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  #1  
Old Mar 7, '11, 11:36 am
momfromwi momfromwi is offline
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Default How do I explain the importance of going to church to my children?

I made the mistake of not making Christ a priority early in my marriage and family life. Until recently I did not take my kids to Mass, this is all new for them. My younger kids whine a little bit about it, but are getting used to the idea. My 11-year old, however, is just not willing to learn or see any purpose in it. Even when we attended more liberal Lutheran services (I'm going through RCIA) and Sunday school she gave me a lot of problems about it.

I would love some advice on what to tell a reluctant child about believing in God and attending Mass. Specifically what do you tell your kids? I would love a simple way to explain this to them, in terms they can relate to.

Thanks!
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  #2  
Old Mar 7, '11, 12:48 pm
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Scoobyshme Scoobyshme is offline
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Default Re: How do I explain the importance of going to church to my children?

Quote:
Originally Posted by momfromwi View Post
I made the mistake of not making Christ a priority early in my marriage and family life. Until recently I did not take my kids to Mass, this is all new for them. My younger kids whine a little bit about it, but are getting used to the idea. My 11-year old, however, is just not willing to learn or see any purpose in it. Even when we attended more liberal Lutheran services (I'm going through RCIA) and Sunday school she gave me a lot of problems about it.

I would love some advice on what to tell a reluctant child about believing in God and attending Mass. Specifically what do you tell your kids? I would love a simple way to explain this to them, in terms they can relate to.

Thanks!
I would possibly start with belief in God, especially Jesus Christ (you can touch on the historical Christ, saying that history shows He really did exist, etc.) But, at some point, you need to explain the 10 Commandments, especially the one that says "Thou shalt keep holy the Sabbath." This means we must attend Mass, if possible. Then, you can also explain what the Mass really is, Calvary re-presented.

But here's a piece of advice: BEFORE you approach them, spend a lot of time in prayer and sacrifice. Daily Mass, if you can. Holy Hour before the Blessed Sacrament. The Rosary. Fasting, etc. Why? Because we always go to God about man, before going to man about God. We want to soften hardened hearts. Tip the scales in God's favor.
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  #3  
Old Mar 7, '11, 12:54 pm
Vicktoria Vicktoria is offline
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Default Re: How do I explain the importance of going to church to my children?

One of the problems I've had is, not only can it be new to them, because of not having attended, themselves, previously, it's new to them because their friends often don't know about going to church, either. That makes it very difficult to figure out how to introduce your children to God, harder still if it seems like a chore, and harder still if they've heard people mocking God or other church goers, etc...

The easiest way I found, to start with, was finding ways to make it Fun. I have a children's bible that I started to read to my daughter at night, instead of other books, and it also helped ~me~ because ~some~ of the stories ~I~ had neglected for a long time, also...

The best way I got myself into that is also seeing how, from each story I might pick to read to my daughter, I could also pick out events and times, and feelings from my ~own~ experience as a child, like when ~I~ felt like David, before Goliath, and worried that my stone might not be large enough, or I might not get it right, etc.. and fail... but I did the best I could, and learned what courage was. Not so much "feeling strong" but "feeling weak" and having the ~courage~ do do the right thing, regardless...

Like reading a poem I had written for class =) Maybe it wasn't the best poem, nor was I the best reader, but for me, with how scared I was, it was ~hard~, but I ~also~ know that Courage is a Gift to us from Our Father, which is why it's important to go to church, and read the bible, etc... so that we know where the best of our gifts and strengths ~come~ from, how much He Loves Us, and hopes that We'll come to love Him.

