Saint Josemaria
Quotations from Saint Josemaria

Raising children

Tags: Charity, Education, Patience
“From very early on, children are pitiless witnesses of their parents’ lives. You don’t realize it, but they judge everything, and sometimes judge you badly. So everything that goes on in your home has a good or bad effect on your children. Try to help them with your own good example. Try not to hide your piety from them. Try to be clean in your behavior. Then they’ll learn, and they’ll be the crown of your maturity and old age. You’re like an open book to them.”
(Pozoalbero, Jerez, Spain, November 12, 1972)

Trust your children even when they lie
“Help your children to learn to evaluate their own actions before God. Give them supernatural reasons to work out, so that they feel responsible, and never show them any mistrust. It’s better to let them deceive you once or twice than to destroy the love and unity they have with you.”
(Guadalaviar, Valencia, Spain, November 17, 1972)

Personalized upbringing
“You should administer your children’s freedom according to their age. You can’t treat them all the same. Justice means treating different children differently, but in such a way that they aren’t jealous of each other. They are different in age, character, health, intellect… So with your help they’ll learn to be equal and love each other very much, to behave well, to have their parents’ virtues, and to be good children of Our Blessed Lady.”
(Guadalaviar, Valencia, Spain, November 17, 1972)

Make friends with your children, and trust them
“Do this with your children. Don’t let them realize that you know they fooled you once or twice. Understand them, forgive them. After all, didn’t you and I do the same to our Lord, and then returned to him? Let them realize you’re their best friend, so that nobody loves them as much as their Mom and Dad. You’ll see how proud your children are of that! But don’t expect them to be saints from top to toe. There are no saints on this earth.”
(El Prado, Madrid, Spain, November 18, 1972)

Raising children takes both of you
“You mothers are natural born teachers. What’s more, don’t forget you have the grace of state. But as mothers, the first people you have to teach are your husbands. Because they’re a bit passive – don’t worry, they’re not listening! – and they leave the children to you, as though children were not an important job. Your husbands go off on their own business, and often leave you at home, to raise the children yourselves. That’s all wrong! Raising children takes both of you!”
(Tabancura, Santiago, Chile, 5 July 1974)

Practicing patience
“I advise you to keep calm with your children, don’t smack them for no reason. If you do, they get mad, you get upset, you suffer because you really love them, and in the end you have to get over your bad temper anyway. Have a little patience. Tell them off when you’re no longer upset, and just between the two of you. Don’t scold one of them in front of the rest. Talk to them, reason with them a little, so they realize that they should behave differently to please God.”
(Bell-lloc del Pla, Gerona, Spain, November 24, 1972)

Educate your children in sobriety
“Don’t give your children unbridled freedom to do as they please, but respect them. Don’t be overly generous with money, because in general you give your children too much money. Later on you can give them much more. They need to learn to live with sobriety, to lead an austere life – meaning a Christian life. It’s difficult, but you need to have courage, to be brave enough to educate your children in austerity. Otherwise you’ll get nowhere.”
(Castelldaura, Barcelona, Spain, November 28, 1972)

“Too much of the wrong sort of affection makes your children bourgeois. When it isn’t Dad, it’s Mom. And if not, it’s Grandma. And sometimes all three, each keeping it a secret from the others. With those three secrets, your children can lose their souls. Decide together on how much money you’ll give them. Don’t be miserly with your children, but keep in mind what each of them needs, what each can manage with, how much self-control each of them has. Don’t ever give them a lot of money until they can earn it for themselves.”
(IESE, Barcelona, Spain, November 27, 1972)

Teach them how to pray
“Your wife and you are the best instruments God can use to train your children in habits of piety. I’m sure you remember the prayers you learned from your mother’s lips. I’m not embarrassed to admit that, every morning and every night, I still say the vocal prayers that she and my father taught me – a few short, devout prayers.”
(Tajamar, Madrid, Spain, October 28, 1972)

“If you help them with your own example, receiving the Sacraments frequently and having devotion to our Blessed Lady, your children will go along the right path. The answer is in your own hands, because your children – even the ones who still seem tiny – are not so little, and from the age of two, they begin to be witnesses of your lives. They are cruel, inexorable little judges – how can they understand at that age that God our Lord is the only one who has the right to judge people? Children judge everything that happens before their eyes. So if they see that you are devout and honest, if they see you don’t quarrel, if they see that you have great love for the Mother of God, who is also our Mother; if they see that you struggle against your faults and try to be good Christians, then they’ll start to admire you. Like that you’re already training them.”
(Brafa, Barcelona, Spain, November 22, 1972)

Teaching children about the origin of life
“Dads should make real friends with their sons. You have to make friends with them, otherwise the time will come when if Dad doesn’t talk to them, then out of curiosity, partly healthy and partly unhealthy, they’ll ask someone else about the origins of life. And if they ask the wrong person, they’ll be told in a way that makes them look at their parents in disgust. But if you have been good friends with them ever since they were very small, and you realize the time is right, and, after invoking our Lord’s help, you tell them how life begins in an honest, clean way, then your son will go and give his Mom a hug for being so good, and will kiss you too and say, ‘How good God is for giving my Mom and Dad a share in His creative power!’ He won’t actually say it in those words, because he can’t, but that’s how he’ll feel. And he’ll know that your love is not something dirty, but something holy.”
(Enxomil, Oporto, Portugal, October 31, 1972)

Teen years
“They shouldn’t be scared of you. They need to know that you were rebellious too at their age. Let’s be honest. Hands up anyone who didn’t give his parents any trouble… Nobody can raise his hand! It’s only fair that your kids make you suffer a bit too. So one day you should get hold of the rebellious one, take him out, give him something nice, and tell him, ‘You know, when I was your age I gave your Grandad and Grandma a hard time. I did this and that to them, and they forgave me right away. And now I’m really sorry I treated them so badly – it’s a shame!’ He’ll understand, he’ll realize you’re able to understand him, forgive him, and love him, with all his bad points. With all his bad points! He’ll improve little by little. Who could be a better personal trainer than a father or a mother? If you’re good Christians, your teaching role is terrific.
Treat them like you wish you’d been treated at that age. Above all, trust them absolutely. It’s better for them to fool you once or twice than feel that you don’t love them enough or that you don’t trust them. Let them fool you a few times, it doesn’t matter!”
(Enxomil, Oporto, Portugal, October 31, 1972)