Dear parents and children, dear families:
The Gospel [Matthew 24:37-44] calls us to “watch”, for “if the householder had known … he would have watched and would not have let his house be broken into”. This is the call that I repeat to you. Watch! Do not let the precious values of faithful married live and family life be taken away from you. Do not reject them, or think that there is some other better prospect for happiness and human fulfillment.
Pope John Paul II, November 30, 1986
It is not the current president or the future president who has the most influence on your children and their lives, it is you. The Church teaches that the family is the basic cell of society, and as such your family has an important impact on society. Parish, neighborhood, schools, city – your family is the foundation of all these communities whose role is, in turn, to support you and not replace you. We can go on the offensive and work to reverse all sorts of negative trends, at least within our own families and within our sphere of influence.
Like the householder in the gospel, parents need to watch and intentionally protect their family values; we cannot trust other groups to do this for us. This is the foundation of our Family Challenge theme this year at Church of Saint Paul.
This month we’re focusing on enriching and protecting family meal times. It’s fast becoming the “new normal” to eat separately, on the run, or while each person focuses on their individual device. Pope Francis has some strong words about this trend:
“A family that almost never eats together, or that never speaks at the table but looks at the television or the smartphone, is hardly a family.”
“When children at the table are attached to the computer or the phone and don’t listen to each other, this is not a family!”
Are you great at family meals? Do you almost never have family meals? No matter where your starting point is, you can probably do something to strengthen this area. Our suggestions are below, but we know you have lots of other ideas.
- Screen-free meal times (No television, phones, etc.)
- Dinner all together at the table
- Invite someone to share your meal
- Involve the whole family in meal preparation and/or clean-up.
We challenge you to pick something doable and get started!
You can find our October Family Challenge cards here: october-family-challenge