Saturday, March 17, 2012

Essence of Character is Relationships

Being sensitive to the feelings of others, being concerned not to offend, is generally considered good advice.  At times, however, some of us do not always find it easy to follow. Pastoral workers especially find it difficult when commenting on the Scriptures and the teachings of the Church in areas that can be upsetting to many. Furthermore, speaking the truth found in sociological and other scientific studies to those who see that truth differently is often seen as a lack of compassion, sensitivity and understanding, as not being the charitable thing to do.

An article in the  Peace Weekly, headlined "Happy Parents Make for Happy Children," considers the words of a religious sister, a member of  a family research center, that would be upsetting to many.

A strong, mature relationship between husband and wife, the sister says, will determine the character of the children. The way children relate with their classmates at school will be greatly influenced by what they see in the  home. When the relationship with others is a problem, she says it is, for the most part, because the relationship between the parents is not good.

The sister, a professional counselor, has found during her years of counseling that when communication between the parents is good, the relationships of their children with others is likely to result. The problem is no different, the sister insists, whether the child is a victim or a perpetrator of bullying in school. Both are victims of parental disharmony in the home, and what was learned at home is what the children will act out in school.

The essence of character, sister maintains, is molded by our personal relationships,  To have a good relationship with others, a person must first understand their  own preciousness and dignity. All of us have a desire to be loved and recognized; without this we are lonely and easily traumatized.  

Parents, it must be kept in mind, she says, should be sensitive to what the children really want, but this does not mean doing whatever the children ask for. If they desire a famous brand name item, it's good to remember that it's because they want to be recognized as special and accepted by their classmates.

Children, from grammar school to college, generally form their relationships around some aspect of play. Recognizing this, parents need to engender a sense of responsibility that involves other aspects of life; without doing so, a mature sense of responsibility is likely to be missing. When parents tell their children to go to church, for example, but there is no time for prayer in the home or a lack of love, there are bound to be problems. When the parents are living a happy life, this will likely be what is passed on to the children.

Sister reminds us that the home is the first community, the first church, and it is there that children learn the values of love, respect and service to others.


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