Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States
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My kids fast Wednesday and Friday, and other fasting. Last Wednesday, I gave my daughter chocolate for Thursday, but when I went to her room, I found out that she ate some of it. I told her, I didn't expect that because I trusted her. Was it too much for her age and was it too much temptation? How can I deal with this problem? According to her younger brother's teacher, he never eats chocolate at school on those days when they are offered.

When we read the Holy Bible, go to church, pray, the kids complain, but when I tell them it is up to them and that God never forces them, they stay with us and read the Holy Bible and pray as well. When they are sick on a Sunday and can't go to church, they do not like it; I do not understand them.

Your children are still young in age. Spiritual maturity takes time and many quiet examples. It would not be fair to expect them to understand all the principles that you do. In their own way, your children are trying to build a relationship with God, the greatest authority in their lives, whom they have not seen, but only heard about, yet see in you and in the people at church. Their relationship with God should be built on love and not just rules and fear. Continue to strive to lead and guide your children in a manner that they can accept and not feel that they are being manipulated by you. A mistake is only a mistake. Your willingness to forgive and your sincere desire to help explain will empower them to also understand God's willingness to forgive us and His desire to help us start anew.

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