But what about the children’s souls?

If you had to pick the single most important duty as a parent, what would it be? Your children’s health and well being? Your children’s education and cultivating their natural talents? 

In the midst of the secularization of our society, much time and energy has been spent obsessing over how we can send our children out into this world as paragons of human health and superior scholastic achievement. But the question must be asked: are they good people? 

This mentality pervades our thinking as parents from the moment we realize we are pregnant. How many times have we said, “as long as the baby is healthy?” When our children our older, we tend to brag about their good grades or athletic abilities with no mention of whether we are raising people of integrity or not.

As we wage these Mommy Wars, bickering over the minutia of raising children, we put the health and well-being of our children on a pedestal and ignore all else. We think of our children as our extremely fragile and valuable property as opposed to eternal souls, and human beings.  Because if our only duty to our children is their health and well being, then formula feeding when you could be breastfeeding is a crime against motherhood, and no leeway can be permitted.  If our only concern is that this fragile property cannot be exposed to even the slightest risk of SIDS, then we should place them on pallets made of rock, with not a comfort item to be found. Under this strict parenting philosophy, there is no room for treating them like human beings who would like to sleep in at least a modicum of comfort just like anyone else, and weigh the risks of benefits of their sleeping arrangements starting with that basic principle. 

Ask yourself if you would be more concerned if you found out your babysitter were feeding your children McDonald’s every day or if you found out your child was falsely accusing other children of hitting her every day in order to watch with glee as they got in trouble. As your children grow older, if they were asked which of their accomplishments they thought their parents were most proud, would their response have anything to do with their spiritual triumphs? 

We should express our love for our children by providing for their physical and spiritual needs. We should begin by living out our faith ourselves and make their very first role models good ones. We should not only attend to their basic physical needs (which is simple) but also respect them as human beings with eternal souls (which is more difficult). The greatest gift we can give our children isn’t the gift of health or education (although don’t get me wrong, those things are obviously important). We could release them into the wild perfectly healthy and erudite but also an unrepentant mass murderer. The greatest gift we can give to our children is the gift of faith.  And incidentally, raising a saintly person is also the greatest gift you can give the world. Just ask the countless orphans in India Mother Teresa cared for or the prisoner from Auschwitz whose life was spared because Father Maximilian Kolbe offered his own life in exchange for the prisoner’s. 

Photo Cred: William-Adolphe Bouguereau, Pietà, Wikimedia Commons 

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About sylcell

Wife, mom of four girls, Catholic, insatiable sweet tooth
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11 Responses to But what about the children’s souls?

  1. Kim Johnston says:

    Exactly. Because Jacob and I aren’t Catholic, we don’t have a godparent situation. We have really been struggling with who we would leave our children with if something happened to us. My parents are already in their late 50’s, my brother is enjoying his 20’s WAY too much, and my best friend doesn’t make God a big enough priority. I can only assume God knows we don’t have anyone to leave our children with so he’s going to keep us safe. As I explained to my bff, NOTHING is more important to me and to God than my children’s spiritual well being. I am here to teach them about Jesus. Everything else is secondary.

    Liked by 1 person

    • sylcell says:

      YES! Catholic godparents are for spiritual guidance and not necessarily the guardians if something happens to the parents, but they can be. My parents are the same age as yours, but our wills say that my parents will be the guardians if something happens to us now. And we are going to amend our wills if something happens in the future and my parents aren’t able to care for our children. Luckily, I have three Catholic and married siblings, so we have plenty of options (if they agree to it, of course). I totally agree with you, it is of the utmost importance to me that my children are raised Catholic. You guys should hire a lawyer to do your wills! (Shameless lawyer plug 😂😂). You don’t want to die without one and some judge who doesn’t know your family gets to decide where your children will go and will place them in foster care while he/she decides. Some judges are CRAZY!

      Like

  2. dsudatta says:

    Thank you so much for writing this. This is something I think about all the time.
    Yes, you’re right. I would be more concerned too, if my child was lying, than if they were not getting straight A’s(of course, they need to try their best).
    I believe this world can be changed by parents raising their children right, and raising them to be good and righteous people should be the number one priority.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sara says:

    YES YES YES! We were just talking about this at dinner tonight.
    K reminds me every day how smart she is and I’m constantly wondering if she’s getting enough food in her lanky little body. But more importantly I wonder (and pray to know) what exactly I can do to ensure she grows up to be a kind, loving, God-fearing person? How can I inspire her to think of others above herself? How can I ensure she not only memorizes her prayers and bible verses but turns to them for guidance and lives by their words? It seems like a near impossible feat to raise saints, especially with the devastating state of the world they are growing up in, but I totally agree it should be our main goal as Christian parents. Well said, as usual, my friend!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Tracy says:

    Well said

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Mary says:

    True! So true about people raised to be saintly and the good they do in the world.

    Liked by 1 person

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