For the older generations reading this, doesn’t it seem difficult to connect with the younger generation and their music and entertainment? And for the youth reading this, doesn’t it seem like the older people in your life become more and more out of touch with the pop culture you are immersed in? Well, worry not. This is a tale as old as time and it is not only more normal but common. As corporations witness the rise of new generations, they begin catering to their products and services to the youth. They want to appeal to the generation that determines how cool and popular something is. Musicians, tech companies, production companies: they all do it.
But how do you take something as timeless as the Catholic Faith and repackage it so that it becomes more accessible and relatable to younger generations? The short answer? You don’t. But while you cannot change the content of the teaching, that doesn’t mean you can’t show the youth the light of Christ as a parent, mentor, or guardian in other ways. Josh Raymond welcomed Father Eric Nielsen onto The Inner Life to discuss bringing the younger generation back to the Church.
As Josh began the discussion, he mentioned that one of the most common prayer intentions we receive here at Relevant Radio is for the return of a young person (usually a family member) to the practice of their Faith. Father Eric said that as difficult as it is for parents, there are a few sobering facts he offers them. Firstly, Adam and Eve were created perfectly by God. They were put in a perfect environment and given all the tools to succeed. They were this close to eternity, and they still failed. Parents can’t do better than God. So even if they do everything in their power to help their child remain faithful, there’s no guarantee. Parents shouldn’t feel guilty if they did their best.
Secondly, “You can’t really guide the bullet once it leaves the gun.” The “bullet”, Father Eric says, leaves the “gun” at about thirteen or fourteen and that’s when peers start becoming crucial to a young person’s behavior. Technically, you have precedent over your child until they are eighteen, but more than badgering them, making sure they have good and respectable friends is important. And lastly, Father Eric said that you should never underestimate the power of prayer. You have to understand that the young adults are still adults and pestering them about religion may be counterproductive. Nothing will outdo prayer.
Josh concurred with Father Eric’s point, giving the example of his own children. His three oldest were raised in identical environments with respect to their faith but are at three distinctly different points in their faith journeys. Nobody puts anybody else in hell. If you end up in hell, it’s because you made decisions that landed you there. When you raise someone in a holy, Catholic environment, they are being given a safety net. If they decide to go off the rails in college, they might wake up one day and realize how far they’ve strayed from the faith. Someone without a solid Catholic background might not ever wake up.
That’s why Father Eric says the most valuable thing you can do for young adults and children in your life is to become more holy yourself. Nagging your son or daughter will probably not work. The best solution is to pray and offer up sacrifices. Let the Holy Spirit nag them.
Listen to the full segment below:
Tune in to The Inner Life weekdays at 11am CT