Large families: from theory to practice
Article on Pavel Velikanov about having many children caused a stormy discussion, and its removal from the site – the more discussion. More passionate holivars were, perhaps, after the speech of Vladyka Panteleimon (Shatov), in which he called for learning to live in cramped conditions.
These two speeches show two approaches to family life (and, in general, to life) and make me, as a father of four children, have many thoughts and emotions.
Pedagogy vs psychology
Vladyka Panteleimon is talking to girls who want to get married. It seems that he comes from some kind of ideal family model, which he clearly represents, and suggests concrete steps that will help future wives to approach her: moderation, firm adherence to the commandments and traditions of the Church, discretion in choosing a groom, patience. His intention is pedagogical: do so and in order to get such and such a result; do what is right and you will have the “right” life. Having many children is an obligatory attribute of this “right” life: “Having many children in the modern world is a great work and a feat. Our world is not adapted, not convenient for large families. But without fulfilling this will of God for the birth of children, you will be unhappy in marriage. ”
Having many children is not a necessity and not a norm, but a high vocation, comparable to the monastic one: it is good when a talented young man becomes a good monk, but there are still many paths before him, and they are all beautiful. It’s the same here: a young family can decide whether to become a large family, you need to listen to yourself and look for the structure of family life that will suit these two. If there is a question about having many children, you need to study yourself in order to understand if she can do it for you. Thus, the question of marriage and large families is considered in the psychological plane: you have to understand yourself, know your resources and the limits of possibilities.
Pedagogical and psychological approaches again come into conflict. The “liberal” wing of the Church unequivocally chooses the second, “conservative” – the first.
In addition, about. Paul focuses on internal processes, on relations between spouses: “First of all, comprehend the art of love for each other, then for his children, and then for those around him. Love must be able to. And this must consciously learn. These are not at all obvious things, as it may seem at first. ”
Vladyka Panteleimon pays a lot of attention to housekeeping and marriage readiness in the sense of having practical skills: cooking, saving. And this is natural – after all, the addressees of the master's speech do not yet have “material” to which they could apply the recommendations on. Paul, and they would remain for them incomprehensible lofty words.
It is difficult for me to apply the words of Vladyka Panteleimon to myself, because I have absolutely no positive “pedagogical” experience. I can not remember the case that as a result of conscious, deliberate efforts, I acquired some skills that have become useful to me in later life. No — I did what I liked, made that choice that seemed right at that moment — and then acted according to circumstances.
Also in the family. I made a proposal when I was definitely convinced of the need to be together (and in a positive response, of course, also). I was waiting for my first daughter, being an unemployed student with a profession that was outdated for 20 years, and (I think now), I made a surprisingly little effort to find work. We didn’t, forgive for the details, didn’t control the number of children, because to this day we can’t understand what specific criteria this “can afford”. One of my friends, who has six children and a seriously ill husband, was once called the bank account of one million rubles as such a criterion. This criterion is somehow not close to me.
At the same time every year I feel like my worst husband and father. If, in raising my first child, I had some pedagogical ideas and a feeling of being competent, modern, and so on, now, it seems, I don’t have any answer to the question "how to raise children." And often children begin to seem to be a hindrance to a full relationship with his wife.
What is love – I seem to have ceased to understand at all. In any case, I get lost every time I hear this word. The first years of marriage, I confidently said that these are actions aimed at the benefit of another. Then, in the process of changing the profession from the charity coordinator to a child psychologist, I began to understand by the word “love” a deep sympathy and attraction that manifests itself in behavior and communication. Then literature entered (yes, I’m not at 18, but at 28) with its idea of some special connection, affection, deep dependence on another … Now I try to avoid this term.
The family continues to delight me endlessly, and the relationship with my wife remains the same source of comfort and support. But the list of my shortcomings, missing critical skills, and unsightly features is getting longer every year.
Worse, with each passing year, everything is shrinking, until my list of unsightly actions from the “well, never me!” Series disappears completely. And the good he would be reduced as a result of humble reflections – so no, one sad empiricism. Do I have to state that the “high calling of having many children” that Fr. Paul, it turned out I can not afford? Perhaps if I practiced the “pedagogical approach” …
Or is this the natural and correct process of “knowing one’s weakness”? Sovereign Lord, I am still happy in my family, I enjoy spending time with my wife and (from time to time) with children, and in general I feel accepted and loved by God and people. Does this mean that the “family is a success”?
Practice vs neurosis
Of course, this is the wrong question. Neurotic desire to give a final assessment of such a large, unique and living phenomenon as a family – from the evil one. The Lord will judge us after death. But our self-asking questions should be specific and practice-oriented: what will make me and my family happier next week? How can I reduce the harm for children from my tiredness in the evenings (and especially at night)? How can I please my wife today?
Sports once a week. Walks in the open air. A hobby that brings joy. Delicious tea – especially for intimate conversations. Short joint prayer before bedtime. Cuddle. Flowers for no reason. Morning "I love you."
Catherine Bezdenezhnyh "Do I have to give birth to many children"
Priest George Mitrofanov "On large families and the ideal of a Christian family"
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