I recently attended a youth ministry workshop on STRONG CATHOLIC FAMILIES. The presenter shared materials and findings based off of a National Study of American teenagers from Dr. Christian Smith at Notre Dame University. Some of the conclusions were:
- Only 12% of families pray together.
- The average couple only spends 4 minutes of uninterrupted time together a day.
- 71% of Jr. High and 61% of high school youth have never attended a religious retreat, rally, conference or mission trip.
So this all begs the question: What are your hopes and dreams for your children? Is their Salvation one of them? If so, how are you helping them to live for heaven? As Catholics we don’t always use the word “Salvation.” We fear using it because it means we need to stop thinking about the world of today and start living for His Kingdom. So when Sunday Mass is not a priority due to sports, kids learn that sports matters more than Church. When God is not thanked before eating a meal in public or at home, kids learn that food matters more than patience and faith. When kids are sent to Catholic schools but don’t see their parents living out the morals and values that are being taught at the school, they learn to rebel against the “old ways” of the Church.
This message is not one of condemnation, unfair expectations for parents, or “another thing to stress and think about.” Rather, this is a message of hope. Because that same study found that:
- The vast majority of U.S. teens are not alienated or rebellious… Most are quite content to follow their parents’ footsteps (as seen in political affiliations as well).
- When asked if they could change anything about their family situation, 66% of teens said they’d be willing to give up a weeknight activity if it meant they could have dinner with their family.
- The single most important influence on the religious and spiritual lives of adolescents is their parents.
As youth ministers and Core Members, our desire is to work WITH parents in helping teens know and love God. Your children (and you) are created for heaven; together we can help them become saints!
For more on this study, please visit: