Rev. Erik Sandstrm
I. Education in the spirit of Baptism 1
II. Family worship 4
The form of family worship 10
Comments and suggestions 10
III. Order 12
Some principles (theory) 16
Further principles (practice) 20
IV. Punishment and reward 20
Firm in essentials, lenient in small matters 23
Orders and threats 25
Father and mother supporting each other 27
The genius of children 31
"Let the punishment fit the crime 33
Government by inspection 33
V. The child's introduction to uses 36
The "as-of-self" 37
VI. The child's stories 44
VII. The child's play 49
A warning from AC 2309 52
"Diversions of charity" 53
VIII. Preparing for the conjugial 55
Sex education 55
Worship and church life 59
Marriage for eternity 59
Providence in marriage 60
True marriage impossible with the evil 60
Impossible with partners of different religious 60
Conjugial love: a gift of the Second Advent 62
The chaste love of the sex 64
"Mock engagements?" "Going steady?" 67
Parental example 67
IX Mediate good 68
X. Conclusion 71
What follows does not constitute a finished product,
The various chapters were originally written as a series of articles far the News Letter of the General Church in Britain. The purpose was pastoral rather than instructional in an academic sense. Still, it is hoped that they may serve as an aid in the study on a College level of the vast subject of New Church Education in the Home. ES
However important it is to find education in a New Church school, we would regard education in a truly New Church hope as of even greater importance. We hold this view for the reason (a) that the foundation for a New Church education must be laid before school begins; (b) that the Church consists of homes as small units of a life that ought to be or heaven; and (c) that education in the hone is essentially one of the wills as compared to education in the school which is essentially one or the understanding.
In the series we now commence we hope to be of some help to parents (and others) in stimulating their thoughts on our subject, and perhaps encouraging them in new endeavours. Questions will be welcomed, and brief answers attempted either in the News Letter or privately. We hope to deal seriatim with such subjects as Family Worship; The Childs Play, The Childs Introduction to Uses; His Stories; Fostering and guiding His Imagination; His Discipline and Freedom; His Conscience; etc.
For an introduction we turn now to the relationship of home education to Baptism.
Baptism is a representative act. That act itself brings conjunction with heaven, and consequently is itself a use performed to the child. Nevertheless it ought to be followed up--and it ought to be followed up by the acts of education (and later by the acts of the persons regeneration) which the sacrament represents. Education is represented, just as is regeneration, for the reason that education by means of parents, priests, and teachers is in place of regeneration, and preparatory to it, during the period of formative years when the child or young person cannot as yet act from his own freedom according to his own reason.
What happens in the act of Baptism is that angels, perceiving the love to the Lord and the acts or repentance that are represented, implant remains of a desire to love and obey the Lord with the infant. The angels themselves, present at the time, love the Lord and shun evils; and the influx that goes forth from the Lord through them is an influx that carries the state or the angels to the child. The memory of their visit with the child at the time is what is called remains.
How the object of education is to protect the inmost remains, to provide for the implantation of ever more new remains, and to draw forth the remains by orderly and innocent acts that correspond to them.
If this is not done the remains implanted especially through the act of Baptism will indeed continue with the child (only he himself, in his adult life, is able to obliterate them, if such should be the choice of his life), but they will be imbedded, or as it were hidden away by intervening clouds, until they become so weakened that their voice is scarce heard by the child. Hence the necessity of following up the covenant struck by means of the sacrament of Baptism.
In the following comment we make use of the General Church Ritual for Baptism, as revised and published in a special pamphlet in preparation for a revised Liturgy a few years from now. The ritual in our present Liturgy, however, may be consulted, as the revised form is only in the nature of improvement, and not radical change.
In the baptism of an infant the parents make no promises in the wording I promise.... Yet what they do has the burden of a promise: a promise to the Lord in the presence of His Church. That is the implication of these words addressed to the parents: By this act you do enter into a solemn covenant with the Lord to keep for / the child / the commandments of God until he become of age.... A covenant is a mutual agreement. A solemn mutual covenant with the Lord. It is an agreement that should not be tampered with, and above all one that must not be nullified.To keep for him.... That means educating him in such a way that he is introduced into the obedience of all the Ten Commandments; introducing him into the worship of the Lord alone; teaching him to use proper language, and above all to use holy names in a reverent manner; giving him the habit of regarding Sunday as a special day of the Lord, not permitting him to treat his parents discourteously (this is the foundation of courtesy end respect for others in later life), or to disobey them;
These brief notes are intended as broad suggestions of how a child may obey, in his childish manner, all the commandments of the Decalogue. It is for parents to teach and guide him with care and watchfulness in this respect, for that is their only way of keeping for him the commandments of God.
We note the following injunction: all who are baptized are to be initiated into the knowledge and belief that the Lord Jesus Christ is the one God of heaven and earth; that He has come again in the Heavenly Doctrine of the New Jerusalem; and that we are to be conjoined with Him by a life according to the truths of His Word.
Let not the second of these three points be forgotten! It is paramount that the child should learn to venerate the Writings as the Lords new way of speaking to men and teaching them. Otherwise the child will only with difficulty come to reading and learning from those Writings for himself in adult age. And these Writings are the salvation of the world in our time!Most parents probably find it easier to heed the first and third points, and perhaps they think the second is too difficult for the child. But it is not! The mere reading from the Writings in family worship, and the mere handling of the books of the Writings in a reverent manner, will suggest to the child that these books too are holy books, just as are the Sacred Scriptures. Moreover, there is much in the Writings that can be comprehended by little children; and I would here call particular attention to the Memorable Relations.
I think too that the very phrase, The Lords Second Coming, ought to be familiar to the child. All too frequently I meet children of New Church parents who have never heard of the Second Coming. One suggestion in this connection is to introduce into the home the tradition of a special celebration of the 19th of June every year; and at that time of course tell the child why that day is celebrated. After all, June Nineteenth is just as great and just as important as Christmas!
Now the words: Inasmuch as man is born of his parents into natural life, and not into spiritual life, and by inheritance inclines to evils of every kind, be must be born again...--I would suggest that the fact that the parents are the last transmitters of inclinations to evil is precisely the reason why they are the best suited to guide the child away from those inclinations. The parents, having themselves inclinations of a similar type, ought to be able to understand the inclinations of their children better than others. If this principle is correctly understood, then the education of the education of the children and the regeneration of the parents will be largely interlinked.
Finally let us reflect on the baptismal words themselves; I baptize thee into the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Into the name. The Word is the Lords name, and hence also all things holy, good and true which are from the Lord with men by means of His Word. Baptism introduces into these things, especially as mentioned by the implantation of remains then. But it is for education to keep the child in them, until he can continue in them for; ever by his own choice.
II. Family Worship.
The education of a child is the education of his mind. We do not just want him to go through the motions of good behaviour. That was very much what happened in the bygone days of rigid home discipline. The aim of New Church education must be to instill a sound conscience with the child, so as to bring his own heart and his own little thoughts into that pattern of life which we call good behaviour.
We shall have more to say about the childs conscience and initiation into true freedom at another time, but we pause now to consider what is perhaps the chief means of helping the child to gain a genuine conscience: worship. Obedience is necessary too, and, so is orderliness, and so are a lot of other things; but unless the child learns to worship the Lord, his good acts will be external only, and not at the same time internal. And let us not fall into the error of thinking that the child has no internal! It is rudimentary, but it is certainly there. And it is his gradually developing internal that must be the essential object of New Church education.
Most parents say evening prayer with their child. This is as it should be; but it is only a bare minimum. There ought to be family worship as well. The family must develop as a unit. It is the nucleus of the Church and of the country. It should worship together, work together, and converse together. Play together too! Foremost in these activities is worship, for without it, it would be difficult to bring about a unity whose unifying force and essence is the Lord. There can be apparent unity without the Lord, but not the unity that grows and lives on throughout the years of family life and even after the children grow up and make their own homes, through them in a new way.
We mentioned evening prayer. A word about this matter, and also grace at table, before discussing family worship further.--Evening prayer, however short, is worship. The tendency is to treat a short prayer lightly, or as routine. The child must not be allowed to fall into this habit. Let us remember: Where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst; of them. (Matt. 18:20). A prayer must be said quietly and not too hastily, If the child is fussy or irritable, it is better not to say the prayer, or grace, at all at that time.
Some special points:Do not praise the child for saying his prayer well. When he performs a service to his parents or others it might be well to thank him for it, and to give him such praise as he may deserve.
Now returning to family worship, thus the time when all the family gather together for saying prayers and listening to the Word, there is the following teaching relating in a general way to the matter: External things of the body, that are of worship, are: /1-4., certain things bearing on public worship/ ... Then at home: 1. Saying prayers morning and evening, also at dinners and suppers; 2, Talking with other people about charity and faith and about God, heaven, eternal life and salvation, 3. Also, in the case of priests, preaching as well as teaching privately; 4. And for everyone, instructing children and servants in such matters, 5. Reading the Word, and books of instruction and piety. (Char. 174)
The reason why these things are referred to as external things of the body that are of worship is explained in the previous number. Charity and worship are there compared and defined. All the things that are of charity have reference to looking to the Lord and shunning evils as sins, and doing the goods of use that are of anyones office.
We are not to understand that these things are external in essence, and thus irrelevant. They are external in fern only, butif it is well--internal in essence and in origin. Hence they are an ultimation of something that is not in itself ultimate. Thence their power.
All this makes clear that family worship cannot be truly genuine and beneficial, unless there is at the same time a spirit of co-operation, good will, and understanding on the part of all members of the family. All must have a share in contributing to the good of the home. Wise parents foster that spirit from the time the children are very small. Clearly, worship in the spirit will serve to seal the unity of the family before the Lord, and strengthen each member in his life of charity--even if only on a childish scale.
Worship was also said to pertain to external things of the mind. These things are: 1. Thinking and meditating about God, heaven, eternal life, and salvation; 2. Reflecting upon ones thoughts and intentions... 3. Being averse in ones mind from telling about ungodly, obscene and filthy things; etc. (Char. l75). All parents know that a child is not excluded from such mental activities! Of course a child will reflect in a childish way; but it is sometimes astonishing what sound reflections can arise in a childs mind about God, heaven, and similar subjects. And I think a child can observe his own thoughts and intentions too!not a toddler, but, say, a small school child.
These are the things that are fostered in a family that regularly worship together. Moreover, the external things of the body are then representative of an endeavour to live a good life, which endeavour is known or assumed by all to exist with each one.
There is no fixed form for family worship. The Writings leave us free to find the form that is best suited to the need or situation of each family. We note, however, what is prescribed: Prayers morning and evening, also at dinners and suppers.... Talking with other people about charity and faith ... Instructing children ... Reading the Word.
A few recommendations, however, may possibly be helpful. First, it can scarcely be doubted that a home Repository for the Word is a powerful means of reminding all of the presence of the Lord in the home. It can be a very simple Repository if need be. The essential thing is that there is as it were a hallowed place for the Word, where it is always kept (when not in use), and where it is set apart from other books or any other articles. When we say The Word we mean either a copy of the Sacred Scriptures alone, or perhaps better still, such a copy and a copy of the Writings together. In either case, however, the Lord is represented. In connection with arranging for a home Repository it would be most useful for the whole family, if a priest was asked to conduct a Home Dedication. All priests of the Church are prepared to officiate at such an act, and are very happy to do so.
Let us quote again from what is said about forms of piety in the home: Prayers morning and evening, also at dinners and suppers ... Talking with other people about charity and faith ... Instructing children ... Reading the Word. (Char. 174).
Some of this will have to be done individually (and in the case of persons living alone, this applies to all forms of piety). Some of it is also better done without the presence of the whole family, especially if some of the children are smallas for instance talking with other people about charity and faith, and about God, heaven, eternal life and salvation. Yet there can be no doubt that the emphasis is on as much as possible in the sphere of the family unity rather than as little as possible.
This leads to the question of a suitable time for family worship. Obviously each family must decide this clatter for itself. What cannot be said by any family, I am sure is that there is no convenient time. This would be almost equivalent to an admission that there is virtually no family life at all. If there are different preferences among the children, the parents should take the lead and just establish a time, which is to be observed by all. In a family where there are mutual affections, all will readily comply. Whatever time is chosen it is important to adhere to it with regularity and punctuality. It should be regarded as a special appointment with the Lord. After dinner should mean after dinner; 8 o clock, in the morning must mean 8 a. m. We always start Church on time. The same should apply in the home. In other words, the matter must be treated as important. Emergencies make a case of their own, and have to be treated in their own way. But emergencies are exceptions, not rules.
