A father once commented to other parents while sitting on the bleachers at a high school lacrosse game, “Who am I to say anything to my kid? I’m just the dad.” Chuckling, a mother pipes up, “I know exactly how you feel. I’m just the mom.”
At the same game, standing by the field, two dads were having another conversation. One said, “It’s so important and special to our daughters that we’re here this evening. They really need us to be present to them.” The other responded, “Present to them at the game, at home and all areas of their young lives. I’m really working on being a better father and leader of our home. I’m working hard to have the tough conversations, to pray together as a family, with my wife and each child individually.”
The other dad said, “Me too! Do you think we could hold one another accountable to keep striving in that direction?”
I want to be the second type of parent, don’t you?
If all parents only knew and understood the incredible vocation and authority they hold, not by their own power, but extended to them by God Himself as a gift and sacred duty!
In November 2015, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) released Create in Me a Clean Heart: A Pastoral Response to Pornography. While it is addressed to clergy, educators, diocesan and parish leaders, and mental health professionals, it is also addressed to parents.
Here are five things the bishops want to bring to the attention of fathers and mothers:
1. Form, protect, and guide your children
“You are the first guardians and teachers of your children and are called to be their models of chaste and fruitful love. The Church is so grateful for you who form, protect, and guide the domestic Church. As they grow up, children secure in their parents’ love for each other and for them will have a distinct advantage in navigating the challenges of the world.”
2. Teach your children the meaning of sexuality and love
“Children have the right to receive ‘an authentic education in sexuality and in love,’ which includes education in chastity. It is your great and crucial responsibility to teach your children the meaning of human sexuality, enabling them to see its beauty as an expression of total love. Even from an early age, your children can learn self-control, modesty, and respect for others from your words and actions. Education in chastity also includes doing whatever you can to protect your children from pornography and helping them to reject it and other sexual sins as they mature.”
3. Be vigilant and educate yourselves about technology
“Parents and guardians, protect your home! Be vigilant about the technology you allow into your home and be sensitive to the prevalence of sexual content in even mainstream television and film and the ease by which it comes through the Internet and mobile devices. Educate yourselves about filtering software that can assist in protecting your home.”
4. Foster openness and trust with your children
“Foster openness and trust with your children, so they know that they can come to you if they see a sexual image; by talking about it with them calmly, you can give them a healthy framework in which to interpret it.”
5. Rely on the Father’s Mercy
“The Holy Spirit is your guide as you assess the situation of each child. None of us is perfect, and parents are the first to model the mercy, especially if you face the difficult situation of a child who has seen uses of pornography. Many good families experience this; you are not alone, and the Church is here for you.”
CMGConnect Parents Helps Educate and Protect
The United States Catholic Bishops and parents of all ages are aware protecting our children has never been more challenging than it is today. Pornography, sexting, and cyberbullying are just a few of the dangers our children face online. To keep them safe, parents must know what their kids are up to on the Internet, and engage in healthy, informed conversations about online threats.
However, as a response to the Bishop’s pastoral letter and to help parents with the challenging duty before them, Catholic Mutual Group and Covenant Eyes partnered to create CMGConnect Parents.
CMGConnect Parents is a free online course that is quick and easy to use. In less than 20 minutes, parents gain knowledge and tools they need to have positive conversations with their children about sexuality and responsible use of the Internet.
Sign-up for CMGConnect Parents today and receive a free 30-day promo code to Covenant Eyes Internet Accountability and Filtering and more!