Message of His Beatitude Daniel, Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church, on the Sunday of Parents and Children (5 June 2011):
The children, as human growing persons are the dearest gifts of God for parents and for the entire humankind, who cannot continue its existence without children. But these wonderful gifts for history and eternity must be cultivated with much attention, love and patience. The birth, growth and education of children are holy works designed to accomplish man through the love for his closest ones: wife, children, relatives, friends, neighbours, colleagues etc. The biological and spiritual growth of the children is also a maturation of the parents in their generous, diligent and responsible love.
While shaping the character of the children, the parents also cultivate their kindness and spiritual nobleness, so that the children become happiness for parents, and the good parents happiness for their children. The spirit of communion is educated in every family and the personality formed. Just as the father or mother is not an impersonal being in the family, neither the child is, but a unique unrepeatable one. He has an image and a name, while his soul is called to life on the earth and in heaven, because the man is created in the image of the God eternally alive (Cf. Genesis 1: 26-27).
The child forms his first image of the world and society with the help of the parents and of the other members of the familial and social environment; he cultivates his love for parents and brothers, as well as his respect for his close beings and native places.
The children’s character is formed not only through words and activities, but also through their parents’ way of living, through the example they give. The harmonious affective relation with their parents, which is more intense during childhood, is the main element of their formation. The children’s tendency to imitate their parents is preserved even when they form their own families. Especially the harmonious relation between parents and of the children with their parents is the best foundation for the moral spiritual development of the children. On the contrary, the lack of harmony in the relation between parents has a negative influence over the entire life of the children.
The parents’ authority must not be based on oppression and restriction, but on love, dialogue and help. Its exertion as oppressive or violent power generates negative moods, present mostly in our time. Especially in our contemporary society which exerts an irresistible pressure over the child, with its multiple possibilities and temptations, the parents’ dialogue with their son or daughter is absolutely necessary for the correct understanding of things. The child is not called to follow an accidental way in life, but he must choose his own way out of the multiple opportunities provided.
In our time, the causes of the children’s and young people’s unhappiness – such as poverty, professional disorientation, drugs, alcoholism, uncertainty of the next day, depression etc. – increased alarmingly. Given the circumstances, the increase of the parents’ attention and love is a vital need for growing children.
This is why I urge the parents to give more time to their children, to help them not to lose their good health and salvation, to cultivate their freedom to do the good and bring joy to those around them.
We urge the children to love their parents and pray for them, because it was through them that God gave them life and it was through them that He helps them to accomplish their vocation of rational beings, kind and loving, created in the image of the Good Holy God.
We pray God, the Father of lights, to give the parents and their children “Every good and perfect gift” (cf. James 1:17), peace, good health, joy and help on the way of the bright faith and good deeds, for the joy of the Family, Church and of our People.
May the grace of Jesus Christ, our Lord, and the love of God-the-Father and the sharing of the Holy Spirit be with you all!
Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church