It is striking that all the prescribed forms of piety relating to the body are, or can be represented in Family Worship:Prayers ...Talking to other people (that is to say, guests as well as the family members) ... Instructing children ... Reading the Word.
That family worship can well include the item of talking about charity and faith, God, heaven, eternal life and salvation, is because it is by its very nature more intimate in form than Church worship. Talking with others, from the point of view of the individual family members, of course includes all, the others in the family: perhaps we may even say, especially these. Such conversation is altogether suitable in connection with readings from the Word at the time of family worship, or in connection with other instruction given by the father at the same time.
The other itemsprayers; instruction to the children; reading the Word (and perhaps other books as well)--are obvious.
The Form of Family Worship. We have already agreed that there is no prescribed form. Nevertheless I would suggest that there era certain musts which are inherent in the very spirit of true worship and therefore also in the doctrines concerning worship contained in Revelation.
In the suggestions below the items I believe ought always to be included are listed without brackets, and useful additions which may be included if convenient are given within brackets.
(a. Preparation: Lighting of candles, placing or flowers;)
1. Opening of Word - all standing in silence;
(b. sentence cram the Scriptures;)
(c. Prayers composed by the father or some other person,)
2. The Lords Prayer, in unison, all kneeling;
(d. Singing and/or music. This could also precede the Opening of the Word, and/or follow the readings and instruction;)
3. Reading from the Old or New Testaments, preferably in consecutive chapters; Reading from the Writings, or instruction from them in the fathers own words;
(e. Other instruction;)
4. The Blessing, spoken by the father alone or by all in unison;
5. Closing of the Word--all in silence.
Some comments and suggestions: (b) Suitable sentences are: The Lord in His holy temple; let, all the earth be silent before Him (Hab. 2:20);
(2) There is no monotony in saying the Lords Prayer daily. Angels in company with Swedenborg said to certain spirits: We in heaven say the Lords Prayer daily (AR 839:6); and Swedenborg, in observing that he prayed our Lords Prayer morning and evening, stated that wonderful to say, the things that inflowed were varied every day (AC 6619; SD 258, 1790). This can be, because that Prayer communicates with the entire heaven, and contains within itself the whole fulness of the Word.
(3) There are a number of reasons why it is preferable (though not necessary) to read the Sacred Scriptures consecutively as they are written. One is, that this gives a knowledge of the historicals of the Word (which correspond to the spiritual sense); another, that the series of the historicals invites influx of affections and ideas in a corresponding ordered series; a third that the idea is suggested that nothing in the Word is less important than anything else there, and so forth.--This, however, should not be an unyielding principle. The Word is so written, that it describes all evils, even the most obscene. This, in fact, applies to all the three forms of the Word. It must be so, for there must be nothing hid. All must be revealed, in order that all may be overcome. In my view such portions are suitable for private reading by adults, or by young people if properly prepared, and also in groups for joint special study--suitable, and for private purposes necessary; but my preference is not to read those portions either in the family or in public. Similarly, there are parts (e. g. some prophecies) that the children cannot understand.--These two I would skip in family worship (though not in Church, for adults, where they can be explained). I believe there is some variety of opinion with regard to skipping portions of the Word, for temporary purposes, however, I also feel it is important to state that a portion is being passed by, and for what general reason, so as to avoid the erroneous impression that the Word is being read consecutively when in fact, in these instances, it is not.
With regard to reading the Writings to children or telling them stories from the Writings, I would again emphasize--as in the first article--that there are many portions even in this most rational of all Revelations which are eminently suitable for children. Search among the Memorable Relations in the True Christian Religion, in Conjugial Love, and in the Apocalypse Revealed! Also many sections in Heaven and Hell, Last Judgment, and--especially for children approaching the age of young peopleNew Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine, not to mention many other books. In fact, I doubt there is any of the Writings which contains nothing that is intelligible for little children. However, in many cases the stories from the spiritual world, or certain simple doctrines, can be better received by small children if told in the parents own words. Parents wakeful to the needs or their children will readily sense what is best from case to case.
(4) Some suitable forms of the Blessing are: The Lord be merciful unto us, and bless us, and cause His face to shine upon us (fr. Ps. 67:1); The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with us all (fr. Rev. 22:21); The Lord give His angels charge over us, to keep us in all our ways (fr. Ps. 91:11); also (Ps. 3:8) and (fr. Rev. 1:4, 5).
We will call this section Order, although Discipline is very much involved too. Discipline, however, is but a means to an end. Order is the end. But then order is only the nearest end. The final end must be the love of heaven, thus a will that is good after the manner of heaven. Such a will can only dwell in order. It is too eager to carry out its own purposes to tolerate a state that would obstruct or distort. It must be able to act freely.
This will cannot be achieved by moans of education. It comes only through regeneration, which of course is an individual matter and depends on interior combats in adult age.
Nevertheless, Divine influx, must have a receptacle. That receptacle is made ready by means of order; for even as a good will cannot carry out its wishes in disorder, so the Divine from the Lord cannot be present to mould that will unless received in a state of order. And order can he achieved by means of education, and later by means of self-discipline. Orderly habits are among the best gifts from wise parents to their children. True and deepening knowledges are other such gifts. These things became powerful weapons in the hands of our children when the time comes for them to fight their inner foes. No that weapons alone win battles; but neither is there any victory without; them: and the great battles require the better weapons.
The gifts of course are from the Lord, even as the strength and courage and wisdom from which to fight are. But good habits, which are uses, and genuine knowledges, which are truths, are provided from without, and that is why parents and others have a share in accumulating them. We recall the closing admonition to parents at the sacrament of baptism: This child was born into the world, and he is committed to your care, that by a life in the world he may be prepared far a life in heaven, and it is gives you to cooperate with the Lord to this end. Seek, therefore, for the light and knowledge to guide you in the performance of your part in this work.
It would appear from all this that order precedes the birth of the new will. Such also is the case, in a way: only, it should be understood that while order is built into the child his conscience is operative as a will, although this is not as yet appropriated to him as his will. Order is of truth. Even good habits imposed from without are truths, for they are nothing but truths in act (on which point see AC 3295). And there is no exception to the law that no truth can be recognized as such and accepted, unless there is a good flowing in to favour it. Good is in that, sense first, and truth second, and they relate as soul and body. But since the good which is of conscience is not as yet given to the child as his own, therefore it must deem to him that order is first.
Herein we see that act proceeds, mans willing follows (AC 4357:3)his willing follows. We may continue the quotation, although the immediate reference is not to education but to self-discipline in adult regenerative life. For that which the man does from the understanding, he at last does from the will, and finally puts it on as a habit; and it is then insinuated in his rational or internal man, Now the child too, in his childish way, can understand order; be can acquire an external affection for it (take a certain pride in it), and be can make if a habit. Thus a foundation is laid for him, on which he is later to build his spiritual mansion.
Order relates to affections, thoughts, speech, and actions. All these things can be educated: affections too, for the reason that when the child shows up evil affections, these can be checked by discipline or instruction; just as good affections can be encouraged by various suitable means. Thoughts, speech, and actions result especially from instruction, yet also from guidance by way of example, encouragement, and directives (commands), and from discipline.
We said that the regenerate will must be able to act freely, and that order is a prerequisite foe this to be so. This point introduces the relationship between order and freedom. Popular opinion, of course, is that there is no connection, or that they relate only as opposites. We must not fall for this view. In education (if in this connection we can speak of any) it is modern to allow the child almost unbounded freedom, lest he should suffer from inhibitions or develop an inferiority complex. This, however, applies to the freedom of the proprium!
The proprium, in this world, clamours for freedom more than anything else. It would love nothing more than to be able to carry out its every whim and fancy.
The proprium, however, is to have no freedom, at any rate, the goal must be to deprive it of any trace of freedom. In the end it must be a slave, bound and fettered, crushed, put to silence. This cannot be done by external discipline. Again it is a matter of regeneration, thus of internal discipline, or self-compulsion. But external discipline can impress on the mind that speech and acts from the proprium do not pay. There is to be no encouragement of such things, not in any form, whether by praise, laughter, or passive toleration. If prudence occasionally dictates silence or inaction, there is nevertheless never to be anything that might suggest approval. We have no obligations to evil! Our obligations are to do what is good, truer and beautiful in life, and these things must be protected: for their own sakes, end for the sake of the men, women, and children who night be exposed to evil.
On the other hand the proprium can be crushed with such force that harm results. The Lord bends, but does not destroy. It must be remembered that in the beginning of life a person is very little else than a proprium. The building up of a conscience has only just begun. Therefore, if the proprium would be taken away from him all of a sudden, be could not continue to live. In the days of extreme discipline in education (two or three generations ago and earlier), children frequently went in constant fear of their parents, for the most part as especially the father. This indeed kept the proprium in check, but at the same time everything else also: the innocent affections that might have developed from the remains that are denied to no one, and the first observations and childish reflections along the path of truth.
Are we then playing down discipline, making it almost unimportant? Indeed not. Only, we are establishing that the emphasis is on drawing out what is good with the child; for in the degree that this is done a conscience is being built up with him. This is leading the child as it were to lead himself, or it is leading him as it were from within. Of course the purpose of all education should be to prepare the child to act from his own responsibility and according to what he knows to be good and right! In the end he himself, not his parents, must fight his evils; and this he cannot do except in the degree that be has conscience. There can be no greater achievement in education than the building up of conscience. Not that the parents themselves build it, but they do have a share in this Divine work, in that they allow the environmental influences to bear on the child which correspond, even if ever inadequately, to the operation of the Lord in the secrets of the mind.
Thus the emphasis is on order, not on discipline. If order can be achieved by gentle leading and instructing, then the battle is won already. But if not, then there is discipline in a prudent and suitable form. Order is the end. It must be protected, for its own sake, and for the sake of the child.
Let us look more into the practical side of the subject, yet not forgetting the principles of doctrine. A good educator does not act just from a set of memorized rules. He is constantly using his judgment; and to that end be is always mindful of building up his understanding and philosophy of doctrine. We have placed some principles of doctrine before us. Let us briefly recall them:
a. The educator cannot give the child a new will. That is the Lords work, and is done through regeneration in adult life.
b. But the educator can introduce order into the childs mind and behaviour.
c. Order, from the Word, receives and contains the new will.
d. It precedes, in time, the new will; but does not precede conscience.
e. Order introduces true freedom; namely the freedom of conscience, and later the freedom or the new will.
f. The proprium and its affections ought not to be given any freedom.
g. The proprium must be properly disciplined.
Perhaps we might say that the combination of mercy and truth, or love and law, in education, is particularly in the show of mercy and love in relation to conscience, and of truth and law in relation to the proprium. In the one case the aim is to draw but that which is good, and in the other to suppress that which is evil.
I would also like as to have a definition of order before us; before proceeding further. There is a full definition in TCR 52, from which, however, for our present purpose we take only the first half: Order is the quality of the disposition, determination and activity of the parts, substances or entities which make the form. This is good order or bad order. In the good order, real order, the quality of the disposition of the parts that make the form is such that the things of religion, thus of conscience, are held as most important; courtesy and the like next in importance; and bodily pleasures and related things the least important. The child, of course, will not always be happy about this grading. This is the disposition of the mind, or its setting up as it were in array. The determination of it relates to thoughts and therefore the readiness to act from that order, without disrupting it while proceeding with the act. And the activity is the functioning itself of the mind in the process of acting, and still without allowing the basic order to change.
We said that order relates to affections, thoughts, speech, and acts. The first two concern the inside of the cup and the platter; the latter two concern the outside.
Can we keep the affections of a child in order? Obviously not with any hard and fast assurance.
We have earlier spoken of worship as a means of instilling (inviting) good affections.
In addition there is specific instruction as the child adds months or years to his young life. Let us not necessarily think in formal terms about instruction. In the early years it should come almost like play. Mother would normally be the one to give it. I am thinking particularly about letting the child know about the spiritual world. How to tell him? Perhaps simply by letting him know that he has angels around him, what they do for him, and what they look like. They are with him every time he is good; but they get sad and draw away when he is not. Then instead there are the evil spirits. These love to see the child both naughty and unhappy. He must by all means know about these spirits too, and that they are ugly looking. Of course, do not give them any tails or horns, for they are in fact not fitted out with these things. Just tell the child they are ugly and wicked looking people.