I think that's also what makes it easy for me, to teach my daughter, is because of how much ~I~ love ~my~ God, and it just comes out that way, when I speak of Him, and gets her excited about it too ~lol~

So... maybe start there, in you, and it'll be easier to give it to them, to =)

Peace =)

~V~
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  #4  
Old Mar 7, '11, 1:24 pm
Barbkw Barbkw is offline
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Default Re: How do I explain the importance of going to church to my children?

http://www.amazon.com/Big-Book-Catho.../ref=pd_cp_b_2

Growing up we didn't have a children's Bible. I bought this one a while back, it has additional readings in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Other books:

http://www.amazon.com/Catholic-Praye...f=pd_sim_b_1#_

http://www.amazon.com/Keeping-Your-K.../dp/0892836431
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  #5  
Old Mar 7, '11, 1:30 pm
bjoy73 bjoy73 is offline
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Smile Re: How do I explain the importance of going to church to my children?

I have had similar problems with my adult children. Since they,ve started their own lives, church just isn't as important to them. I have a few "parables" that I use that may be of some use to you:

--Learning a foreign language takes practice (someone to speak with) or you forget how to speak the language. The language of "faith" is the same. You'll forget how to speak it if you don't practice speaking to others, and this language should be the most important one to us, so we can learn to speak (pray) to God.

--If you continue going to church, it is like being a charcoal fire that stays on fire. If you take a piece of charcoal out and set it away from the others that are on fire, it cools off and turns gray and ashy. We need to stay on fire for our faith.

--God offers himself as a free gift to us at Mass. Not going is like getting a Christmas present and giving it back unwrapped saying, "I don't want it." How rude !
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  #6  
Old Mar 7, '11, 1:37 pm
TheRealJuliane TheRealJuliane is offline
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Default Re: How do I explain the importance of going to church to my children?

Quote:
Originally Posted by momfromwi View Post
I made the mistake of not making Christ a priority early in my marriage and family life. Until recently I did not take my kids to Mass, this is all new for them. My younger kids whine a little bit about it, but are getting used to the idea. My 11-year old, however, is just not willing to learn or see any purpose in it. Even when we attended more liberal Lutheran services (I'm going through RCIA) and Sunday school she gave me a lot of problems about it.

I would love some advice on what to tell a reluctant child about believing in God and attending Mass. Specifically what do you tell your kids? I would love a simple way to explain this to them, in terms they can relate to.

Thanks!
Be sneaky. Tie going to Mass in with going on another fun family outing, like going out to breakfast, to the park, shopping, etc. So that the kids know that Mass = good times afterward. I like the idea of a meal together because then you can talk about the Gospel, etc.

Whatever you do, don't let her reluctance dictate your actions - take her to Mass and ignore her complaints. Tell her that God needs to know that her heart is open and He will come in and give her more gifts than she could ever wish for.

How do you handle going to Mass/RCIA right now? Where do your kids go when you leave Mass for teaching? Or do they not go with you?

Remember that 11 and 12 year old girls are obnoxious about a lot of things, don't take it personally as an attack on your faith or the Church - she's probably just starting to rebel and this is the first arena she's come to. It probably won't be the last!

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  #7  
Old Mar 7, '11, 2:09 pm
momfromwi momfromwi is offline
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Default Re: How do I explain the importance of going to church to my children?

Wow, these are some GREAT ideas. Thank you so much!!
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  #8  
Old Mar 7, '11, 7:54 pm
Maureen1125 Maureen1125 is offline
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Default Re: How do I explain the importance of going to church to my children?

I am all for tough love.

You are the parent and whether your 11yr old likes it or not you make the rules and they obey them. Continue to attend mass and continue to have your 11yr old join you. Eventually she will come around. You need to be consistent. It won't take long for her to accept this as part of the weekly routine.

Also, when disciplining or correcting a bad behavior, or a poorly phrased comment, use Jesus and the churches teachings to back up your point. It will help her to see that whether she is actively living her faith/your faith, the faith is actively living in her. Also point this out when she acts compassionatly towards others.

