Raising Good Children

Friends in Christ, in the first reading today from the Acts of the Apostles, we see that St. Paul meets this young man named Timothy. Timothy is spoken of many times in the New Testament; he helped St. Paul a great deal, and he would lay hands on and ordain him.
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How did Timothy come to be a man of such good character? Well, we need only look at St. Paul’s 2nd Letter to Timothy. In chapter 1 he says to Timothy: ‘Your sincere faith first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded it now lives in you also.’ The good character and faith of Timothy originated in his mother and grandmother.
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We cannot underestimate the importance of good parents and grandparents in our formation. In her book, ‘How to raise good Catholic Children,’ Mary Newland gives some basic advice on raising kids. First, she says, we much teach our children to pray. A daily habit of prayer: morning, meals, bedtime – this is a must.
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Secondly, we must train children in good behavior. Some parents allow their children to act like animals; but this ruins them. Kids need discipline, they must be taught right and wrong.
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She also says, we need to make sure children feel secure. Of course secure in their parents’ love; but we should also teach them that they can trust God. Like Timothy, children need to see that our faith is unwavering, total, and loyal to Christ.
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Mass: Bring your children to Holy Mass, help them to understand and participate. There are many books for children on the Mass.
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Confession: She says it is imperative that we bring our children to regular confession. Teach them to make an examination of conscience and to know the importance of being truthful with themselves. One day they will be in college with all the temptations and sins of youth; then will be the great value of their having known Confession and the habit of ‘beginning again,’ should they fall.
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Mrs. Newland says that we should celebrate the liturgical year with our kids, and this is SO true. By this they will come to know the saints and the Mysteries of the Faith. A special treat on Feast days for example – children then will be watching the calendar and will know the Feast Days by heart.
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Finally, we must remember that all families have troubles; difficulties are part of every family. But the struggle to be faithful through it all, with Jesus, is the marvelous teacher that will yield children of good character like Timothy.

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