If the childs affections are in the rebellious state, and a reminder of the angels and the evil spirits is not enough to restore him to order, there must be punishment to bring out his receptive mood.
In this sort of way we help to keep the childs affections in order. If it is well, he is a happy child, and if he is by nature easily frightened, he should gradually be less and less so, so he gets used to the idea that the Lord is sending angles to him whenever he is good, and certainly if he prays to the Lord to send them.
It should be added that we ourselves should not be tense, nervous, or irritable. If we are, we need to educate ourselves, so as to be better able to help the child. The child should be surrounded by an atmosphere of peace and security in the home.
To sum up: A knowledge of right and wrongRegular worship--Showing the child affectionate confidenceknowledge of angels and evil spirits--punishment when necessaryAn atmosphere and security in the home:--these are some essential means of cooperating with the Lord in keeping the childs affections in order.
As for his thoughts, the same means will apply. There is, however, this to add. When the child asks questions he should have straight answers. This is important. We have time for this, even if we are busy, and this simply because it is important. Occasionally, of course, we may have to tell the child we will answer him later; but he should never be given the impression that he cannot have knowledge when he asks for it. He should be taught to think, too. If he repeats the same question, perhaps many times, the answer should not be repeated, unless he actually cannot remember it. If we ourselves do not know the answer, let us go to the Writings or other books, or to someone who knows, in order to find out. In the meantime we simply tell the child we do not know. There is no loss of face involved in doing that! And every so often let us return questions to him!
As for the outside of the cup and platter--speech and act--that is the proper area where discipline applies.
Let me here suggest some general principles.
I. a. Be firm and unyielding in essential matters.
b. Be lenient in small matters. (Do not nag at the child.)
II. a. Never give an order that is not meant to be carried out.
b. Nor a threat.
c. If uncertain, give no orders or threats at all.
III. If nevertheless orders or threats have been given too hastily, explain why they are not carried out.
IV Always keep a promise.
a. Father and mother must always support each other in matters or discipline.
b. Usually it is enough for only one of them to take part.
c. If there are disagreements, never talk about them in the childs hearing.
IV. Punishment and Reward.
The proprium should be punished, conscience rewarded. Let us never forget that the chief end of education should be to build up and fortify the childs conscience. He must be taught as it were to lead himself; taught to do well because be wants to do well, be likes it, he is happy then. At the same time he must be told that when he does well on that account, he is able to do it because the Lord warms his heart and also gives him the knowledge he needs. A child with this awareness is a child with conscience. He is a happy child. He is secure and confident. Particularly is he secure for the reason that he gnaws in his little heart that the Lord and His angels are looking after him all the time, and be is confident because he knows that be does not have to have any secret fears or problems; he can always talk freely about them, knowing that mommy and daddy will always show as interest.
Now the interior law about happiness, security, etc., is that these things are inherent in life from the Lord. It cannot be otherwise, for Life is the self-existent Itself. It has no origin, no matter. It is itself the Origin and the Master. It is what the Writings call Esse in se and Existere in se: the very inmost soul of God-Man, the Lord Jesus Christ. The mode whereby it goes forth is Reality Itself. In the words of the Writings: Divine truth proceeding from the Divine good is the veriest Reality and the veriest Essential in the universe, and it is this that makes and creates (AC 5272:2). It follows that whatsoever agrees with this proceeding, self-existing Divine life has peace, security, happiness, joy, wisdom, internal strength, health; and this precisely in the proportion that it agrees. And as a corollary: that whatever does not agree has unpeace, insecurity, fears, frustrations, folly, internal weakness and instability, the mental distortions that tend to inject disease into the body; and again in so far that it does not agree.
The child will therefore have an internal reward whenever he obeys his conscience; and internal punishment whatever he does not. This is the Lords doing, without the cooperation of parents or other educators. It is of course exactly the same with adults, and also with angels and spirits, except that the more nature the mind, the more is it able to experience the rewards of conjunction with the Lord--and the more perverted it is, the more profoundly, will it sense the punishment of separation from Him.
It is however of order that the external correspondent should be provided as it were by means of men. This is how men and angels have a share in the Lords kingdom of uses, they learn and reflect and make decisions, and they carry out the resulting acts for the benefit of their neighbors. In heaven all those acts are rewards in a myriad varied forms, mutually and freely bestowed as an endless stream of tokens of love and esteem. In hell they love nothing better than to punish (wherefore hell is called the accuser of our brethren, Rev. 12:10; AE 746); and also they are allowed to carry out punishments in so far as these can be turned by the Lord to good, or may serve to check further evil.
But this is not the place to enter into the philosophy of the spiritual world. Only this point should be established: That both rewards and punishments in that world are administered by means of the inhabitants there--that is to say the external and manifest forms are so administered. In a ward, the Lord operates alone, without the agency of created beings, from within, but He suffers His children to have a share in responding from without. The same law is present an earth.
Now therefore, in education the internal reward flowing in from the Lord should be drawn forth into a fuller and keener awareness by a corresponding reward being provided by the educator. Similarly with punishment. If evil flows in with its punishment of internal unhappiness, this should be brought to a head by suitable external punishments, designed to change the state so that the influx from the Lord can again be received. I am not certain I am expressing this clearly enough. The principle is correspondence. When we give reward, it should correspond to what the Lord is doing; when we mete out punishments, it should correspond to what the Lord suffers to be done. I do not think we can have any other true guide to wise action in this regard. To put the game thing differently: when we give rewards, these should tend to draw forth the happy affections of conscience; when administering punishments, those should be so chosen as to demonstrate to the senses the unhappiness which is inherent in the proprium.
We should not be unduly worried about the exactness in this respect. The paramount thing is that there should be general correspondence. This is sot when affections of the proprium are not praised or encouraged, when the gentle affections of conscience are not ignored or scorned. What is beyond this is the part of wisdom: wisdom alone, as it grows, learns to recognize affections with some exactness, and consequently; to deal with them with the corresponding exactness.
One more thing before we turn to the more practical aspect of our problem. When we speak of rewards, let us not restrict our concept to include only external gifts. Such forms of reward should probably be comparatively rare. Let us include everything that gives encouragement and delight to a child when he is good: an approving smile, a comment that shows affectionate interest, a word of praise, and expression of thankfulness when the child has done a service (or meant to!), a promise by mommy to tell daddy (or vice verse)--these kinds of things.
And now for some practical rules. What I would like to do is to comment on the principles suggested in the last chapter (p. 20):
I. a. Be firm and unyielding in essential matters.
b. Be lenient in small matters. (Do not nag at the child.)
I think this is important. Emphasis on what is really essential will give the child a feeling of certainty, clarity, authority. His little mind is flexible. Basically, he wants to be led! But he cant follow the lead if he is enmeshed in an ever present network of donts and dos, that folds around him and ensnares him wherever he turns. Suppose he is making a bit of a noise when he is enjoying himself with is brother or chum or twoand he is then nearly always making a bit of a noise. (I say he for convenience, but always mean he or sheand she can make plenty of noise too.) In a case like that it is not at all essential for mother to yell from the kitchen: Stop that noise! (thus perhaps beating him for volume!) What would be wiser is perhaps simply to shut the door. But then we cant keep control? Well, a close control is probably very much less important than we think anyway. But a child might hurt himself? Then remove all dangerous things (as far as reasonable). I do not want to encourage taking real risks; but we have to take small risks. Otherwise the child never learns to look after himself,and if he does not learn that, then we are taking a real risk! In other words, leave the child alone, let him enjoy himself, using his imagination freely, and making reasonable noise: EXCEPT when he is outright wicked; for instance fighting fiercely with is fellow for a toy, wishing to domineer and meting out punishment for his fellow if he does not obey, or doing something forbidden in secret (usually suggested by a suspicious silence). THEN authoritative interference is necessary.
However, we do not want to lose ourselves in examples. The principle must be that the child must not be allowed to act against the Ten Commandments.
What then are the small matters? I would say generally these are the things done without ill intention or without knowledge; also things children can work out for themselves (for instance a small squabble while playing.)
And here another warning. Do not reprove or punish a child according to the result of his ill-doing, but according to the carelessness, disobedience, etc., that is involved. For instance, if the child breaks something he is not necessarily careless in proportion to the value of the thing broken!
We are agreed, I think, that the alternatives (of the first principles firmness in essentials, leniency in small matters) are constant nagging, with no clear distinction between what is weighty and what is less important; or the other extremea constant let-go system, in which there is virtually no leadership on the part of the parents, and the child feels no clarity or certainty about anything.
Constant nagging quickly becomes a noise on the part of the parents, of which the child is virtually and joyfully unconscious. It is like the harmony of the spheres which, for the constancy of its music, is not heard at all. The effect is therefore very similar to that of perpetual leniency; the child has no guidance; the course of his life is not staked out for him; he sees no outlines, but only a wide indifferent field where his only remaining sure guide is the love of self and a sense of self-preservation.
But let us go on to our next principles -
II. a/b. Never give an order, nor a threat, that is not meant to be carried out.
c. If uncertain, give no orders or threats at all.
This is another aspect of clear and firm guidance,--but often sinned against. The thing is not to be impulsive in our directions of the child, but to allow ourselves time for a balanced and considered view. Impulsiveness on the part of the parent, presently corrected, spells confusion on the part of the child. Soon he will begin to reflect inside himself: Well Mom/Dad does not know what he/she wants anyway; so why should I be bothered? His sense of obedience is being systematically undermined.
When we give an order we should do so only because the matter is of some importance. If it is not important, why give any order? This sort of thing should not be allowed to happen:--The child having thrown his books around is told to pick them up, and put them in their place. But he forgets going about some other business. And mother shrugs her shoulders, reflecting, It is quicker if I do it myself anyway. Result: next time books and other things will be scattered over the place just as carelessly, and more. Mommys orders are not to be taken too seriously. Or suppose our offspring is begging for a few pennies to buy sweets. The first answer was No--presumably for some good reason. But the child tips its head a bit, looks pleadingly, and argues for a while. Thus pressed the loving parent says, All right, Ill let you do it this time. That sort of education is no good. This time becomes practically every time, for the child quickly learns how often and when it is judicious to argue a point. If it was never important to say no in the first place, then why not hand over the pennies cheerfully with some appropriate remark such as, Sure, you havent had any for some time, have you! But if in some way the No was important, then it remains importantand the No remains too. A proper explanation is quite in order.
Threats. Obviously the same principle applies. Threats can be useful, for they give the child a pre-knowledge or the result of evil action. He has a chance of avoiding the result by avoiding the action. In this there is an element of self-discipline. But everything is lost if the child should not live up to his side of the bargain--only to find that neither does his loving parent.
A threat must not come as a burst of irritation. Threats of this sort simply slip out of the parents own proprium! But the unregenerate part of the parent does not know anything about education. True, none of us have a lot of regeneration to fall back on. Yet everyone can be motivated from his true affection for the child, and can allow himself to be guided by reason. Everyone can stop and think. Reason knows what is of order; and action according to order, as we have seen, invites influx from heaven.
A small point: It seems to be rather common for harassed mothers to threaten to tell Daddy when he comes home. Well, let them do that in exceptional cases, as when a major wrong has been committed. Otherwise there is no need for Daddy to knowand the threat will probably be forgotten anyway. How nice it would be if Mommy would say instead (the situation permitting): That was really well done. I think Ill tell Daddy about it!
c. (If uncertain...) Comment is scarcely necessary on this point. One aspect only: Not to give orders or threats implies that the child is given an opportunity to work things out for himselfand whenever he can be given that chance, he should certainly have it. Let us never forget that to educate a child is to train him to act from his own conscience according to things he knows to be true and right.
On p. 20 I made a III out of the next principle, but it is a subordinate point, and we will instead call it
d. If nevertheless orders or threats have been given too hastily, explain why they are not carried out.
It is human to make mistakes, and we parents often feel very human in that sense. An explanation given the child implies that we admit to him we were wrong. There is no harm in that. In addition to its aspect of honesty, it is, in the circumstances, the best way of preserving authority. Authority is not in the person in any case, but only in the fact that the thing is right.
IV. Always keep a promise.
Same thing again. The idea is to surround the child with an atmosphere of security and reliability. He must be able to know what is what.
So if the little one is pressing for a favour, dont try to get out of the situation by vague promises for some other time. Such promises are rarely kept, and they serve one purpose only: to undermine the childs confidence. We must be able to say no: without any promises of compensation, namely if the No is well founded.
