Monday, September 17, 2018

Raising Cain?

Did you hear the one about Mary and Joseph's parenting methods?

Me neither. Funny that.

I mean, if you'd raised someone considered by millions to be the Son of God, wouldn't you expect there to follow efforts to produce a 'how to' guide in your honour? But no. Not much at all, as far as I can decipher.

Alice Miller is also surprised. An influential psychoanalyst and philospher, she describes a society obsessed with original sin and the Eden story, criticising its impact on young lives. She wonders why Christians ponder so long on the character of an inscrutable heavenly father, who places a forbidden tree and a deceitful serpent in his paradise garden, but fail to examine the character of Joseph and the specifics of Jesus' human upbringing.

We can't glean much. But there are hints about Jesus' childhood. Mary considered her son a gift from God and prioritised him from the moment of conception. The child's wellbeing was paramount, with both parents making big life changes in order to accommodate and protect him. As he got older, he had the confidence to disobey and argue his case, without any apparent fear of punishment. As he reached adulthood, his mother accepted his authority, advising friends to go to him with the problems they first brought her way. He turned out pretty well. And the bond between mother and son remained deep and strong: even in the midst of torture, Jesus felt compelled to take care of his mother.

In my experience, the advice circulating on being a good 'Christian' parent doesn't touch on the kinds of things we observe in Jesus' parents.

I wonder, with a few suspicions, why on earth not? But perhaps that is for another post......