A Plea To Parents

This post is response to a post I read on Gabriella's blog. Her posts always lead to wonderful discussion in the combox. The post I am responding to is titled: "Who's Fault?" The post talks about how we do not hear about about the Catholic teaching on hell and purgatory from our pulpits; that much of the fault of our younger generations growing up "spiritually illiterate" is, in great part, due to our clergy.
This got me to thinking~yes we do need to hear good, strong, Catholic teaching from our priests and bishops, but I believe the teaching needs to begin at home.
Now that being said, I will say this; I am not a parent~God gave me that opportunity and I threw it back at Him. So I have no credibility as a parent. This post is not to judge or condemn anyone's parenting habits or styles. The purpose of my writing this is to beg parents to get down on their knees for their children and with their children! I know I am preaching to the choir; most if not all of you reading this, do pray for and with your children.
My credibility in writing this is more from a child's perspective. I shared some of this in my comments on Gabriella's post, but I will go into a little more depth here.
I love my parents, but I have to say in the area of faith formation, they fell terribly short. They sent my sister and I to Catholic school, they believed in God(on the surface they still do) and I am even sure that at times they probably did pray for us. My mother took us to Mass until we were old enough to decide for ourselves if we should go. But that's where it seemed to end. Growing up I remember hearing the "gospel of the world" being preached; go to school, get a good job, become independent, sex is OK as long as you love the person and protect yourself. I also heard from my Dad that maybe he should send me off to college with a prescription for the pill, from my Mom I heard, "If you come home pregnant I would take you for an abortion." Upon leaving my wedding reception, she asked me out loud if I had taken my pill.
Now in the face of good, practicing Catholics, these statements are all absurd, even scandalous! But my parents were Catholic in name only. They were living according to the world's standards.
I don't mean to paint them as horrible people, they aren't. As I said, I love them for who they are and I believe they truly meant well.
That being said, my sister and I, while somewhat successful according to the world's standards, fell far from what God had planned for us. By His grace, I sought healing and came back to Him, but along that road is a child who died because I thought I had a right to choose, and a failed marriage. My sister, whom I love dearly, quite honestly is in danger of losing her soul. (Please pray for her conversion)
Why do I tell you all of this? I believe that children learn by example. My years as a teacher has proven this. The example set by parents, I believe, are the most important. Parents are a child's first teachers. But you can't give what you do not have, none of us can. We need to draw strength from heaven; that comes through prayer and reception of the sacraments. Go to Mass as a family, pray as a family. Father Peyton was famous for saying: "The family that prays together, stays together." He was so right. Go to confession as a family. What a great example for children to see their parents humbling themselves before Almighty God! And finally, pray for your children. Make Holy Hours for them, say rosaries for them, commend them to Our Lady, and whisper prayers of blessing as they go to sleep each night. In today's world, they need all the help they can get!
Once again, I do not mean to preach; I have no right or authority to do that. I apologize if this sounds preachy. I have written this simply to give my testimony as someone raised according to the world.
I will repeat what I said at the beginning~many of you who will read this already do all that I mentioned and more, but maybe you have friends or acquaintances who could use a little "wake up call"; pass this post on to them.
As you go and live your vocation as parents, I will keep you all in my prayers; in my opinion, you have one of the toughest job descriptions to fulfill.
God Bless!

*Note: For more detail as to where I am coming from in all this, you can read my Reversion Story post. The link is at the top of my sidebar.


