Some Advice from our Parents Sessions

by Dn. Mark Oleynik

Advice: You can hardly go anywhere without getting it from someone or something, whether it be from the magazine rack at the checkout line, the millions of self-help books, the television shows that are on 24/7, or your co-workers, neighbors, and family. Just open the browser on your computer or phone and you could miss several meals getting immersed in trying to find the best way to get a fast start in the morning to how to get a good night’s rest—and everything in between. Even more, we are mostly being given advice without asking. (Good thing most of the time, it’s free.)

The right place to start looking for good advice is in your Bible since Paul tells Timothy that all scripture is “profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). You can also look to your elders, clergy, and to people whom you respect and have something in common.

During one of our Parents Sessions, parents were asked to provide what advice they would give to other Orthodox Christian parents for raising a child. Here are some of their pearls of wisdom:

  • Pray more for them and with them every day.
  • Support your spouse.
  • Don’t be afraid to admit you don’t know what you are doing.
  • Look for comfort and answers in the Bible.
  • Pause: you don’t need to answer every question immediately.
  • Stay in touch with the Church, your faith, and trust God.
  • Teach by example.
  • There will be many bumps in the road.  Think ahead.
  • Make the Church relevant and alive to them every day.  
  • Don’t worry about small things worry about eternal things.
  • Listen carefully to everything kids say and teach them to listen to others.
  • Go to church as much as possible and as often as possible.
  • When bad things do happen, assess if it will be important in ten minutes and/or in ten years.
  • Use the saints as examples of real heroes. 
  • Love regardless.
  • Trust your kids.
  • Make every opportunity an opportunity for kids to realize others needs before their own.
  • Simplify your life and enjoy your children.
  • Read Scripture at mealtime.
  • You create normal for your children. Icons, prayers, church aren’t weird or counter-cultural when your child is immersed in the life of the Church.
  • Let your children be themselves. 
  • God’s love is unending—make sure you child understands no matter what God will still love him or her—and so will you. 
Editor’s Note: Parents Sessions are held monthly after the Liturgy. Topics discussed focus on the challenges and joys of raising Orthodox Christian children in a secular world. All parents are invited (your child need not be enrolled in Sunday School.)