Up that Register: 11 Ways to Prepare Your Boy to be a Great Priest.* I’ve never had a son of mine be ordained (the kid’s only 17, it’s a little early for that), so it’s not an article about Things I Did That Caused My Little Angel To Show Everyone What A Wonderful Mother I Am. My kids are normal kids with the regular amount of free will; their parents are worse than that still. We don’t do the Catholic Family thing perfectly.
The list I came up with isn’t exhaustive (I left off HVAC, a glaring omission if ever there were one), and it’s meant to be reassuring. These are all things that any parent can do, more or less, if you make allowances for your state in life. They’re the things you instinctively know are important. It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you read something on, say, the importance of a family rosary. I’m totally supportive of family rosaries. But what if it’s not something you can do? Are your kids doomed?
I don’t think so. The important thing is prayer. Family rosary is a wonderful form of prayer, but there are other choices. Everyone gathered in the living room at a set time each day to pray is wonderful, but there are other ways you can teach your kids to pray. It doesn’t have to be done all as a group, if that isn’t the reality of your life.
The reason I mentioned the trades so specifically is not to overwhelm parents with this heavy sense of having failed if their kid can’t work a plumbing snake. But guess what: Most of us live in homes that require maintenance, and we all have financial concerns to manage, so it’s pretty natural to at least introduce your kid to these ideas. Priests end up having to do all the normal things you do to keep your house running, only on a larger scale. So yes, a day volunteering with Habitat for Humanity is a valuable contribution to your child’s formation.
Anyone who shoves my list at you as evidence you’re a horrible parent is doing it wrong. The list is about noticing how the things we do as Christian parents are valuable, and we should be encouraged to keep going along the right path, and look for ways we can build up our kids’ lives. That’s all.
Related links mostly from me, but starting with one from someone else:
More importantly, this is where faith has to trump fear and uncertainty. We have to understand that there is no way around dependence on God. There is no formula for child-rearing. There is no foolproof guide to a happy marriage. No man can tell you how to secure your health or lead you to wealth. There is no community anyone can build that can protect its members from sin or temptation, and the utopian impulse itself can crack open the door to hell.
On the Forming of Young Christians – My thoughts on what formation is, and how it plays out in real-life parental decision-making.
Catholic Higher Ed, Debt, & Vocations – Food for thought, no answers. The college debt problem is a big question mark in the vocation-discernment process.
How do you build a community of disciples who observe Catholic liturgical culture together? – In the NCRegister list of eleven things, I mention family-to-family relationships. This post is about the practical side of finding other families you’d like to be Catholic with, and then going and doing the Catholic things.
And finally, here are three links, one practical, one a tad acerbic, and one that is in-between (I leave you to decide which is which), on the whole “discipleship” thing. None of this will cause your boy to magically become Mr. Amazing Christian Guy. He still has to choose to respond to God’s call to a relationship with Himself. But without these things, the odds are against you:
- Want Religious Freedom? Ditch the Assembly Line and Start Raising Mature Catholics
- How to Start a Discipleship Group the Easy Way – No, really, it isn’t complicated! You just have to do it!
- Parish Programs vs. Discipleship Relationships – It’s so easy to fall into the programming trap.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by links and lists, let me give you one piece of advice you can count on: Be the best Christian you can be. God gave you your kids knowing you weren’t perfect. Does it seem like you are terribly inadequate for this parenting business? That’s because you are. God’s not asking you to do impossible things. His job is taking on the impossible. Your job is turning to Him day after day and letting Him do His thing in your family’s life.
Photo copyright Jennifer Fitz. FYI If you’re a glutton for this stuff, my Evangelization and Discipleship page over at the Conspiracy has links to other articles on related topics.
*Why eleven? Because I wasn’t counting, I was just writing stuff down.