Teaching the Way of Love (TWL) is a program for Catholic parents that encourages and empowers them to embrace their role as the primary educators of their children, especially in the areas of moral and personal development.

Authority

 

"...since parents have conferred life on their children, they have a most solemn obligation to educate their offspring. Hence, parents must be acknowledged as the first and foremost educators of their children. Their role as educators is so decisive that scarcely anything can compensate for their failure in it." ~Familiaris Consortio #36

Fortunately, the Catholic Church teaches that God intends authority to be a force for goodness rather than a method of control and suppression. That is the definition that this segment will break open.

American culture tends to look at authority with a skeptical eye. Those who don’t have authority appear envious of those who do have it, and those who do have authority are considered destined to abuse those without.

God is the source of all goodness. The sole purpose of His authority is our good. Thus, God’s authority forms us in goodness. When we obey God and submit to His authority, we accept the gift of His goodness and love. Our obedience makes us better persons.

Likewise, God intends human authority to result in the formation of goodness. In the case of parenting, God desires that moms and dads help their children attain what is truly good for them, especially when they are too ignorant or too weak to choose the authentic good on their own initiative.

"The Catholic Church calls parents the primary educators of their children"

It is for this reason that the Catholic Church calls parents the primary educators of their children. This title states the fact that parents are the first people from whom children learn about true goodness. Because of the intimate nature of the family, parents are constantly teaching their children, even when they are not aware of doing so. They teach and form their children in what is best for them long before they enter school or begin to be influenced by friends. Parents are the most important influences on their children’s lives because their authority is greater than that of any other person.

Some parents are afraid of using authority with their children because they are afraid of stifling their children’s freedom or of appearing abusive. This may be true if authority is based on power and control. However, parental authority should reflect God’s authority which is based on goodness. Just as we need God’s authority to direct us, children need the authority of their parents. Without parental guidance, children will struggle to achieve true goodness in their lives.

"Parents are the most important influences on their children’s lives because their authority is greater than that of
any other person."

Many benefits result from parental authority that is aligned to God’s will. First, children who live in homes where goodness is expected perceive their parents as being reasonable and fair. This means that the children are more likely to comply with requests. Secondly, children who feel goodness and love through high responsiveness are more likely to freely choose to follow their parent’s expectations. Thus, they achieve greater self-discipline and control. Finally, children raised in just and charitable homes learn how to balance individual rights with the common good. Thus, they are more respectful and community – minded.

Social science lends scientific evidence to the Catholic definition of authority. Through secular research, four common parenting styles have been identified. These four styles reflect all the possible combinations of two important elements of authority; responsiveness and demandedness. Of the four combinations, only one has been shown to lead to goodness.

Workbook

Click the link below to download the workbook for this segment. We recommend that you print off the workbook so you can fill in the "From the Video" section as you watch. It will also be easier for you to complete the discussion questions and the "Make a Plan" section with pen and paper.

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Download the Workbook for This Segment

Very Important - Please respect the integrity of the Teaching the Way of Love program by not sharing this workbook with others. Instead, encourage other people to participate in the entire Teaching the Way of Love program if you think they would benefit from this. If you would like to use this program with a group or in a parish, we have very generous options for you to do so. Please fill out the form in the side bar and we'll talk it over with you. Thank you so much for ensuring that Teaching the Way of Love can continue to bring the best parenting wisdom possible to other parents.

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