Careful! Children Are Watching!

grandmotherBe careful. The children are watching.


Not a bad motto for any parent. Children watch our every move and hang onto our words long after we’ve forgotten.


Now Pope Francis reinforces this. He told an interviewer that when he was a child, the Church had one interpretation. All Protestants were headed for hell. He might have grown up believing this and incorporating it into his world view and consequently the world view of millions of Christians. But Francis recalls one exceptional moment—the kind adults don’t even notice.


He was five years old, walking in the city with his grandmother. They passed two Salvation Army women wearing their bonnets—not quite like a nun but not so different either. The boy who would one day be pope asked his grandmother, “Are they sisters?”


Her answer, simple as it was, may still change the world.


“No, they are not sisters, but they are good.”


All of us are shaped by little encounters like this. Some of them hurt and cripple us. Some of them help us grow up. Some change the world.


The problem for parents is that moments like this are so fleeting for us. We might be tired. We might be in a bad mood. We might not have our own answer so we repeat what we’ve been told. We often don’t realize —we might be changing the world.