Sunday, March 27, 2011

Good Example

"In all things show thyself an example of good works."
Titus 2:7

he should govern his disciples by a twofold teaching; namely, he should show them all that is good and holy by his deeds more than by his words; explain the commandments of God to intelligent disciples by words, but show the divine precepts to the dull and simple by his works.
Rule of St Benedict

I guess the problem with words alone is that they are hollow.  Jesus did not have good words to say about those who called on His name when their hearts were far from Him.  In the same way, He said that those who professed His Name but did not feed, clothe or comfort "the least of these" were not His friends.

Also, experience precedes words.   If I haven't seen even a stream, it would be hard for me to understand one, let alone a river or a waterfall.   If I haven't seen good actions, but only the contrary,  then it will be hard for me to do them.  

And finally, Jesus is the "Logos", the Word, but He was not the Word only because He said words, but by His Life and Being.    His life and teaching were one.

Still, it seems that there is a time for direct verbal teaching, as well.    This is an area where I feel somewhat uncomfortable in regard to my children.   I am always hoping that the environment will teach them.  To an extent this is true, but it seems words may bring the deeds to the rational level.     Since we are creatures who use speech and understand it, it's important not to leave a vacuum of complete silence.   Everything that God gave us should be used for His glory, and that includes speech.  So teaching and instruction do play a part.

Titus 2 goes on to say:

In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned...Encourage and rebuke with all authority

and the Rule of St Benedict says:

in his teaching the Abbot should always observe that principle of the Apostle in which he saith: "Reprove, entreat, rebuke" (2 Tm 4:2), that is, mingling gentleness with severity, as the occasion may call for, let him show the severity of the master and the loving affection of a father
So it seems that encouraging and rebuking -- feedback, I guess -- plays a part in raising or teaching someone who is under one's authority.  

I still have to think about what that implies.  I think it probably means I should be thinking about what I do (and fail to do) and what it MEANS, what the "logos" of it is, the thinking and intentional part.

And sometimes I wonder why I'm always trying to build my own wheels instead of just take them from the common store!   There's a treasure trove of parental customs afoot.  Even the most childish parents I know have lots of parentlike habits. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

I would love to hear your thoughts on this!