Children need to have a relationship with Jesus

By  Dorothy Pilarski
  • June 17, 2010

Jesus and childrenOn an evangelical television program some time ago, a married couple who had remarried after being divorced for five years shared their story. While I really enjoyed it, one thing the woman said really bugged me.

Their marriage had failed because she had an affair (or two), didn’t show any remorse and was caught repeatedly lying. When she was asked about her faith journey she said: “I was raised a Catholic, and as Catholics we are not taught that Jesus Christ wants to have a personal relationship with us. It wasn’t until I started having a personal relationship with Jesus (as taught to her by evangelicals) that I started to realize that Jesus cared about me and what I did and thought personally.”

My initial response to that comment was anger, then a question popped into my head. The woman was blaming the Catholic Church for not teaching her to have a personal relationship with Jesus, but why was she not sharing the blame with her parents? Whose duty is it to teach our children the importance of having a  relationship with Jesus? More than one pope has said parents are the primary educators of children and have a responsibility to pass down the precepts of the faith.

As parents, we need to think about that. Do our children know that Jesus wants to have a personal relationship with them? Do they know that Jesus loves each of them individually and personally and that He has a special plan for their lives? Have we taught our children how to have a personal relationship with Him?

The question then becomes how to lead our children to Jesus? What characterizes a personal relationship anyway?

One way to answer those questions might be to examine our relationships with friends and family and compare them to our relationship with Him.  A starting place with children might be to look at some things we do in relationships:

• We talk to one another. Jesus wants you to talk to Him in prayer.

• We hang out. Jesus wants to always be near you.

• We ask each other for advice. Jesus wants you to turn to Him for help.

• We say we’re sorry. Jesus wants you to say sorry at confession.

• We say thank you. Jesus wants you to give thanks for daily blessings.

• We have meals together. Jesus invites you to the divine banquet, Mass.

• We share stories. Jesus wants to share the Bible story.

• We exchange gifts. Jesus wants you to give time and talent through volunteering.

• We go to each others houses. Jesus wants you to visit His house, church.

• We do favours for our friends. Jesus asks you to make sacrifices for Him.

• We remember birthdays and anniversaries. Jesus wants you to celebrate His special days.

• We show respect for families and friends. Jesus wants you to respect His mother and the saints.

• We say I love you. Jesus asks that you demonstrate your love for Him.

• We introduce friends to each other. Jesus wants to be introduced to your friends.

• We stand up for each other. Jesus wants you to stand up for Him.

It is our duty as parents and grandparents to ensure our children understand that Jesus is alive today and that He loves them and is inviting them to have a personal relationship with Him.

(Pilarski, a professional speaker and consultant, can be reached at

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