It is a great time for parents of faith everywhere.

When I was in highschool, (I went to a Catholic all girls High school), there was a nun who taught human Catholic sexuality.  She taught us that as women we may be called to marriage and children.  For her marriage and child raising was an opportunity for parents to raise saints, but also to become saints.

Yesterday Pope Francis announced plans to canonize St. Therese of Lisieux’s parents during the family synod and that is fantastic for parents. It is a great time for parents of faith everywhere.  This action truly supports parents in our Baptismal role of Priest, Prophet and Queen. It gives us hope that as faithful parents our guidance of our children, our being their role model, our lives lived as 2Tim 1:7 tells us how we should and must be lived filled with the Spirit of God [who] does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline that by doing all that we become the parents God calls us to be.  But we do not do this without the help of God and the tools he has given us.

With the example of  Blessed Louis and Zelie Martin we have confidence to raise saintly children, but how do you do that?

Become your Baptismal role of Priest, Prophet and Queen for your children, your family, your community.  When I was a young woman, before I was married and a mother, I was a very fearful person.  After I became a mom I found great strength, strength I never thought I would have, and it was because God had given me that strength because I was a mother.  Know that your children are crying out for leadership.  Those times when they say: “I hate you!  You  are the worst mom in the world!” it may hurt for the moment but know that is being said because you have hit a nerve in the child that suddenly they are not in charge, and they say whatever they hope will make you back down and let them have control.  Remember God put you in control.

Staying in control means you are mindful of a child’s development.  Each stages of your child’s development has its own challenges. Toddlers and Teens are very similar, both have fastly developing brains awash with hormones.  They can not think logically or rationally, that is where you must step in and be the face, voice and stand of reason and logic.  Always assume the best with your children and work as a parent from that position because that will help you focus on the best not the worst.

Creating children of moral strength is by responsibility.  Knowing that every child can do something significant the more connected to the world they will feel and this will give them a better of understanding of how much they are needed by God, their community, life.  Give a child a chore they can do.  Have school age children pick a chore, teens give them a chore that makes them feel significant and helpful.  Connection with the world is connection with God and a how they find their own love of themselves as God loves them.

Continue the teachings of Godly connection and Godly self-love, which is what parenting truly is, and why we are Prophet: First Teacher, by: Allowing them to be as God calls them to be.  As our children grew we gave them every opportunity to view all aspects of the world and their talent.  We worked as a family for Habitat for Humanity, as they grew older they helped teach CCD classes, were Lectors, altar servers.   We helped them explore their talents exposing them to music lessons, acting, sports.

Help them have a sense of independence.  Each stage of a child’s development gives them an opportunity for independence.  A young child is able to pick their own outfit from a variety of approved choices. Allow a teen to go places and be responsible for their own action.  We must build up to independence with each small step, only when there has been a misstep do we step in, and become Queen: Guardian.  When our eldest was an older teen, almost 18, he did something that got him arrested.  It was the hardest thing to do to watch him go to jail, do probation and apply to all the conditions, it was the most important thing to do: Keep his feet to the fire so that he would come around to be a better man.  This my husband and I did with great love, without accusations, without belittling.  We tried to act as Jesus would have acted with our son.  We must remember that when we deal with the situations we are not condemning our children as people of God, but we condemn their actions, hold them responsible and help them hold themselves responsible.

As a note: Our son is now 29 years old, working for a major company as their chief IT person overseeing interns, and a group of employees.

Be authentic.  If we wish to raise saintly people, we must be authentic.  We must live our faith, live as we believe God is calling us. We must show our children who a servant of God is and how they act.  The adage of don’t do as you see but as I say will not create morally strong people.

Being authentic will help us speak to our children as Jesus would: Speak in love, peace and justice. Speaking in love means we speak the truth to our children, our family, our community.  We must speak in peace, not to nag because that disheartens person and makes them not want to do as we ask.  Speaking in justice means we don’t speak in could/should/would, but also working in the strength of straight forwardness.  Jesus did not just think of what he had to preach but spoke it out loud.  But honest and let people know what you are thinking, feeling and hoping to understand; this is also speaking in love, in peace, in justice.   Know that your words have the power to heal, to create, to destroy.

Finally, take time to renew each relationship in your life with special, specific, and significant time alone.   Every person in your life: God, children, spouse, friends and self.

Some resources:

  • Raising Saints: A place of retreat for this mother of seven to speak on the joys and challenges of life for a Catholic family immersed in American culture.
  • Raising {& Teaching} Little Saints: A blog about family life, home educating, and faith!
  • Family & Honor Inc.: Providing and promoting a family-centered Catholic approach to chastity education
  • Raise Happy Children…Raise Them Saints! Paperback – October 6, 2002 by Mary Ann Budnik

Speak to us of children

Lena Levon of Ms Elena Levon Traveling.com came to visit, so I stopped by her blog.  I found on one of her recent posts the meditation of Children written by Kahlil Gibran.

It is my favourite meditation of his and I thought I would share it with you all:

“Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you, and though they are with you, and yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love, but not your thoughts.
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls, for their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward, not tarries with yesterday. “

Kahlil Gibran
from the book : The Prophet