Society has painted an inaccurate picture of what a good dad should be. Selfish, lazy, abusive, and controlling, are common attributes we see all over TV and in the modern world. Dads are doing things to their families today that are unthinkable and despicable. These types of dads do not deserve to be called “dad.”
What Has God Called Us To Do?
Dads are called by God to be the spiritual leaders of the household. We should be raising our families to live and grow in the Catholic faith. As heads of the household, this does not mean we can do anything we want and treat our family members any way that we want. Being the spiritual leader of the household is a major honor and responsibility. Everything that we do should reflect a Christ-like image. In today’s world, we are so “busy” doing everything else that we often neglect to put our family’s spiritual well-being first. God has not called us to be a busy bee. He has called us to take up our crosses as dads and follow Him. He has called us to be faithful.
Here are 7 ways that we can guide our kids at home:
- Don’t Rely on Religious Education Classes to Teach Everything
- Go to Confession as a Family
- Teach them the Holy Rosary
- Educate them with Bible stories
- Talk about what the Catholic Church believes
- Go to Mass
Don’t Rely on Religious Education Classes To Teach Everything
Don’t get me wrong, the Catholic Church has a fantastic RE program and our kids should absolutely attend! But, we can’t expect to send them to a weekly class to get all that they need for their spiritual nourishment. Dads need to take the lead and guide their kids in everything that they do so that what they do is pleasing to God. The most important example of a spiritual life starts at home.
One of the most important things as dads is that we need to listen to our kids and respond with empathy and understanding. Sure, we need to guide our kids with directions as they are completing their homework and chores, but we also need to be a silent listener to allow our kids the comfort of confiding in their dad. Sometimes we are too quick to respond and we don’t always completely hear what our kids are trying to tell us. I am so guilty of this! We need to be slower to speak and model the importance of listening with a comforting ear. Our kids are learning so much every day in the world and we need to be able to hear about their experiences. Not all of these experiences will be positive so this will be a good opportunity to guide them in their spiritual journey to handle situations in the right way. If we don’t listen, how do we know what’s really happening in their little worlds?
Go to Confession as a Family
One of the most important sacraments in the Catholic Church is the wonderful gift of Reconciliation! Use it! Go to confession regularly! Don’t just go once a year. God has called us to ask Him for forgiveness for our sins, and we need to receive absolution. Again, this is another wake up call for me. This is an area where I think I can improve as a dad. We need to teach our kids the importance of confessing both venial and mortal sins. Confession has always been one of those things that has been hard to go to. Make it a regular occurrence and encourage your family to go. Don’t let anything hold you back from going!
Teach them the Holy Rosary
Prayer is touching the heart of God in one of the most intimate ways possible. Make learning and reciting the Rosary a daily practice in your family. What a wonderful way of contemplating on all of the major events in the life of Christ. If your kids do not have their own rosary beads, make it a habit to get them their own. There are so many tutorials online on how to pray the Rosary. Get your kids involved in learning how to recite it and get them comfortable with praying it daily. The rosary is the most powerful weapon in protecting our souls from the fires of Hell.
Educate them with Bible Stories
Our kids need to know the major stories in the Bible, along with many of the Catholic traditions that trace back to the time of Jesus. Make it a habit to pick up the Bible every night and study God’s word. There are wonderful Catholic study tools and children’s Bibles on the market, so investing in them is a very good way to run a successful Bible study at home.
Talk About What the Catholic Church Believes
We need to educate our kids on what the Catholic Church teaches and believes. Use the Catechism of the Catholic Church as your guide in educating them on the important foundations of our faith. Teaching them about the sacraments is a great place to start. Not many kids actually know what the sacraments are. Most of them don’t learn them until they are in religious education classes. Make it a point to be the leader in developing your kids’ understanding of the Catholic faith from an early age.
Go to Mass
This may seem like an obvious one, but go to Mass. Demonstrate to your kids the importance of attending weekly. Talk to them about the different parts of the Mass and encourage their participation. We are so fortunate as Catholics to receive Jesus himself in the Eucharist. Many younger kids will not understand how and why we receive His body and blood. Talk to them about it and answer any questions they may have. Get your kids in the habit of getting up and going to church on Sunday. Make it a requirement. We can’t control what our kids do when they are old enough to leave the nest, but we can control the foundation we set at an early age.
In all things that you do as a dad, don’t ever forget to be humble. Demonstrate that power, money, success or fame don’t lead to heaven. Take up your cross. Lead by example. Just because God has called you to be the head of the household doesn’t give you the right to be exempt from things. Lay the foundation of serving others first. If you teach your kids to be selfish and money hungry, what do you think will happen in the future? We need to teach our kids how to serve the hungry, the needy and the naked in our world. Giving to others is a great sign of Christ’s love. Be sensitive to what you say and what you do around your kids. Don’t just talk the talk. Walk the walk. Be a sign of Christ’s love to your family.