[Part 6 of a 10 part series of book notes
taken from On the Upbringing of Children by Bishop IRENAIUS]
The Seeds of Evil
“It is not enough to only sow seeds of virtue as previously mentioned, but parents must also at the same time battle with and uproot the seeds of evil, the first of which will be the child’s ‘fundamental fault’. We all have one. It is usually one of the ‘seven deadly sins’ which are:“
- Pride: the lack of humility befitting a creature of God.
- Greed: too great a desire for money or worldly goods.
- Lust: impure and unworthy desire for something evil.
- Anger: unworthy irritation and lack of self control.
- Gluttony: the habit of eating or drinking too much.
- Envy: jealousy of some other person’s happiness.
- Sloth: laziness that keeps us from doing our duty to God and man.
Source: Antiochian Pocket Prayer Book
- By defeating this fundamental fault or basic weakness, the remaining sins and weaknesses will little by little retreat as did the Philistines when Goliath was killed.
- Destroy the roots of sin (fundamental fault) and the flowers and leaves will dry up and die
- To dry up a creek, one must block its source (fundamental fault)
- The earlier this is started, the better. The seeds of evil are sown early in the life of a child and will only grow unless uprooted by the parents.
- When you perceive this Goliath-fault, march against it with courage, with faith in the help of God, and do not cease to do battle until you have uprooted it entirely.
“Strive to learn your own fundamental fault first and fight against this will all your strength. He who knows himself well will not find it very difficult to know someone else. More than anything this requires the grace of God through warm prayer for help.” (p40)
About the book…
“It was not that long ago that pious parents raised their children to become Saints, to serve God in this world and the next. Perhaps only two generations ago, parents were still raising Saints in Orthodox countries. But the success of anti-Christianity in our time has been so complete that concern for one’s own salvation is considered, at best, a harmless eccentricity, while concern for one’s children’s salvation is sometimes even considered dangerous by forward-looking educators…To parents struggling in this cold modern climate, we off a small book of timeless guidance on how to teach virtues to children. The homilies in this book were originally published in Russia in 1901. The times have changed considerably since then, but human nature has not. We still have the age-old struggle with the passions, the world, and the fallen spirits. We must still strive to train out own and our children’s souls to the high ideals of holiness given us by Christ. May God grant that this book may assist parents in their difficult and delicate task of raising children fit for His Kingdom.”
– St. Xenia Skete (October 13/26, 1991)