St. Mary of the Angels Leadership Team has designated this year to the family. This wonderful initiative will surely benefit parents and children, as well as the Church as a whole. Let us support all Catholic parents with our prayers and encouragement as they fulfill their God-given vocation toward their children.
The Greatest Gift a Parent Can Give
Parents will do anything for their children and often they do with great sacrifice. Yet it still surprises me the response I get when I ask parents: “Do you love your spouse more than your children?” Some answer: “No, that is impossible!” If that is the response I get, I reply: “Then you don’t love your children very much.”
The greatest gift a parent can give to a child is an example of love. Children learn how to love by seeing how mom loves dad and dad loves mom. They learn that their identity and dignity arises from being an incarnation of mom and dad’s love for each other. They strive to imitate that love, to love their siblings by striving to share in the love they have from their parents and between their parents. Children even learn to love God with the same kind of love they see between their parents, and they discover that God loves them just as mom loves dad and dad loves mom.
Marital love is the foundation of the family. This will be seen in how much mom enjoys being with dad and dad with mom. It is good for the children that parents have a date night to spend with each other. The two love to dance with each other, or serenade each other, or have a good laugh together.
Children learn responsive obedience by seeing how mom and dad respond to each other’s requests. If dad drops everything (especially his TV, computer, etc.) to run an errand for his wife or to help out with the dishes, then their children learn to respond quickly to whatever mom asks of them. If mom sees dad come in tired and exhausted and gets him to sit down, take of his shoes, and gets him something to eat and drink, responding to his needs without having to be asked, then their children will learn the same kind of responsiveness.
How effective parents can be in teaching their children to love their mother or father by giving them a good example. A mother can ask a child to help fold the clothes, saying lets do this for daddy. A father can ask a child to help clean the kitchen, telling the child don’t you think this will make mom really happy. “Let’s surprise dad by…” or “let’s surprise mom by…” should be an ongoing theme in every home. The child learns not only to make sacrifices and to serve out of love, but that mom really does love dad, and dad really does love mom… they are always thinking about each other!
By becoming better spouses you will be become stronger parent and learn to follow Christ by carrying your cross with joy. It truly is the greatest gift you can give to your children.