Pope Exhorts Parents to Nurture Their Children’s Joy
On December 17, 2017, Pope Francis spent part of his 81st birthday with children at Santa Marta’s Pediatric Dispensary. He gave a brief address to volunteers, parents, and children present at the Paul VI Hall, centering around joy, a common theme in his pontificate. Beginning with remarks about the treasure of the joy of children, the Holy Father exhorted parents and family members not to “sadden the children” by fighting or exchanging harsh remarks. Rather, they ought to “preserve children’s joy” and “do everything we can so that they continue to be joyful, because joy is like good earth.”
The Holy Father continued, “for children to grow well, make them talk with the grandparents.” Pope Francis has previously addressed the importance of grandparents in the life of the family. Grandparents act as roots, with valuable memories, faith, wisdom, and experience that should be passed to younger generations. Through regularly talking with their grandparents, or other elderly who act like grandparents, children learn the beauty of their past history and that they are loved by their family.
Finally, Pope Francis told parents to teach their children how to pray, “to talk with God,” in a way that helps them to pray about all that is in their hearts.
The Holy Father closed his audience by emphasizing that “it is a joy to talk with the grandparents, with the elderly, and to talk to God.”
The full text of the audience can be found here.