Parenting 101 – as exemplified by Ss. Joachim and Anne

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Deb Liebergy, Respect Life Coordinator, Diocese of Superior.
Deb Lieberg, Diocese of Superior.

Debra Lieberg
Special to the Catholic Herald

According to tradition, St. Joachim and St. Anne are considered the parents of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, and grandparents of Jesus. The feast day of Ss. Joachim and Anne is July 26 — on a Saturday this year.

Joachim and Anne had been married a long time but were unable to conceive a child. They were wealthy and very religious — praying constantly to God for a child and promising to dedicate their child to the service of God. Their prayers were answered when an angel appeared to each one of them proclaiming the child Anne would conceive would be blessed by the whole world. They must have been overjoyed to finally have the child they prayed for unceasingly.

They raised Mary and brought her up to be a worthy Mother of Jesus. When you are given the gift of a child, there are no written instructions arriving with him/her. In our time, there are plenty of books to read to try to figure out what to do in certain situations, or go on the Internet and look up just about anything on parenting.

But it all boils down to the fact that each and every child is created in the image and likeness of God, yet completely different. We can read, look up information and talk with family members, friends and neighbors to find out what to do in certain situations with a child, but what works with one is not guaranteed to work with another — even if they are in the same family. Keeping God in the loop of parenting is guaranteed to work.

Like Joachim and Anne, many of us are parents and some of us are grandparents, or we have nieces and nephews. How do our parenting and grandparenting skills compare with Joachim’s and Anne’s? Do we pray daily for our children and their children? Do we teach them to love God above all things and treat others like we want to be treated?

Do we look at them as a gift from God and know that each of them was created by God for a specific reason? Do we see Jesus in them and do they see Jesus in us? Are we teaching them to stand up for God’s laws which are for the betterment of the world he made? Do we model Jesus’ ways by serving one another and being His hands and feet?

Joachim’s and Anne’s parenting skills were also adopted by Mary when she became Jesus’ mother. We can also follow the parenting skills of Mary and her parents by looking to God for answers. Sometimes our free will in decision making does not include God’s input. It’s not too late to teach our children and grandchildren that God is the creator of the world and to follow him by praying for guidance in all aspects of our life on earth, ultimately to achieve our goal of eternal life with him.

Can we say yes to God like Mary did? Do we have faith as strong as Mary’s to endure seeing her son suffer and die on the cross for us? We do not know what the future brings, but we do know that with God by our side, we can do anything and go through anything. If that is all we are able to teach them, that is enough.

St. Joachim and St. Anne, please pray for all parents,
grandparents and guardians that they may provide
a loving, nurturing home, by following in your footsteps.

Lieberg is chancellor and director of the pro-life office for the Diocese of Superior.

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