Every child born on this earth is a gift of love, that is shared by the parents. God entrusts this gift to the parents, so that they may forge the children in character, personality and in faith, besides providing for their physical health. Passing on faith to the children is necessary, since it truly gives meaning to life.
This responsibility does not merely entail teaching the doctrines of faith through Catechism or Religious Education, but also it involves transmitting the life of faith by word and personal testimony. When the children see their parents practicing their faith, they are more convinced to follow their foot-steps. I am very pleased to see that some parents bring the children with them regularly to the Church, help them recite the prayers and to sing the songs. It was thanks to my parents, who were daily communicants, I understood the importance of the Eucharist for my life and took the firm step to become a priest.
Even though the family may be the nurturing ground of faith, in reality, the environment, in which the young people, especially teenagers, socialize may cause a crisis of faith due to the social-pressure. Friends, either in paganized or atheistic environment or friends who ridicule for religious convictions may be the reasons for such crisis. Such crisis may become serious hurdles in the life of the teenagers. Hence, it is prudent that the parents guide their children, at the initial stage, either by their friendly discussion or by getting necessary help through Catholic media or from any spiritual counsellor.
Let me suggest some practical ways in which the parents could create an atmosphere of faith: Saying grace at meals, teaching to recite the Rosary or reciting it together with the children, giving opportunity to learn their faith in Religious Education, providing opportunity to participate in the Holy Mass on Sundays and Holy Days. Thus, children could be helped to understand the importance of the Eucharist and to experience periodically God’s mercy through the Sacrament of Confession. Let the parents provide the fertilizer and water for the seed of faith to grow and bear fruit in life of their children.
May God bless you
Fr. Arul Joseph V.