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Book Notes Christian Living Marriage and Family

Freeing Your Child from Egotism

“…even in small children we often encounter one
or other of the various forms of egotism, usually
as a result of bad upbringing.”

– Bishop IRENAIUS

[Part 7 of a 10 part series of book notes
taken from On the Upbringing of Children by Bishop IRENAIUS
]

Chapter 7
Freeing Your Child from Egotism

Forms of egotism:

  1. Vanity in dress
    • Teach children that God does not care about the clothes, but rather the heart.
    • Admire clothes that are clean and well-kept, not expensive
    • Provide your children with clean orderly clothes
  2. Pride in wealth
    • Respect every human being – rich or poor
    • God pay no attention to wealth or fame, but virtue and honor
    • Jesus chose lowliness of a humble servant. He is our prime example.
  3. Preoccupation with real or imagined virtues
    • Do not allow a God-given ambition for honor to surpass its proper limits.
    • The child should be devout, diligent, honest and reverent for God’s sake, not their own honor or praise.
    • Let children avoid evil and sin because God forbids it, not out of fear of disapproval or punishment.
    • Do not instill egotism in the child yourself through excessive praise.
    • Do not let the child:
      • boast or speak at length about themselves
      • dominate the conversation of adults
      • laugh at adults
      • impertinently correct anything they say
  • Humble and modest children are almost always obedient
  • Teach children to show love and respect for their siblings and to pray for them.
  • Teach them “God resist the proud but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6)

.”..show them how great a sin egotism is in the eyes of God: that it is, as the Holy Scriptures says, ‘the origin of every sin,’ and ‘abominable before God’. Talk to them about the evil spirits who, by reason of pride, fell from Heaven…” (p44)

“…show them the greatest prototype of humility the Lord Himself, Who said to us: ‘Learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart’.” (Matt. 11:29) (p44)

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)

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