LAUNCHING CHILDREN TO MATURITY
One of the biggest problems in marriages today is the low level of emotional maturity of the spouses. Unfortunately, there are a significant number of adults who behave like real spoiled children. There is a change of mentality that the new generation has been developing in relation to the family. I recently asked a very dear person if she planned on having more children — she already had one. The answer was immediate and sure: “No way!”. Impressed and curious, I questioned why not. That father immediately replied: “Because having a child is too expensive”. What does this conversation reveal? A petty parent who doesn’t want to spend money on their children? Of course not! It’s just the opposite. The conversation points to a father who, because he wants to give the best to his children, understands what his budget limit is and does not keep increasing the number of children so as not to lower the standard of what he wants to offer. And that has a commendable side. However, it also highlights something that concerns me. It is about a new mentality and a new model of family creation that distances itself from the biblical model. In the pattern presented in the Scriptures, the raising of children was seen as a good thing and had a reason. Observe: The Lord’s inheritance is children; the fruit of the womb, its reward. As arrows in the warrior’s hand, so are the children of youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; he will not be put to shame when he pleads with his enemies at the door. Psalm 127:3–5 First, the Word of God compares children to arrows. Then he declares: Happy is the man who fills his quiver with them (the children — arrows). What was the reason for such happiness? The reason is that as the sons made the family bigger, they helped the father to face the enemies at the door! . But today, what is the reason for parents’ hesitation to have more children? It’s the cost concern. What does this reveal? That modern parents no longer think about what their children can do for the family: they are only concerned with what the family has to do for their children. In the past, no one stopped having children thinking about how much it cost. The mentality, especially when sustenance was taken from farming, has always been the opposite. The more children a person had, the more labor there was to produce groceries at home. Such a change of mindset also produces a change in creation. Today’s parents do not raise children to help the family, but to suck it, even if this vision is not so explicit. In this way, they unconsciously strengthen selfishness and spare them from maturing processes, which have been tested throughout history — and have been shown to work very well — but are discarded today. Children have less and less responsibilities and more and more privileges. Rights are much greater and more abundant than duties. What’s the result? An immature generation that sacrifices itself less for its family and constantly demands its rights. The other day, someone complained to me: “This new generation is getting more and more spoiled!” I replied immediately: “And whose fault is it? Who spoiled her?” The person remained silent. The fact is that parents complain about children that they themselves have distorted. So we need to rethink the creation model and mindset we are promoting. I am not referring to something as far away in history as the biblical texts cited. Until the last generation, things were still going this way. Allow me to give one more example. My two brothers, the oldest and the youngest, started working at the age of 12. They packaged groceries in a supermarket and carried many boxes of products that needed to be replenished on the shelves. I tried to avoid this task and, until I was 14, I managed to do my business informally. Sometimes he even made more money than they did. Not to mention that I had more free time to have fun than my brothers. I bragged about my freedom and my “entrepreneurial soul”. This lasted until, one day, I walked into the house and saw my father talking to a family friend, Orlando Furlan. I greeted him quickly and walked away when my father called me back and said, “Give your new boss a good greeting. — My new what? I asked. — Your new boss. I just got you a job as an office boy, and you start tomorrow morning,” my father said. — How much will I earn? — I asked. — It doesn’t matter how much you earn. The matter is already decided,” replied my father. “Dad, you know I make more money from my informal businesses than I’ll make from this kind of job,” I snapped. His answer was a real lesson for me: “It’s not just about money. You have to learn to take responsibility, to keep to schedules and to know how to respond to a boss. In other words, he was saying, “You have to learn to be a man!” Then the game got tougher. — As of today, you will no longer keep all the money you earn. You will tithe, take just a small part for you and give the rest to help with the household expenses — my father pointed out. — But Dad… you don’t need my money! — I complained. — I don’t need to, but you need to learn to contribute at home — finished my father. What was he trying to teach me? He taught me that in any family, children should not only be served at home, but should also be served; that children should not be the “leeches” that are emerging in this new generation; and that they should be trained to contribute at home, to serve the family, and not to be selfish. However, with the current model of upbringing that spares them everything — from household chores to greater responsibilities, we have created a bigger problem than we can measure, both for the functionality of the families these children will form, and for their spiritual lives. The consequence of the current attitude of parents is nothing less than spoiled children who do not understand, accept nothing, nor enjoy the result of processes necessary for maturity. God, as a Father — and a model of fatherhood to be followed — does not spare us from these processes!