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Chapter 3 - Parenthood - The First Lessons of Selflessness
Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; - Proverbs 22:15a
Some hold to a romantic view of the innocence of children. This view seems to be supported by the complete weakness and dependence of newborns. However, even before a child can walk or talk, the selfishness of the heart is made manifest by tantrums and demands beyond the necessary such as food, warmth, and cleaning.
The harshness of the natural (fallen) world places restrictions on the opportunities we have to give expression to our natural selfishness. However, it is often only when we are confronted with the needs of our own children that we begin to face having to relinquish some of our own selfish desires.
But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel. - 1 Timothy 5:8
Making 'provision'for children goes beyond food, clothing, and shelter. The time and effort to form character is also a requirement.
Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying. - Proverbs 19:18
A fool despiseth his father's instruction: but he that regardeth reproof is prudent.- Proverbs 15:5
One of the first indicators of a culture turning to selfishness is a decrease in the number of children. Usually a significant decrease is first observed through the use of barrier type contraception. As a society increases in selfishness children can be actually killed in a number of ways such as surgically aborted, aborted through oral contraceptives, aborted as a method of sex selection, burned alive in a sacrifice to an idol in the hope of obtaining a good harvest, abandoned to die on the streets, or even when they are older, sent off to die in foolish wars.
One might consider in horror the extent privation can drive parents to;
The hands of merciful women have boiled their own children, They have been for food to them, In the destruction of the daughter of my people. - Lamentations 4:10
However, less discernable, but possibly more contemptible is the modern disinterest in children and their fate motivated solely by convenience, ease, and a desire for comfort. If one were to consider what steps could be taken to attempt to 'die to self' (reduce selfishness), first on the list might be to stop killing our children.
In the natural world the burden and expense of children are a sort of training program to force us to abandon our selfish inclinations. Our desire to avoid these strictures reflect a selfish childish heart that, in a sense, does not want to grow up itself.
When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. - ! Corinthians 13:11
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