One of the most precious and beautiful challenges in life is the privilege of being a parent. Parents are the principal educators of their children. They have an overwhelming influence on the mental and physical attributes of their child/ children and an unparalleled opportunity to help shape their lifelong well-being and happiness.
Given the importance of being a parent and the challenges associated with this important role, the Family Life Units of two parish clusters – in association with the Archdiocesan Family Life Commission (AFLC) through the generosity of Republic Bank Ltd – each hosted the AFLC’s ‘Children are a Gift’ (CAG) programme.
The Santa Cruz/Bourg Mulatresse/Maracas Bay Cluster hosted a session April 28 at Mary Immaculate Queen of the Universe Parish Hall, while the Arima/Malabar Cluster held theirs May 5 at Santa Rosa House. Twenty-five parents of the First Communion candidates in Santa Cruz, and 20 parents of the Baptism candidates in Santa Rosa parish were exposed to various tools and concepts that can assist them in parenting.
Parents were kept engaged through a variety of interactive sessions which sought learning through introspection and shared experiences. The group sessions brought most to the realisation that they were not alone in the challenges they were experiencing in parenting, and that parenting demands patience, time, a disciplined mindset and management of emotional circumstances. Listening, respecting and at times putting busy schedules on hold are called for.
Parents have a responsibility to themselves as well as their children to be as whole as they can be. The opposite of wholeness is brokenness. Parents were advised to address the serious issue of their own brokenness rather than pass on unresolved issues to their children and their children’s children.
Within their groups parents engaged each other with the use of the tool and concept ‘The Total Person Windmill’. The concept allowed for them to introspect and discuss the “blades” of the windmill which are the Spiritual, Social and Intellectual Learning, Values and Virtues, and Physical aspects of life. At the centre or core is the Emotional Self.
All persons must on a regular basis review their values and lifestyle to ensure that there is an integrated mix of all aspects, and all blades are fully functional.
Parents were also reminded of the need to respect themselves as well as others and the Cardinal Virtues—Prudence, Justice, Fortitude and Temperance.
The role of the father and the importance of fathering was a critical aspect of the discussion. This session was facilitated by Richard Smith. The absent father and the negative impact on the family and child evoked many emotions among participants.
Fathers were presented with tools on how they could be influential fathers and the support which should be given to their spouses. They were exposed to the Five Healthy Fathering Styles: Elder, Companion, Champion, Mystic and Mentor.
Coming out of the CAG session in Bourg Mulatresse, some parents suggested the formation of a parent support group, and 18 parents registering for the Common Sense Parenting programme.
Upcoming CAG sessions are to be held in the Maracas Valley and Cathedral parishes.
To host the CAG programme please contact the AFLC: email@example.com, 299-1047, or visit our website: aflcrc.org, Facebook: ArchdiocesanFamilyLifeCommission, Instagram: familylifecommission