Last Updated: Tuesday - 01/04/2011
June 4, 2001
Men: Treat your children well
Speaker says honouring children is way to teach them to honour God
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER
EDMONTON — Catholic men should be men of integrity who love their families and lead their children by example.
That's the overriding message given to a group of men at a Catholic Men's Conference May 18-19.
The Bible says children must honour their fathers and mothers but honour does not come automatically. "You have to teach them to honour you," Robert Sungenis, president of the Virginia-based Catholic Apologetics International, told some 120 men at the conference.
"If they honour you, they will honour God. If they don't honour you, they are going to have a hard time honouring God."
Sungenis, a father of four, was the conference's keynote speaker along with Archbishop Thomas Collins and John Connelly of Radway's John Paul II Bible School. Conference organizer Maurice Beier also addressed the event at the Ramada Inn.
Teaching children to honour their father starts with the relationship a father has with his own father, said Sungenis.
"So if your father still lives, take this opportunity to improve your relationship with him because the more you do that with him the more you are going to be able to do it with your children," the apologist suggested.
Likewise, he said, "If you treated your children bad when they were kids, what do you think is going to happen when they are adults?
"To the degree you treat them well when they are children, that's the degree they are going to treat you well when they are fathers and you are grandfathers."
According to Sungenis, the kind of father you are is the kind of father your child will be to his own children.
"You see, what you do does not stop today but perpetuates itself for generations," he told the men.
In life, things do not build themselves up but deteriorate rapidly. It's the same with families, according to Sungenis. "If you don't do anything to make them better, they will deteriorate by themselves."
Fathers should study their children like they study their jobs and their hobbies. "You have to put as much time and effort into studying them as you put into your hobby," he recommended.
Sungenis said fathers must watch what their children say, what they see, what they hear, what they put in their bodies, how much sleep they get at night, even their moods for signs of what's going on in their heads.
"You must watch who he chooses as friends. You must watch their leaders. You must watch their teachers. You must watch the books they read. You must watch how they spend their money.
"You must watch how they spend their leisure time. You must watch their impulses. You must watch how they treat people. And once you can pinpoint their weaknesses you can deal with them and curb those portholes of entry that Satan is looking for."
Some kids succumb to peer pressure easily because they are not their own individual. "And that's the key to you fathers because you want your kids to have their own individuality and their own identity," Sungenis said.
Connelly called on the men to become men of prayer and to put Jesus at the centre of their lives in order to have successful family lives.
"We need a saviour because we mess things up," he said. "Prayer is the vehicle though which we come to know him."
Connelly also urged the men to forgive through Jesus the "mothers and fathers who have failed us" and challenged them to spend to spend a holy hour with God everyday.
Beier, the conference organizer, urged men to form and join small men's groups at the parish and community level.
"I believe this is an essential ministry," he said. "When you see the breakdown in family and society you know something has to be done.
Gerard Deverdenne, a father of five from Stony Plain, said the conference gave him a lot to think about.
"I realize I have to be more patient with my wife and children. I would like to develop a better relationship with them and at the same time establish a better relationship with God."
Stephen Murphy, a 29-year-old father of two, decided to attend the conference after seeing an ad in the WCR. "I guess I thought I needed at this point to learn how to take care of my family," he said.
"Now I realize I need to have a closer relationship with God in order to teach my children," he said. "I have to integrate faith into life and lead my children by example."
Bob Pelletier, a father of two from Legal, said the conference "will get me closer to Jesus. And being closer to Jesus will automatically make me a better person. And being a better person will make me a better, more understanding father and husband."
Copyright © 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 -- Western Catholic Reporter
Our mission: To serve our readers by bringing the Gospel to bear on current issues in the Church and in secular culture through accurate news coverage and reflective commentary.