Parents, remember that it is your primary duty and responsibility to bring up your children. Children are sacred treasures entrusted to you by God. Know you that these children have been entrusted in your hands, to be purified with the most precious blood of the Lord, to be trained up in His service and to be returned to Him on the judgment day. If any of the children is lost to hell, because of your fault, what a big hindrance will it be for your salvation! Origen records that on the last judgment day, God will ask of the parents who are lost because of their children a justification of all the activities of those children. If you desire your children to be good and helpful to you in your old age, take care that you give them training as good Christians when they are young. When they are young, if they do not fear and love God, later they will not respect or love their parents. Parents should frequently commend their children to the protection of the Holy Family and pray for them often. God will listen to mother’s petition as that of the child.
Teach them to call on Jesus, Mary and Joseph, as soon as they are grown up enough to understand. Show them their pictures and teach them to honour and love them by helping the children to kiss them. Teach them the ‘Our Father’ and ‘Hail Mary’, the ‘Angelus’ and other small prayers as soon as they can lisp out these prayers. How commendable it is to nourish the souls of your children also as you bring them up in the physical plane!
Saint Kuriakose Elias of the Holy Family Chavara
Testament of a Loving Father, 1868
Chavara, K, Pathaplackal, T 2014, Testament of a Loving Father, translated from Malayalam by Calzolari, E, Chavara Central Secretariat, Chavara Hills, Kochi.