8 Jan 2012

Pope Benedict: Parents Educators of the Faith

How do we hand down faith? Do members of our families get together for dinner, quickly eat their food, and scamper off to watch something on television or hop on the computer, never to be seen again until bedtime? Or do we sit down to eat, and have leisurely conversations about important subjects and share what we did today? Maybe even sitting and talking long after the plates are empty. Around our house, nights like this are relished, but not always our reality.

Today, the Holy Father, had a message for  parents and godparents of 16 babies he baptized, and that message was the importance of education.


"To educate is a very challenging mission, said the Pope, and it is sometimes difficult for our limited human capacities."

"But he added, “education becomes a wonderful mission if it is done in partnership with God, who is the first true educator of every man."

"With prayer and the Sacraments, said Pope Benedict, parents will be able to discern the most appropriate way to educate their children; when to be tender or firm and when to keep silent or to correct."


 We don’t need to pull out the big family bible and set it on the dining room table, and say, we are going to study the principles set forth by scripture now. At my house, eyes would glaze over, and thoughts would turn to some more exciting topic if I tried this. Believe me, I know!  But how many of us take advantage of the opportunity, while sitting around the table, to weave the word of God into our conversations.

Wouldn’t you agree, we hand down our faith by our example? Children, it seems, learn more by watching what we do than by anything we say.

What are our children picking up from our actions?

Example #1 - Dad comes home from work furious, blaming others for the problems he encountered in his office, and ranting about the lack of work ethic in today’s world. The lesson learned by the children is to blame everyone and not take responsibility himself or herself.

Example #2 - Mom is facing a difficult situation at work. Dad is deceased, and she’s raising three children alone. She may lose her job, and she’s concerned about it, but what does she do? She gets the children together and says, “Let me tell you what’s happening. I may lose my job, and you know we need it to make ends meet. I want us to pray together about Mom’s job. Let’s ask the Lord if he wants me to lose this one so that He can give me something better.” These children are learning when life gets tough, or you don’t know what to do, you turn to God.

We teach our children by hanging in there and doing what needs to be done when it’s convenient and when it’s inconvenient. By being consistent in our responses to life’s circumstances, we are the best teachers.

Listen to Lydia O'Kane's report or read the entire article Pope Benedict: Parents educators of the faith

4 comments:

  1. Thanks Patrica! I love both reading and writing about our wonderful Pope. I'd probably spend all day on my computer if I could. That busy schedule of mine keeps me in line! ;-D

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