People of faith are called to live “in” the world, but not “of” the world. That is far easier said than lived. Each day, we are bombarded with savvy and effective marketing campaigns to convince us to purchase products which promise to fix life’s problems. Social media adds additional leverage to a highly pressurized campaign intended to shape our values and opinions. Children and youth are especially vulnerable to the trends and fads of our current culture.
Do not underestimate the pressure on your children and family to adopt cultural values–which may not be yours. We cannot isolate children and teens from the times we live, nor do we want to do so. As parents, we equip our children to know right from wrong, to have compassion for others and the inner strength to live their faith.
So once the hoopla of Mardi Gras is over, take time during the month of March to pause, breath, and listen. Take a personal inventory of the major influences on your family and prayerfully consider new patterns.
Questions might include: How is faith nurtured within your family? What draws you and your family away from the One who created you and all that exists? What values do you want for your children? How is your family exposed to those values?
The results of this inventory may be overwhelming. Remember, you are not alone. Whether or not we have an extended biological family nearby to nurture faith and teach the values of our faith tradition, we can seek out and surround ourselves with a family of faith–those who walk the walk. In doing so, your family will be able to witness: Not all victories happen on a sports field. Not all winners are rock stars with mega-money. Heroes can be found in those who face illness, death, disappointment, and setbacks, and yet their faith gives them a deep inner capacity for joy and hope–despite it all. Heroes are those who daily bloom with the fruits of God’s Spirit. These humble champions of faith show us how to live “in” the world, but not “of” the world. So, who are you listening to?