Parents’ Main Duties Toward Their Children

Today we honor Saints Joachim and Ana, the parents of the Virgin Mary. On this particular occasion, I invite you to discover the parents’ duties towards their children, according to the Bible.

St. Ana with Virgin Mary in her arms
St. Ana with Virgin Mary in her arms

To love them (Tit 2, 4);
– To teach them God’s law (Exodus 12, 26-27), i.e., the true faith and good deeds;
– To teach them the fear of God (Genesis 18, 19; Deuteronomy)
– To tell them about the wonderful things of God (Exodus 10, 2;13,14);
– To tell them about the judgments of God (Joel 1, 3);
– To accustom them to listening and obedience (Proverbs 4, 3-4);
– To lead them to all good things (I Timothy 3, 4); to get them accustomed as children to prayer, obedience to the Church, humility, and pure life;
– To scold them when they go wrong (I Kings 2, 23);
– To show them the right way and punish them (Deuteronomy 8, 5; Proverbs 3,12;13, 24);
– Not to provoke them (Ephesians 6, 4; Colossians 3, 21);
– To pray to God for their spiritual and material welfare (Genesis 17,18; I Chronicles 29,18);
– To feel for them, i.e., to cry with them (Psalm 102, 13), when they are suffering, and not to hurt them;
– To give them a good example with their own life (IV Kings 14, 3; 15, 3; II Chronicles 34, 2).
These and others are the biological parents’ duties towards their children.

Here are also the considerations of priest Dumitru Stăniloaie:

However, each generation must comply with the cultic respect granted by the generation following it. The teachings, parables, and urges conveyed to it must be led by an acute sense of responsibility, not only for the fate of that generation but also for all those that will follow it. It must be mastered by an infinite earnestness in its work and word, for everything it does now engages the fate of the entire future of the kin; it is determinant and decisive for that future. In the face and eyes of the child, the parent shall see the endless number of future generations and think that what (s)he puts before them will ennoble or disfigure the eyes of all those generations. That is why (s)he will carefully sneak what (s)he wants to convey to the soul of the child, communicate only what is verified as favorable to the strength of life through the century-old experience received from their forefathers, and will be reluctant to everything that is merely personal opinion, judgment caused by contradiction and self-centered display, theory prepared to justify some lustful appetites, everything that is a product of vain protection of originality.”

Dumitru Stăniloaie, Naţiune şi creştinism volume, Elion Publishing House, Bucharest, 2004, p. 126.

The article “Creştinism şi tradiţie în viaţa naţională” by Dumitru Stăniloaie was initially published in Luceafărul magazine, I, issue 2, 1941, p. 1So, we can see that it doesn’t say anywhere that the parents’ duties towards their children would be to:

  • To shovel them with take-out and fast food;
  • To muffle them in winter as if they lived at the North Pole;
  • To abandon them in front of the TV, computer, or tablet;
  • To build houses for them;
  • To choose their career for them;
  • To find jobs for them;
  • To stick their noses into their marriages without being asked once they consented to them;
  • Call them every day and check if they are OK.

To all those celebrating their name day today, I wish them as much wisdom and patience as possible for what is sacred!

Materials collected and commented on by Marcus Victor Grant. Originally published on the Discerne Romanian blog under the title “Datoriile principale ale părinţilor către copiii lor” on the 9th of September 2015. Translation by Cristiana Brezeanu


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