What’s the most important thing you want to give your children? A college education? A generous inheritance? How about eternal happiness in heaven with God?
Consider what is absolutely the most important thing in your children’s lives. When you come up with bare bones priorities, loving and serving God and getting to heaven should top the list.
Okay, now, look at your life. Where do you put most of your time and energy? An outside job? Driving to soccer, piano, and all the other practices? Television? Homework? Housework?
If we let the pull of worldly things interfere with what should be our number one priority–raising our children for God and eternal happiness with Him–then we are blowing the whole point of having them in the first place.
Not only is this our primary task, but it is wholly ours. Pope John Paul II proclaimed in his 1981 apostolic exhortation, The Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World:
“The task of giving education is rooted in the primary vocation of married couples to participate in God’s creative activity: by begetting in love and for love a new person who has within himself or herself the vocation to growth and development, parents by that very fact take on the task of helping that person effectively to live a fully human life….the family is the first school of those social virtues which every society needs. The right and duty of parents to give education is essential since it is connected with the transmission of human life; it is original and primary with regard to the educational role of others…it is irreplaceable and inalienable, and therefore incapable of being entirely delegated to others or usurped by others. In addition to these characteristics, it cannot be forgotten that the most basic element, so basic that it qualifies the educational role of parents, is parental love, which finds fulfillment in the task of education…as well as being a source, the parents’ love is also the animating principle and therefore the norm inspiring and guiding all concrete educational activity, enriching it with the values of kindness, constancy, goodness, service, disinterestedness and self sacrifice that are the most precious fruit of love….
A vivid and attentive awareness of the mission that they have received with the sacrament of marriage will help Christian parents to place themselves at the service of their children’s education with great serenity and trustfulness, and also with a sense of responsibility before God.”
For me, the best way I can raise my children for God is to bring them up in His Church–the Roman Catholic Church. By giving our children something solid to hold on to and turn to we can send them into the world as strong Christian soldiers, unwilling to trade in their faith and moral values for anything the world might offer.
This article was excerpted from Catholic Truths for Our Children: A Guide for Parents and is used with permission of the author.
Copyright © 2013, Patti Maguire Armstrong