My son recently told me, that he wished he had super powers so that if he saw an accident about to happen he could move 1 car out of the way just with his mind. While this is a nice concept, I told him to dig deeper. That maybe the accident does happen and the drivers leg is broken. Then at the hospital they find out that the leg broke because there was cancer growing and that because of the accident they found it early enought to treat it and the person will live, whereas if he had prevented the accident, they might never find the cancer and now this person is going to die. That sometimes things have to happen for a reason and we don't know God's reason, but we have to trust that He knows what He is doing.
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  #9  
Old Mar 7, '11, 10:58 pm
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Gordon Sims Gordon Sims is offline
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Default Re: How do I explain the importance of going to church to my children?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheRealJuliane View Post
Be sneaky. Tie going to Mass in with going on another fun family outing, like going out to breakfast, to the park, shopping, etc. So that the kids know that Mass = good times afterward. I like the idea of a meal together because then you can talk about the Gospel, etc.
I almost posted a nearly identical thread to this the other morning and I like a lot of the advice. My 20-year-old son is the one most opposed to going to Mass. I love TheRealJuliane's advice because I've done it myself. At my oldest daughter's First Confession the whole family participated except him. I let it go to avoid a scene, but we had a big blow-up a few days later when he left the house while I was getting ready for Mass. I tried having a few calmer, more rational conversations with him about it, but nothing got through. He told me a few weeks later that he needed some new clothes and supplies for school. It was a Saturday afternoon and I made sure we left right before the afternoon service. I told him I had to make a stop on the way and he glared at me when we pulled up in front of the church. He told me he'd sit in the car but when he found out he wouldn't get to do his shopping after, he agreed to go in with me.
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  #10  
Old Mar 8, '11, 1:00 am
GraceDK GraceDK is offline
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Default Re: How do I explain the importance of going to church to my children?

Quote:
Originally Posted by momfromwi View Post
I made the mistake of not making Christ a priority early in my marriage and family life. Until recently I did not take my kids to Mass, this is all new for them. My younger kids whine a little bit about it, but are getting used to the idea. My 11-year old, however, is just not willing to learn or see any purpose in it. Even when we attended more liberal Lutheran services (I'm going through RCIA) and Sunday school she gave me a lot of problems about it.

I would love some advice on what to tell a reluctant child about believing in God and attending Mass. Specifically what do you tell your kids? I would love a simple way to explain this to them, in terms they can relate to.

Thanks!
You need to evangelise your children. That means telling them about your own personal relationship with Jesus, why that is necessary for salvation and then you need to pray with them while they invite Jesus to come into their lives.
You cannot start by dragging them to Church. If they have no faith its useless and will only cause them to resent the Church.
While you tell them about Jesus you need to make sure that both you and your children spend time with other people who have a personal faith and are enthusiastic about it.
You might have to find a Church where they have an authentic fellowship and groups for children and young people..
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  #11  
Old Mar 8, '11, 3:57 am
Vicktoria Vicktoria is offline
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Default Re: How do I explain the importance of going to church to my children?

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Originally Posted by Maureen1125 View Post
I am all for tough love.
Having grown up with ideas like that literally ~beat~ into me...

Which is why I may simply be reading my own feelings, into your words... especially since you only posted a small amount of them, and not nearly enough to fully describe what you do, outside of here... please forgive if what I say sounds like a harsh judgment or criticism of ~you~, Personally...

it's just that the ideas expressed in what you said, alone, I have seen in others, and in my own life, when too strictly applied, turn out to be hurtful, instead of helpful... I remember how those sorts of ideas hurt ~me~ as a child, and pushed me ~away~ from Church and My God, and even though they are not hurting in me now, I remember them, just to use my past hurts to teach me how ~not~ to be, with my ~own~ children.

Quote:
You are the parent and whether your 11yr old likes it or not you make the rules and they obey them.
That might work, ~sometimes~, if you temper it with lots of Real Love... otherwise you run this risk:
Quote:
You cannot start by dragging them to Church. If they have no faith its useless and will only cause them to resent the Church
God is not so strict with ~us~ why on Earth would He want us to be so strict with our own children? The most Precious of Gifts He can give us?

