~Familiaris Consortio #65
Parenting is a journey – not a destination. The journey begins when the child is conceived or becomes a
member of your family through adoption. And the journey ends with the death of either the parent or the child. The length of time between the start and the finish is never known. What is known is that the passage will be filled with joy and trials.
Every Christian parent knows that the final destination of the parenting journey is eternal life with God in heaven. And each Christian parent also understands that the pathway to heaven is as unique as the child. We know this because the Catholic Church teaches that each person is an individual; no two persons are ever the same. The talents and virtues given by God vary in each person. It is this diversity that promises a distinctive journey for each child.
It may help to think of parenting as walking through changing environments. With one child, the course may be easy and fun. With the next, the route may be challenging and frightening. With the next, you may find yourself lost and uncertain. Thankfully, with adequate preparation, parents can successfully navigate any of these situations and surroundings.
Planning for the lifelong journey with each child requires certain understandings. First, there is the recognition that children are made in the image and likenessofGod.Thismeansthattheybearthedignity of their creator. God gave them an immortal soul that will never die. He gifted them with intelligence and reason so that they can see that the world was created to be ordered rather than chaotic. And, God gave them a free will so that they can freely choose what is right, good, true and beautiful.
Secondly, there is the understanding that children bear the effects of Original Sin. This means children will make choices that take them away from God’s love and parental approval. Sin darkens their intelligence and reason and weakens their will to choose goodness. While their baptism delivers them from Original Sin, it does not save them from its effect. Children will always have an inclination to sin. They will struggle to make Godly decisions and avoid evil. Gratefully, the grace and mercy that is made present by Christ’s death and resurrection can save children from their wrongdoings and heal the damage caused by sin.
Finally, children are not owed to their parents but rather given through the procreative action of God. They are the supreme gift given to parents within marriage. Children are persons to love, never things to be used. They are to be nurtured and formed through the loving actions of their parents.
Parents are encouraged to remember that God wants to be included in the parenting journey. He wants to walk in front to lead, at one’s side for support and at one’s back to catch those who stumble and fall. The important point to remember is that God knows the pathway that will direct the earthly passage to end with Him in heaven.
There are three constants and one important concept left to learn in this segment. The information that will be shared in the DVD will complete the Embrace Parenthood journey and lead to a deeper understanding of what it means to be the first and best educator for your children. Let’s take a closer look at ways to faithfully guide your children through life.
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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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.