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God Can Fix Things … But Not Your Parenting

The Resurrection of Jesus from the dead is history’s greatest reminder that God can fix the worst that we can do.


And the Lord didn’t just fix things.


Instead, He made everything better by providing something that was previously unavailable—that is, the possibility of eternal life and the grace to get there.


This should be a wonderful source of consolation for many parents. After all, who hasn’t wondered at the long term effects of our parenting mistakes?


Some of us yell too much.

Some of us overload our kids with far too much responsibility.

Some of us give our kids far too little responsibility.


Yes, God can cover all of this and more with His grace (and He does!), helping each generation to become the best version of themselves often in spite of the many wounds sustained in childhood.


HOWEVER (did you notice I put that in all caps?), what God will not do is improve our parenting for us.


For many moms and dads, hearing that may be shocking.


Far too often, I encounter Christian parents who believe that their job is to expose their children to the Faith and to help them meet Jesus.


And while that is a very good goal—a necessary one actually—there is no doubt in my mind that a proper Faith formation and encounter with the living God also demands that we parents do better.


In short, we need to improve our:

  1. Lack of Know-How

  2. Human Formation

  3. Priorities

Yes, Easter has taught us that God can literally take what is dead and bring it back to life, and yet, God will not make us better parents. And I am glad He doesn’t.

Let’s take a look at each of these, one at a time.


1. Improve Your Lack of Know-How


Though the joke is as old as parenting itself, we can still recognize the truth in the statement that our children did not come with a parenting manual.


But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t better ways to parent out there. There are!

And here is the most important part: you can actually learn them.


Some ways of parenting help to relieve your stress.

Some ways improve upon your relationships with your spouse and children.

Some help to make really neat family memories that will last for a lifetime.


Find one that fits with the vision and dream that you have for your family and you will be all the better for it.


Tips. Strategies. Helpful and replicable examples. There are definitely programs and courses out there for the interested parent, and if you’re willing, you too can vastly improve how things run in your house simply by filling the knowledge gap.


God will not do this for you.


(For parents whose dream for their family includes all of the above, check out our Me & My House parenting program right here.)


2. Improve Your Human Formation


What is human formation?


It is the process by which we learn (preferably as children) how to behave in the world so that we can grow in virtue and help others to do the same.


This includes everything from good hygiene to healthy sleep habits.

It includes everything from having confident social interactions to living out the social doctrine of the Church.

It even includes cultivating that most precious virtue of charity, so that we learn to habitually live out the priority of love as Saint Paul made so abundantly clear in 1 Corinthians 13.


We all need human formation and the home is the most natural place to receive it, but if mom and dad put little to no emphasis on it, I dare say they are missing a huge opportunity.


Again, God will not simply give you a proper human formation, neither will He just suddenly impart it on your children.


You and your spouse have to choose which habits of human formation are most important to pass on to your kids, and then build on them.


Polite and well mannered children? That’s your department.

Healthy kids in mind and body? That’s your decision.


Help your kids to become the saints you know that they can be. But first start with something as simple as making their bed in the morning.


3. Improve Your Parenting Priorities


Why do you do what you do as a mother or a father?


Some are just trying to survive the most recent change in their child’s life cycle.


Others want to know that their child has a real shot to “make it” in the world.


These are not bad priorities, but I think we can do better.


Often, when I am giving presentations to parents, I like to emphasize that no matter what dream we have for our family, we all share a common but unspoken hope.


It is that peace and joy return to our homes.


Let that sink in for a moment and confirm whether it is true for you or not.


Do you believe that your family members could argue less?

Does being at home and around your kids energize you as it should or do you feel drained by the end of the day?


If you’re like me and my wife, then our top priority is to keep the peace and joy that we have carefully cultivated over the years as parents.


That’s why we have sought out books and courses on how to improve our parenting. That’s why we have doubled down on human formation (our own and those of our children).

And of course, that’s why we actively introduce our kids to Jesus throughout their lives. In short, we do what we have to in order to become better parents because we know the graces that come from the effort.


Yes, Easter has taught us that God can literally take what is dead and bring it back to life, and yet, God will not make us better parents. And I am glad He doesn’t.


After all, it’s our adventure. We ought to want to enjoy it.


A Blessed Easter from my family to yours!




in Christ,


patrick

 

Patrick Sullivan is a Catholic Speaker and the President of Evango, a Catholic Media Organization that seeks to build a culture of Catholic evangelization and missionary discipleship. Patrick travels internationally to speak at Catholic events, parenting conferences, and to lead retreats and parish renewal missions. He is the creator and host of Me & My House, the Catholic parenting program that is transforming how we minister to parents in our dioceses, parishes, and communities. Patrick lives in beautiful Barry’s Bay, Ontario with his loving wife, Kyla, and their nine children.

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