The most challenging role of parents in these modern times
LIFE'S ESSENCE - Katherine R. Oyson (The Freeman) - October 20, 2019 - 12:00am

In these modern times, raising children with values as children of God, and as good and productive members of society can be challenging. With the rat race and the demands of life, parents are thrown to the edge – how to cope up with life’s challenges, and at the same time how to raise the “seeds” that God has given to them so they can have a good harvest in the future.

Parenting is not an easy job to do with all the modern gadgets around that could undermine the relationship between parents and children. One Sunday the priest in his homily said, “The modern gadgets now, like the cell phone, can split the bond between parents and children.  Instead of talking to each other during mealtime, everybody is busy texting or talking on their cell phones. Even in their own house, parents have to text to their children when it’s already mealtime.”

The priest asked, “What’s happening to us? Our life is controlled with our cell phones. How can we raise our children with values amid these modern ‘demons’?”

The late Mother Teresa once said, “Inculcation of values and love should start in the home.  Without proper values, children might be tempted to go astray. Parents should have balance in their work and of raising their children. If parents give more priority to their work or career, then the future of our children is undermined.”

Theodore Roosevelt once said, “To educate a person in mind and not morals is to educate a menace to society.” And the Aha!Parenting website shares ways to parents on how to raise a child with great values:

• Be aware of what you’re modeling. It isn’t what you say, it’s what you do.  If you talk about honesty but lie about their age to get a cheaper ticket into an amusement park, it not only puts your child in an uncomfortable position, they learn that cheating is okay under certain circumstances.

• Help your child develop empathy. Empathy is the foundation of compassion, which is the foundation of values. Children don’t learn empathy by being told to feel it. The only way kids can learn empathy is by being treated empathically, and by watching you respond to others with compassion and kindness.

• Talk explicitly about your values and why they are important to you. What is integrity?  What is our obligation to our neighbor?  What if that neighbor doesn’t look like us?  Why is respectful behavior in a church, mosque, or synagogue important?  Helping children interpret the world is a crucial responsibility of parents.

• Talk about why you make certain decisions based on your values. Why are you voting for that candidate? In fact, why are you voting?

• Communicate faith in being “on side of the angels.”  Our children need to know that doing the right thing is not only the right thing to do, but the satisfying thing to do – to be the people we want to be. We need to believe that most people are mostly good, that crime doesn’t pay, that good conquers evil, and that it’s better to love and lost than never to have loved at all.

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