Once you’ve made the monumental decisions to get married and to have a baby — and once you’ve decorated the nursery and taken the childbirth class — you’re all done, right? Time for smooth sailing. Or not. Parenting is an amazing and sometimes overwhelming endeavor. Fortunately, the Church has lots of wisdom to offer. We share some of that wisdom in Chapter 10 of The Four Keys to Everlasting Love: How Your Catholic Marriage Can Bring You Joy for a Lifetime. Please get your copy, read along, and join in the discussion with the 4 Keys Online Book Club on Facebook. FOR A PRINTER-FRIENDLY VERSION OF THE WORKSHEET, CLICK HERE.
Turning Children into Adults:
Forming Your Children’s Bodies, Minds, and Souls in Christ
There is no greater responsibility than parenting well. Our children are God’s gifts to us, and they will shape the world of the future. We are called to nurture our children’s bodies, minds, and souls, forming them in Christ. “If we are like pencils in the hands of God, as Mother Teresa said, then each of our children is a sketch destined to become a masterpiece,” say Manny and Karee say in Chapter Ten of The Four Keys.
Parenting requires courage, commitment, thorough preparation, and often sacrifice. In the early years, we help our children learn to eat, walk, talk, and even go to the bathroom, In the school years, we help our children discover their unique talents and discern the path that God wants them to follow in adulthood. And for their whole lives, they can still turn to us for advice on choosing between right and wrong. In the process, our children often inspire us to improve ourselves for their sake and become better than we are.
In addition to discussing children’s physical, intellectual, and moral formation, Chapter Ten also gives tips on:
- developing a unified parenting style even if it’s not what every other parent on the playground picks
- avoiding the trap of emphasizing intellectual development at the expense of moral development
- educating your children in the virtues of anti-materialism and modesty
- protecting your children from the possibility of abuse
You can use the following conversation starters to get a discussion going between yourselves or in a small group. If it helps, think it over on your own time, take it to prayer, and jot down your answers before talking about them.
1. Thinking back to how your parents raised you, what would you like to imitate? What would you like to do differently?
2. How do you plan to educate your children (public school, Catholic school, or homeschool)?
3. Who are your favorite parent models — people whose approach to parenting you most admire and would most like to imitate?
4. What are the biggest goals or dreams you have for your children?