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Getting along with parents

From the June 9, 1980 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel


How do you see freedom? Perhaps you find it difficult to reconcile how you can assert your freedom and still obey your parents.

Freedom is a much misunderstood word. To some, freedom is being able to do what they like, when they like, with no restraint or control. They want instant gratification. Frequently this causes them to seek freedom in drugs, alcohol, sex, and violence. But instead of freeing them, these habits control them and deprive them of self-control.

In fact, the freedom that needs to be seen and proved is freedom from domination by the material senses. The belief in matter enslaves us—not people. It is this dominion over the material senses we need to assert—freedom from the belief that we are dependent on matter for happiness; freedom from human limitations; freedom from the pressure of time and personal responsibility.

You have a basis for denying all these claims of mortal restriction. It's the truth of spiritual identity. Christ Jesus said, "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:32; In truth you are the child of God. Your individuality is inseparable from this Father-Mother and is the active expression of God—of all the Godlike qualities that form your spiritual heritage. Nobody and nothing can deprive you of this identity or prevent its full expression.

As you understand the fact that your true identity is governed by the laws of Spirit, you will find greater harmony in all your relationships within and without the family. Why? Because the same Mind that governs you governs your parents and everyone else as well.

If you feel your parents are demanding too much of you, it may be helpful to stop for a moment and look for the motive behind the demands. More often than not, it is love or a desire for your growth based on their wider experience. You can recognize such demands as a call to be obedient to Principle, not person.

Human relationships of all kinds will go much more smoothly if we're alert to resist and rule out the influence of animal magnetism. In Christian Science the term "animal magnetism" stands for all that is unlike good. It operates through suggestions that come to our thought and try to make themselves into a reality. These suggestions are rather like out-of-focus photographic slides. We can either insert them in the projector and see them magnified on the screen or toss them out as not worth viewing. We either accept these suggestions as our own thought and give them power or we quickly recognize them as suggestions—never facts—and reject them. If accepted, the suggestions cause us to react. Reaction to some word or action is quite often the beginning of discord between parents and children. Reaction can take the form of hurt or anger or human will, but when we recognize the temptation to react as a suggestion of animal magnetism, we can exercise our God-given dominion and refuse to go along with it.

Mrs. Eddy advises us, "Watch, and pray daily that evil suggestions, in whatever guise, take no root in your thought nor bear fruit." The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 128. Our defense lies in being alert to recognize these suggestions and refuse them the right of entry into our consciousness. You can know, for instance, that there is no power of persuasion in the suggestions that your parents can't understand you, that they don't love you. You can instead know that your parents are capable of understanding you because the real man—what they really are—reflects the intelligence of Mind. You are that Mind's reflection, too, knowing and known rightly. You are embraced in the allness of Love, cared for and guided by this Love.

The family is a valuable training ground for living and working in the wider world. Once you have sorted out relationship difficulties in the home, you will be better equipped for getting along with your neighbors.

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