Colleen said…
I do not think you were preachy. I think you made a lot of good points. The parents are the first and main teachers of their children. I was not taught much as a child at all. I knew very little when I married my Catholic husband. I converted when my oldest son was 6 and my youngest was 2! They both had a great Catholic education! They went to Catholic school and we did a lot of teaching at home.
I was blessed to have become a convert early in my parenting years. My husband and I both knew we were our sons' primary teachers of the faith. And we took it seriously. I cannot emphasize enough how important this is.
Thanks for this post. God bless.
~ Judy ~ said…
Thank you so much for your thoughtful plea here Karinann...YES...you DO have credibility...for I believe, that in your remorse and journey back toward Christ from the darkness of the "gift you threw back at Him"...YOU of ALL people...now TRULY know what a GIFT and BLESSING being a parent really is...and I, for one, appreciate your thoughts on behalf of my children and children everywhere...THANK YOU...for reminding me that NOTHING is more important in this life that raising the souls that have been entrusted to my care IN THE TRUTH, with diligence, perseverance, trust, FAITH, hope, charity and LOVE...and the foundation of all of those things...IS PRAYER...prayer for our children...I will not forget your advice Karinann...and on behalf of my children...I THANK YOU.
Karinann said…
Colleen-thanks for sharing your own experience with this. I am sure the teaching and example of you and your husband had much to do with who your sons are today.
Judy- thanks as always for your kind and compassionate encouragement. I think the other reason I feel so strongly on this is because of the kids I see and hear coming through the learning center. Many times I hear kids saying that they are glad they are making confirmation because now they don't have to go to CCD any more; they see the sacrament as an exit rather an entrance to their faith. I really am afraid for them and their parents.
In any case the discussion continues over at Gabriella's. I've enjoyed following it.
Mary333 said…
I don't think you sound preachy at all and I hope many people read your post and Gabriella's. This week, my state[N.H.] is reeling over the horrific murder of a mom amd the torture of an 11-year-old little girl. You may have heard about it on the news. Four teenagers took part in this and every parent in the state wants to know why. What could make anyone do such a thing? The child survived but is still in the hospital. The details are gruesome, it was random and bragged about afterward. I wish all parents could read you and Gabriella's posts.
Mary333 said…
I forgot to add: Yes, I will pray for your sister. Could you pray for my brother? He is in the same danger.
Your child is your greatest advocate in heaven, you have made your peace with God and your child. I think you already know this. May God bless you and continue to pour his grace on you.
Karinann said…
Thank you for your kind and encouraging words and for praying for my sister; I will keep your brother in my prayers as well. Yes I did hear that horrible story. Prayers are needed there all around!
And yes I do know my daughter is my greatest advocate. I am convinced it was her prayers that brought me back to God, even when I didn't think of her.
Thanks again and God Bless!
Mary333 said…
Thanks for your prayers. Your words about your daughter are beautiful and I received
a confirmation from the Holy Spirit as I read them, so yes...I believe that she is a powerful prayer warrior. May God bless you!
JPieters said…
I think you have a ton of credibility as well! You've lived the result of a "laissez-faire" type of upbringing. I had a similar experience as well, until about age 16. But then it was a bit too late. I would say parents also need to train their children in VIRTUE. Example is huge and prayer very important; but I think children need, in today's culture, to be given practical, concrete tools for dealing with the temptations and trials that inevitably will come. I am not a parent, either; but at 36 I feel I am just beginning to learn how to live and act virtuously. Thank you and bless you!
Karinann said…
JPieters- Thanks for your encouraging words. The virtues definitely need to be taught and instilled. As for learning how to live and act virtuously- I know what you mean; sometimes I feel like my life began 7 years ago at the age of 39.
Anonymous said…
I love this post! Thank you for writing it! I agree with the others, you do have credibility. The vocation of woman includes some type of motherhood, even if not physical motherhood. You have your own experiences as a child... which counts greatly.

I, too, had a mediocre (read useless) "Catholic" upbringing and to this day I have to fight, fight, fight to embrace the things not instilled in me as a child. I am fully Catholic, believing all that the Church teaches, but I admit that I have a struggle with remembering to entrust myself to Our Lady and some other things, but thanks be to God I struggle, at least, rather than schlepping along the way I was raised.

I would only add that sometimes, parents do a decent, if imperfect, job of following your advice and still have a prodigal. God's mercy is great, prayers continue, love abounds. Thanks be to God.

And thanks to you for reminding me to persevere with the children who remain in my care.