First Responders

When we hear the phrase “first responders,” of whom do we first think?

Police, paramedics, firefighters, to be sure, come to mind.

However, our children are the first responders to events in their life!

And who are the first teachers in their life — their parents?

In the prayer over the parents in the Roman Catholic rite of infant Baptism, the celebrant prays, to the effect “May these be the first teachers of their children in the ways of faith, may they be the best of teachers, by what they say and do.”

Thus, children learn first from parents, by observation of parents’ actions and then by their words.

Happily and sadly, we parents and grandparents know the truth of that statement!

A child without values is at the mercy of everybody else’s values.

Peer pressure would be less effective if our children were taught to hold on to their own values and respect their own opinions.

Having others exercise too much influence over them is downright dangerous!

And let not just teach our kids, solicit their opinions – and respect them.

Home is where children learn to practice expressing how they feel; and if we’ve laid the right foundation, we have nothing to worry about.

We simply need to guide them in forming the right opinions; first by our actions and then by our words.

Later in life, when they chose to make good decisions, these will be based on good values, formed over the years, first starting at home!

If we don’t, they won’t learn to think for themselves or face life with confidence.

Moses told the Israelites: ‘Think constantly about these commandments…teach them to your children…talk about them when you are at home…out for a walk…at bedtime and the first thing in the morning’ (Deuteronomy 6:6-7).

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