By: Therese Bermpohl
I ran into some old friends at Mass last Monday. We convened outside Church to catch up and they introduced me to their 3-year-old son, Philip. After the small talk, we began discussing the importance of handing on the faith to children. I mentioned that I can’t believe how many parents start fretting over money and options for college just days after their babies are born without ever giving a second thought to their spiritual development. Philip’s mother, Christiane, quickly agreed, saying “Heaven over Harvard… that is my motto.”
Christiane is a highly educated woman. She knows well the benefits of a good education and still she recognizes that the most important role in life is to give her children the tools they need to get to heaven. It is a sad reality that so many parents place more emphasis on a secular education than on an education that promises a life of eternal happiness.
Many parents even choose to limit the number of children they bring into the world for fear that they won’t be able to afford to send all their children to college. I knew a student at The Catholic University of America. He had eight siblings and his father was consistently needled by colleagues about how he would pay for college for all those kids. To answer his critics, the good father would call one of his children over to where the vibrant debate was occurring and ask: “If you had a choice of never having been born or never going to college which would you choose?” Needless to say, the kids opted for the chance at life.
The motto “heaven over Harvard” is not to suggest that our Heavenly Father is opposed to a university education. It speaks, however, of the proper priority of living the Christian life and a parent’s sacred duty to pass on knowledge of Jesus Christ on to his or her children.
As we head into the new academic year, be sure that, in addition to placing your children in good schools, you also enroll them in CCD (Sunday school) and take them to Mass on Sundays. It will speak volumes to your children about what is truly important in their lives.