Column: Parents need to parent for the sake of their children’s souls

by Jacki Corrigan

Just a few weeks ago, a special rescue mission was put into effect to restore two ladybugs that somehow had taken up residence in our house. With a soft napkin, an open door and a flutter of said napkin, we nudged them back into nature as we bid them safe journey with: “Ladybug, ladybug, fly away home.”

Sometimes even God’s creatures get off track and need a little guidance. If only life was as simple in the land of parenthood.

I stood stunned on Oct. 18. I had just heard the news that a local school board of a Portland, Maine, middle school had approved a proposal allowing birth control pills and patches to be available at the student health center. They were available upon request to girls as young as 11. It is students, not parents, who will decide if they want this imprudent help.

One proponent of this new ruling stated: “It’s not enough to depend on parents to protect their children, because there may be students who can’t discuss things with their parents.”

As parents, more than ever, we have to step up to the plate for the sake and the souls of our children. We are the ones who brought them to life in Christ; we are the ones to guide and protect them. That is our parental right and responsibility. Our children deserve nothing less than that parents who would lay down their life for their child would also lay down the guidance they need to live their heritage as children of God.

For years the battle cry of parents has often been a quest to make children “happy.” But research after research gives us a resounding answer: It isn’t things they want — it’s you. They want parents to be parents — not friends. They want parents to be the bedrock of their lives, and they yearn for more than the 11 minutes a week that a national research study shows is what parents spend with an individual child.

Teens whose parents establish house rules have better relationships with their parents — and a lower risk of smoking, drinking, and using drugs — than the typical teen.

When, in a survey of 1,280 people ages 13-24, the question was asked –  “What one thing makes them most happy?” — twenty percent said spending time with their family. And when it came to being “most happy,” 73 percent said it was their relationship with their parents.

Ninety-one percent of teens ages 15-17 who have not had sex said they were influenced by what their parents have taught them about sex.

We are the primary educators of our children. We don’t need to be given a soft napkin, an open door and instructed to fly away home and stay out of our children’s lives.

Jacki Corrigan is the archdiocesan consultant for the office of family life.

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