By John C. Preiss

     Today God is calling all His families to be something special. One may ask, how do we become special?  We become special when we raise our families opposite to the agenda of our society.  Parents who are heroic in the nurturing of their children will reap the benefits of Godly children.  Thus, when we think of the family we should think of it as an island of faith.  This island is filled with loving parents who act out there love by disciplining there children, setting boundaries and formation of the faith. 

     The parents are the primary educators of their children and should not rely on others.  As parents we need to understand the importance of protecting our family and providing our children with a Christian example to follow.  If as a Catholic husband and father I realize that I am truly the head of the family, in union with and support of my wife, then I must see that this family needs to fight for the preservation of Catholic values in our hearts and in the hearts of each family member.  In order to secure our Island of faith we must protect it from all outside evils.  When family life is corrupted civilization is destroyed.  The media has such a great effect on our family and human life.  The Catechism states that “parents receive the responsibility and privilege to evangelize their children.”(CC2225)  Evangelization should start in the home and then branch out to others.  Evangelization is so important and must be constant among parents and there children, because our society continues to try and take over our thoughts, feelings and opinions.  Society tries and creates a reality away from the home and away from Christianity.

                                            Effects of Technology

     Technology is amazing, who would of thought we would be talking on a telephone without a chord, or in our car.  What about the internet and the ability to communicate within minutes by email or send a picture to someone overseas. Then, we have the advancement of video games the on-screen reality they try and produce.  Are these technological advances bad?  No, if they are used for the proper reason and monitored in the home.  With these new technologies we have created a fast paced society.  Families are spending less time together.  These families lack creativity and imagination.  Their homes are filled with technological gadgets.  I was shopping in a store recently and I saw a girl about ten years old  talking on a cell-phone.  The thought came to me, What would a ten year old girl need a cell-phone for?  Her parents are creating a future problem and are oblivious to it.  I also know of a young father who enjoys playing video games in his free-time at home.  This man should be spending this time with his wife and family.  How can children respect a father who plays childish games?  Many families are not eating supper together and not sharing thoughts and discussing values.  Families are to busy and are not allowing for adequate prayer time in the home.  The children are growing up so fast in this fast paced world they are missing out on life and the value of life and the beauty of our Catholic faith.  Today, in the home everyone including the teenagers have their own vehicle to go as they please.  This world is spinning fast and taking the souls of many with it.

                                            Spirit of Prayer in the Home

     Make prayer an essential element of your family life. “The family that prays together stays together.”  Praying in the home is more than saying prayers at meals or even the family rosary.  It involves establishing a constant environment of prayer in the home, especially reflecting the liturgical year.  Devotions to the Blessed Mother and other saints are important.  If Catholicism exists in the air of the home it will be perceived to the children as a natural and normal way of life.  Restore a Sunday observance of the Sabbath day and make it a family day.   

                                            Being Creative in the Home

     What can we do to counter this fast moving world?  First the father, as head of the home needs to evaluate his family.  Have a family meeting, sit down and talk and discuss and schedule.  It is ideal for families with young children to start cultivating a Christian home with Christian ideals.  Decorate your home as Catholic with Catholic art.  Discuss the lives of the saints with your children, of course make this fun and not burdensome.  If it becomes a chore then the children will not enjoy it and not want to do this when they become parents. Sing around the home and develop a positive atmosphere.  It is important for the parents to enjoy teaching their children.  Teach your children different arts and crafts instead of spending wasteful hours playing video games and watching television.  The children can enter their crafts in a local fair or craft show and help develop their self-esteem.  Each home is different yet so much can be done to block out the effects of society.  It is important to find one’s own individual identity as a family.  A new family must realize that they are not an extension of their parent’s family.  As parents we are given a special mission to bring out the creativeness and gifts of our children.  A child may want music lessons and play piano and that may be there special gift.  Unless we slow-down our fast paced lives we will not be able to develop the full potential of each child. To develop this potential, it will take hard work from the parents and discipline to stick to the guidelines. Fathers wrestle on the floor with your little ones, mom let your little girls help bake cookies in the kitchen.  Teach them the value of authentic home life.  Parents give your children every advantage to not fall into this fast paced society.  Develop your island of faith to the fullest and each family member will reap the rewards of a happy, loving family life.

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