Last week we saw the powerful effects of two great teachers: the church and the state and the need for both to be fundamentally aligned if one is to have a peaceful and prosperous society. But in terms of power and influence, nothing compares to parents in shaping their children’s view of life and capacity for life.
From the moment of birth the mother has the capacity to orient her child positively to “reality” by making those first moments, days, months and even years enjoyable and welcoming. Dying young soldiers often give testimony to this by calling on their mothers, instinctively harkening back to the great welcome into life even as they exit it. By contrast, very troubled mothers can lay the foundation for psychosis if, rather than welcoming their child, they make those first experiences horrendous, and the child protectively retreats to a safer place within itself, cutting itself off from this dangerous world it has just entered. Therapists later do their limited best to draw the person back out again.
Increasing attention has been drawn to the influence of fathers. They shape the sexuality of their children by the way they relate to the mother of their children, for that is the primary sexual relationship in the family. We know all sorts of other good effects such as the more they read to their children the quicker they come to read and love books. The more time he spends with his children the more they thrive. President Obama talked of this a number of times.
But what nobody talks about in the media is the effect of the parent’s marriage on their children. A good marriage is more powerful than a good mother or a good father taken singly, much more.
But the most powerful marriage is the one that includes weekly worship of God. Such a marriage is the most powerful teacher and educator of children in every measured aspect of human life. The following is a snapshot of the national picture for the US, by family structure and frequency of worship.
Forget about Japanese schooling or German schooling or British schooling. They are all good but don’t hold a candle to the father and mother who are married and worship God weekly. They are the “tiger mothers” and “super dads” all wrapped up in one loving package. They are the most powerful educators on earth. And they can be found across the globe. But talked about nowhere. Strange.