By Sophie Barcant, BA (Psyc), B.ED, Trainer, Facilitator, Parenting Coach/Consultant
If children learn what they live, then what should they learn to live and be conscientious, productive, happy adults?
Finish the sentence with 10–20 items: I want my children to be _______.
My list is: loving, caring, honest, hardworking, brave, good communicator, spiritual, prayerful, mindful, trusting, faith-filled, have healthy relationships, good contributing citizens, self-controlled, kind, wise, good judges of character, reliable, calm, resilient, charitable, forgiving and accepting to name a few.
So how do we form them to be what’s on these lists?
How do we shape their characters?
As parents we are supposed to model those very same qualities, since humans learn best by imitating others.
What are our options?
Do we just run the hamster wheel of life and see how they turn out? Hoping that school, church, and good friends will shape their wills and character?
Or do we take hold of the helm and make their formation and character development our own serious task?
It is said that one of the best gifts we can give our children is a good spousal relationship.
Taking parenting courses and reading parenting and relationship books are a must but so too is seeking divine help to navigate these waters of marriage and family life.
Prayer and devotion ARE our lifeline. We bring our complicated, wounded selves, heavy laden with baggage to our marriage and parenting and the pains and fears all come oozing out in many a situation and challenge.
Divine graces CAN heal, protect, and direct us to walk this journey with strength and happiness.
It is the Feast of Saints Joachim and Anne, the parents of Our Lady, the Blessed Mother of Jesus, Our Lord.
Many ancient writings recount that Our Lady was promised to them by an angel and that she was dedicated to God. They are the patron saints of marriages and families.
Our rich Catholic tradition draws support from asking saints to intercede for us.
Let’s get on our knees and turn our attention to prayer asking these saints and our best teacher the Holy Spirit, for graces to cope with the forces around us that seek to destroy family life.
St Paul reminds us in Ephesians 6:12 that “we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, powers, against rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
There is a very sleezy, subtle principality and power luring us away from our children and spouses. It is operating through our devices, and our senses.
It is robbing our children and spouses of our attention and time. We are addicted to them as we pursue disordered appetites for knowledge, information, entertainment, and pleasures.
Hours disappear watching cooking channels and endless DIY videos of home, people, garden makeovers, watching tips that we will seldom or never put into effect.
And then there is social media and movies–no end of senseless ones. And other addictions like to food, super-fit bodies, even work and, of course, substances.
By disordered I mean in excess of what is really needed.
As our world changes, with hardships and uncertainties increasing, the bosom of our Lord is how to find comfort, courage, and strength. Through prayer, listening to the Holy Spirit for inspiration, we can receive insights into what areas of our life need attention, into what our children’s and spouses individual needs are so that we can address them appropriately and prevent them seeking them to be met by unhealthy, morally wrong, or physically dangerous means.
I know a woman who endured a very difficult marriage. The verbal assaults drove her to Jesus’ heart. Prayer became her lifeline.
Inexplicable divine graces enabled her to not just survive but to live with abundant joy, faith, peace, and a smile at every encounter. Her five children didn’t turn out too bad either. It is possible to find happiness in times of adversity, by turning our heart and thoughts to God.
Now more than ever, let us pray and listen.
St Joachim and St Anne, pray for us.
Follow Sophie’s parenting approaches drawn from Love and Logic and Positive Discipline on www.sophiesparentingsupport.com, FB and Instagram. For personal coaching, contact:firstname.lastname@example.org