On the other hand there are, of course, times when promises are quite in order. If then for some unforseen reason they cannot be kept, then there ought to be some form of compensation, and in any case a full and adequate explanation.
V. a. Father and mother must always support each other in matters of discipline.
This principle itself, I think, is self-evident. But two things are prerequisite for its proper observance.
First, both parents must know the essential rules of education. Second, they must apply them for the sake of the children only, and not from any desire to dominate. These prerequisites relate to the means and end of education.
As to the first:Parents ought to agree on the principles and practical applications of education, before they deal with the child. Therefore they ought to discuss together, and study together. If no, one or both will be bound to act from proprium and prejudice from time to time, and then disagreements are inevitable. The result, of course, will be that the child (from his proprium) will turn to whoever takes the view most appealing to him. No one benefits.
But if now both parents have formed the same understanding of education, and each from the Lord (that is, each from truths derived from His Revelation), then either one can keep quiet while the other deals with the little one. Whoever is acting, acts from them both. In the beginning the child will presumably turn to the other parent for comfort. If he is naughty, he must not have any! And when he is good again, the cheerful word or gesture should come first from the one who has been doing the disciplining.
There are innumerable implications in this principle. We can see this if we reflect that in the final analysis the conjugial is involved.
The proprium of each, however, wants to take the upper hand. Therefore parents are often called upon to exercise self-discipline when they feel an urge to interfere.
Then their strength is in thinking of what is good for the child, which is our second prerequisite. Has it occurred to you that parents are not infrequently in the exercise of the love of dominion? But only he is fit to discipline a child who can discipline himself.
The love of dominion finds many subtle expressions. It is not so remote from everyday home life as one might think it is. Each mind is created by the Lord in order that it might develop into a distinct unit, prepared and equipped for the performance of a specific use in the Grand Man of heaven, thus in the kingdom of uses. Each mind, by Divine providing, is given its distinct landmarks, and the law is: Thou shalt not remove thy neighbours landmark, which they of old time have set in thine inheritance, which thou shalt inherit in the land that the Lord thy God giveth thee to possess it. (Deut. 19:14)
The observance of this law is the proper respect of each mans freedom. And what in his essential freedom? It is the finding and performing of his own use. Others can promote and support that use, thus co-operate with it, but the law is that they should not tamper with it. Heavenly life consists specifically in the freedom of performing ones own use according to ones own reason. Earthly life is in preparation for that use. Therefore, the more a man can enter into the delight of constructive thinking and acting in his own field of activity in this life, the better is his preparation. The idea is for each man (and woman, of course) to have an exercise responsibilityeven though it be responsibility in but a small and relatively inferior use.
This should be fostered in children.
This love manifests itself, among other things, in a wish to discover the childs particular bent, and to deal with him accordingly. When there are more than one child in the family they should not all be dealt with in a stereotype or identical way! Further, it manifests itself in a wish to let the child as much as possible figure out his own way of doing things. Instruction of course! But there is a great difference between the instruction that anticipates the childs every move, directing him as if he were an automaton, and the more general, principled instruction that puts the child on the right track, but leaves it to him to supply the details.
Witness the Lords own dealing with us all! The laws of His Providence, even in their relatively detailed formulations and explanations in the Writings, are all general. Frequently our proprium rebels against this fact. When we get into difficulties we would like to have specific guidance as to how quickly and without difficulty (!) To get out of them. But such specific guidance is not given. Neither written Divine doctrine, nor answers in prayers, will give detailed information as to how we are to act in any given situation. The Lord as it were trusts us to find these details ourselves. He gives us the principles of order, and He describes and explains them so that we may understand them clearly, but the day to day application he as it were leaves in our hands, as if to say: After all, I have called you friends (see John 15:15). In this there is cooperation, thus conjunction, between man and his God. The Lord gives the generals, the universals, but leaves the particular applications to man. But since universals are in all particulars, therefore the Lord is internally present in all mans particular acts if they are done from order, thus from principles of doctrine. He is present, and His presence gives Divine gentle leading and Divine blessing. On the other hand, if the mans acts are not from principles of doctrine, then the Lord cannot be present internally within them, but only externally.
After this pattern should be our education! Let us, from the supreme example, as much as possible foster the childs own responsibility. That is how he is being prepared to act from freedom according to reason. He must, of course, be checked and connected from time to time. But even when we correct, let us see first if he himselfunder our general guidancecan see what is wrong. Let him if possible correct himself from his own insight, and thus from his own delight in doing the thing right.
Any other approach to education spells the love of dominion, or an element of it. The childs mind has its own landmark; and far from removing it we should instead help t he child to discover it, so that more and more he may develop his own individualityhis regenerate individuality, thus his particular use, for which he was created. Detailed instructions (what precisely to say in a given situation, how exactly to fulfill a small task, etc.) Are subtle expressions of the love of dominion; while irritation and loss of temper when the child fails to carry out such instructions are less subtle expressions of the same thing!
Now all this is said as a sort of parenthesis in our argument to show how parents ought to act unitedly in all matters of discipline, as of course in all t heir guidance of the child generally. The reason I bring up the above considerations in this context is that parents clash in questions of education only when the proprium of one or both is active. And there is not more universal way for the proprium to show its ugly face than in manifestations of the love of dominion. Everyone can sense when the love of dominion is therewith the other fellow. For every infringement on ones own freedom is keenly sensed, at least as an affectional disturbance, if not as reflective awareness. The same also applies, vicariously, when someone loved is involved, as ones child. Now, therefore, if parents sense an element of the love of dominion with one another, and yet know, each concerning the other, that there is wish and striving to overcome that and any other active evil love, then the proper time to discuss the better way of dealing with the child is after the event, in the childs absence.
b. Usually it is enough for one of them to take part.
If the one partner does not interfere with the other in dealings with the child, at least two great advantages may be achieved: A sphere of mutual trust and confidence between the parents is engendered, and the child finds himself in the sphere of clear and trustworthy authority.
c. If there are disagreements, never talk about them in the childs hearing.
This was discussed under a. For further emphasis we may add that the child cannot understand the reasons for disagreement. Therefore he would only be confused, sense a lack of leadership, and feel generally unhappy.
This completes our review of some leading principles in practical education. To repeat the broad outline:Firmness in essential matters, leniency in small matters.Orders, threats, and promises are to be adhered to; and if a clear mistake has been made, then the change is to be explained.Harmony and united actions between parents.
To this the following few general observations and recommendations may be added.
Corporal punishment. Let us not exclude this form of punishment, but use it only as the last resort.
The genius of children. Little children are either of a celestial or a spiritual genius. Those who are of a celestial genius are easily distinguished from those who are of spiritual genius. They think, speak, and act very softly ... but those of a spiritual genius not so softly. (HH 339). This is said of children in the other world, but the fact that every child is of a distinct genius is of course equally true in the world. The implication is, among other things, that the methods of education should vary in accommodation to the genius of the child. The case of corporal punishment may serve as an example. One child may have such a sensitive mind, that that form of punishment would nearly always be harmful; while another child may perhaps, in certain cases, not be brought to his senses in any other way.
Let the punishment fit the crime.This phrase, made popular by Gilbert and Sullivan, contains a good deal of truth. Two things, however, need to be added. First: The crime should not be measured by the external result of misbehavior. If a vase is smashed due to carelessness, then the offense does not become greater just because the vase happened to be an expensive one. The child, especially the small child, has no clear idea of values. Second: Punishments bite in different ways with different children according to genius, temperament, heredity, home habits, etc. A parent, if wise, can usually know quite well to what extent the child can be held responsible for an offense. Punishment should be meted out with this in mind. In other words (combining points one and two) the child should be punished, as near as possible, according to the internal act, rather than the merely external act. And so we suggest this improvement on Gilbert and Sullivan: Let the punishment as much as possible fit the state of the offender.
Government by inspection.Very often order can be restored by a look. This, however, presupposes that the child already knows what is expected of him. There is power of a look directed into the face of another. The origin of this is the law that all conjunction in the spiritual world is effected by inspection. (DP 29)
That looking of the Lord communicated influx from the Lord to Peter. At the time Peter was in a state of little faith and cowardice. Hence the Lords look was extremely uncomfortable to him. But there was something good with Peter, as shown by his bitter weeping when he became aware of what he had done. It is clear then that the Divine inspection tortured the evil state that was active with him; and brought out the latent good in him. If there is disagreement, the Divine look brings pain, and thus a form of punishment; but if correspondence, then conjunction results. Hence it is that the Lord governs both heaven and hell by inspection, consequently by the extension of His influx. (See AC 8212)
As already indicated there is an image of this with the angels. For further illustration of the points involved take the following: When the angels look at any one they pour into him the affection that belongs to their life. (AC 8212). In the spiritual world/secret designs and intentions/are drawn forth by inspection. (TCR 805) the angels look at the evil whenever they observe them trying to get out of their hells into the world of spirits, intending to do evil to others. (AC 4533:2)
In the world there is something similar. Every one may know that a look can be very disagreeable, and also agreeable.
Small children respond in the same way. As already said, however, a child must know within himself that he has been naughty and consequently know what is expected of him. In addition, the parent must have established his authority on previous occasions, also must have authority and assurance within himself; and he must remain calm.
The advantage of educational methods like this, is that the conscience of the child himself is put to work. And that is the essence of true education. It is a beginning of the child doing what is right, and abstaining from what is wrong, as of himself.
Rewards.Let us reflect on the tendency for harassed parents to remember punishments more readily than rewards. Rewards, however are equally important. In the teachings concerning ecclesiastical and civil government we have the following: Order cannot be maintained in the world without governors, who are to observe all things which are done according to order, and which are done contrary to order; and who are to reward those who live according to order, and punish those who live contrary to order. (HD 312) it is the same in the case of government in the home. There too things done according to order and contrary to order must be observed and properly dealt with.
Much indeed could be said concerning rewards. Nevertheless, since the general subject of punishment and reward has been discussed at some length, it may suffice now to bring forward only these few additional observations.
Reward is internal and external. He who is in internal good does not think of reward, still less demand it; the reason being that the love of good has its own intrinsic reward of happiness. Happiness is internal reward. External good, however, needs some external reward. This should be given prudently and moderately, and always in such a way that a demand for it is discouraged. Therefore it must not be given at any and all occasions when the child is doing well. There should be an element of surprise when the child finds himself rewarded. The child should show gratitude. If he does not feel gratitude, then this is a sign that the wrong kind of affection has been awakened. A reward is never a right. If rewards are thus given prudently, then the child is initiated into the knowledge that good is not to be done for the sake of reward; and he is prepared for the later knowledge that there is no greater reward than the good of love itself.
V. The Childs Introduction to Uses.
Every New Churchman knows that the life of heaven is a life of uses. Happiness is from a love of seeing uses come about, from an ability in producing them, and from the occupation in performing them.
The child must be introduced into all this. His love is external, his ability small and his occupation very limited in time. Still, he can have some love for use, namely if his delight is drawn forth when he can see the result of use. The love of use is an affection in anticipation of the result, or end. Love always dwells in ends. This must at all times be remembered in the leading of the child. In adult life in our modern world there is very little happiness in the performance of uses, and I would suggest that one reason for this is that the person was never introduced into the delight of use as a child. The child is certainly capable of such delight. It is the delight of achievement! He is doing only small jobs. At the age of one or so he is putting his shoes neatly under his bed at night, and he is very proud when they are in the right place (though there is an even chance that they are swopped around). A little later he runs errands for mommy in the house, handing her things.
As for ability: At the center of this matter is the as of oneself. Let the child do as little copying as possible, and the more constructive thinking! Tell him what should be done, but not (unless necessary) how. Of course we must give guidance. In some casessome fine sewing for instanceit is probably necessary to go into details. Still, the principle should be: The parent should confine himself to generals, and as far as is reasonable leave the child to find out the particulars. This will engage his mind. And if the delight of use depends, first, on the anticipation of the result; then it is in proportion, second, to the mental activity and endeavor that is involved.
We have noted that the happiness of heaven is in uses; and that being in uses implies a love of brining them about, an ability in producing them, and consequently the occupation of performing them with sincerity, justice, and faithfulness. Use is not the mere act. It is too the love and wisdom that are within the act. Use is the last in a trine; but the trine is a one.
We have also discussed how the love of use is stimulated by an anticipation of the result. The result is the end, and love dwells in ends. Finally we touched on the development of the ability. It is from there we now carry on.
