Raising Strong Yet Gentle Kids: Our Task as Parents

I came across this statement today from Toughen Up, Encourage or Both?: “As parents, it’s not our job to toughen up our children to face a cruel and heartless world. It is our job to raise children who will make the world a little less cruel and heartless.” These words sure did made me do a lot of thinking. (And I bet it will do the same thing to you now.)

So, what are we supposed to do as parents? Do we help our children toughen up and be ready to face the heartless world, or do we help them to become individuals who make the world less cruel? I say, we do both. We can do that, right? Raising strong yet gentle kids doesn’t seem like too much to ask for. Kids who are not only able to protect themselves from the harms of the world, but are also able to repel evil with kindness and overcome hatred with love.

On our own, this may be a near-to-impossible feat. But with the help of our ultimate parent, up in heaven, sure we can! I pray to God that raising strong yet gentle kids is not a unattainable feat for parents.

We Are Not Just Parents: Children of God

I came across this blog post today: “To ASK” and it inspired me to come up with this entry. Being an extra busy mother and wife the past few days, the feeling of exhaustion is starting to come over me. I found the article to be God’s reminder for me today. Reading this verse on the post made me feel like God was actually talking to me, telling me what I ought to do:

Matt 7:7-11: “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!’

God reminded me today that I am not just a parent. We are not just parents. I am a child of loving and caring God, and so are you too! And my Father in Heaven is more than willing to extend his helping hand to me, all I have to do is ask.

All Mothers Need Christ

This entry today is inspired by a line I got from a blog post titled, “Learning through Motherhood.” It says, “Motherhood is too demanding to attempt without a deep connection to Christ.”

It would be an understatement to say that being a mother is hard. Motherhood will challenge you in every possible way–physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. There are no days off in motherhood, there are no vacations, no breaks; and surely on our own, we will find ourselves feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. That is why we need Jesus more than ever in our lives. For it is only through his strength that we will be able to fulfill our duties as mothers and find lasting joy in motherhood. All mothers need Christ.

I understand that finding some alone time can be quite hard especially if your children are still young, but we really should devote some time to commune with the Lord–draw strength and inner peace from him. In Philippians 4:13 it says, “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”

King Solomon’s Wise Parenting Advice

Proverbs 22:6 is probably one of the most well known passages on the issue of child-rearing in the Bible: “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” King Solomon’s wise parenting advice affirms that for our children to grow up to become virtuous and upright individuals, parents need to guide their children in the right path and teach them the right lessons and virtues as early as possible.

Parents have been given the wonderful gift and great privilege of helping mold the lives of our children however, we are only given a fairly limited amount of time. So how can we effectively teach and train our kids in the “way they should go?” Let me share my thoughts:

1. Discover and appreciate the uniqueness of your child.
2. Live a life worthy of emulation.
3. Consider what Jesus would do when you encounter a parenting dilemma.
4. Pray for wisdom and guidance–for both you and your kids.
5. Inspire, don’t  coerce.

Read the beautiful post that inspired this entry: “Train Up A Child.” I try to take King Solomon’s wise parenting advice to heart, but it may not be for everybody. That’s okay! Do what works for you!

Surrender Your Life to God: He Knows What He is Doing

Have you read the story of Abraham being asked by God to sacrifice his only son Isaac? If you haven’t, you can find it in Genesis 22:1-13. I was inspired to re-read this story after reading a blog post this morning titled, “Being Abraham to Our Little Isaacs,”As a parent, I find this story as one of the most difficult to understand but also one of the most profound. Here, the Lord tells a father (Abraham) to sacrifice his only son (Isaac) as a burnt offering. If God said this to you, what would you do? Would you do as Abraham did and obey God? Frankly, I don’t know what to do if I was in Abraham’s shoes. It is difficult to completely surrender your life to God, even though inside we know it is right.

But as you should know now (if you read the story), God never really did allow Abraham to slaughter and sacrifice his son. And I believe God will never do such thing to any of us.

The lesson I take from this story is that we need to completely surrender our lives and the lives of our children to the Lord even in difficult times because he knows exactly what he is doing. So surrender your life to God.

The Greatest Lesson We Can Teach Our Kids

I stumbled onto this interview today: “Being A Mother.” The mother’s answer to the question: “If your children only learn one life lesson from you, what do you hope it is?” is totally worth sharing. She said, the most important lesson she would her kids to take from her is this: “Love God and love others. Those are the greatest commandments.”

