by Most Rev Peter Ingham, Bishop Emeritus, Catholic Diocese of Wollongong
Parents must not sacrifice spending time with their children in the pursuit of material wealth.
“He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse” (Malachi 4:6 NIV).
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19-21 NIV).
“What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26 NIV)
“And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man” (Luke 2:52)
I saw on the internet a story about a teacher who gave her junior primary class a writing assignment entitled “I Wish”. She was reading through them at home.
One child brought tears to her eyes and when her husband looked up from his smart phone to ask “what’s up”, his wife said, “listen to what this child wrote”:
“My parents love their smart phones very much. They care about their smart phones so much that sometimes they forget to care about me.
“When my father comes home from work tired, he has time for his smart phone, but not for me.
“When my parents are doing some important work and their phone rings, they will answer it right away, but they will not answer me, even when I’m crying.
“They play games on their phones, but not with me.
“When my parents are talking to someone on the phone, they listen, but they never listen to me, even if I am telling them something important
“My wish is that I could be a smart phone”.
At this stage the father is quite moved also and asked his wife what young person wrote this. The wife replied, “our son!” Now Dad was brought to tears.
The message surely is: let us not sacrifice our family and relationships over the pursuit of material things.
Smart phones are here to make our lives easier, but not to control us and make us addicted and unsociable.
It is not too late to return to real family life and the values that were common years ago when we didn’t have the internet and computer games.
How hard is it now going to be to put down that phone for a while and talk to our children, our spouse and our friends?
We need to set a good example for our children, because whatever we do, they will also do.
It is so important to talk face to face to the people we love and make sure they feel loved because we can receive love from them too. Our smart phone can hardly give us love.
How fortunate are children who get their faith through their families. Where they have the example of parents involved in the life of their parish and Sunday worship, where their homes have a décor that honours God, where grace is prayed before meals and there is a family Bible in the house. Where parents encourage children to treat others with respect, to be honest and not take what belongs to others, always to tell the truth, to patch up any quarrels and say we’re sorry. Parents who guide their children as puberty besets them with their hormones beginning to play ping pong with their brains
Our Christian schools should provide an atmosphere to reinforce what we should have learnt at home. The first school any of us attended was the home in which we grew up. That is where we first learned that life is not all about me but about a sharing of possessions, joys and sorrows. Family is the school of deeper humanity.
Loving God, thank You that every good and perfect gift comes from You. Help us therefore to receive our spouses and our children with love as precious gifts from You. By the inspiration of the Holy Spirit help us to establish godly homes where our marriages can blossom and where our children can flourish. Give us the wisdom we need to nurture our children and to teach them Your ways so they can come to faith at an early age. In particular may we guard our family meal times where You are always the Honoured Guest. We repent of spending so much time on our smart phones that we neglect our responsibilities as married couples and as parents. Help us to love our spouses and our children by making it a priority to invest quality and quantity time into their lives. In all we do may our families bring glory to You. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Watch Look Up www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z7dLU6fk9QY
Canberra Declaration Daily Prayer Points for October
- AWAKENING to Christ: Renewal in the Church and Revival in the Nation – with millions coming to Christ. John 3:16
- AWAKENING for Marriage: Renewal of marriages and restoration of marriage. Ephesians 5: 25 -32
- AWAKENING for Family: Renewal and healing for families. Isaiah 61:1
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