Instructing Children in the Faith Begins in Infancy

From an article on Pravoslavie:

As I happened to be on business in one ancient town, I
remembered that not far from there, about twelve versts
distance, my relatives lived in their old family estate
house. I sent them a message, they sent me a carriage, and
I arrived at their home in the evening.

After looking over the house that was built in the early
nineteenth century, with old family portraits on the
walls, old furniture and antique dishes, I followed my
young hostess into a large room.

“His father was born here,” she said at the
threshold, nodding toward her husband.

The deceased old man was not of humble origin, but a well
known figure in the history of his native region.

We entered the room.

The spacious room with scrupulously curtained windows was
almost empty, as well-maintained nurseries often are. On
the table in a metal case with a gilded metal overlay was
an icon of the Mother of God of Kazan, and before it a
tender flame flickered through the blue glass of a
lampada.

“I was blessed at my wedding with this icon of my
father’s,” the master of the house said
quietly.

In the center of the room stood a cradle with a muslin
curtain pulled back. In it was a sleeping infant, sweetly
smacking his lips.

It seemed as though the eyes painted on the old icon
reached this cradle with their gracious gaze and blessed
with their power this new human existence.

This icon united the grandfather and the child, the past
and the present, with unseen bonds.

This is the healthy, natural environment that surrounds
the child of Christian parents.

And what touching poetry there is in the young
mother’s teaching her child to bring his little
fingers together and make his first sign of the cross, to
pronounce amidst the prattle of his first words the great
name of God. Pity the child whose mother did not teach him to pray, and
pity the mother who left this sacred duty to others.

It is remarkable that children never doubt the existence
of God. Their barely sparkling consciousness is
nevertheless somehow capable of grasping the idea of
Divinity.

-Writer and New Martyr Evgeny Poselyanin (1870–1931), 
Faith, and the Path to Faith translated by Nun Cornelia (Rees)

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