Let us for a moment place the matter of the as-of-self before us. This matter is at the heart of the problem of developing the ability.
The Doctrine of the as-of-self is distinctive to the Writings. In a summary it is the teaching that man is to act from his own initiative and according to his own thinking, while at the same time he is to know that neither the power from which he acts nor the truth according to which he acts is his own.
This is comparatively as with the light-bulb. It comes into its life when it lights up. But its real life is not its light, but the electricity which produces the light as it is received in the filament.
Now the filament with man is the organic substances of which the inmost of his brain consists. But it is a bad filament. If the Divine life were to flow into it, it would burn up and be destroyed. It has to be rebuilt and reinforced. This is done by the Lord with infinite care. The Divine work begins with the insemination of remains, commencing with the very first breath of a newborn child. We cannot here stop to consider how this Divine work is done, except to say that it is by means of correspondence: the correspondence of an external influence with its resulting external impression, and the influx of the Divine good through the heavens. These remains are the first receptacles of the Divine influx. With their insertion into the organics of the mind the rebuilding of the filament is under way.
Later, as consciousness develops, thus as the mind grows, all things good and true experienced by the child are added to the storehouse of remains in his interiors. The external sense impressions become part of his external memory, while the affections and perceptions themselves, which correspond, and which are awakened by means of the influx through heaven, are inserted in his internal memory, and remain there. The difference between the earliest remains and these that come later, is that in the latter case they are associated with a conscious external memory. As is well known the first sense impressions, usually up to about the third year of life, serve another purpose than for external recollection, for they cannot be so recalled.
The process takes a new turn when the age of systematic instruction begins. In a sense, that process never ends. Still, the Writings recognize a new change at the age of about twenty (AC 10225), which is the beginning of a period of applied knowledges and yet another change at sixty (ibid.). Throughout these periods, however, and to eternity, there is a constant assimilation of knowledges of good and truth; that is to say, knowledges about use and about the laws and methods of use. All knowledges relate to ends and means. Goods, or uses, are ends; and truths tell of these ends and show how to achieve them.
Now, the earliest pre-memory impressions with their corresponding affections and perceptions; the first impressions capable of recollection, also with their corresponding interior things, and the knowledges which are acquired by means of the conscious application of the will, again with the things of heaven that correspond:all these things remain in the inmost organics of the mind, never to be deleted from there.
The universal law governing all these degrees of remains is that they are established in the mind by means of Divine action from within and without at the same timefrom inmosts and from ultimates, in terms of the Writings (DP 124:4). What this implies is shown in the same passage through the rewording of the same law thus: The Lord in His Divine Human rules from primes by means of ultimates (ibid. see also AE 41, 328:5; DP 220:3, etc.).
Ultimates relate to the senses and the sensations in the brain by means of them.
In this way it is seen that there is a conscience aspect to the insemination of remains in the mind. This does not make the miraculous operation, that makes use of the things coming through the senses, any less miraculous. It only shows how the formation of the remains involves the provision of the as-of-self. It is from the remains that man has conscience, andif we would believe iteven ordinary external awareness, which, because of the remains, is different with human from what it is with animals.
All this shows how individual are the remains. They are different with one person from another: different, while of course harmonious too, since they are all from heaven.
In education the remains must be called forth. And there is perhaps no more effective way of accomplishing this than by means of uses,and worship (see p. 5ff).
The smaller the child, the less there is of the as-of-self. Obviously he has to be taught the elementary things; and obviously he copiesor tries to. What there is of obedience is blind. But this is only an introductory state. It provides control of the muscles, and establishes a few innocent habits. The aim must be to foster in the child an ability to use both muscles and mind of his own initiative and according to his own thinking. This has to come gradually. Let us remember that the remains have all abilities latent within them. Therefore they must not be obstructed or inhibited. True ideas, good actions, bring them forth. And experiencing the result gives delight.
Of his own initiative develops his freedom; according to his own thinking his reason.
That is why it is so important not to confine the guidance of a child to his hands and his lips, neglecting the appeal to his affections and his own thoughts. Why should we remove his little landmarks? He has got them, and is not too small for them! (See Deut. 19:14, and cf. p. 28).We are taught that little children in the other world are tempted by spirits who try to make them say what they do not want to say, thus spirits who bypass their minds and endeavour to dictate to their speech directly. I have been informed that this is the temptation of little children, that they may learn and get accustomed not only to resist what is false and evil, but also not to think, speak, and act from another, and, consequently, not to suffer themselves to be led by any other than the Lord alone. (HH 343) And as in the other world, so it ought to be here.
So, to repeat: When we give guidance, let us give emphasis to the what rather than the how, and to generals rather than particulars. It is such fun for the child, if he can, to discover for himself these little things!
We have noted that will and understanding are involved just as much as the act itself, in regard to a childs introduction to the sphere of uses: that is to say, the love of producing good uses, the ability of doing so, and the actual production, all form a trine which cannot be broken up without harm to the use. To put it differently, true use always contains a trine. We have previously commented on the first two aspects of the trine.
And now for the trine itself, or the occupation of use, the ultimation of the trine.
Two comments might be helpful. First, the child should have a share in the economy of the homethat is, not only on the debit side of the balance sheet. Economically, as well as in all other regards, the home should be a unit.
Second, the sharing in the economy of the home is very much a matter of the formation of habits. Again we are reminded of the passage we have quoted in another context: Act precedes, mans willing follows; for that which a man does from his understanding, he at last does from the will, and finally puts it on as a habit; and it is then insinuated in his rational or internal man. (AC 4353:e). This is spoken of the grown up person, but the general law for the child is the same. Only, what is insinuated goes into the storehouse of his remains, instead of drawing forth and opening up his rational or internal man. This comes later. Yet the habits of childhood, formed through education, and those that develop in adult age through regeneration, make a one. They compare somewhat like money put in the bank in an early age, and money that is later drown from the bank for uses for if childhood habits serve to store up remains, then adult, corresponding habits have the effect of calling forth those remains, transforming them into an appropriated rational or internal mind. The remains are the internal ingredients of the potential rational mind.
And what habits of usefulness should a little child be led to develop?I think it is important that he has some permanent assignments. He can help to make his bed almost from the time he can walk, and when he is five or six (or less?) He can complete the job all by himself. There are other things that recur from day to day, like brining in the milk from the doorstep in the morning. Help him at first, of course. Mothers can best find the appropriate things that her little one could do.
It is not farfetched to note that the permanent little jobs assigned to a child will introduce him to that part of his adult use that is called the work of his occupation or employment (Char. VII); and that services rendered outside the fixed assignments will help to prepare his mind for what is called benefactions of charity and obligations of charity. (see Char. IX and X) His daily worship, of which we have spoken, and his play, on which we shall have some observations later on, fill up the rest of his day, for in his young life, just as in the case of the adult, there are only five elements in an active, useful, and well balanced life. They are analyzed in the Doctrine of Charity (as applicable to an adult person) in chapters VII - VIII - IX - X - and XI and the five elements are: The occupation or employment/of charity/; the sign of charity (worship); the benefactions of charity; the obligations of charity; and the diversions of charity. They are all of charity; that is, manifestations and ultimations of the spirit or essence of charity that is in the mind itself. They are the basis and support for that interior spirit of charity; and as with the adult, so with the child. The only essential difference is that the child cannot, like the adult regenerating man, have genuine appropriated charity in his will. But instead the child has conscience and the remains that make it, and conscience is his potential new will. That internal difference also makes for a quantitative and qualitative difference with reference to the five exterior manifestations of charity. But the point is that the fundamental structure of orderly life is the same both with child and adult; there is an internal essence, and it has five modes of coming forth in the life of the body.
So let the child taste the occupation, the benefaction, and the obligation of charity! And in each of these modes, let him develop something of love (the love of achievement, thus the love of ends), something of ability, and something of good habits.
Let us place the following from the spiritual world before us as our guide:Outside the city there are also theatrical performances by players, representing the varieties of honorableness and virtue characteristic of moral life, and among them, for the sake of relationship, are also actors. This was said by angles from the city; whereupon one of ten novitiate spirits asked, Why for the sake of relationship? And the angels answered: No one of the virtues with its display of honorableness and decorum can be presented in a living way except by things related thereto from the greatest of them to the least. The actors present the least of these up to the point of there being none. But it is established by law that nothing of the opposite, which is called dishonorable or unseemly, shall be exhibited except figuratively and, as it were, remotely. The reason why it is so decreed is because nothing honorable or good in any virtue ever passes over by successive progression to what is dishonorable or evil, but only to the least of that virtue until it disappears, and when it disappears, the opposite begins. (CL 17:5).
We are particularly concerned with the statement: ...But it is established by law that nothing of the opposite ... shall be exhibited except figuratively and, as it were, remotely.
Everyone knows that there is very little of this in modern drama and other literature written for entertainment. Childrens books and magazine follow the general trend, though it must be admitted that the innocence of the childs mind (and there is still some recognition of this) seems on the whole to inspire more good writers than does the adult state of our day. New Church parents ought definitely to look for books by such writers. There is nothing edifying to a child in murders, thefts and other crimes. Evil scares him, and will almost inevitably tend to make him nervous and irritable. He will discover evil in due coursefoul evil, and evil on a big scale. In the meantime he is in a state of innocence; and it is the task of education to build up and fortify that state. This is done by affirmative and not by negative means. It is done by things good, beautiful, and true. His innocence must be protected and nourished, not shocked and shaken.
If it is argued that a knowledge of the evil of the world prepares him for it when he comes to face it as an adult, then I think the answer is that it is good that prepares a man to cope with evil. Nor need evil shock him, or take him by surprise, when he grows up. He can be told that it exists, he can see it as it were remotely; and he need not see or know the details of it before he is ready to take a rational view. Details require a perspective that only the rational possesses.
There is a simple guide to the amount of evil a child should know about through his stories (or through instruction), and that is the evil that comes out in himself. If he is properly protected that evil will always be qualified by innocence, and normally it will be relatively quickly corrected. It will not be a foul evilnot by the standard of the premeditated and confirmed evils which our modern society almost taken for granted. It is true there are severe cases with children where hereditary evilwhether derived from parents or more remote ancestorscomes out persistently and forcefully, but even then it is comparatively mild evil for the simple reason that it has not been confirmed. And certainly, in such cases the child will need patient protection more than ever, so that his remains may be warmed and brought forth. Of course I am not advocating leniency towards whatever evil comes out with the child. The point is that it should not be agitated by a confrontation of evils worse than itself. Let the child be punished in case of need, for that is a check to his evil; and let not his evil be stimulated.
What is a good story for the child? Is it not a story that reflect something in the mind of the child itself? Let us note that a story cannot have an appeal, unless there is something already existing in the mind to which it appeals! There must always be something of correspondence between the mind and the story we read. Otherwise there cannot be any interest. Now, in the childs mind there are both good and bad things. The good things are in his conscience, whose essence is remains, the bad in his hereditary nature. It follows that a story ought not to appeal to the hereditary nature but to the good nature with the child. That obviously is the approach in all aspects of education of little children in heaven (see the whole chapter on children in heaven, HH 329 et. seq.)
In childrens stories, such as they may be found in books and magazines, the hero is rarely an openly evil man (something that cannot be said without considerable reserve about the modern adult book). But if he is not openly evil, he is nevertheless all too frequently a mighty clever fellow, who by his own muscular strength and alert and brilliant intelligence conquers all around him, and in the process gains untold riches and the devout adoration of all the lesser figures in the story. I wonder if this sort of fellow is anything but the projection of the childs own vainglory? After all, such a fellow does not exist in reality. He is the dream concerning power, or influence (the influence that comes from the servile admiration of others), and worldly glory. Such a dream springs from a childs love of self and the world. The story-writer is simply weaving it into a patter of glorious success for the child. He does, because he knows the publisher loves it; and the publisher loves it because the child (from his hereditary nature) loves it. Hence it sells well. Note that the hero is always (or are there exceptions?) Achieving his incomparable success by virtue of his own strength and brilliance. The virtue of humanity is not woven into the story.
We cannot imagine angels handing magazines and books of that kind to the little ones under their care. Therefore should we?
But, there are happily good books for children.
