By Sophie Barcant,
BA (Psyc), B.ED
“Let your conscience be your guide” said Geppetto, in the old classic Disney movie Pinocchio.
How would your children’s conscience guide them today?
Are they comfortable with telling untruths, bending stories and gossip?
How about helping themselves to little things they want that don’t belong to them? Bartering with friends to have them do their assignments? Not to mention seeing nothing wrong with drug abuse, using porn and others’ bodies for mere sexual pleasure? All this is the ‘new normal’ of our modern culture.
How can we possibly counteract it and raise our children to live differently yet still feel like they belong and fit in? Let’s remember that ‘belonging’ is of primary importance to children, teenagers especially.
No-one ever said raising children was easy and now it seems harder than ever. We are in direct competition with the influences coming across social media. The force is competing for our precious children’s souls and minds.
Their conscience can only be their good guide if we help form those consciences. They are not formed by spending time on devices from toddlerhood.
We are the potters and their minds are the clay. It’s mainly up to us as parents and educators to primarily model proper ethics and morals and set limits with firm consistent love and acceptance and educate them as to what is true.
Spending time with them, playing games, having family discussions, eating meals together, critiquing movies and song lyrics together, these are a few other ways to contribute to forming the conscience.
The word ‘sin’ means “missing the mark” and “falling short”. “For all have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God,” said St Paul (Rom 3:23).
We have imperfect human natures and need to always strive to be better people. We need to grow to be more human as Christ came to show us to be.
Let’s face it, many of us behave in less than human ways, we are selfish and individualistic, some of us disregard human life and abuse our earth.
I am under the impression that the word ‘sin’ is rarely used in households anymore and many believe there is no such thing.
Doing examination of conscience exercises routinely can help us grow in awareness of our shortcomings so that we can take action and make resolutions to work on overcoming them.
As Catholics, we are so blessed to have been given a tool to help us in this formation of our minds and souls, that of the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
Pope Francis in his wonderful sermon on Ash Wednesday, reminded us that St Paul urges us to be reconciled to God. “We beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God” (2 Cor 5:20).
These days with subtle messages that imply that it’s OK to cheat, steal and lie, judge, criticise and blame, we and our children need such practices to sharpen the conscience.
The new normal is to live selfishly and individualistically in bubbles, seeking maximum comfort, satisfying senses as much as possible and demanding instant gratification. These ways soil our souls. They have us missing the mark.
Along with our children, let’s draw near to our merciful Heavenly Father, Jesus our friend, to repent, say sorry, and depend more on the Holy Spirit’s abundant grace and guidance through prayer and the sacraments to grow to be more Christlike.
Follow Sophie’s parenting approaches drawn from Love and Logic and Positive Discipline on www.sophiesparentingsupport.com, FB and Instagram.
Questions we can ask to help form our children’s consciences:
The questions would be more complex for teenagers.