The Next Generation
A Special Message for Fathers
In honor of Father’s day, I would like to share this little bit of wisdom from Proverbs:
“Train a boy in the way he should go; even when he is old, he will not swerve from it.” -Proverbs 22:6, NAB
How many times have we seen our children mimic what we do? From the earliest years, they try to learn from us through our example. Even as they get older and start learning from books, our example continues to teach them. They absorb all that we do. We pass things down from one generation to the next. Can you remember some of the things your dad taught you as a child? I can. My father was a quiet, but strong man. He was slow to raise his voice, but thunderous when he did. He worked hard to provide for us. Without even trying, he set a great example for us. In many ways, I can see a lot of my father in the man that I am today.
Raising children is one of the most important things that we will ever do. As fathers, we are tasked with being the spiritual head of our family. Our main role is as the example for the rest of our family. The example we set helps determine who our children become. I read a statistic today from a Swiss study that stated that families where the father regularly attends church leads to 44% of their children becoming regular church attendees as adults. But, in families where the father does not regularly attend church, that drops down to 2% (http://www.fisheaters.com/menandchurch2.html). What an amazing statistic!
We are not just the providers for our families; we are the spiritual leaders of our families. Sadly, many men work really hard Monday through Friday to provide a nice home and a hot meal, but then they check out on Sunday. As important as it may be to provide food on the table, it is even more important to provide spiritual nourishment to our kids. Our hard work on Monday through Friday pales in comparison to the impact we can have with our kids on Sunday morning. If we teach them the importance of attending Mass, they will hopefully continue it as adults. What will the next generation of Catholics look like? Will there be a next generation?
Our work is not done on Sundays. To have a true, lasting relationship with God, we need to teach our children how to have a daily, personal relationship with Christ. This can come through prayer, studying Scripture, and a number of other ways. Even how we share our faith and show the love of Christ through charity is important. Take your kids with you to work at the food pantry. Kneel down with them every night as they say their prayers. Be engaged and active in your child’s life. I promise you that it will be worth it. Let’s teach the next generation the ways of the Church, the importance of our faith, and the love of Christ.