PARENTS these days hardly need reminding just how much is involved in rearing children. They know! Perhaps that's why parenting has grown into such a popular topic for discussion. Is parenting any different from the old-fashioned activity of rearing children? Not really! But with the increasing demands and stepped-up pace of modern living, parents often feel a great need to approach child rearing with as much information as possible.
There are so many questions needing answers as we raise our children. Getting to the right question can be the beginning of wisdom for any parent. And perhaps the first question should be ``Who knows the best answers?" rather than ``How can I know what to do?"
Who knows how best to care for children? Parents through the ages have found that God knows. The Bible, in Exodus, shows us how Moses' mother saved her baby son from Pharaoh's decree that all male Hebrew babies be killed. She hid him in a small reed boat floating on the Nile. Reading this Bible story, one can see that Moses' mother trusted God. Her act of floating Moses on the waters came from divine inspiration, not fear.
Later the Bible tells us of another incident--this one involving the baby Jesus. This time, Matthew's Gospel records, Joseph was warned by an angel to take his family to safety. ``Arise," the angel said, ``and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him."
Both situations called for strong wisdom to protect the child. In each case the parents turned to the wisdom that could have come only from God. God is our divine Parent. God is Father-Mother. Such a description is more than just a name--it has deep meaning in our everyday lives. It shows us that we can reach out to God's love and tenderness, as well as to God's strength and wisdom, in every situation regarding children.
The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, often refers to God as ``Father-Mother" or ``divine Parent" in her writings. In one passage from her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, she says, ``Father-Mother is the name for Deity, which indicates His tender relationship to His spiritual creation."
A divine Parent can, of course, create only spiritual offspring. And that's what man is--what we are--the spiritual child of God. This means that the love and wisdom with which God defends His children is not limited in any way. In her Message to The Mother Church for 1901, Mrs. Eddy asks, ``And does not this heavenly Parent know and supply the differing needs of the individual mind even as the Scriptures declare He will?"
God provides both the wisdom to know the real need of a child and the ability to meet that need. Parents--and anyone else responsible for the well-being of children--have a strong role to play in bringing the wisdom of God to bear on the experience of the child. And we all have the task of praying regularly for the children within our family. We can also extend this prayer to include all the world's children. We can exercise our own quiet faith and strong trust in God's presence and love. God's wisdom ca lls on our devoted thought and preparation.
Yet the bottom line always is: God knows what is best for each child. The deep, caring wisdom that parents really yearn to see in their own thought and actions toward their children has its source in God. This spiritually grounded wisdom can secure the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of all of His children-- including us. And it never fails!