POINTERS FOR TEACHING FAITH IN THE FAMILY
Don’t neglect your proper responsibility
There’s a lot to do. In the first place, be concerned that your child receives a religious education at school and takes part in the parish catechetical program. Then follow closely the education your child is receiving outside of the home, get to know it and collaborate in it from home, supporting and encouraging your child. At home, act straightforward, don’t hide or undercut your own faith. This is important for our children.
Our conduct transmits an image of God
By means of our conduct, without realizing it, we transmit an image of God to our children. A child’s experience of some parents who are authoritarian and controllers transmits the image of a God who is law-giver, ever-seeing judge and punisher. A child’s experience of some parents who are unconcerned and permissive, distant from their children, transmits the sensation of a God who is indifferent toward everything about us, a God who isn’t real. But if children live with their parents in a relationship of trust, communication and understanding, the image of a God who is Father gets interiorized in a way that is positive and enriching in their consciences.
In faith education, example is decisive
So that our children can find in their own home «models of identity»”, so that it’s not hard for them to know how someone ought to act in order to live out their faith in a way that’s healthy, joyful and responsible. Only on the basis of a life that’s coherent with faith can you speak to your children with authority. This witness of a Christian life is particularly important in the moment when your children, now adolescents or youth, go out in the world encountering other models of identity and other styles of understanding and living their life.
Not all that the parents do can guarantee a healthy faith education
It’s not enough, for example, to create habits just any old way, repeat actions mechanically, force certain conducts, impose imitation… Only if you interiorize what is experienced as something good. We learn to believe in God when in our own way we have the experience of a God who is good. Faith is learned by living it joyfully. That’s why parents teach a healthy faith when they live their faith sharing it joyfully with their children.
José Antonio Pagola, Dejar entrar en casa a Jesús, PPC, Madrid 2018, 79-80
Translator: Fr. Jay VonHandorf