In an effort to guarantee our children’s sanctity and our peace of mind, my husband and I have procured written and verbal agreements from our toddlers about their vocations. One agreed to join the Mystic Monks out in Wyoming and brew coffee for his mom. Another said that she’d love to live in a cloistered Carmelite monastery. And one son enthusiastically signed on to having us as his roommates in college. So, we’re feeling pretty good about our children’s future battles with sin and temptation–we’ve simply eliminated them with a few signatures in green crayon.
If you, however, are having scruples about our method of preparing our children for their future, Pope Saint John Paul II offers an alternative. In Familiaris Consortio, John Paul II’s encyclical on the Christian family in the modern world, he writes:
Only by praying together with their children can a father and mother—exercising their royal priesthood—penetrate the innermost depths of their children’s hearts and leave an impression that the future events in their lives will not be able to efface.
Mass, the family rosary, or even a few short, simple prayers of gratitude or intercession for others before bedtime may be far more influential in our children’s lives than we may think. When we get discouraged by things that happen in the family or from contemplating how very difficult living a Christian life might be when our little people are big, we should take John Paul II’s words to heart and keep praying with our children with conviction that it really will bless them as they’re older.
Despite the green crayons (or letting the air of the tires as they get bigger), adversity will undoubtedly find our kids. We can rest knowing that our praying with them now can sow seeds of love deeper than the trouble that might come their way in the future. (And, of course, we can always pray that they choose for themselves what we chose for them when they were two!)
Copyright 2015 Meg Matenaer.
Photo by GaborfromHungary (2010) via Morguefile.