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TEN COMMANDMENTS FOR PARENTS

I.     Thou shalt honor no other gods but God, steadfastly refusing to make thy child a minor deity in thy household.
 

II.    Thou shalt make no promises that are broken, whether these be promises of pleasure or promises of punishment, for unless thy child learns to respect thy word, he will not respect any person.

III.  Thou shalt teach thy child by example, and not only by precept; for a parent who teaches a child religion and morality and yet lives by greed, passion and hypocrisy must expect his conduct to be followed and his counsel ignored.

IV.  Thou shalt worship on the Sabbath communally, with thy family, and not seek solitary pleasures which plunge each member of the family into social and spiritual isolation when they should be most together.

V.   Thou shalt instill no fears into thy child, but rather impress upon him that love casteth out fear; and that he who commits no wrongs because of fear is merely weak, whereas he who pursueth righteousness because of love is truly strong.

VI.  Thou shalt help thy child accept the variety of mankind with joy and wonder in God’s creative originality; and not breed in him that terrible false pride of superiority, which stunts and twists the personality of man.

VII. Thou shalt not be too much a parent, allowing thy child freely to make his own mistakes, and not protecting him unduly from the painful consequences of his errors.

VIII. Thou shalt not expect nor demand love from thy child simply because thou art his parent, but thou shalt try to win his respect as a person by justice, humor and understanding.

IX.   Thou shalt not force thy child to develop in thine own image, but assist him in becoming the best kind of person his own nature requires.

X.    Thou shalt look daily into thine own heart and examine thy motives; for when thy motives are impure, love curdles into possessiveness, and thy child is no longer a creature of God but an instrument of man’s misguided passion.

Taken from The Best of Sydney J. Harris