Raising a Saint

Most of us would be satisfied to raise children who remain faithful believers. It is not always an easy thing and every parent who has such a child should rejoice constantly. There is no method to raise a child to be a saint, for God alone gives the grace that results in the mystery of such wonderful lives. However that may be, I am often struck in reading the writings of St. Silouan by his stories about his father. It would seem that the most fundamental spiritual lessons are not ones he gained from an Elder, but from the simple peasant that was his father – but a simple peasant with the faith of a saint. A small example:

Let us not be distressed over the loss of worldly goods, such losses are a small matter. My own father taught me this early in life. When some misfortune happened at home, he would remain serene. When our house caught fire and the neighbors said, ‘Ivan Petrovich, your house is burnt down!’ he replied, ‘With God’s help I’ll build it up again.’ Once we were walking along the side of our field, and I said, ‘Look, they’re stealing our sheaves!’ ‘Aye, son,’ he answered me, ‘the Lord has given us corn and to spare, so if anyone steals it, it means he’s in want.’ Another day I said to him, ‘You give a lot away to charity, while some who are better off than we are give far less.’ To which he replied, ‘Aye, son, the Lord will provide.’ And the Lord did not confound his hope.

From St. Silouan of Mount Athos

There is no better way to teach a child Christianity than to actually live it – truly and from the heart. You cannot teach what you do not live. The deepest things are revealed in the simplest things.


  1. Laura says

    I should think Ivan Petrovich should also be a saint for the living example he gave his son: patience; simple faith; enduring faith; a heart turned always to God…

  2. mic says

    Please pray for me, a new father. i know only a little about myself, and that by the grace of God, but what i see in myself terrifies me when i think that i may well teach my son to do the same things.


  3. mike says

    ….my dad was an Alcoholic…a binge drinker…when drunk (usually every 3-4 months for at least a couple of weeks at a time ) he would often yell: ‘dont do as i do!!..do as i say!!…i always knew something wasnt right about that saying…unfortunately both my brother and i grew up to be alcoholics(but recovering)..my 4 sisters never developed alcoholism but we all suffer emotional problems from our childhood…Dad would sometimes pray before meals and he made some of us go to sunday school and church but that was the only exposure to formal religion(baptist) that we got..my mother was an unbeliever and liked to say that she was a ‘witch’….its said that in childhood we develop our image of God from our earthly fathers so perhaps that explains my own struggle to rightly percieve Our Loving Heavenly Father….im not telling this to garner sympathy or have you feel sorry for me but to prove that it can make a difference in how you ‘raise’ a child…thats all.