Marriage and Family Life

Bringing Up Children

The Domestic Church

The family is called to be a community of love. Love is essential for the psychological, physical and spiritual well being of the children. Children also learn how to build relationships guided by Christian principles where tenderness, forgiveness, respect, fidelity and disinterested service are the rule. Through acknowledging their own shortcomings, parents are able to teach the important lesson of humility and seeking and offering forgiveness. By experiencing this selfless, nurturing love from their parents, children are able to begin to comprehend the unconditional love that God has for them.

In addition to love, children must learn about the life of faith. This should begin from the very early stage of the child’s life and can be achieved by a variety of means. One essential ingredient is communal prayer, even when children are still infants and are unable to participate in an obvious way. By observing its parents in prayer on a daily basis the child begins to learn about what an interior life means, what it means to offer ones hopes, desires and sorrows to our loving Creator, what it means to persevere and the meaning of constancy. Of particular importance is the participation in parish life, here children are able to learn about the public worship and rituals that form the liturgical life of the Church. Children also learn that they are not alone in their beliefs, but rather, part of a wider Christian community.

Prudence in use of the media

The more society in general rejects the virtues and beliefs of Christianity, the more important it is for parents to be more vigilant in protecting one’s children. One practical consideration is restricting access to unwholesome content from the media. One such example is the television, the family should resist the temptation of leaving the television on continuously in the background. The ease of access to a range of films and programmes is an opportunity to select and choose what is uplifting and beneficial to ones children.

Finally, as children grow up in a society where accumulation of material goods is so pervasive, the following quote is particularly suitable: Parents must trustingly and courageously train their children in the essential values of human life. Children must grow up with a correct attitude of freedom with regard to material goods, by adopting a simple and austere lifestyle and being fully convinced that “man is more precious for what he is than for what he has” Pope John Paul II, Familiaris consortio 37.

(Photo: mazur/catholicchurch.org.uk)