Friday, 6 June 2014

Honey, I set fire to the kids!

The thorny issue of how we, as parents, develop the faith of our children is one that has been well aired.

Swimming is best taught rather than left for the child to "find out for themselves"

But, it seems to me that there is still a great deal of ground to cover and that, in fact, we may not be making a very good job of it.

Now hold off from that comment for one minute....I know (we all know) many Catholic families who are making an excellent job of embedding the faith into the hearts and souls of those whom God has committed to their care but, and I am trying very hard not to be overly partisan here, I also know of many Nuchurch parents who are bodging it quite considerably and it is to this majority that my thoughts are directed.

Some parents still come up with that old chestnut from the sixties: "We want little Orlando to make the decision as to whether he follows a faith once he is old enough to discern....."

What? So you are going to let the little treasure loose on the city streets without any guidance or directives?

He can play with that can of petrol AND matches, it's all part of a personal learning experience for the little lad?  - Whoosh!

And it's not enough to play the good example card either; it is part of a child's developmental process that makes them push out the boundaries of disobedience and rebellion, just to learn where the parameters lie.

Parents have a far greater role than that.

We have the responsibility of setting our children on fire with regard to the Catholic Faith.

How do we achieve that?

Here is a twelve point guide (you may have more) and the learning process can start from year one and, no, that is not indoctrination, it's helping to ensure that your child has the capacity to gain eternal life.

Remember, we do not give our children the Faith. That is a seed of fire implanted in their soul by Almighty God.
Our role is to breathe gently on that seed and nurture it so that it becomes a flame.

Failure to do so is, in itself, a grave sin.

1. Pray together. Say morning and evening prayers with your child.
2. Say grace before meals and teach Orlando to do the same.
3. Create a shrine in a corner of your home and make it a focus point when you pray.
4. Encourage devotion to the saints, help develop a circle of saints who have a special affinity with him or her.
5. Never ever forget to bring Guardian Angels into the process, say, each day one of the GA prayers.
6. Supply an ever increasing range of books on the Faith and the Liturgy.
7. Teach from the Penny Catechism (and there is no harm in them learning it by heart despite what the leftie educationalists say).
8. Take them to Mass every Sunday and Holyday and stay in the body of the church, don't allow them to be taken off for a finger painting session by some parish liturgist.
9. Be holy yourselves as parents, role models are vital.
10. Go on pilgrimages together.
11. Don't send them to a Catholic school (unless you live close to one of the few beacons of Catholic education such as The Cardinal Vaughan School). Archbishop Fulton Sheen used to give this advice on the basis that Catholic education was in a parlous state, even in the 1970s, and that, if a child had to swim against the flow in a non Catholic environment, they would be strengthened by the experience.
12. Finally, place as much money, time and importance into evangelising them as you spend on their social activities (ballet, swimming, clog dancing, junior French, circus workshops etc)


  1. 7. Teach from the Penny Catechism (and there is no harm in them learning it by heart despite what the leftie educationalists say).

    Yes indeed!

  2. Great post! Although I haven't read it yet, several people have recommended a new book from the Sophia Institute Press called The Little Oratory: A Beginner’s Guide to Praying in the Home. A book review of it can be found on the New Liturgical Movement website: It starts: " To put it simply, this is a must-have book for parents trying to build up a genuine Catholic culture in their homes...". Sounds like you and they are singing from the same hymn book!

    1. Thanks Sarochka, I will order this book. God bless.

  3. Yes, no Catholic school; homeschooling is a must, whatever sacrifices that entails. The difference between our homeschooled kids and the public school ones is dramatic. I would suggest praying for good companions. I have done that since our kids were little and believe that to be the single most important factor in your kids becoming godly adults.

    1. Excellent point SCB...BTW, I have become an arctophile!

    2. Yes, this is something St. John Bosco always stressed - the importance of good companions for children.

      Great post Richard - thank you.

      Just one other thing I could add to your list (although it is more or less included within all your other points) is to live the liturgical year to the full in the home - the domestic Church - with all its feasts and fun celebrations.

      Kathleen (CP&S)

  4. That's good to hear, Richard! I've always been an Anglophile!