May 3, 2017: Why God needs our children to have caring consciences

~by Susi Pittman

Jesus said to his disciples: I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower. He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and every one that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit.

You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you. Remain in me, as I remain in you.

Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing.

Anyone who does not remain in me will be thrown out like a branch and wither; people will gather them and throw them into a fire and they will be burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you. By this is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples. John 15:1-8

This parable can certainly apply to parents and their love, leadership and education of their children. Children are God’s blessing that this world must continue. They are the hope and future of mankind. IF parents have a rightly ordered moral compass, they receive children and understand their responsibility to see that they raise yet another citizen for Heaven!

It has always been my understanding that parents who raise their children using nature as a reference are able to convey to them the need for kindness to the most vulnerable in nature. From small baby animals, to the bloom of a flower, to the lake salamander, to the pollinators in the garden who insure that our food supply matures. My parents and my grandparents taught me numerous lessons, lessons that I can still recall as far back as five years old. These lessons formed my conscience in a way that oriented me to respect life in its smallest forms and made me a protector of the vulnerable. It wasn’t a far leap for me to be pro-life and defend the unborn, as it was an absolute truth that resided in my soul.

I raised my daughter with consistent exposure to the natural realm. She learned care and kindness as she helped raise our household pets and care for the livestock. Our travels abroad, vacations in the mountains and by the seashore offered numerous lessons in the sanctuary of creation of many locales. Today, she is a loving and patient mother of three children and a teacher to many students over the years. She continues to teach that there is a moral responsibility to care for the smallest and vulnerable that God has created among us

The other day, while her class was out at recess, she noticed a commotion with a few of the boys under the pavilion. She got up to check on what was happening. It was apparent that a young squirrel had made a bad decision in retreating up into the rafters as the children arrived on the playground. She noticed that several of the boys had rocks and she became alarmed.

She asked them why they had the rocks.

They responded by saying that they were going to kill the squirrel.

Why, she asked.

Their response, just because.

Because why, she asked again.

They responded by acknowledging they didn’t know why.

Needless to say, a spiritual lesson followed.

In years to come, I hope that these young boys will see the value of what she shared with them that day. That all creation and its creatures created by God were first loved and wanted by Him, and then given to us to tend it, care for it and return it to the Master with interest and without violence and devastation. That we must be caretakers of life! That being a steward of the Earth requires understanding that every natural presence about us has been called very good by the Creator/God Himself.

The first educator, however, is the family, where the child learns to respect his neighbor and to love nature. ~Pope Saint John Paul II (Peace With God The Creator: Peace With All Of Creation; IV Urgent Need For A New Solidarity, #13)

According to the Humane Society of the United States, researchers determined that between 71 percent and 83 percent of women entering domestic violence shelters reported that their partners abused or killed the family pet. Another study found that in families under supervision for the physical abuse of their children, pet abuse was concurrent in 88 percent of the families. In seven school shootings that took place across the country between 1997 and 2001, all boys involved had previously committed acts of animal cruelty.

Animal abusers, especially if they are children, must be addressed early on. They are heading down a road that lacks empathy and they are experimenting in living in the world for what it’s going to do for THEM. Currently, as animal abusers are reported to police, police are very likely to put the abusers name into a data base, due to the fact that they will likely be involved in more serious violent crimes against their fellow human beings.

WE MUST, as parents and grandparents engage our children and grandchildren in responsible stewardship of the smallest of creation. Show them and tell them of the value The Creator puts upon His work. Get the kids outside, plant a garden, go birdwatching, kayak, canoe, camp, experience eco-travel, support a local animal shelter, visit an animal rescue and volunteer…and the list goes on. But, TEACH them that they must be kind. TEACH them that they must care for creatures and creation. TEACH them that the most vulnerable NEED our protection the MOST!

If not now….when?

I believe it isn’t too late! The sun is not setting on the future generation. With God, all things are possible and His grace can fall upon us in an instant!

It is my hope that the inspiration of Saint Francis will help us to keep ever alive a sense of “fraternity” with all those good and beautiful things which Almighty God has created. And may he remind us of our serious obligation to respect and watch over them with care, in light of that greater and higher fraternity that exists within the human family.

~Pope Saint John Paul II~


Susi Pittman is founder of and Owner-President of Twin Oaks Publishing; she is author of Animals in Heaven? Catholics Want to Know!; a member of the St. John’ s Catholic Writers Guild;
a member of the Florida Publishers Association, Independent Book Publishers Association, the National Association of Professional Women, the ASPCA, the National Wildlife Federation, the Humane Society of the United States and the National Audubon society.



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