Our children are the greatest gift given to us by God as parents. As Catholics we are called to be the first teachers of the faith, and the family is the centerpiece of the domestic church. It is an important task as parents to put the needs of our children first and to teach them the importance of striving to be virtuous. In our world today and on social media, one may question: Are we teaching our kids to be superstars or saints?
When we hear the word superstar the first images that come to mind may be the Hollywood actor or actress, the movie star, the sports star, or other celebrity. Power, pleasure, and popularity come to mind when we ponder these images of those who look perfect but, their lives many times are far from perfection. Our phones, TVs, and the media bombard us with images of these “superstars” in detail several times per day making it almost impossible to ignore. Young people may tend to idolize these celebrities in terms of imitating their lives with hopes of one day becoming famous, as well.
At the same time, some parents tend to feed into these images with hopes of elevating their children to the same kind of success as celebrities. It is not uncommon to see parents “promoting their kids” on social media to propel them in the “right direction” in terms of the future. Social media posts which depict kids at extracurricular events, gatherings, and parties “display” their children as being popular, good-looking, and on the road to success. Hopes of having plenty of positive social media reactions are in the hearts of parents and kids alike as this sales-like technique of promotion is displayed for all to see. Our faith teaches us that this kind of thinking and behavior is going the wrong direction in terms of parenting and of virtue.
In comparison to the reflection above, as parents who care about our faith, we are called to direct our kids to be virtuous, modest, and Christ-like. This, of course, is far different from the idea of having the “superstar kid” who we hope goes to the best college, is the most good-looking, and becomes wealthy too. Teaching our kids to aim for sainthood involves modeling to them what is important in life, and this is living the faith. This cannot be done without the guidance of the teachings of the Church and without the Holy Spirit. In addition, a deep prayer life will be the bridge to guide parents in teaching children the value of aiming to be virtuous both in early life and throughout life. In addition, doing so leads to true happiness which cannot be found in being worldly and in having superstar status.
Reading the lives of the saints will help parents and families to understand the difference between the success of the world and of God. Decisions must be made by parents in terms of what they wish to instruct their kids in terms of the Catholic faith and the importance of the sacramental life, prayer, and in loving God above all.
Moving forward in faith
The best way to evangelize in this way in guiding our children toward goodness and not vice is in living the faith daily. Keep in mind that power, pleasure, and popularity will fade away when we meet the Lord at the end of our lives. Teaching our children, the value of time and in making good decisions each day is the way this is done. God will be with you as you walk daily with him toward sainthood and away from the facade of superstardom.