By: Dr. Gregory Popcak
I have adult children who have grown lukewarm to the Faith. I see the pain they are going through as a result, and I am torn that they don’t have the peace that they could have in Christ. I often feel as if I did something wrong in raising them. What more can I do for them now?
-“Where Did I Go Wrong”
Dear “Where Did I Go Wrong?”
It’s hard to escape life without racking up a few regrets. Even when we do our best, things don’t work out the way we might hope. When older children fall away from the faith, there are several things we can do, but wasting time feeling guilty isn’t one of them. That just stops us from being the effective witness God wants us to be and our kids need us to be. First, make sure to pray without ceasing. St. Augustine is one of the most well-known saints of the Church, but almost as well-known is his mother St. Monica. It was due to the persistent prayers of this faithful mother, over the course of many years, that eventually won over the heart of her pagan son. Second, ask yourself how your faith is making you a more joyful, stronger, confident, loving and charitable person. Work on specific ways to keep developing the connection between your faith and those qualities. Let your kids really see the difference your faith is making in your everyday life and relationships. Effective evangelization occurs, not by talking about the importance of faith, but by giving people the opportunity to see the faithful difference in our lives. Third, be as emotionally close to your kids as circumstances permit. Attachment isn’t just something babies need. All people crave attachment. The closer you are to your kids, the greater part you will ultimately play in their decisions over the long haul. Finally, don’t ever lecture or preach at your kids. Instead, bite your tongue and pray that the Holy Spirit would give you natural opportunities to share your faith in times when it would be well-received instead of just generating another eye-roll. For more suggestions, check out, God Help Me, These People Are Driving Me Nuts! Making Peace with Difficult People.