I say that in my loudest firm police voice!
It’s the day after Thanksgiving Day and I want to scream. I listened to the news about how a 12 year old girl in Florida committed suicide after being bullied on-line by two 12 and 14 year old girls. The 14 year old posted IDGAF when she learned of the girl’s death.
I picked up my son from school later that day and he talked about a survey they did in Religion class that day. He said that only 3% of the class attended mass regularly (I told him that meant he was the only one) and half the class didn’t even believe in God!
My question in both of these situations is, where are the parents? I must have missed the part in the 10 commandments where it says that you must have Facebook account! Why is a 12 year old girl getting bullied for a year on social media with neither set of parents figuring it out? It was allegedly over a boyfriend. Why are 12 year old girls even worried about boys? We have sexualized our kids way too young and adults encourage it as being so cute. I remember watching a dance show on TV where Paula Abdulla was asking a young boy and girl between the ages of 7 and 9 years old if they were a couple. Seriously!! If I could have grabbed her through the TV I would have given her my best Fr. Sean speech.
Then there are all the grade 10’s that don’t even believe in God, let alone attend Mass. They didn’t get to that point on their own. I understand that they may start questioning the faith at that age but to have the epic failure of faith? It took time to get there. Parents, why are your kids in the Catholic school system if you don’t pass on the faith to them? Teachers, how does a kid get through 9 years of religion class and not believe in God. We are failing these children because when they have troubles like the bullying listed above, they do not know that there is a loving God to turn to.
It is important that you lead by example by attending Mass regularly (it’s one of the precepts of the church). Give your children room to make the faith their own by attending solid Catholic youth events or camps. Talk to them by having family dinners at least 5 nights a week. On holidays attend historical churches and places. It is also ok to say no to Facebook, Twitter and cell phones. Get some good parental controls on your computer if you do allow them so you can monitor inappropriate conversations (some programs will notify you if certain words are used).
Most of all don’t give up the fight to be a good father or mother. It is easier to give in to the world pressures, to have the latest greatest thing. You will thank yourself later when you are not are trying to figure out what to do with the 20 something year old living in the basement playing Grand Theft Auto 5 (over a billion dollar in sales) for 15 hours a day. Start today by being that example that your kids desperately need.