By Frank J Casella
You might think that, in talking about what we as Catholic Dads learn from our children, I would share with you the lessons of patience, imagination, humor, creativity, persistence, taking risks, enthusiasm, unconditional love, blind faith, and positive attitude.
Yes, these are important, but there is more to it.
You might think that what we learn from children is a reflection of, or has to do with, the 15 Ways To Be The Man God Calls You To Be.
Yes, but there is still more to it.
Doing an online search, here are what I found as the top 12 lessons we learn from our children:
1. Be yourself 2. Just be happy 3. Skip 4. Make friends 5. Say what you mean, mean what you say 6. Smile 7. Relax… take a nap 8. Sing 9. Be fearless 10. Wonder about everything 11. Explore 12. Play.
I don’t know about you but, I am still working on some of these and, wonder if doing all of them eventually can be reality.
Read on ….
Here is some hope. If you look at the Catechism of the Catholic Church, it reads at 2228: “Parents’ respect and affection are expressed by the care and attention they devote to bringing up their young children and providing for their physical and spiritual needs. As the children grow up, the same respect and devotion lead parents to educate them in the right use of their reason and freedom.”
…. 2227: “Children in turn contribute to the growth in holiness of their parents. Each and everyone should be generous and tireless in forgiving one another for offenses, quarrels, injustices, and neglect. Mutual affection suggests this. The charity of Christ demands it.”
Does this sound familiar? I think it humanizes all that I said above.
In other words, when you look at Bishop Perry’s Virtues of a Catholic Man, the first item is that “A Catholic man has some sense of what or whom he would die for if necessary” … and the sixth item is “A Catholic man practices presence with his wife and children”.
So, what we learn from our children I think is the great responsibility, and gift, God gives us as a Father to make a direct impact on our present generation and the generations to come. As I often say, when you foster a Man in holiness, the positive adjustments he makes creates a upstanding man, husband, or father, and this impact can be felt for three generations.
The time we spend with our family should never be a second thought. It should always be our first thought. Yes we fall short at times but, we only fail when we give up.
This generation of Christians is responsible for this generation of Souls on the earth. If you are not there as Dad to teach them, they learn from the world.
Fathers are, and should be, an positive example to our children and our culture of who Jesus is. So, it should not be a burden to be a Father but, rather, a privilege to carry the torch for what Christ’ example did for us all.
As many good teachers will tell you, the positive lessons shared with our children, what they give back is way more than what we could ever give.
Frank J Casella