WCR PHOTO | RAMON GONZALEZ
Educator Davis Wells says we need to listen to the small voices of children.
SHERWOOD PARK – The religious task of the parent is give witness to, rather than teach, faith.
"What the Church asks of the families is to model love," says David Wells, director of education for the Diocese of Plymouth, England. "If you want to raise healthy kids, show them your love."
Wells spoke at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church Jan. 30 as part of the parish's ongoing faith formation series.
Wells topic was Evangelization Lived in the Family. Some 700 people attended the talk. The following day, he was the featured speaker at Edmonton Catholic Schools' annual Faith Development Day.
Parents today are so busy giving what they don't have that they forget to give what they do have, he said. And what children need is understanding and love, not lessons on the faith.
We have many rules and are heavily regulated, but our children aren't. Nevertheless, we are asking our children to enter into an adult experience and to behave like adults.
We want our children to be reverent and to respect our rules, yet our Mass and our tradition are laden with adult language, adult symbolism and adult concepts.
"In the end, it's very difficult for children."
Wells said his daughter once mimicked the church with her hands, with her small fingers being the people.
What do the people say? "Shhhh," she replied, meaning the adults are always asking her to shut up.
In this world of distraction and fast paced living, it's difficult to be still and hear the small voices of our children.
We are incredibly stressed and part of our pain is our busyness. A good parish is a busy parish.
"We have built a world for ourselves in which we don't know how to do anything, except to be busy. All we do is to tell our children how busy we are."
We have to make time for our children and instead of preaching to them, "model what happens on the altar at home."
What you do as parents is to point to the eternal, Wells said. "Wait for the children's time, not ours."