God makes the rules, and He expects and wants us to obey them, but understands, too, that in our own willfulness, smallness, and in our lack of understandings, we're going to makes mistakes and trip ourselves up... but He will ~always~ be there to pick us up and dust us off, and ~use~ our mistakes, not ~against~ us, to ~punish~ us, but to ~teach~ us, and ~show~ us Why we should listen and obey.

A rule with no Logic and Reason, no explanation or no understanding to be gained by it, is akin to a tyranny of "because I said so". When ~we~ are treated that way, in our ~adult~ lives, we get hurt and frustrated with rules that don't make sense, and I wouldn't do that to my own daughter either.

The idea of it goes hand in hand with what mothers so often say, "If your friends all jumped off of a bridge, does that mean you should, to?"

And this is the reverse, as an adult... Is it just because, in this sinful, sometimes hateful, world, that we, as adults, always have to follow the rules. Period. That there's no explanation for them, but you will be punished if you don't... does that make it right? Just because everyone else does that, to us, does it make it right to do that, to others?

We can ~feel~ when it's ~not~ sometimes, and we have to use our own good God Given judgment to discern why some rules shouldn't be followed (something that will hurt or harm ourselves, or someone else, for example) and use that judgment also, when we simply need to learn and understand ~why~ the rule exists, when it makes us uncomfortable and feeling disobedient...

And ~sometimes~ the only way to find that out, is to make a mistake, and learn from it. But... If we learn only the pain of punishment, but still lack understanding, we break it again, in defiance of the rule.

I've had teenagers. ;-) I've seen that happen more times than I can count... I remember ~being~ a teenager, and doing the same thing ~lol~ but I've also seen so many of my own friends slip into darker things, because that's all they learned, and all they knew, never having had the opportunity to learn Love and Understanding, ~with~ the rules, enough, so they might trust them...

Quote:
That sometimes things have to happen for a reason and we don't know God's reason, but we have to trust that He knows what He is doing.
I agree with the idea, and it's always best to trust in God, that He knows what He is doing, 24/7,but the sentiment seems to be lacking a certain degree of understanding of how our Lord and Savior ~Works~ in us.

When I was young, and expressed some interest and excitement in an idea I had to one of my parents, he would ~always~ say things, expressed the way you did, here, most often in a bitter and punishing tone, meant to discourage anything that might sound like a "lofty" idea, as if to tell me, which he also did at times, that I wasn't good enough, or smart enough, to do the things I had hopes to do... Do that enough times, and a child will go from cheerful, and hopeful, and loving life, to depression and sadness, and never feeling "good enough"...

Granted we can't simply take off and fly for the wanting, and there's few people who have the physical strength to lift a car, but the ~love~ expressed, ~first~ in the ~idea~ of "what if I could?" and "I would use my strength to ~help~ people!"... That was a loving thought =)

Only with God can we be so strong, Only with God can we be so smart, to do His will and His work, on this Earth, and I should not want to be the one to discourage my own children, and unintentionally turn them from My Lord, instead of bringing them ~to~ Him.

I also apologize for any misunderstanding,

Peace be with you =)

~V~
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  #12  
Old Mar 8, '11, 5:38 am
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StJudePray4Me StJudePray4Me is offline
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Default Re: How do I explain the importance of going to church to my children?

Does your daughter believe in God? Does she understand that Jesus died on the cross to save us and open the gates of Heaven?

If not, I would probably start by talking with her about the God and Jesus. I would buy her some books and read them with her, and discuss them. Tell her what you believe.

Then, I would ask her to attend Mass with you... because you are her mother and she needs to respect you. I am on the fence about forcing children/young adults. I've seen that go wrong so many times. But perhaps if you frame it as a way to please you, it might help.