There is an interior reason why this attitude, which comes naturally to all children, is acceptable and should not be repressed. All animals, especially the domestic ones, correspond to human affections and thoughts from affections (DLW 52; TCR 66); and all vegetables, especially the cultivated ones, also correspond to the human mind, but in a more general waythe DLW says his will and hence his understanding (No. 52). Indeed, more than this; for all things were created by God-Man according to human affections (in the highest sense as correspondences of the infinite affection and perception of His love and wisdom, TCR 78:3). It is perhaps worthy of note in this connection that, as a consequence of this order, noxious animals and plants could only arise when there were evil affections with men. Such things upon the earth arose together with hell, which exists from men. (TCR 78:e; DLW 347:e; AE 1201:2-4) The universal teaching concerning the origin of animals (and thus concerning their correspondence) may be summarized by the following two teachings: The animals that appear/in the other world/...derive their existence from the affections of the angels of heaven, or from the lusts of the spirits of hell. (AE 1200:4) An angel said to Swedenborg: Such things in our world are created by God instantaneously, according to the affections of the angels; but in your world they were created in like manner at the beginning, but it was provided that, by generations of one from another, they should be perpetually renewed, and thus that creation should be continued. (TCR 78:3).
But we are speaking of animal stories for children and the point is that usually they are good. We have also reflected briefly on the reason why they are good.
Similar things could be said about stories built, as it were, out of the childs toys. These too, especially of course dolls and animal toys, are human to the child. A. A. Milnes Winnie the Pooh stories furnish a good example of this kind. Everyone can see that there is a lot of innocence in these storiesand they tacitly bring out a lot of lessons too.
In the New Church there is a vast scope for present and future writers. Animal and toy stories, etc. could no doubt be made even more full of innocence, charity and beauty. I see no reason why even the loftiest of all human affectionsconjugial lovecould not be tacitly conveyed and secretly implanted by means of such stories. New Church writers have also an inexhaustible storehouse of material from the spiritual world. Some have already given most valuable contributionsGertrude Nelson, Amena Pendleton Haines, and others. Their stories are loved by children if read to, or by, the right age group. The latest product by Mrs. Haines, The Pomegranate with Seeds of God, simply consists of Memorable Relations from Conjugial Love, retold in a language accommodated to children; and my wife and I were delighted to see our eighty-year-old, then seven, read them with fascination.
But more, many more, books by talented New Church writers are needed. In the meantime, however, parents may find (possibly to their surprise!) That they can themselves make up stories for their children. These are not a critical audience. Any action, so long as it is coherent, will catch their attention and all New Church parents should be able to make the action carry out some good affections. Action is adventure. Exciting adventure too: why not! Only, let nothing frightening turn up, only minor difficulties of one kind or other which are joyfully overcome by joint co-operation of the greater or lesser heroes of your story. Mostly, perhaps, they have no difficulty at all. They just make all sorts of plans, and carry them out together, having lots of fun in the while. Comical situations may suddenly arise, and these lead to a lot of merriment, which in the end includes even the involuntary victim.
In all this, however, we should by no means forget the rich storehouse of childrens books that, despite all, does exist in the world around us. After all, there is a remnant from the Old Christian Church. Possibly some from that remnant sense the correspondence of their own remains with the innocence of children, and from that cause feel inspired to write for the children.
To sum upA good story for a child should fire his imagination with reference to what is good and true. The story should, in fact, prefigure regenerate life. It should be a kind of allegory of such life. It should not be didactic. It should not be couched in rational or abstract language. Imagery, action, take the place of open teaching. Yet the teaching is secretly containedbecause there is correspondence!
VII. The Childs Play.
Everything that a child does has a bearing on his future development. What belongs to order in this regard is manifest from the education of children in the other life under the auspices of angels. Innocence is instilled in the little growing minds, a holy love to the Lord is fostered, and mutual consideration, thus charity, is practiced. The story in AC 2299 gives a touching example of this. It shows how the children at one time were taught about the Lord rising out of the sepulchre, and at the same time the unition of His Human with the Divine--all presented to them in a children and most innocent manner. The ideas were as it wore played into their minds. A sepulchre was presented to their minds, but they were guarded from thinking of the Lord at the sane time, except as it were from afar, for the reason that in the idea of a sepulchre there is something funereal, which they thus removed. Afterwards the children were made to represent the Lords descent to the bound, and His ascent with the bound into heaven. A childlike feature of the representation was that when they represented the Lord among the bound in the lower earth, they let down cords that were almost invisible, and that were very soft and tender, with which to lift the Lord in His ascent;
This example is brought forward to give the atmosphere of education of children in heaven. On earth we are hampered in many ways, and we cannot as it were make a carbon copy of the angelic methods. Above all we cannot protect the children from evil influences in the same measure that this is possible in the spiritual world. Yet the universal sphere in which we educate our children can most certainly be one that is from heaven. Then our children too will be led to do all things in a way that will prepare them for a corresponding later development. The correspondence, or analogy, between childhood activities and the life of regeneration, must ever be before the educator. Let it be said that when there is such correspondence, then the child is being prepared in an orderly manner, and that when correspondence is lacking, then an obstacle is forming in the childs mind which hinders or retards his spiritual growth in adult age.
His playing is no exception. Play too can attract the sphere of heaven, or that of hell. The following from the Arcana will give us our guide: Playing/signifies/the festivity of the interiors, for play comes from this, because it is an activity of the body which comes forth as an effect from gladness of mind, and all festivity and gladness are from the delights of the loves in which the man is. That consent is also signified, is because all interior festivity has consent in it, for if anything dissents and is contradictory, the festivity perishes. Interior festivity is in mans freedom; and all freedom is from love that is not opposed. (AC 10416)
Actually this teaching is given in connection with the mention of an evil kind of play, in which the children of Israel engaged. They had made a calf of gold, while Moses was on top of the mountain receiving the law on tables of stone. And all the people tore off the golden earrings that were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron. And he received them from their hand, and formed them with a graving tool, and made it a molten calf, and they said, these be thy gods, O Israel, which made thee come up out of the land of Egypt....
That play was inspired by affections from hell. At the time the people rejoined in the god they had made with their own hands, and the festivity of their interiors exhibited itself in play. Their corrupt love was not opposed. Aaron served as a temporary leader, and he and those under him were party to the idolatrous feast. So there was no dissent or contradiction to cause the festivity to perish. It was evil that was free at the time, and its freedom was not opposed.
All of those points to the interior affection that presents itself in playfulness and play it is the affection that plays. Play is the spontaneous, carefree exhibition of that affection. And it is either an affection that has innocence in it, or it is an affection from the love of self.
All freedom is from love that is not opposed. It is obvious that affections springing from the love of self ought to be opposed. Evil should not enjoy freedom. All education has for its goal to make it difficult for evil affections to have their way, and to make it easy for good affections to come forth in a free and corresponding self-expression.
This means that play too must be supervised, and at times guided. This is especially needed when two or more children play together. Have we not all witnessed the exhibition of the love of dominion in such play? Have we not seen irritability, contempt for others, and forms of cruelty? That is where mother or father must step innot by showing a lot of loud-voice irritability themselves, but by quietly directing the play so that good affections again exhibit themselves. If children are in a state of unwillingness to take correction, I think they ought to be separated, and the game interrupted. Their play must not serve as the cause of evil.
Intervention might also be necessary from time to time when the child plays alone by himself. The boy who lets his cars run into bad accidents is not in a healthy state of mind. He is reveling in excitement for its own sake, and he has probably read poor stories or had too much of a does of TV.
There is a kind of warning example in the Writings. It does not deal with ordinary play, but with boys fighting. Yet we readily see the application of the principle involved in regard to play too.
From what has been adduced we can see what is the nature of education of little children in heaven, namely that by means of the intelligence of truth and the wisdom of good they are introduced into angelic life, which is love to the Lord and mutual love, in which love there is innocence. But how contrary is the education of little children on earth, with many, has been evidenced from this one example. I was in a street of a great city, and saw little boys fighting with each other. A crowd gathered and looked on with much pleasure, and I was informed that the parents themselves urge on their little boys to such fights. The good spirits and angels who saw these things through my eyes were so averse to them that I perceived their horror, especially at the fact that the parents incite them to such things, saying that thus in their earliest age they extinguish all the mutual love and all the innocence which little children receive from the Lord, and initiate them into hatred and revenge; consequently that they deliberately shut out their children from heaven, where there is nothing but mutual love. Let parents therefore who wish well to their children beware of such things. (AC 2309)
When the children grow up they can of course repent and receive new life from the Lord. Yet the states induced in childhood battles or in less fierce, but still evil forms of play, remain. They become obstacles of the mind. They inhibit the good affections that are latent in conscience, and they cannot but retard regeneration and make it more slow and difficult.
All good affections contain within them the felicities of heaven. Those are the affections that ought to play in the childs game. Playing signifies the festivity of the interiors, for play comes from this. It does, because It is an activity of the body which comes forth as an effect from gladness of mind. Moreover, all festivity and gladness are from the delights of the loves in which the man is.
Therefore let us watch for the free and innocent gladness of mind when our children play. If we do not find it, let us intervene and help the child recover it.
We mentioned the correspondence of proper childhood activities and the adult life of regeneration. There is more of this correspondence, or analogy, than might be expected. The fullest way to show this is to trace the mental development of a child and compare it with the revealed laws of regeneration as given in the Writingsa study such as that by Bishop de Charms in his classical work The Growth of the Mind. But the aim in our present series is to give practical guidance in the light of revealed principles of Doctrine, as applied to education in the home, rather than to enter into the philosophy itself of those principles. Of course the one thing cannot be done quite apart from the other. The matter is one of emphasis.
For our purposes let us once more reflect on the five external forms of charity with the adult regenerating person, and see the parallel case with the child. This should help us to put the childs play in its proper perspective. We recalled these five forms once before, namely in the context of The Childs Introduction to Uses (see p. 43).
At this time we are particularly concerned with the last of the five. But let us repeat them: I. The occupation or employment of charity. II. The signs of charity (which relate to worship), III. The benefactions of charity. IV. The obligations of charity. V. The diversions of charity.
It cannot be over-emphasized that these are the external manifestations of charity.
It is the same with the childs play. It can have nothing of internal enjoyment, nothing of relaxed peace, if the little ones mind is not set in order: if there is not the balance of all the five external forms of life in it. Referring to the adult all these forms ought to have a part in the run of every day! A day is not balanced otherwise. And again: the same with the child. He has his daily little jobs. He prays and listens to something from the Word every day. He thinks of a good turn for somebody, all by himself. He returns borrowed things, and keeps agreements with his friends. And then he plays. Most of the time he plays; and the smaller he is, the more that is so. But he is doing all the other four things too! And that is why he is happy when plays. That is why he is relaxed. That is why his imagination runs so smoothly, and in such delightful channels.
Can it be doubted that the play will tend to image the four preceding things, if these are there?
And that is as it should be. That is how something of correspondence enters into play. That is how it contains something of the festivity of the interiors, thus how it shows itself as an activity of the body which comes forth as an effect from gladness of mindall festivity and gladness being from the delights of the loves in which anyone is (see AC 10416).
As we have indicated, and as everyone knows, the quantity of each of the five things is in a different sent of proportions in the different stages of life, from birth to old age. That is a subordinate matter. The essential thing is that none of them must be lacking at any one stage of life.
If, in the final analysis, the real essence of New Church education is preparation for regeneration, then it is also preparation for the conjugial. Conjugial love is impossible without regeneration. Rightly understood this sentence could also be reversed: Regeneration is impossible without the conjugial, for the conjugial essence must be established in every mind, whether a person is married in this world or not. That conjugial essence is a marriage of good and truth; and that marriage, within the mind of each, is brought about a person learning to do good from truth. The good he does will be married to the truth from which he does it. Gradually t his marriage deepens. In the end he will not have to do good by compelling himself to bow to truth, but he will love to do it.
A mind of this kind cannot look at the relationship between a man and a woman in anything but a conjugial way. The eye itself of the mind is single, and not evil (Matt. 6:22, 23). Therefore the heart will be internally prepared for, and will quietly long for, a true marriage with one of the opposite sexwaiting, however, for such marriage to come only in the Lords own time.
Since, however, the true marriage is two-fold: existing both within the person and between persons, therefore the doctrine of conjugial love forms a distinct and particular aspect of the doctrine of regeneration. By the same token, particular training is required for the conjugial, in addition to the universal preparation for regeneration.
I would like us to look at this matter in an internal way. Sex comes into the picture, but let us keep it in its proper place. I do not think we should at all bother our minds with sex education as the world would have it. The world around us does not know the difference between conjugial love and the love of the sex; and yet the former exists with the spiritual man, and the latter with the natural man (CL 38); and love of the sex is love toward several of the sex with several; but conjugial love is love toward one of the sex and with one. Love towards several and with several is a natural love, for man has it in common with beasts and birds; but conjugial love is a spiritual love and peculiar and proper to men, because men were created and were therefore born to become spiritual. (CL 48).
