Do you know the early warning signs of a young Catholic losing his faith? I do. I’ve seen them countless times in many young people over my nearly thirty-year career in Catholic apologetics and evangelization.
Uncertainty and doubt
Giving in to difficult moral challenges and temptations
Feeling unloved or unaccepted by fellow Catholics
No doubt you’ve seen these warning signs in people you know. And maybe you’ve noticed these red flags with your own children. If so, don’t worry; I’m not here to judge you! In fact, I can help.
Here are three steps you can take to help your children:
I strongly encourage praying the family rosary. It may be a challenge at times to gather the whole family together, but the spiritual benefits of praying the rosary as a family are enormous, especially if each child is allowed to take part in reciting this beautiful prayer.
Other acts of piety such as prayer before and after meals (every meal), night prayers with devotions like the act of contrition, the prayer to Saint Michael the Archangel, etc., can strengthen young people in their faith.
Lead by example
Faith must inform the daily routine and decisions in your home. Children must see their parents as truly prayerful. Not in a showy way, but in a way they can see. Look to almighty God trustingly throughout the day and don’t be too proud to ask for help from above.
Beyond the externals of prayer and piety in the home, children need to see that Mom and Dad are imbued with the results. They need to see you live out the gifts of faith, mercy, and forgiveness.
Prepare them to face challenges
I believe very much in the practice of “inoculation.” Prepare your kids now for what they will face later. I explain to my kids what atheists believe, what skepticism and relativism are, and I seek to give them the answers to these and similar challenges. I also tell them about the errors of Protestants and how to answer their challenges right from the Bible.
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Your kids may not understand the importance of everything you tell them at the time, but when they do encounter these challenges (and they will), your efforts to prepare them ahead of time will have a good effect. They will feel confident in coming to you about other important matters, because they see you as credible and reliable, someone with knowledge and wisdom.
So, become familiar with solid Catholic resources like Immaculate Heart Radio, Catholic Answers, EWTN, Catholics Come Home, and New Advent. There’s also the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the shortened Compendium, which, in addition to your Bible, should be standard “tools of the trade” to lead your children toward heaven. Share this information with your kids.
You may also consider sending them to the Envoy Institute Apologetics Summer Camp where we teach young Catholics how to explain their Faith more intelligently, defend it more charitably, and share it more effectively. Our proven methodology is not just successful but wildly popular with Catholic parents, teens, and young adults.
The bottom line is this: Parenthood is a great and awesome responsibility given to us by God the Father. What greater joy could you have than to pass on the riches of the Catholic Faith as a permanent, priceless inheritance to your children? If they have their Catholic Faith and a true love for God, then they have everything.
Image: Parents and three children (9-17) praying and holding hands at table
Written by Patrick Madrid