I have a daughter who is 11 as well, and she craves time alone with me. If yours does too, maybe you could set aside time with just you 2 girls after Mass. Talk a bit about the gospel, but don't beat her over the head with it. Also, a book like "The Mass for Children" may help her follow along and make it seem not so boring, and gives her the words to say so she doesn't feel like an outsider.

Lastly, I don't agree with the Tough Love idea in your case. After all, its not HER fault she doesn't want to go to Mass -- after all, it's pretty boring for an 11 year old and its not like it's always just been a fact of life in your home. My daughter squawks about it a little, and she's gone pretty much every Sunday since birth.

I think its better to ease her into it.
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Old Mar 8, '11, 7:47 am
EasterJoy EasterJoy is offline
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Default Re: How do I explain the importance of going to church to my children?

This is also not a matter of "what can going to church do for me?" It is fine to find profit from participating at Mass, but that is not the primary reason we go. I would argue that if we miss the primary reason, we will also miss the personal benefit. This is because the main profit we gain from Mass attendance is to realize that "my life is not about me."

In all justice, we owe God worship and adoration. It is a little silly for your 11 year old to think that she owes nothing to the One who not only has given life to her personally, but who created the entire Universe.

In other words, the Universe does not revolve around her, what she wants, what she likes, and what she thinks she will profit from. Your family's life--this may come as a shock to a pre-adolescent--also does not revolve around her, either. This can be a foreign concept to an American child, but assure her that the sooner she realizes that she is not at the center of most of the things that are important to her, the happier she will be.

This is not just about her religious obligations. This is about her family and social obligations as well, as well as all of the other obligation that a civilized person will realize that she has by virtue of being in a civilization. She has an obligation to help around the house as she can, because she belongs to the family. She has an obligation to get an education and to vote responsibly, because she is a citizen in a democracy. And so on. It the natural consequence of being an able-bodied and able-minded person in an interdependent world. Again: the sooner she catches on to this, the better.

The Mass is the source and summit of the Christian life. I'm not suggesting that Mass not be made agreeable to her as much as possible, any more than I'd suggest that we not try to give our children food that is both pleasant and nutritious and a place to sleep that is both comforting and restful. I'm just saying that nutrition and rest are not negotiable, whether or not she thinks your efforts to make them pleasant meets her expectations. Mass is like that. Talk about how to make it better for her, but whether or not she's going ought not be even remotely on the table. If you neglected feeding her and getting her enough sleep, your past failures wouldn't change her needs, or yours. This is like that. Stick to your guns.
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Old Mar 8, '11, 7:58 am
Vicktoria Vicktoria is offline
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Default Re: How do I explain the importance of going to church to my children?

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In all justice, we owe God worship and adoration. It is a little silly for your 11 year old to think that she owes nothing to the One who not only has given life to her personally, but who created the entire Universe.
Explaining it that way, so harshly, to a child that doesn't even ~know~ God yet, only serves to drive them further...

I swear, I just don't get some of these ideas at times... I know, I've experienced them, myself, used against me, but punishing someone for not Understanding something that they've yet to be introduced to in ways they can even ~begin~ to understand, in the ~first~ place, just makes no sense to me, at all...

I'm sorry if it peeves me a bit, hearing it that way so often, but the world already has heard it that way, too much, and for too long. Trying to teach someone about His love for Us, with that sort of bitterness, is a betrayal of that same love.

The ~reality~ of it is that it is ~also~ that we ~are~ at the Center of the Universe, In Christ, Why He Died, For Us, ~personally~... that we might come to Know Him and Love Him, as He does Us. Each and Every One of us! Created ~by~ Him, For Him, that we might see His love for us, and have Love for Him, in return...

I apologize for any offense, where none is intended... I don't know any other way to say it, softer,

Peace be with you,

~V~
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Old Mar 8, '11, 9:11 am
EasterJoy EasterJoy is offline
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Default Re: How do I explain the importance of going to church to my children?

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Explaining it that way, so harshly, to a child that doesn't even ~know~ God yet, only serves to drive them further...

