If you are a parent, you know of that special love you have for your child. It is a fierce and protective kind of love, very much on the surface and emotional, yet very deep and profound at the same time. Yet no matter how deep that love runs, God loves your child even more.
The mere fact that God created your child proves that your child has a worth beyond measure. As members of the Church Militant, we are all created to know, love and serve God. But we are each called to know, love and serve God in our own unique way. It cannot be in a way that we choose to love Him. It must be in the way that He has made us to know, love and serve Him. It is within that uniqueness that much of our worth resides.
If we all loved God the way St. Therese did, who would be caring for the sick? If we all loved God like St. Joan of Arc, there would be no St. Don Bosco. And if we all loved like St. Padre Pio, where would St. Gianna Molla be? You see, we are given the Saints as proof that each one of us was created to love God in a very specific way. Each of us has specific talents, hand picked by God our Creator, so that we may use these talents to serve Him.
So how do we help our children identify their talents and to use them for the greater glory of God?
First, pray for enlightenment. Sometimes we cannot see a child’s talents because either we do not personally value the talent, or we are simply too busy to recognize it. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you the God given gifts He has bestowed in your child. Thank Almighty God for these talents! Then ask Him for the wisdom to know how they are to be nurtured.
Sit down with your child and make a list of his hobbies. Ask him why he enjoys his hobbies. Then explore how these hobbies can be used for God’s glory. My 14 year-old daughter has a talent for housework like I have never seen before. While housework may seem like an activity that requires minimal talent, she really has taken over our home and transformed it into a pleasant place for us all. “I think it is God’s will that I get married,” she says, “so that I get to do this all the time.” Really?! What a blessed husband she will have! And because she already understands that her skills and attitude are already in tune with God’s will for her, she is able to offer her housework up in a way that gives God glory.
Next, find out what kinds of books he likes to read and why. Adventure? Mystery? Humor? These are clues into your child’s personality. Adventure stories could mean a bold evangelist. Mystery stories could point to a future bible scholar or theologian. And if he likes humor, he could be one who brings joy and cheerfulness to those who are suffering.
Study your child over a period of a couple of days. Make a note of how God’s grace works through her. Is she exceptionally helpful? Or generous with her toys? Does she seem to enjoy attending to others who are not feeling well? Is she naturally prayerful? These could be further hints to the specific way the Lord wants your child to love Him.
My 10 year old son has a particularly sensitive soul. Recently, while reading a story about souls in Purgatory, the book mentioned a soul that was damned. The purpose of the story was to serve as a dire warning for those of us still living that Hell is still very much a possibility for all of us. He immediately burst into tears. “Is it because he was afraid?” I wondered. When his crying subsided, he explained to me, “Mom, I was just so sad for that poor soul! She will never see God!” Needless to say, this is the son who has wished for the past 5 years to be a priest when he grows up.
Also, discuss with your child what he wants to be when he grows up. Any morally acceptable occupation can be used for God’s glory. Be sure to brainstorm with your child on the different ways he can do God’s will and bring Him glory within his chosen path. When he participates in the brainstorming session with you, he will begin to gain a sense of responsibility and ownership of his personal mission, and his ideas will give him concrete ways of fulfilling it.
My oldest son has always had an adventurous heart and a natural instinct for administering proper medical treatments to people in emergency situations. He is Red Cross certified and carries around a backpack of emergency medical supplies wherever he goes. (And has had plenty of opportunities to use them, too!) For his 18th birthday in June, we sent him to New Mexico for a week long pararescue training course to encourage his ambitions to become a first responder or part of a search and rescue team either within the military or in civilian life. What an important vocation he has, to administer physical help to those in need, and if necessary, to be the first on the scene to help direct a soul Home. If no priest is present at the scene of an accident, it could very well be that the only hope that soul will have of salvation lies within my son’s ability to bring it to perfect contrition. What better way to bring God glory than to help save a soul!
Pray for guidance as you nurture your children’s vocations, remaining open to whatever the Lord reveals to you. He may not only reveal His plans for your child, but may also make more clear what His plans for you might be. And don’t be surprised if He reveals to you your many talents and reinforces your conviction in your own vocation as one of His most powerful forces on earth – to be a mother to the next generation of the Church Militant!
Copyright 2012 Cassandra Poppe