After greeting his good friend, Timothy, the Apostle Paul lets him know how he longs to see his “dear child” again. It’s with tears of joy that he reminisces about the tremendous faith that Timothy’s family enjoyed, beginning with Timothy’s grandmother, Eunice, his mother, Lois, and lastly the faith of Timothy himself.
What Paul was admiring and commending is the spreading of faith within the family circle. Ideally, faith is transmitted from parents to offspring. Unfortunately today there seems to be a lot of miscues in this procedure of sharing the faith. The most frequent concern I hear from parents on retreat is their frustration and sorrow because their children are no longer practicing their faith.
Why and how this happens only God knows. Ultimately, it’s the fact that God has given each of us a free will. That free will is influenced by many sources: parents, siblings, friends, enemies, relatives, teachers, pastors, police officers, books, films, magazines, TV, and a thousand other people and things.
A moment’s reflection on all these influences ought to make a parent aware of the fact that theirs is only one among many different inputs. So it really isn’t honest nor does it make sense to take the credit or the blame for the results.
First thing parents can do is to live their faith with God’s help as honestly and faithfully as possible. Another is to make certain when vocalizing their faith it is consistent with their actions. Next, try to understand and have some interest in the other sources their offspring must face. Then subtly and patiently guide their children through the snares and falsehoods in a way consistent with the faith they want to share.
After that, in daily prayer, present your sons and daughters to Jesus. Pray, reminding the Lord: “They are your children more than they are mine. I’m doing all I know how to bring them to you. Lord, it’s time you take over and produce whatever results you’ve planned. Amen!”
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