I swear, I just don't get some of these ideas at times... I know, I've experienced them, myself, used against me, but punishing someone for not Understanding something that they've yet to be introduced to in ways they can even ~begin~ to understand, in the ~first~ place, just makes no sense to me, at all...

I'm sorry if it peeves me a bit, hearing it that way so often, but the world already has heard it that way, too much, and for too long. Trying to teach someone about His love for Us, with that sort of bitterness, is a betrayal of that same love.

The ~reality~ of it is that it is ~also~ that we ~are~ at the Center of the Universe, In Christ, Why He Died, For Us, ~personally~... that we might come to Know Him and Love Him, as He does Us. Each and Every One of us! Created ~by~ Him, For Him, that we might see His love for us, and have Love for Him, in return...

I apologize for any offense, where none is intended... I don't know any other way to say it, softer,

Peace be with you,

~V~
If you object to the word "silly", then I can concede that. There are harsh ways to deliver that message, and those are well worth avoiding. Having said that, I don't think that it a good idea to take a child seriously when she tries on the attitude that it is right and just that the world be made to suit her. Sorry, but that is just silly. She may as well think that the rain ought to be made to fall and the moon to rise when it happens to suit her plans. I mean, c'mon, child....Really? I don't know where you got the idea that I advocated punishing the child. I only wrote that attendance at Mass in not optional.

I don't see a thing that is bitter about teaching a child that they have obligations, whether they like them or not, that they don't have to understand a rule in order to be bound to obey it, and that they are not the center of the universe. The sooner a child realizes that her happiness, the desire of her heart, is to take on the mind of Christ, the better. Does that mean I wouldn't let her associate Mass with the doughnuts or the family trip to the park that follows? No, of course not. It is good to make our obligations into pleasant things. I'm just saying that it is not good to make them negotiable. The pleasant things may be little rewards, nice associations in the memory, but it is a foolish parent who lets them become bribes.

I cannot reconcile this with "The ~reality~ of it is that it is ~also~ that we ~are~ at the Center of the Universe, In Christ, Why He Died, For Us, ~personally~... that we might come to Know Him and Love Him, as He does Us" That is not the mind of Christ. He really is the center of the Universe, but this is not what He taught.

Rather:
If there is any encouragement in Christ, any solace in love, any participation in the Spirit, any compassion and mercy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, with the same love, united in heart, thinking one thing. Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory; rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves, each looking out not for his own interests, but (also) everyone for those of others.

Have among yourselves the same attitude that is also yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross. Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, 9 to the glory of God the Father.

So then, my beloved, obedient as you have always been, not only when I am present but all the more now when I am absent, work out your salvation with fear and trembling. For God is the one who, for his good purpose, works in you both to desire and to work. Do everything without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine like lights in the world, as you hold on to the word of life, so that my boast for the day of Christ may be that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. But, even if I am poured out as a libation upon the sacrificial service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with all of you. In the same way you also should rejoice and share your joy with me

Phil. 2:1-18

I could go on, but I think you get the picture. Kids are fully capable of understanding that the rules in their life are meant for the peace and happiness of both themselves and those around them. Humility is where our happiness lies. Obstinacy and self-centeredness are the path to pain. It is not a service to hide these facts from a child of God.

Would it be easier to learn this at three than at eleven? Probably. An eleven-year-old is still more likely to get it than an adult. She does have to jump in the water to get it, though. I don't think it does her good to make a big deal about it or to let her avoid it. You just say, "Well, when we didn't realize better, we didn't do this. Now that we realize better, we're going to do better. It's right up there with eating right, getting to bed on time, and brushing your teeth. I'm going to work on helping you see the good in it, but until then you're not going to get out of it because you don't see it yet. You're just going to have to do it until you see it. That's the way we learn these things." Parenthood is full of struggles like this. It does no good to let them be made into a federal case.
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Prayer Intentions

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