“House of Heaven’s Harmony”
Written by Rev. Hyung Jin Moon
We may lavish our children with gifts thinking that we are giving them individual attention but we are often very reluctant to give them the greatest gift of all personal association with us and our lives. We may take them shopping or buy them gifts when really what they want is time to discuss things that are bothering them or get to know our histories and our life story. They may be reaching out for our guidance but we may feel scared that we will not provide a good enough answer or solution and so to mask this insecurity, we may avoid conversations or harangue them for not being grateful or getting on their case for the smallest things.
One thing that children desperately need is individual attention. They need to know that they each are unique, individual truth bodies and that their parents love them for their uniqueness. We as parents, of course see each child as unique and precious but usually our children do not feel that they are unique.
One of the family traditions that my wife and I have used with our
children is making “dates” with our children individually. So for
example the first Saturday will be a lunch date with our first boy, the
next Saturday, with our second boy, and so on. On that date, we go and
do an activity that we planned earlier together. For example, on our
first son’s date we went and had his favorite potato wedges at Taco
Bell. On our second son’s date we went to the supermarket to get him
his favorite tri-colored popsicles and then went to Burger King.
We plan ahead of time allotting Saturday as a “date with one of the
children.” We show them on the calendar what day is their date and we
then plan together, with that child, what it is we will do. We also
remain flexible knowing that on that day they may want to do other
things. It’s up to them. The agenda is theirs during the date as long
as everyone can enjoy the experience. We will discuss what things we
could possibly do then make our final decision (As parents we try to be
as accommodating as possible, but not to the point of teaching the
children negative virtues).
This time together allows for very close bonding, and emotional
comfort. Usually the child must live in competition with their other
siblings in order to get attention. S/he may become creative even
doing “bad” things to get negative attention (still a form of
attention). Therefore, on our dates the children get to truly feel
special and appreciated just for them.
We have a strict rule as parents not to mention the other siblings or compare siblings during the date. The time
is just for that child. We try to love him/her fully and have a
positive and healthy experience that over time we believe will be good
investments into a healthy and trusting relationship.
One thing is for sure, as parents: if you make a promise to your
children, you must keep it! There is nothing more corrosive to trust
than constantly making promises and breaking them. Your children will
then learn to distrust everything you say as well as potentially
hurting their own ability to make commitments and keep them. If you
are not sure you can do something, don’t promise it. Be honest, and
tell your child that you are not sure and you will try your best.
But when you do promise,
make sure that it is kept. Trust is a virtue that must be earned and
it cannot just be given. Making promises are good, for they help
children understand that they are not all powerful and that their loved
ones are resources that will be with them throughout their lives.
However, keeping promises is great, for no trust can be gained without
trust earned. So if you make a promise, have integrity and keep it.
If you absolutely cannot keep the promise due to unforeseen emergency
circumstances, it is imperative that you make it up. It may take two
or three, even ten, promises that are kept to build back the damage of
one broken but keep at it. Think of it as building a brick wall. Each
promise kept is adding a brick to that solid wall of trust. However,
each promise broken is removing a brick from, not the top, but from
beneath many bricks may be needed to be replaced to build back the wall
Although this analogy may not be perfect, it shows that in order to
build trust, sweat and effort must be invested. Relationships are a
process and things can change for the better but also for the worse if
you neglect it. So be aware and mindful of the walls of your “house of
trust” that you build with your children. It will pay off in the end.
Your children will cherish that hard-earned trust and will learn to
keep promises with you and their children in the future.
(Above is a section that I had transcribed from Hyung Jin Nim’s book.
Thanks to Amadea. I think it is very helpful. God bless and Happy
Easter to all. – Jim Stephens)