The following are highlights from Coach Dale Brown’s speech on The Importance of Spiritual Formation in Families.
I don’t profess to be an expert, but as a coach and teacher for 44 years and as a parent and grandparent, I asked myself what values or virtues were the most important to me in guiding young people. I came up with the following.
The two that stand out for me as the foundation of a truly Spiritual Life are Love and Faith. Without Love there can be no compassion, patience, generosity, honesty, integrity or loyalty. Without Faith there can be no courage, persistence, discipline or hope. Faith is what binds us together. It directly affects how we view ourselves and how we will relate to others. Faith and Love is what grounds us and sets us free to live a truly authentic and peaceful life.
A human being without faith or reverence for anything is a human being morally adrift. As parents, teachers, and mentors our most important mission in this life has to be the spiritual formation of our children. It is our job to ground them with the necessary foundations, not with just our words, but more importantly by our actions. They desperately want to be led properly.
Christian evangelist Charles R. Swindoll wrote a tongue-in-cheek book called, “How to Train Your Child To Be A Delinquent.” Here are some points he made.
“When your kid is still an infant, give him everything he wants. This way he’ll think the world owes him a living when he grows up. You cannot help others by doing for them what they can and should do for themselves.
“When he picks up swearing and off-color jokes, laugh at him. It won’t take long before his mouth gets him into trouble. Never give him any spiritual training. Wait until he is 21 and let him decide for himself.
“Avoid using the word ‘wrong.’ It will give your child a guilt complex. You can condition him to believe later, when he is arrested for stealing, that society is against him and he is being persecuted. Pick up after him – his books, shoes, and clothes. Do everything for him so he will know how to throw all the responsibility onto others.
“Let him read all printed matter he can get his hands on – never think of monitoring his TV programs. Soon his mind will be filled with garbage. Quarrel frequently in his presence. Then he won’t be too surprised when his home is broken up later.
“Give your child all the spending money he wants. Don’t make him earn his own. He will think work is not necessary. When he gets into real trouble, make up excuses for yourself by saying, ‘I could never do anything with him; he’s just a bad seed.’
“Then what you will get is a life of grief! For example: Every 10 seconds a child is reported abused or neglected. Every 30 seconds a child sees their parents divorce. Every 35 seconds a child is born into poverty. Every minute a child is born to a teen mother. Every three minutes they arrest a child for drug abuse. Every 20 minutes a child is wounded by gunfire. Every four hours a child commits suicide.”
To accept ourselves is to fully accept God’s unconditional love for us. When we surrender ourselves completely to God’s love and will, we will discover true happiness, peace and success. Then and only then will we form a beautiful family unit.
American Orthodox rabbi Shumley Boteach once said, “God alone should be the epicenter of our lives, the heart of our existence, the soul of our actions, and we dare not accept any fraudulent substitute or we will be incomplete as a human being.”