This rather seals the matter. We are not to give any sex education except in the spirit of the conjugial. Sex cannot be viewed in the right way, unless the conjugial precedes. Of course the child cannot come into the conjugial itself, until he is grown up, and then in proportion as he regenerates; but he can be surrounded by the conjugial sphere. To say that the child should be taught sex in the spirit of the conjugial is equivalent to saying that he should be taught that subject in an innocent way.
Such knowledge should be given him so as to be adapted to his understanding. General ideas first, particulars, as he needs them, at a later time. Our major concern is to hold back the sensual sphere that dominates most of modern sex literature. There is something holy about sex because of its relation to the conjugial. Apart from this relationship sex instruction becomes a mere matter of imparting physical knowledge. It is the context that makes all the difference. Normally the parents would be the first to give this knowledge too. Let it come naturally. First of all let the children always associate babies with marriage. Even dolls can get married; and a doll baby can be theirs only if they are pronounced married, or have a doll wedding. In a similar way birds and butterflies can marry; while certain domestic animals are not suitable as means of introduction into the subject. The idea is to let innocent play and innocent story-talk foster the concept of babies (real and otherwise) as belonging to marriage.
The time to impart knowledge is when the child asks questions, or when he appears to have questions in his mind. And should he acquire knowledge without our doing, then let us not panic. If he has not been brought up in an atmosphere where the conjugial has been held holy, then he has the essential protection. A few wise guiding words from one or other of the parents, confirming the subordination of sex underneath the conjugial, will the n be sufficient to strengthen him.
Above all, let us not talk to our children in any feeling of embarrassment. If you are embarrassed, you are not in the right state to impart knowledge.
But these thoughts by way of parenthesis. Our real, though brief, quest is preparation for the conjugial; thus preparation for a marriage that is truly entered and sustained in the name of the Lord.
In this day and age there are dangers of harming or destroying the conjugial lurking on all sides. Instead of the conjugial there is only the body of it: separated from its soul, and dead. That is why thoughts, literature, and conversation overflow with sex. Only occasionallyapart from the New Churchis a voice heard in which an echo of the internal sanctity of marriage can be discerned. It is confusing. We need to know where we stand.
In that context we have stressed that the love of the sex is not the origin of conjugial love (CL 98). There is need for reassurance on that point. The love of the sex is not the origin, but the first thereof, and is thus the natural external wherein is implanted the spiritual internal (Ibid.). That is the way we must look at the subject: as it were from within; seeing a soul-body relationship; seeing a natural external that serves something higher than itself. This places the emphasis on the conjunction of minds: on mutual understanding, love and co-operation. If that is what is ultimated, then the ultimation serves for fullness, confirmation and renewal.
Such an approach is fundamentally different from the modern sex education. That is why we should not be much concerned with the latter, and if we do use some of its literature we have to be quite selective. As for its spirit it is marked by the universal assumption that sex is the origin of all love between a man and a woman. Our children and young people must be protected against that spirit. In other words, our essential responsibility with reference to having our children and young people informed about the creation of offspring, is to assure that they can receive such knowledge in the spirit of the conjugial. An innocent approach must be built into them. Otherwise the information they get will not seem beautiful to them, no matter who gives it, or how well presented. Conversely, they will be powerfully protected if exposed to information given in the wrong spirit. As we said, the parents would normally be the first to tell their children.
One more thought before we part with this aspect of our study. Since the end in view in the order of creation is the birth of offspring: spiritual in the spiritual world, and both spiritual and natural in this, therefore begin with the end in telling children and others. The baby is born with a navel string. Why? Because it had to be nourished within the mother before it was born. There it began from a tiny cell, created by the Lord in such a way that it could grow and form into a fully developed baby. The cell divided up, and formed more and more cells, until they were countless. This dividing began when something from the father had touched the cell, and opened the doors of it. As the new cells were formed, they gathered together to form a little brain. Tiny cords were sent out to form the nerves. A face began to form; heart, lungs, arms, legs grew out, and the baby got a little stomach too; and all the time the Lord sent special cells to form the different parts. Tell the child to think how many parts he himself has got. They are all different parts. They were all formed when the baby was in the mother.
This will probably satisfy the child for some time. He may wish to know at once, and he will certainly wish to know in due course, how the thing from the father could reach the little cell, the little waiting egg. And it is proper for that knowledge to come last.
But there are other and more interior aspects to the preparation for conjugial love. Recall the teaching that it is the fundamental love of all celestial and spiritual loves, and hence of all natural loves (CL 65). It is therefore as the parent, and all other loves are as the offspring (Ibid.). Obviously, nothing could be more embracing. In fact, in its first essence it is love to the Lord from the Lord, whence it is also innocence, and consequently also peace such as it is with the angels in the heavens (AC 997:4).
It follows that our subject, in a sense, has no limitations. Every aspect of life has a bearing on the conjugial. Every good trend in education serves to prepare for it and lead up to it. Yet, if all worthy interests, all noble affections, can claim conjugial love as their origin, still some things are closer to their source, and others less close.
Let us address ourselves to the following points: (1) The worship of the Lord and participation in Church life;
(1) The worship of the Lord and participation in Church life.The reason this is a first essential for the development of the conjugial, is because there is a marriage of the Lord and the Church. That marriage is with the internal Church. It exists with those who receive the truths of the Word both in their understanding and their life, for when they do this the Lord adjoins the essence of good by influx. Then the man lives and acts with the Lord, and from Him; which is the meaning of conjunction with the Lord.
To worship the Lord in childhood is not only to pray to Him. It is truly to honor Him, and to regard all that He has commanded as holy and inviolable. Participation in Church life will instill the idea that the Church is an integral part of life. The child will sense the charity from others outside his family. He will sense that he belongs to a fellowship, where all have this in common that they worship the Lord alone, and love one another. He is, in his childish way, honoring his Father and his Mother in a deeper sense than he could describe in words. He is not able to say that the heavenly Father and His kingdom are married; yet he is in the sphere of that marriage. It is from that marriage the marriage of his own new will and his own new understanding is to be derived; and his marriage with the conjugial partner the Lord provides too.
(2) Instruction:Here we have formulated principles in an endeavor to summarize what is contained in the first six chapters of Conjugial Love (Nos. 1-155). One of these chapters, however, is dealt with under (1).
(a) Marriage is for eternity.The child must know not only that angels are men and women, and that they live in a most happy marriage forever, but also that it is the will of the Lord that such marriages should commence in the world.
(b) The Lord provides these marriages:The child can easily understand that the Lord led mommy and daddy together, and the little boy and girl can think from an early age that one day the Lord will give him or her a true partner too. This is an essential preparation, for it tends to place the mind of the child in the stream of Providence; and it will protect him in due course from allowing unworthy motives in choosing his partner. He needs this protective influence especially after the love of the sex has been awakened in him, that is, in time of youth. At that time he should be taught that there is an implied promise to him in the Writings, namely if he fulfills two conditions. The promise and the conditions are stated in CL 49:3, and read: /Internal conjunction, or conjunction of souls, can be provided on earth/with those who from youth have loved, chosen, and asked of the Lord a legitimate and lovely partnership with one, and who spurn and reject wandering lusts as an offense to their nostrils.
It is in youth the thought is directly turned to marriage. Then the young person should definitely pray, and definitely fight, as prescribed.But before he is a youth he should be prepared for this. The story of how the Lord led Abrahams servant to Rebekah in his search for a wife for Isaac, gives powerful illustration of the Lords Providence in marriage.
(c) True marriages are impossible with those who are in evil.The child should know there are no marriages in hell. He can know too that marriages in this world cannot be happy, if one or both partners are evil. The story of Abigail and her wicked husband Nabal provides illustration from the Word (I Sam. 25). Even the childs ordinary stories (in which they lived happily ever after) afford an opportunity for the parents to stress the point. All of this prepares the child for the later knowledge that the true marriage is impossible without regeneration.
(d) They are impossible between partners of different religions.
The reference in these points of doctrine is not to formal adherence to one religious body or another. All religion is of life. What matters is what principles a man or a woman sets up for his or her life, thus what principles determine his or her behavior. The truly New Church principles are that the Lord as He is revealed and known in the Writings is to be approached by study, meditation, and prayer; and that worship of Him consists essentially in shunning evil and doing good, thus in a life of charity. Other principles among men are, for instance, that saints are to be invoked daily, that the church is to be obeyed blindly, and that evil actions can be covered over and forgiven through temporary external acts of penitence prescribed by priests. It is obvious that one who believes and lives according to the former tenets of doctrine cannot possibly be internally conjoined to the mind of one who believes the latter principles to be true and lives according to them. Our example points to a case where a marriage would be accounted still more heinous by angels. The other possible combinations are heinous too, but less so, viz., if neither partner is guided by any religious principles; if one is but the other not; or if both have adopted false principles of religion.
The children cannot look at these things interiorly, but parents canand so can, in some measure our young people. It is necessary that parents should have a clear understanding, so that they may guide their children, and later their young people, wisely, and warn them.
There are many things involved here, which in another context might be examined much further; but we must not expand too much beyond the scope of what we want to say to our children. For them it is enough to think, as is the truth, that a New Church person ought not to marry outside the Church. And later, when they grow up, they may enter more deeply into the contents of this truth. They will then see that it means first of all that they themselves must strive to become true New Church people; and second that persons who look to the Lord in life, and avoid evils from religion (F30), have their spirits associated with the New heaven, and receive instruction in the other world, even though they may not have confirmed their allegiance to the New Church in the world. What is essential is that the spirits of both partners must turn to the Lord Jesus Christ, and that they must combat evil from a religious motive. It is thus that it is possible for the Lord to join together, so that man may not put asunder (Matt. 19:6). For further guidance compare CL 240 and F 30.
(e) Truly conjugial love is a gift to, and through, the New Church.Truly conjugial love cannot be restored in the world, apart from the revealed truths concerning it, that is, apart from the Writings. Some know and study these truths more directly and more fully than others; but it is only from them, only from the Lord returning to the world as Saviour, that spiritual life can be raised up in the world. The conjugial is an aspect of such spiritual life, and is indeed the very essence of it.
Those, however, who know the Lord not only, so to speak, by hearsay, but who have the Writings, and who assemble for worship of the Lord as there revealed, and who perpetually study them and seek further instruction in them: these are the chief custodians of the truth, and the chief witnesses of the new Gospel.
These will take heart from the definite promise in the Writings concerning the restoration of truly conjugial love. These promises are indeed inherent in the whole of the Writings, for all things good, blessed, and beautiful in life evolve out of the truth concerning these; but the promises are also specifically stated. Once an angel from the third heaven handed Swedenborg a parchment, saying: In this parchment there are some arcana of wisdom concerning conjugial love, which have never yet been disclosed in the world. They must now be disclosed, because it is of importance that they should be. These arcana abound more in our heaven than in the rest, because we are in the marriage of love and wisdom; but I foretell that no others will appropriate that love to themselves but those who are received by the Lord into the New Church, which is the New Jerusalem. Then the angelic spirit laid the parchment, unrolled, on a table in a certain chamber, locked the chamber, and held out the key to Swedenborg with the word: Write (CL 43).
At a later occasion another angel again expressed the hope of heaven regarding this love. Swedenborg and an angel guide had been visiting societies from the Golden, Silver and Copper Ages, and now the Iron Age; and had thus witnessed the decline of conjugial love in the Church. It was then that Swedenborgs companion said: Nevertheless I am nourished by the hope that this love will be raised up again by the God of heaven, who is the Lord, because it is capable of being raised up again. (CL 78:3).
After this the two of them visited the age that is represented by iron mixed with clay (Dan. 2:41-43), where they saw and heard dreadful things. But as they walked away, conversing and grieving about what they had witnessed, there suddenly appeared a beam of light, which affected my eyes strongly; wherefore I looked up: and lo! the whole heaven above us appeared luminous; and from the east to the west in a long series there was heard a glorification. (CL 81)
Thus the children can be taught that one day they will have a happy marriage, if they learn to love and worship the Lord alone, and grow up to be faithful and true New Church men and women. And as they approach the stage of youth, they should have their attention directly drawn to the conditions attaching to the bright promise, as laid down in CL 49 (quoted on page 60 above).
