Who is raising our children? Television? Internet? Soccer coaches? Teachers?
What are they learning and what is the role of parents and the church?
“Let nothing be taught to children except those things which nourish the soul and make one a better person.” St. Cyprian of Carthege
“A man becomes a Christian with sound teaching; he is not born one.” Terttillian
“An important part of a child's education is Story-telling, since good stories excite the imagination and strengthen the bond between parent and child. Stories from the Bible are preferred, and the child should repeat them often, to underscore full comprehension.” St. John Chrysostom
The Catholic Church teaches that parents are the primary educators of their children. But what happens when parents, themselves, aren't educated enough to convey the Christian faith to their children.
The answer is simple. They don't! Each year we welcome into our community many infants whose parents have brought them to receive the Mysteries of Christian Initiation. Some of them enroll them in Catholic schools and Latin programs. Some of them eventually enroll them in our parish Eastern Christian Formation program, at least for a few years. Some enroll them but seldom bring them. Some take them out because sporting activities take precedence over the worship of God.
Some do care and bring them faithfully. Some just don't care because they don't know anything about their faith and don't have a living relationship with God or don't believe what their church teaches.
Failure to convey the faith to their children puts in jeopardy the spiritual life of the precious gift that God has entrusted to their care. What answer do we give to God for failing to inculcate the gift of eternal life into the lives of our children?
Role modeling is the primary form of communication between a parent and a child. “Experience has shown us that men who are the happiest and most content in their masculine role today are those whose father invested a great deal of time and energy in their lives", writes David Stoop and Stephen Arterburn in ”The Angry Man”. The same can be said of women. Women are more influenced by the behavior and presence of their father’s than we realize. Values and faith come from parents lives not a classroom.
If parents don't take their faith seriously and practice it in the home we shouldn’t expect the children to continue their relationship with God as they grow into adulthood.
The problem is that most parents simply don't know how to practice their faith or they don’t understand it enough to make it an integral part of their life.
What to do? A course of correction is needed and now! Let us all make a sincere effort to change if change is required. And you won't have to do it without help. Father Peter would help if asked!