Secrets of Success in Raising Children
A testimony given during Leader’s Assembly 2015
By Rev. Kwon Hyuk- Seo, the National Messiah of Belarus
1. Developing affinity
Love between parents and children is as natural as breathing in and out. Families face difficulties when they lose the value of the love they have received from Heaven. Love is accompanied by the heart of caring for others and living for the sake of others. Parents have to support and cultivate such an attitude in their children. Parents should serve as a model throughout their lives to help their children overcome their deficiencies and complete their character growth. This process occurs through many shared experiences as children are growing up.
Affinity does not arise automatically. It builds between parent and child based on close communication and shared experience. For example, if the parents want to give a gift to a neighbor, they can let their child present it in order to experience the happy response of the person who receives the gift. This kind of experience makes the child feel loved, and strengthens the parent-child bond.
If you invite your neighbors to your home and have a good time together, your children will observe this. They will experience how love binds people when they spend time together. Such experiences will have a lasting impression on your children.
Also, when parents play games with their children, they are united in a deep feeling of affection. In this way a warm affinity builds up between parent and child.
2. Discovering values
Many things happen in the course of our lives, but people feel differently about their experiences. They have different judgments about what is good or bad, and therefore different feelings arise. Parents and children have to communicate about what is going on in their lives and discuss how to have a correct attitude. Through discussion you can guide your children to adopt a positive attitude and help them develop the ability to judge what is good or bad. When it comes to language, you can help your children develop their ability to compare good and bad language by asking how they feel when different words or tones are used. In this way you can help your children learn to judge things and develop their own sense of values.
If your children grow up without a strong sense of values, they will have no criteria by which to compare and decide between principled and worldly values. Having right values also plays an important role in forming one’s personality. In the family children learn that is more valuable to work for the family than just for themselves. As they grow, they come to understand that it is even more worthwhile to work for the nation than only for the family. Furthermore, you should consistently communicate with your children to help them realize and discover correct values in history, the importance of God’s will, and the absolute value of True Parents.
3. Understanding the Principle and the Providence
Why do we need principles, and what principles are we going to teach? On an ordinary day, people don’t tend to think about the meaning of human life, about how we grow or about what is the absolute truth. If you don’t think about the meaning of human life, your life will end up with no meaning. For example, if you just define the value of human beings according to whether they are male or female, you will stop thinking right there. It is dead thought to think that man is the subject because he is male and woman is the object because she is female. In Korea we now have a woman as president. She has to have a strong sense of responsibility or be imbued with a great sense of purpose beyond that of merely being a woman. Otherwise she couldn’t be the president.
“Why is God the eternal subject?” If you think deeply about such a question, you will have a desire to discover the truth and the meaning of the providence. To encourage such interest in your children, you need to create an environment where they can discuss this kind of questions with their parents and friends. “What is the fundamental reason that God created us?” “What caused God to lead the providence in this way?” Even when you hold parties or play with your children you can you can bring up such a questions, to build a parent-child relationship centered on God’s will.
When parents show children how to lead active and responsible lives, the children will be interested in the Principle and the Providence.
4. The choices you make
Life is full of choices. You are constantly in a position to choose one thing or another. When you are ready to go somewhere you consider many things. What shall I take along? How long will it take to get there? Which way is more convenient? When you make a choice you have to take responsibility for it. If people just consider their own immediate interests, they might be content with the fulfillment of their own desires. But they will drift further away from the path of doing truly valuable and meaningful things.
5. Moving and touching memories
When people have many moving and touching experiences their lives become vibrant and filled with beautiful memories. In your life of faith, if you do not have moments when you are deeply moved by Father’s words, if you do not have beautiful memories with your family members and church community, you will lose the taste of being truly alive. If you lose that taste your life of faith becomes stagnant. There is no forward motion without sincerity, passion and true love. Wonderful memories come from deeply moving experiences; if you stop having such experiences you will lose your zest for life. Parents have the responsibility and mission of constantly creating moving and touching memories with their children. If you stop thinking and acting as a parent, your position will have no meaning in front of your children.