Who does God want your kids to be?

SONY DSCFor your New Year’s resolution this year, consider a pledge to be yourself and to help your children be themselves as well.

St. Catherine of Siena said, “Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.”

Those words resonate strongly for parents. On the surface, we seem to have a thousand things to do for our kids—find the cleats, wash the uniforms, drive to practice, supervise homework, make dinner—yet at the same time everything required of us is summed up by St. Catherine. Our main job is to help our children become who God wants them to be. We need to help them become aware of their own souls, to see the truth of who they are and the gifts they have. We need to lead them out to the greater world, which is so thirsty for people living lives that God intends.

The complicated truth is that we need to help our children become the people they were created to be while we are finding their cleats and driving them to soccer practice. We need to help them discover their call and their true identity while we are quizzing them on spelling words and reminding them to clean under their beds. And as much as we may wish God would just descend on our family dinner and announce the plan for every family member as we pass the mashed potatoes, that is not God’s way.

Resolve to limit the interference. Helping a child become the person that God intends often involves structuring a child’s world in a way that limits outside interference. Linda, mother of three, said that when her daughter received a few low test grades as a freshman in high school, she and her husband decided to take the cell phone away after 9 p.m. “It wasn’t so much a punishment as it was an understanding that it was impossible for her to concentrate with all the texts coming in,” Linda says. St. Catherine might have said it like this: “The texts are preventing your daughter from being the student God means for her to be.”

Kids and adults alike stand ready to convince children to become what may be profitable or convenient, rather than the people God desires them to be. The thinking parent’s role in this new technological world is a cross between IT director and guard dog.   …continued next week

By Annemarie Scobey, from the pages of At Home with Our Faith, Claretian Publications’ print newsletter for parents on nurturing spirituality in the home. Winner of the Best in Class award in 2014 from the Associated Church Press, as well as a First Place General Excellence award from the Catholic Press Association for  four years running. Here’s a sample issue.

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