a good Christian education.

Let’s consider the opposite, what happens if we do not feed the souls of children? It is enough to listen to the daily news in order to get the answer to this question. We learn of cruelty and inappropriate behaviour by youths and adults towards their parents and other citizens.

It would not have happened, if these individuals had acquired the Love to God - Christian Love to love their neighbour and their parents. The experience of our humanity shows that in order to have healthy families, to respect our human identity, to have positive relationships, we must teach to our children the best values that humanity has and the Church offers to all Her children.