How to Practice and Teach Love Within the Family


QUESTION:

Do you have any suggestions on bringing family together as a loving family?


This question is one of the most important questions of our time, for it is love which is missing from our world.


When God created us, He created us out of His love. We were brought into existence by His desire to love us, not vice versa. In this way, we also bring children into the world in order to love them. The question is, how do we practice and teach love within our family?


As parents, we model love to our children. If we are respectful, show kindness in our relationship, tolerance and understanding towards each other, we provide an excellent example of love to our children. From there we can specifically teach love in three primary ways:


Love of God

Love of God is the most important thing we can teach our children. We do that by having God be part of the conversations of our life; at meals, at prayer, on Sundays, etc. If we make God part of our daily life, children will adopt that experience. It is best to make God as approachable as possible, that is to say, not to force God upon them, but rather to allow God to enter their hearts naturally. Encourage your children to talk to God, that is to say, pray, so that they may learn to turn to God whenever they wish.


Love of Family

“Honor thy father and thy mother” may be the fourth commandment, but perhaps “honor thy sisters and brothers” should have been the fifth. Far too often, parents allow sibling rivalries to develop into lifelong disrespect, sometimes bordering on hatred and resentment. You must teach your children to love and respect each other by not tolerating a lack of love between them. If you start when they are young, you have a much better chance of succeeding than if you wait until they reach adolescence.


Love of Neighbor

It is often more challenging to love our neighbors than it is to love God and family. We must, however, teach our children to have a loving attitude toward our neighbors. We are not talking about staying off our next door neighbor’s lawn. Practicing charity is of preeminent importance. For example, if our neighbor is elderly, why not shovel their driveway or walkway in the snow? Or, if we volunteer at a soup kitchen or food pantry, our children will learn about hunger and poverty among our neighbors. Charity is the instrument of love among those who are in need.


To have a loving family is to love God, to love each other and to love neighbor as a family unit. Example is our best teacher. Lead your family in love, and they will respond with love.


God bless you.

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BROTHER PAUL TALKS

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