Question: A reader asks, “Does Scientific Metaphysics have any solutions for rebellious children?”
Answer: Yes. “We must turn aside from the way we see Reality to see it as it sees itself,” as Margaret Laird has written. (Fourth Dimension of Spirit, p. 74)
She also quotes Bicknell Young: “Locked in the I that is not-I, you cannot grow into manhood—spiritual maturity—without suffering.” (Christian Science Re-Explored xxv:19-20)
Locked into a “child” label, the young can’t grow into maturity without frustration either, said Mrs. Laird in her 1962 Liverpool seminar. The frustration comes not from flaws in the children, but a lack of true love in the parents, whose irritation at “childish” behavior shows a blindness to the “child’s” need for love and “help in throwing off … immaturity.”
Parents often believe it is loving to want children to grow into “good” adults. But it’s a “terrible thing,” Mrs. Laird said, to impose values “from a human standpoint”— because “the child is not a child, but Man.” Mrs. Laird also discussed an experience of her own grandsons, twins David and Bob, then 14. Police officers showed up to question the boys about broken windows at a nearby fire station. Their parents were very surprised by that visit, but the boys were not. They admitted having been with those responsible for the vandalism.
Soon after the officers left, Bob and David told Mrs. Laird they didn’t really know why they became involved. It was probably because they were “tired of being called goody-goodies…, oddballs”, Mrs. Laird said in the seminar. They just knew there was “something crying for expression; they [were] bucking up against an authority that is not an authority.
“We have always loved persons,” she continued. “When you tell a mother that she doesn’t love her child, she just looks at you amazed—because she doesn’t realize that her love for her child is really a love for herself. She is trying to build up herself through [making] that child into something that would reflect [well] on her….”
Attempts to label or mold children (or our others) humanly are doomed to failure, because they disregard Reality. When our own son was 4 or 5, we dropped him off with a friend he didn’t know while my spouse and I went to an appointment. Not long after picking him up, the friend called to say she discovered he had tried to flush some of her jewelry down a toilet.
He denied doing it, and we readily believed him, since he was always so “good.” We apologized to the friend, but between ourselves questioned whether the friend’s account was true.
About 10 years later, out of the blue, our son admitted he had tried to destroy the jewelry; he was angry about being left with a stranger. Too bad we didn’t realize before this incident that any attempt to conceptualize “good” and identify it with a person unwittingly brings “bad” into the equation. In the realm of concepts, they’re two sides of the same coin.
(Send your questions to Ask Agnes, The Metaphys Whiz, at email@example.com)