Jan 18, 2011

When vocations happen to kids

Last night, my 7 yr old daughter, "Gigi", told me that she wants to become a sister when she turns 18.  This wasn't the first time that she's mentioned it.  A year ago, she met a nun after our Saturday Confessions to whom she confided this wish.  A nun gave her a big medal as a keepsake.

My 11 yr old son, "Grumpy", also said that he wants to enter the seminary and become a priest after high school.  Of course I am overjoyed but I remain subdued because those are long and hard journeys and I want them to do it not to please me but to follow God. "It's not what you want but what God wants that is important" I repied.  "You need to find out what God wants you to do."  Then I speak about the possibility of becoming holy in different ways e.g. being married as well as giving oneself completely to the love and work of God.  I may tend to romanticize the ordained ministry and religious life unconsciously but, I keep them open to all possible callings e.g. my girls have this collection of princess story books where the ending is always finding a loving prince.

But religious life or not, I strive to prepare my children to live a life of holiness from their youth till they die.  And I do pray for my children and did mention to the Lord once that if He would want them in His service, then I would be the happiest to have my children serve Him.

A means that St. John Bosco used to promote vocations is to inculcate the love for purity.  Purity is charity lived out in the body and is manifested by modesty in attire and bearing.  It consists in chastity in thoughts, words and deeds.  The main tool that the enemy uses to destroy purity is the media.  So, we don't have cable.  And the TV antenna is not set up.  My wife has her own portable set because she gets bored;  but, we don't have a fully functioning big screen entertainment center. I made my mind up about that when I saw borderline shows at Nicklodeon.

Then, the net access is filtered for content.  But even that is not enough because when I checked my son's history, I saw web pages with borderline nudity on the side - even if the main page was about tips for an online game.  To that end, I'll move my son's PC to the living room where we can better monitor what he sees.

I also transferred him to a Catholic school this year so his peer group is somewhat pre-selected.  The others are still in public school where the kids are not so malicious yet.  But during pre-adolescence, peers become most influencial factor that is why I spend the extra cash for some extra protection or sheltering.  And there is no culture of sex in the campus. 

I also train them to practice temperance and not give in to gluttony.  They learn to "Eat to live and not live to eat."  And while they have to eat as they are growing kids, I guide them to eat slowly.  That way, they learn to rein in the impulse or drive to woof everything down without chewing.  And temperance in eating becomes transferable to self-control in other things.

Restricting him is not enough though so, we provide some healthy outlets for his energy and gregariousness.  He is with the scouts where they do a lot of outdoor stuff like campings.

Finally, the entire family is steeped into grace as we go to Confession and Communion weekly.  We also pray the Rosary and night prayers before sleeping.  That's when I give them my customary good night talk - in the manner of St. John Bosco to plant a seed of good thought based on some experience during that day followed by the monastic "great silence" where they spend the last minutes of their day thinking and listening to God.

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