Wednesday, April 01, 2015

New evangelization and fathers

This is a little late for a reflection on Father's day (which was on St. Joseph's day here in Portugal), but I have been thinking a lot about fathers in the last few months. I was fascinated by the statistic that a family is far more likely to become Christian if the father does, and not if the mother or child does:

It makes sense to me that new evangelization should focus on fathers and the formation of Christian men. And fathers are sooooo important in the lives of their children (statistics here and here). Men need other men to model manhood for them, to be peers and to be friends to open up to. And of course the man (John 19:5) to be the ultimate model.

However, I think men also need good women to be good men. Women are much more powerful than they think, especially in these "hidden", "back office", influential ways. I've heard that the most vulnerable time in a person's life is when they're dating, when they are most likely to change. How important it is for young women to be virtuous, know what they want and "guide"... patiently... young men during dating? Priceless. I really think it's the woman that calls the shots during dating.

And during marriage I think things change a bit. But my husband's happiness and holiness is directly related to mine. And back to fatherhood... for a man to be able to be a good father I definitely think he needs a good mother. Which means a mother who doesn't become possessive or needy with her children and lets the father have as active a role as possible. A mother who doesn't put the kids above her husband and doesn't create unnecessary jealousy. A mother who models love and affection towards the father, and lets the children know who the couple really is.

I am really thankful to have a very sweet father who loves me, here on earth... and in heaven too of course. And I am really thankful to have a husband who is an excellent father. I want to really make an effort to "set up" occasions for their bonding and relationship, and be more of a "back office" mother. I think that will make me a better mother.

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