20 My child, keep your father’s commandment, and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.
21 Bind them upon your heart always; tie them around your neck.
22 When you walk, they will lead you; when you lie down, they will watch over you;
and when you awake, they will talk with you.
23 For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching a light, and the reproofs of discipline are the way of life.
An important part of being a parent is teaching our children about how to live a decent life, faith, and treating others with compassion and consideration.
Of course this does not always work out as we may hope, as our children do not always learn from our example, and because we are not always perfect teachers!
I have fallen short many times as an example of how to treat others, and to live a good life of faith. I have often shown my daughter my less attractive qualities of impatience, frustration, anger and intolerance – which (if I think about it) all seem to go hand in hand. It can add to my frustration when I try to tell her something over and over again, as a way of offering direction, and guidance, but whatever ‘wisdom’ I am trying to impart seems to fall upon deaf ears!
This frustration can lead me to losing my temper, which does not help my daughter want to listen to what I have to say, as once the yelling starts it can escalate, until no one is listening, just shouting, and any wisdom becomes lost in the fray.
Losing my temper may not be helpful, but it is understandable. As a single father, I feel a great deal of responsibility for teaching my daughter what is right, and how to be a good person in the world (and actually think I have done a decent job of this), and I can put too much pressure on myself and on her…which leads to frustration. Fortunately I have learned over the years when it is time to just ‘let it go’ at least for the time being, at least until our heads cool, and we return to a semi-rational state of mind.
Just letting things go so that I can get a hold of my temper and frustration can often help out in other situations in life, when I begin to feel myself growing upset, or even justifiably anger with someone else.
That said, it is not always easy to just ‘let it go’; learning how to do that has taken a lot of prayer and a lot of prayer and meant having to practice what I have learned throughout my life about how to treat others, and how to follow Christ in all that I do. It has not been easy to learn, but not as hard as it could have been either, because I did follow the example of others in my life, like my own parents (who were also imperfect at times but did their best) who taught me a lot about how to treat others, and the importance of faith. I also learned from my siblings and friends as they raised their children, made mistakes, but over-all did a good job of being parents.
I have learned that when things get tough it helps to go back to basics, and stick to the simple things, like following what wiser (and cooler) people have taught me, and by sticking to the command of Christ to love one another and to love God above all else. To love one another is to treat each other with respect and with compassion…even if we do not always agree on everything, and even if it is not reciprocal; for we treat others as members of our own family not for what they can do for us in return, but because it is what we are called to do as followers of Christ.
Of course we are not the only ones who are seeking to influence our children, and offer them direction; in today’s world, they can be influenced by Social Media, the music they listen to, the video-games they play, the movies and TV shows they watch, etc., there is a lot of competition out there for our kids’ hearts and minds…but our influence is still powerful and If we do our best to follow Christ in all we do, we will be teaching our children by our own example, and by giving them a direction to follow in their lives, we are shining the light of God’s love in their lives…and this light can shine through all of the confusing and often misguided messages that they receive out in the world, and eventually lead them to a path of a faith that works for them, and helps them to face the many challenges life has to offer.
And the greatest thing we can teach them is that no matter where they may journey, they will never walk alone…our love will always be with, just as the love of God is alive and active in our lives always!
Let us Pray:
Dear God, thank you for giving us clear direction in life through the scriptures and the Gospels. Help us to follow your direction to the best of our abilities, and to lead the way to a faith that works for our children, and all those around us. Let us share you’re the light of your love in the midst of our often confusing world; to show the way to those who may be feeling lost and are unsure of where to go.