Since parenting advice is everywhere where there is air, I often keep what goes with our family mission and vision, and toss out the rest. Here are five great parenting tips from the saints, who were once good children to admirable parents, and are outstanding children and spiritual parents of the Church. Feel free to pick and choose, but I think you’ll hold on to these gems:
1. St. Francis de Sales: “Before giving birth to St. Augustine, St. Monica offered him repeatedly to God’s Glory, and it is a good lesson for Christian women how to offer the fruit of their womb of God, Who accepts the oblations of loving hearts, and promotes the desires of such faithful mothers: witness Samuel, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Andrea di Fiesole…St. Bernar’s mother worthy of such a son, was wont to take her newborn babes in her arms to offer them to Jesus Christ, thenceforward and so entirely was her offering accepted, that all her seven children became Saints. And when children begin to use their reason, fathers and mothers should take great pains to fill their hearts with the fear of God…We learn that a good house is not reared so much by the accumulation of worldly goods, as by bringing up of children in the ways of holiness and of God; and to this end no labor or trouble must be spared, for children are the crown of their parents.”
2. Ven. Fulton Sheen: "Parents hold the place of God in the home. If they act as tyrants they will develop unconsciously anti-religious sentiments in their children. Children love approbation and can be easily cast down into despair when blamed excessively for trivial faults. With great difficulty can children ever be taught the Love and Mercy of God if His vice-regents in the home act without it and are so difficult to please. When good intentions are rated low, and children are put under the ban of dishonor, they are likely to show they are no better than their parents think they are."
3. Bl. Pope John Paul II: “With good reason, then, the Church asks during the Rite of Marriage: "Will you accept children lovingly from God, and bring them up according to the law of Christ and his Church"? …Every individual born and raised in a family constitutes a potential treasure which must be responsibly accepted, so that it will not be diminished or lost, but will rather come to an ever more mature humanity… ….Parents are the first and most important educators of their own children, and they also possess a fundamental competence in this area: they are educators because they are parents. They share their educational mission with other individuals or institutions, such as the Church and the State.”
4. St. John Bosco: “"My life experience has been that only the practice of religion can assure concord in families and the happiness of those who live in this valley of tears…Holy Scripture contains certain episodes which, revealed prematurely, may taint a child’s candor and excite his passions. A book intended for children must consider this danger and either omit or wisely cover up what could be an occasion of scandal at their tender age.”
5. Bl. Zelie Martin: “You would not believe how afraid I am, when I think of the little baby that I am awaiting. I imagine that it will be the same as with the other two, and becomes like a constant nightmare for me. I believe that the fear of it will be worse than the reality. When misfortunes happen, I must resign myself to them all right, but the apprehension is a real torture… the best thing is to abandon oneself into the hands of the good God, and to wait calmly for events, with full acceptance of His will. This is what I shall endeavor to do.”
6. Bl. Teresa of Calcutta: “Smile at each other, smile at your wife, smile at your husband, smile at your children, smile at each other -- it doesn't matter who it is -- and that will help you to grow up in greater love for each other.”
7. St. Josemaria Escriva: “The secret of married happiness lies in everyday things, not in daydreams. It lies in finding the hidden joy of coming home in the evening, in affectionate relations with their children, in the everyday work in which the whole family cooperates; in good humor in the face of difficulties that should be met with a sporting spirit; in making the best use of all the advantages that civilization offers to help us rear children, to make the house pleasant and life more simple… Finally, I would advise parents never to quarrel in front of their children. They can remind each other of this with a certain word, a look or a gesture. If they cannot avoid the argument altogether they can, at least, put it off till later when they are calmer. The family atmosphere should be one of peace between husband and wife because peace is a necessary condition for deep and effective character training. Children should see in their parents an example of dedication, sincere love, mutual help and understanding. The small trifles of daily life should not be allowed to hide from them the reality of a love that is capable of overcoming all obstacles.”
Thank you Jen for hosting 7 Quick Takes.