Thursday, 3 January 2013

Off the Beaten Path: What a Catholic Parent Should Adopt with Regards to Giving Children Technology

Hello to all of you,

For those of you who are parents who are traditionally Catholic or attend the Latin Masses, or just devoutly Catholic, many of you are likely highly devoted to your families and actually practice what is desired of us by the Church with regard to our families: Making them the primary source of faith and moral education as desired in the Vatican II document Gravissimum Educationis:

"3. The Authors of Education
Since parents have given children their life, they are bound by the most serious obligation to educate their offspring and therefore must be recognized as the primary and principal educators.(11) This role in education is so important that only with difficulty can it be supplied where it is lacking. Parents are the ones who must create a family atmosphere animated by love and respect for God and man, in which the well-rounded personal and social education of children is fostered. Hence the family is the first school of the social virtues that every society needs. It is particularly in the Christian family, enriched by the grace and office of the sacrament of matrimony, that children should be taught from their early years to have a knowledge of God according to the faith received in Baptism, to worship Him, and to love their neighbor. Here, too, they find their first experience of a wholesome human society and of the Church. Finally, it is through the family that they are gradually led to a companionship with their fellowmen and with the people of God. Let parents, then, recognize the inestimable importance a truly Christian family has for the life and progress of God's own people.(12)" 

Families are the wellspring of the faith and the first encounter of your children with our Lord Jesus. What you do, will impact them down the road, and should they fall off the path to salvation, your choice to parent them in the Catholic Faith (or as true to the teachings of it as capable) can make or break your kid's prodigal return to you and our Lord.

I am also sure, that those of you who are younger, and who share my status as a Catholic "revert" to the faith after a period of laxity or falling away, are seeking what you can to ensure that you do not bestow the same legacy your parents did on you with regard to their upbringing in the faith (or lack there-of/lukewarm Catholicism) and want to properly raise responsible, faithful, Catholic children.

We can surely start with the smaller things, the practical things, like what they get their hands on, including technology. Ok, ESPECIALLY technology, as every kid now a days in our modern society gets a kiddie version of an Ipad or an Ipod or a laptop when they are young, and eventually the real thing, even in elementary school! That or they play on their parents` electronic toys. What should Catholic parents and aspiring parents to be do?

Well, this shall be a little humourous and important all at once with regard to that question! On my blog roll I read a deacon's blog, Greg Kandra, who writes on the Patheos Web portal at "The Deacon's Bench". Today, a great article came up of a parent who made a contract for their teenage son with regard to getting an Iphone for Xmas/his 13th birthday. I wholeheartedly agree this is a Catholic and awesome approach to such a device, as usually parents give this stuff freely to their kids with no boundaries. Check it out here:

I will say on a more serious note, that the last part, # 12, of the contract is something serious that every parent, current or aspiring, should be concerned about. Go read the article to see it, but what I will say is that it can have tragic consequences, as to what happened to young teenager Amanda Todd this past year. Her tragedy reflects many serious things in our society, from the lack of self-policing with regard to usage of technology, to the sexual evils rampant amongst us.

She made a critical mistake with her phone: flashing her pre-pubescent naked self and sending it to her "boyfriend", at the time, a practice by both sexes commonly termed ``sexting``. Unfortunately, what followed after the breakup was cyber-stalking, bullying, physical and internet harassment (even after changing schools,) and self-mutilation, eventually leading to two attempts at suicide with the second being sadly successful. All this should NEVER have had to happen to a young child. Even more tragic is she made a YouTube video of herself with flashcards saying who she was and what was happening to her, and yet, did anyone follow up on this or try to reach out and get her help?

Please pray for the repose of her soul and for the mercy of our Lord, Jesus upon it.

I do not know if she was Catholic, or even Christian, but suicide is a serious matter in the Church. While it does allow for possible diminishing of the responsibility on the person in the case of grave psychological disturbances, anguish, or grave fear of hardship (Catechism of the Catholic Church 2282), we cannot know the status of her soul after all she went through. However, let their be eternal justice on all those who encouraged her to kill herself, even after her first attempt to down bleach as those who voluntarily co-operate in suicide are acting contrary to the moral law (CCC 2282). This should extend to anyone who encourages another to kill themselves. May we pray for her soul, and for all those sinners who encouraged her to die and harassed her during her life and post-humously on the internet.

I do apologize for the severity of the posting near the end and I did not intend on going down that road, but it hit a nerve with me near the end. Do still consider the seriousness of everything involved with this Iphone contract and what it touches with regard to the Catholic faith.

Save that last contract point, do have a chuckle about the contract too.

Pax Tibi Christ, Julian.

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