Parents should strive to educate children about contents, ideas, values and attitudes about life. He urged them to play with their children, take the time to go to Mass with them, visit a park, and remember that they can see and suffer when they argue.
Milan (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis ended his one-day pastoral visit to Milan in the city’s Meazza-San Siro Stadium where he took part in a meeting with thousands of noisy young people, overflowing with joy, songs, and colours.
In his address, he said that parents should strive to educate children about contents, ideas, values and attitudes about life. He urged them to play with their children, take the time to go to Mass with them, visit a park, and remember that they can see and suffer when they argue. He told children to listen to their grandparents and play with their friends without insulting them, keeping in mind that that was how Jesus played. He also warned against bullying.
The pontiff answered some impromptu questions from a very excited child, some parents, and a catechist. Little Davide asked Francis: “When you were our age, what helped you grow in friendship with Jesus?". Francis answered saying that his grandparents, playing with friends, the parish did.
"Grandparents have the wisdom of life and with their wisdom they can teach us how to be closer to Jesus. They [Mine] did that to me. My grandparents were the first. A piece of advice: talk to your grandparents. Talk [to them], ask them all the questions you want. Listen to your grandparents. It is important, at this time, to talk with your grandparents."
The Holy Father went on to tell the gathering of young people to examine their conscience as well. “Do you tease someone in your school, do you make fun of someone because of some flaw [they may have]? Do you like to shame or beat someone for this? This is called bullying. [. . .] For the holy sacrament of Confirmation promise the Lord that you will never bully nor ever allow it in your school or neighbourhood? Will you promise? Never tease, nor mock a friend in school or in your neighborhood. Will you promise this today?" A collective Yes roared from the 80,000 young people.
Monica and Alberto, who have three children, came next. They asked “how to pass onto our children the beauty of faith?" For the pope, “this is one of the key questions that touches our lives as parents: the transmission of faith, which also touches our lives as pastors and educators.”
“The transmission of the faith:” That is a question “I'd like to ask you. I invite you to remember the people who left an imprint on your faith and what of them remained more impressed on you. What children asked me I ask you. Who, what situations, which things have helped you grow in faith, the transmission of the faith . . . I invite you parents to imagine yourselves as children again and remember the people who helped you believe. Who helped me, me, to believe? [My] Father, mother, grandparents, a catechist, an aunt, a pastor, a neighbour, who knows! . . . We all remember in our mind but especially in our heart those who helped us believe."
"Children,” he added, “look upon us. you cannot imagine the anguish a child feels when his parents argue. [. . .] Your children’s eyes gradually store and read with the heart how faith is one of the best inheritance you received from your parents and your ancestors. They notice it. If you give faith and live it well, transmission occurs. Showing them how faith helps us move forward and face the many tragedies that we have with a confident, not pessimist attitude, is the best testimony we can give them. There is a saying, ‘words are wind, but what is sown in the memory, in the heart, remains forever."
The pontiff also noted that "In different places, many families have a very fine tradition of going to Mass together and then go to a park with their children to play together. Faith becomes a family need with other families. With friends, family friends . . . This is nice and helps live the commandment of keeping the Sabbath holy. Going to church to pray or nap during the homily is something that happens, right? But it is not only that. Afterwards, everyone plays together. For example, now that nice weather is coming, after going to Mass as a family on Sunday, it would be a good thing if you went to a park or a square to play, be 'together a bit. In my country this is called ‘dominguear’, spending Sunday together."
Lastly, in his answer to Valeria, a mom and catechist, on how to educate, Francis stressed an "education based on thinking-feeling-doing, i.e. an education with the intellect, the heart and the hands, three languages. [The goal is] to educate harmoniously with the three languages, so that young people, boys and girls, can think about what they hear and do, hear what they think and do, and do what they think and feel. The three are not separate but hang all together. Only educating the intellect is not enough: this is imparting only conceptual knowledge. This is important, but without heart and hands, it is of no use. No use. Education must be harmonious. We can also say education with content, ideas, values, and attitudes of life. Put in another way for example, [we don’t have to] educate only with concepts, ideas. No. The heart too has to grow in education, as does ‘doing’, an attitude about the way to go in life."