Bringing Up Children

Matthew 19: 13-15
Ez 18: 1-10,13,30-32 / Ps 51

“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
(Matthew 19: 14)

Our faith has led us to believe
That of all the gifts God has given,
Including this life that we live,
We feel His love most in our children.

Then little children were brought to Jesus for Him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked those who brought them. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” When He had placed His hands on them, He went on from there. (Matthew 19: 13-15)

Reflection

Instead of preventing the children from going to Jesus, His disciples should have tried to emulate them, as their Master had taught them in the previous chapter: “Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven” (Mt.18:3). He took the occasion to remind His obtuse followers again that “the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

In what ways do we prevent our children from going to Jesus? First of all, when we are not doing a good job at being role models of true Christian living. Like when they see us indulge ourselves in harmful substances like alcohol and tobacco, or in pornographic magazines or videos. When they hear us use foul language, especially in heated arguments with our spouse. When they see us eat like a glutton (probably why diabetes runs in the family?) Children are by nature imitative, and their earliest influences begin at home. Parents, therefore, have a great responsibility in bringing to or preventing their children from going to Jesus.

Secondly, we can also be obstacles to our children’s spiritual growth by omission, if we are not always there to discipline them and teach them at least the basic doctrines of our faith and our Lord’s Gospel values. By our teaching and example, our children can learn how to handle their emotions and temperament, and develop their self-worth. This process can take time and patience, and there are no short-cut methods. Some parents make up for their absence by being too strict in disciplining their children, which only strains all the more their relationship with them. St. Paul advises, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger. But raise your children with the training and teaching of the Lord” (Eph.6: 4).

In this age of hyper-speed communications, it is ironic that we find an ever-widening gap in effective dialogue between parents and their children. Perhaps because of economic necessity, both parents are finding less time with their children, consequently leaving them vulnerable to dangerous influences outside the home. The incidences of pre-marital sex and unwanted pregnancies becoming common occurrences in some high schools should alarm parents to be more circumspect in the formation of our Lord’s values in their children. We cannot always be there to guard our children, but their proper upbringing in our homes, our example in showing them the Christian way of life, and above all, our constant prayers for them will surely count a lot in bringing them closer to Jesus.

Lord of love and Life, protect all our children, especially those who are vulnerable to the evil influences of drugs, alcohol, and pornography. Grant that all parents may be guided by Your Holy Spirit to be vigilant and discerning in the proper upbringing of their children. Grant them the grace to be patient, strong and compassionate, O Lord, for their sake, and for Your gifts of their children. Amen.

Comments are closed.