Holy Family: Model family

Al Cariño
Reproduced with Permission

The story is told of a traveling portrait painter who stopped in a small village hoping to get some business. The town drunk - ragged, dirty and unshaved - came along. He wanted his portrait done and the artist complied. He worked painstakingly for a long time, painting not what he saw but what he envisioned beneath that disheveled exterior. Finally, he presented the painting to his customer. "That's not me," he shouted. The artist gently laid his hand on the man's shoulder and replied, "But that's the man you could be."

Raising children these days is no joke. There are just too many internal and external influences on children which are often beyond the control of parents thus preventing them to be the persons they can be.

At home, we often find both parents working because income just can not meet expenses. They leave the house early in the morning and return late and tired at night thus reducing interpersonal communication which promotes family bonding. On their part, the children are "raised" by the household help or worse, by the ubiquitous TV or video machines, watching shows or playing video games for hours on end - unsupervised. In effect, the children are unprotected from things that may harm them.

Sometimes, parents are even "forced" to temporarily part ways - to work in urban areas or worse, abroad - so that the family can have a bigger income. Because of the separation, one or both parents sometimes enter into a relationship with someone other than his or her spouse, resulting in broken families. We are all witnesses to what a broken family can do to a child.

Outside the home, there is the problem of the child going with the wrong company. Peer pressure, specially in the absence of a loving and supportive family, can easily make him try drugs which can lead to addiction which is every parents' nightmare.

Social scientists tell us that the rise of juvenile delinquency is directly proportional to parental delinquency. Because parents are God's cooperators and representatives, failing in their parenting role is failing in their first and foremost obligation to God.

As we celebrate the feast of the Holy Family (Lk. 2:41-52), let us be aware that to accomplish His plan of salvation, the Father had His Son born into a family. With this act, God sanctified the family. Knowing how the members of the Holy Family interact with each other can help parents understand their roles and responsibilities vis-a-vis their families.

Joseph

Mary

Jesus

If there is one quality that stands out in the Holy Family, it is this: each one of them is Spirit-led. The love and obedience to the Father and the love and respect for one another that dominated the Holy Family were brought about by the Spirit active in them. Thus there was joy and peace in the family.

Amidst the confusions and dislocations brought about by the modern world, there is much that parents can learn from the Holy Family if they but allow the Holy Spirit to lead them. Then their children may grow up to be the persons they can be.

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