Parenting in the Funnel

One way of being a way of being a sign of God to our children is to “Parent in the Funnel” .  This involves teaching our children about and setting limits for our children over time.  It also involves teaching our children about authentic freedom.  Freedom is the ability to do what one ought to do.  In fact, Blessed John Paul II, said that true freedom is doing what one wants to do when they are doing what they ought to do.  It is integrity.  It is not license.  Parenting in the Funnel involves moving your children (in a way similar to how God desires to move us) from limits and boundaries towards increasingly greater freedom that ultimately includes their setting their own limits and boundaries.  To a place where St. Augustine can say, “Love and do what you will.”  Parents, in doing this, are actually mirroring God’s move over time from limits, i.e. Thou Shalt Nots, to a New Testament fulfillment of using freedom to love God and to love our neighbor as ourselves.  The Mystery of Parenthood is at least, in part, being a sign of God to our children.  Parenting in the funnel helps us to be this sign.

Today, Freedom is often equated with license – doing whatever one wants to do.  That could not be farther from the truth as revealed in and through the Christian faith.  Freedom is for love – self-gift, it is for truth, it is for God, and it is for neighbor.  It is for someone or something.  It is not an end in itself.  We need to help our children understand this great truth in order that they can live a full, conscious, and active life that is inspired by truth and love and is inspirational to those who see them live it out.  This world needs people like this.  It needs saints.  In fact, saints show us this great truth about freedom and it’s link to one’s finding themselves through freely giving themselves even if it costs them something, even if it costs them their lives.  In this current environment of relativism where truth is defined by the individual on a subjective basis – i.e., what’s true for me may not be true for you, we need people who know that objective truth exists, that freedom is meant for seeking, finding, and following that truth and that happiness is found in using freedom for that purpose.  Parents need to embrace the great honor they’ve been given to help form their children and themselves in this frequently forgotten truth, particularly in this age of relativism.

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