(f) There is chaste love of the sex.All these things we talk about are beautiful, and I think we would all wish to have many passagesmany aspects of doctrinebrought together to illustrate our subject. Still, the immediate purpose of our series is not a full study, but a summary presentation of principles and applications which may be of use to us parents in guiding our children. So, here, let only two points be stressed. The first is, that the chaste love of the sex is in its essence (and springs from) the love of one of the sex, which is the same as conjugial love. And the second is, that once the conjugial principle is honored and held inviolate, all affectionate and friendly associations with persons of the opposite sex become chaste, that is, chaste both in the heart and in the eye. In this love or friendship a husband will always look at another woman so to speak through the eyes of his wife, as she will spontaneously regard all other men through the eyes of her husband. In such chaste love there is no need to combat physical desire outside of marriage, for there is none! The very thought of such desire would be utterly repulsive to chaste minds. As an angel guide said to newcomers in the world of spirits: Ask women in heaven what extra conjugial love is, and I assure you they will answer, What thing is that?
It follows that chaste love will always be extended to others by husband and wife jointly. For them it will be completely self-evident, and a matter of deep joy, to form all their friendships together. In heaven friendship is not between individuals, but between couples.
All this is rare indeed in this worldas rare, in fact, as the Writings tell us that conjugial love is. Yet if conjugial love is beginning to return to the world, then the chaste love of the sex is also returning. The latter is in proportion to the former. Moreover, what was just said about chaste love in heaven does not conflict with the observation that chastity on earth may exist with single men and women just as certainly as it may exist with married couplesand this simply for the reason that the conjugial is essentially a matter of regeneration, and not one of civil status.
It is essential that our young people are guided into the sphere of true chastity. The world will constantly pull their hearts and minds the other way. Parents must counteract that pull. There will be problems and questions in the minds of our boys and girls. They, like the novitiate adolescents in the world of spirits, will at first find it a little difficult to understand that it is chaste, right, and heavenly for the love of one of the sex to descend into the body; but that it is utterly opposed to the heavenly sphere for any other love so to descend. Yet they will understand in proportion as they understand the conjugial, and of course still more as and when they themselves taste the conjugial.
In order to be able to guide, parents should be well familiar with the Memorable Relation in CL 44 and with the special chapter dealing with our subject in CL 138-156. But let the following extract summarize the teaching: The chaste love of the sex is the very delight of the mind, and thence of the heart, but not at the same time of the flesh below the heart. Angelic chastity, which is common to both sexes, prevents the passing of that love below the barrier of the heart. (CL 44:5)
The above points, a-f, ought to be included in the instruction that all our children and young people should have in order that they may prepare for the conjugial.
(3) Fostering true masculinity with the body, and true femininity with the girls. Again we have to go counter to the trend of the world, which is to blot out the mental differences between the sexes. We can all see that there was something plausible in the movement for the emancipation of women, and that the previous order was not good. But perhaps we can also see that the true goal was neither understood nor achieved. The natural mind always inclines to one extreme or another. Only the spiritual-rational mind can take a balanced view, and so see and perceive the equilibrium of human factors. Equality, yes! But similarity, no! These two things seem to have been confused in the emancipation movement, and they are certainly confused in our day. Everything truly human is thereby blurred, weakened, and suppressed. Happiness too is suppressed.
I wonder if it would not be true to say that as a result true masculinity has suffered as much as true femininity. Masculinity is to view things from truths, without the prejudice of pre-disposed affections. There is not much of that in the world. And femininity is to bend theories to what is beautiful, graceful, and refined in life. We do not see much of that either. Beauty, grace, and refinement spring from spiritual use.
In Old Testament times the underlying Divine principle was stated thus: a mans garment shall not be put upon a woman, neither shall a man put on a womans garment; for whosoever doeth these things is an abomination unto Jehovah thy God (Deut. 22:5). And the Writings explain: Man with his garments signifies truth, and woman with her garment signifies affection of truth. These are distinct in every man like the intellect and the will, or like thought which is of the intellect and affection which is of the will; and unless these things were distinct the sexes would be confounded, and a marriage, in which the man is truth that is of the thought, and the woman is affection, would be impossible (AE 555:13).
CL 174 and 175 constitute a full, though brief, article on the subject. Please read it! The natural man in you is likely to reflect, this is old-fashioned; but there is no doubt that the spiritual-rational will warmly assent, and say, this is true.
A few particular points:A womans special place is in the home; and her uses outside the home ought as much as possible to resemble, and perhaps to expand, those of the home. The education of little children of both sexes, and of girls up to the age when they are given in marriage, is the special function of wives, though exercised (a point suggested by the teaching that a wife knows/the like virtues/ in a man better than the man knows them in himself (CL 165), and that a wifes conjunction with these virtues/in her husband/is from without (CL 163-65). Women ought not to take initiative in matters of love, nor to encourage man in an unbecoming manner (see CL 297).
We may add that homemaking ought to be cultivated in the New Church as a fine art, capable of being raised to any height. Only a materialistic age, that has lost sight of the finer essences of life, can regard it as a lowly use.
(4) Encouraging boys and girls to associate with several of both sexes, and not in pairs for any length of time, except when they have reached the age for genuine courtship. The idea of mock engagements, going steady, and all the rest of it, is born in a world which does not know of the conjugial. Nor are the defensive arguments in any way convincing. Preparing for marriage? Getting to know a possible partner better? The truth is that a series of frustrations is not the best preparation for the confidence and peace of a true marriage. And as for knowing our future partner, we ought first to know him or her in company with others, so that his or her general behavior and bearing may be known. A more or less flirtatious behavior in private is no guide whatever to a real knowledge of the person.
Temporary association in pairs would not seem to be harmful, however, providing of course that proper decorum is observed; but a girl should never be this or that boys girl, except when she is betrothed to him, or in the advanced stages of courtship.
The world does not know what conjugial love is. Therefore let us not be guided by it, but by revelation. The true order in preparation for marriage is outlined in the chapter on Betrothals and Weddings in CL 295-316.
(5) Parental example.No comment is here necessary, except perhaps to call attention to the great importance of this point.
The philosophy of education is largely, if not exclusively, one of mediate good. In its theoretical aspect, however, that philosophy is not our chief concern. Nonetheless, we should know in a general way what we are doing when we educate. Let us therefore take note, if briefly, of the doctrine concerning mediate good.
That good is represented by Laban and his flock (AC 4063:4). All the riches of Jacob were derived from that flock; that is to say, all things good and true to be built into the mind of the regenerating man (the man of the Church) are produced by means of mediate good. That good is defined as partaking both of the affections of the world and of the affections of heaven (AC 4063:3); and it is said concerning it that man is necessarily long kept in it, and that unless it were so, he would in no wise admit heavenly goods and truths (AC 3986:5).
What is this good? Is it not good habitshabits of the act, and habits of the thought? Such habits partake of both worldly and heavenly affections, for when children (and also the simple within the Church and upright Gentiles(AC 3986:5), do and think what is good they have mixed motives within them. They want to be seen and praised by men; but they also want to please the Lord, that is, they want to do and think what is good because it is according to His will.
Mixed good and truth are not to be confused with profaned good and truth. This may be illustrated from physics and chemistry. If different substances are dissolved together in the same liquid, for instance sugar and salt in water, but are not conjoined, then they are mingled side by side but retain their individual quality; but if different substances, or elements, are conjoined chemically, then they lose their individual quality and form a new substance.
It is easy to recognize the mixture of affections with children (as also with most grown up people who strive for what is good and true). The child, when he has done what is good, wants to obey his parents and please thembut he also wants to be praised. That is the mixture. It is this that is represented by the fact that Jacobs flock (to be set apart from the flock of Laban) was to consist only of the speckled and the spotted (Gen. 30:31-33). This signifies that all the good and truth that is/the Lords/will be separated wherewith there is mingled evil signified by the speckled, and falsity signified by the spotted. (AC 3993).
The thing that is remarkable, however, is not that evil and falsity are present with the child (and with most of us), but that it is possible for good and truth from the Lord to be present as well. It is of course by virtue of the latter that it is possible for mediate good and truth to serve as an essential and indispensable stage in the process of regeneration. The Lord thus bends towards the genuine and permanent good and truth that belong to heaven. Thus Jacob assembled the speckled and spotted among the cattle and goats, and the black among the lambs (the acknowledgment in the heart that nothing but evil is from ones self, and that all good is from the Lord, AC 3994), and afterwards he was sent enriched towards Canaan, the land of his inheritance.
Let us mark some special teachings concerning this mediate good and truth, but without here entering upon a close study of each one. For our present purpose it is enough for us to see, first, the real nature of the good with our children, and also that of their truth (or understanding); and second, that unless good affections and true ideas were insinuated into them, as it were side by side with their proprial affections and ideas, they could not be saved. Labans flock would contain nothing that would qualify as the reward of Jacob. (All children are given something of this insinuated; for the Lord works through means provided through instruction and education. Compare in this connection what is said about an empty faith, a meager faith, and a rich faith, as depending upon the amount of true congitions that enter into it, F 28). Now some teachings concerning good and truth.
Mediate good is not genuine (AC 3986:5, 4243). It becomes a genuine when it is as it were liberated as the untarnished truths of heaven take hold of it and rule the mind (see AC 3986:5). Genuine truth and the affection of it are rare among men, even in the Church (AC 3986:2). Nevertheless mediate good serves for salvation, because it is possible for the Divine of the Lord to be within it (3986:3). Mediate good serves to introduce genuine goods and truths, that is, to prepare the way for these (AC 4063:2, 4).
This last teaching by no means removes parental responsibility; for just as regeneration is in fact a purely Divine work, while man must nevertheless respond as of himself, thus so to speak allowing the Lords work to go on with him; so the preparation for regeneration during childhood is a purely Divine work, while nevertheless parents must co-operate so as to allow that Divine work to proceed. The Lord operates by means of influx; but there must be in the mind the things that are capable of receiving the influx. That is how it is given to parents to co-operate with the Lord to the end that the child may be prepared for a life in heaven, as it is said in the admonition to parents after the baptism of their child.
But let the Writings themselves state the case: By external innocence the Lord reduces into order what enters through the senses; and without an influx of innocence from the Lord in that first age, there would never be any foundation upon which the intellectual or rational faculty which is proper to man, could be built. From childhood to early youth communication is opened with the interior natural/the seat of the future rational, AC 5126:2/by learning what is becoming, what the civil laws require, and what is honorable, both by instructions from the parents and teachers and by studies. (AC 5126:2, 3).
That then is our duty: to teach our children becoming manners, respect for all the laws of the country, and an honorable attitude in all their dealings, and to lead themthat is, train themin a life according to these things. The honorable things relate chiefly to the things of religion; and parents are, as we know, directly admonished to instruct their children in matters of charity and faith, God, heaven, eternal life and salvation (Char. 174).
All those things are mediate goods. With children, the simple good, etc., they can be nothing else. Nor is the educator concerned with anything else. But let him fail in providing them, and he shall be guilty of giving stones instead of bread to his children, serpents instead of fish (Matt. 7:9, 10).
In closing let us take the following to heart:--
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord:
And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:
And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when you liest down, and when thou risest upon.
And though shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.
And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.Deut. 6:4-9.
Thus were the Sons of Israel commanded to have the things of the Lord ever before them and ever with them. Such must be the case again, in a more living manner than in the days of Israel, in the New Church. The quoted words are especially addressed to parents. It is said, they shall be as frontlets between/literally, before/the eyes, as a representation that the Lord looks upon angels and men in the forehead, because from Divine love, and grants to angels and men to look at Him from intelligence and wisdom.... That they bound these words upon their hands also represented outmost things, because the hands are the outmosts of the powers of mans soul; therefore upon the forehead and upon the hand signifies in things first and last, and first and last signifies all things. (AE 427:8). We are also shown that gates are introductory truths (AE 208:13), and that posts signify the conjunction of truth with good, for a doorpost stands between two rooms and joins them together (AC 8989).
It is clear that the above things apply when parents regenerate. We do not know where we are in regeneration, or if we do regenerate; but we do know that we have a duty to live by the Doctrines revealed in the Writings. If parents take these Doctrines to their heart, and prayerfully and persistently strive to live by them, they shall also love to pass them on to their children: not only by instruction, but also by leadership in actual practice. Nothing less can be called New Church Education in the Home; for such education is solely in the spirit and life of the Doctrines.