Parents Urged to Take Charge of Educating Children
MEXICO CITY,(Zenit.org).- Parents must take hope that it is possible to pass on Christian values to their children, and take action to claim the right to educate their families, says an expert.
Michael Waldstein, professor of theology, affirmed this today at the World Meeting of Families, in his presentation titled "The Family: Forming Human and Christian Values: Overview of USA and Canada."
Referencing the ideal for the Christian family that Benedict XVI laid out in his letter for the family congress in Valencia, Waldstein asked whether this ideal is found in the United States and Canada.
Starting with the positive side, he affirmed that "Many families do follow their mission with admirable strength and devotion."
However, he pointed out that many families fall short of this, because they have "traditionally delegated much of their responsibility as educators to [...] schools and they are still delegating it."
He added, "The schools, however, have changed. [...] They have become increasingly secularized [...]."
Children spend so much time at school that it is difficult to build a shared life with their parents, and they "often do not know what to do with each other during vacations," the professor reflected.
Waldstein highlighted another force that takes education out of the hands of the family: "global youth culture." In this culture, he said, the two most formative forces are the "sexual revolution" and the music engineered for an adolescent audience.
He explained the effect of the first force: "In the formation of the teenager, the piercing sexual passions of adolescent children were suddenly released into destructive premature relationships.
"Instead of being introduced into a culture of love, children were and are abandoned to a culture of the use of each other for pleasure."
Regarding the second formative force, Waldstein explained that it is "a music tailor-made for the absence of deeper personal formation of sexual passion by authentic love" that preys on "the most intense and most immature passions of adolescents, above all on erotic passion and on anger."
He noted the feelings of helplessness that parents experience, when they see a widening "generation gap," by which children are taken out of their hands and "formed by another culture."
He asserted, "History as a whole shows that the generation gap is not a normal developmental phase. [...].
"We parents must wake up and take action!
"We must recall that it is our inalienable duty and therefore also our inalienable right to educate our children."
Waldstein encouraged parents to "defend this right as indeed inalienable," to spend time with children so as to transmit values, and "become involved in the education of our children."
He concluded by sharing his experience of home-schooling his own children, which led him to see "that the global youth culture is not an irresistible force."
He added: "It is possible to pass on our own Christian culture. The generation gap is not inevitable."