CHRISTIAN PARENTS AND FAITH IN THE FAMILY By MELVYN BROWN
Parents, in guiding their children in faith will not always have all the answers. “It’s all right to say you don’t know,” said Cardinal Ronald Hart. There’s a lot of mystery about faith. Don’t give simple answers because some answers are not so simple. It will take a lifetime to under-stand them. Robin Bose, a catechist said, “ The most important thing that parents can teach their children is that they are not alone in the world. They are loved by a God who is the source of all love.”
God can be found in everyday moments which parents can share with their children. One Bengali-Catholic mother found that she and her six-year old daughter got their day off to a good start when she played ‘Christian music ‘.
A lady I know spends time at home and says, “It’s good for your children to see you at prayer. This teaches them more effectively than a lecture. “
“If a child sees the parent struggling to do the right thing, sometimes failing, the child will have compassion “, said Mary Mathew, a junior school teacher. She suggests that a parent who tries to live by the Gospel’s values, strives for a healthy spirituality, respects human dignity and is sensitive to the needs of others.
While many parents are eager to pass along the faith that has meant so much to them, some struggle with how to introduce religion to their children. One parent said; “What are they going to believe when we don’t know what we believe? “ The answer is found in prayer, self-performance, in helping the helpless, in attending services and asking God to guide and help.
When one parent enrolled her daughter in the local parish Sunday School, she discovered her own faith rekindle. She believed that she had to do more leading by example.
Youngsters have a spiritual sense that can be tapped. The large numbers who turned out to greet Pope John Paul II during his visit to Calcutta indicated this interest.
Faith is a great legacy. Yet, ultimately it is a gift of God – as individual, as unique as each of His beloved children.
Psalm 25: 4-5 says, “Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in Your truth, and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation. “
A Catholic priest once impressed me when he said : “ God speaks most powerfully in the wilderness experience, for instance, when the family faces divorce, unemployment, illness or other trouble, God is with us throughout life and ‘ can do things in you if you’re open to Him’. So, let us as a family open the door of Faith in our own family, each to his own.