Isn’t it wonderful to find parents who make it their priority to draw their kids close to God and teach them about his commandments? I truly believe that this is the greatest lesson we can teach our kids. Most parents these days spend a great deal of time and money helping their children develop their mental faculties and talents. While there is nothing wrong with this, parents must not forget how important it is for us to help our children know Christ and have a close bond with him.

However, we must keep in mind that  when it comes to teaching kids about Jesus,  most of the time what they learn is caught and not taught. This means that even if we tell them all the right things about the importance of their relationship with Christ, if our own relationship with him is faltering, our kids will unconsciously follow suit. So part of the greatest lesson we can teach our kids comes from within.

Bringing the Youth To Christ: Our Duty

There is a saying which goes, “The church is always one generation away from extinction.” I was reminded of this expression as I was reading a blog post this morning called, “Seeking the Lost: Young Life, Pope Francis and the “Villas of Misery.”

Despite all the things that are being said about the youth of today, it cannot be denied that they are the future of the Church–even the future of the world at large. For this very reason, I believe that all of members of the Catholic Church ought to seriously commit to strengthening the faith of our young people and bringing them closer to Christ. If our generation today does not give importance to the Church’s youth ministry, there may come a time when our church will cease to exist.

Yes ministering to the young people of today can be challenging, but it is a vital Christian duty that we need to fulfill. As we have been blessed with the gift of knowing Christ, we ought to give it back to the young ones who will come after us. We do this so they could also share the good news to those who will come after them when we are long gone.

Evangelism was never meant to be comfortable. Ever since the days of Jesus Christ, witnessing has always been a challenge. It is a fulfilling challenge though. May we all have the courage and the heart to pass on the truth to the young ones of today!

Raising Children as Faithful Catholics

It has been my constant prayer and yearning that my children grow to become faithful Catholics who live their lives in preparation for God’s kingdom. I know that a lot of you share this very same desire, but in this sinful world that we are living in this isn’t something that can be done without effort.

There are a lot of things we can do that can help our children develop an eternal love for and a strong relationship with Jesus Christ. We can constantly pray for and with them, take them to mass regularly, tell them of God’s love and the basic saving truths from the Bible, and open their eyes to the doctrines of the Church just to name a few. I recently read another mom’s thoughts about the most important thing we can do in Leading Our Children to the Kingdom of God. She believes that there is nothing more influential to our children than our own actions–our very own examples. I thought this was good advice for parents who want to raise good Catholics.

Unexpected Lessons We Get From Our Children

All parents are well aware that we are our children’s teachers and role models. We try to inculcate in our children’s minds and hearts the right values, teach them how to discern right from wrong as well as in inspire them to live a life that is centered in Christ. In short we are responsible for the character formation of our kids, but is the lesson giving and lesson learning meant to only be a one-way street? Certainly not!

A post titled, My Kids Keep Teaching Me How to Pray made me see that parents too can learn valuable lessons from our children. We need to take the time to listen and be in the moment when we are actually with them. Of course, we should do our best in teaching our children the right things so that they will grow up to become happy, good-hearted, and faithful individuals. However, we must not allow ourselves to get so wrapped up in all of our parenting roles and responsibilities. Missing out on great opportunities to become better individuals through our children is something parents should try to avoid.

Keeping Christ in Christmas: How You Can Help

I have posted a pretty good amount recently about keeping Christmas based on the birth of Jesus. Keeping the Christ in Christmas is an important thing to focus on obviously. I have had some conversations with my fellow blogger Janet, who writes the more parenting centered posts here. Her and I agree that when you have young children it is even harder to keep the focus of Christmas on Christ. This is because they probably go to school and have friends whose parents don’t keep that as the focus. The idea of Santa Claus and presents is much more enticing to a six year old than Jesus and the story of his birth. If you can get your children to focus on Jesus for even a little bit during the Advent and Christmas season, then you are doing a good job.

I read a story yesterday that I thought was really cool, and totally in line with the keeping Christ in Christmas line of thought. A mom bought a tree topper ornament that was Santa and turned it into Saint Nicholas instead. This decoration makeover was simple and easy, you should read about it! It was a thoughtful and really cool idea that I felt was worth sharing.