By Susan Ciancio
A guidepost. A sign. A stoplight. A map. A compass. GPS.
What do all these things have in common? They provide us with direction. They keep us from wandering aimlessly or from going somewhere dangerous.
We need these things in our lives to keep us safe. But even more than that, we need spiritual direction—a way to stay on the right path to our Lord. We need someone who tells us when we’re going the wrong way in life. We need a Jehoiada.
We need a Jehoiada.
Prior to listening to 2 Chronicles in Fr. Mike Schmitz’s Bible in a Year podcast, I had never heard that name. And when he read the story of Jehoiada the priest and his relationship with Joash the king, it really struck a chord with me. It made me think of just how important it is that we have people who can lead us to Christ.
As it says in 2 Chronicles 24:2: “Joash did what was right in the Lord’s sight as long as Jehoiada the priest lived.”
But when Jehoiada died, Joash lost his moral compass. He started making bad decisions. Evil decisions. He no longer did what was right in the eyes of the Lord.
We don’t want that to happen to us. So we need a Jehoiada.
Think about who can serve as Jehoiada in your life. If you don’t have someone, pray that God helps you find that person. Talk to a priest or seek a spiritual advisor.
But equally as important, do your children have a Jehoiada?
On a daily basis, children and teens are bombarded by immorality, by “wokeness,” by hedonism, by the lure of worldly things, and by sin. Secular society tells kids that religion isn’t “cool” or that religious people are “crazy.” Kids need to constantly hear that the focus of life must be on God. They need to understand that we are here so that we can get to heaven. And they need to learn to see others through the eyes of Christ.
That’s why, from the moment they are small, they desperately need the foundation that a Jehoiada can provide. They need that someone who can serve as a moral compass to keep them on the right path to eternity with God.
Maybe you serve as that. Maybe an aunt or uncle or godparent does. Maybe an older sibling does.
But children must have at least one person in their lives whom they can trust and whom they can emulate.
As parents, we know that oftentimes kids don’t want to approach an adult or someone else. They feel awkward confiding in someone who isn’t a peer. So we must set them up with good examples of people who have led virtuous lives, people who have something in common with them, and people they can relate to.
That’s why the saints are so important in our lives. Their actions teach us. Their intercession soothes us. And their faith guides us.
There are literally thousands of canonized saints from all walks of life and who have experiences just like your kids’. For instance, last year Carlo Acutis was beatified. He was an amazing young man who played sports, played video games, and hung out with friends. He died at the age of 15, but not before he made a significant impact on his community and on the world. Carlo loved Christ in the Eucharist so much that he began cataloging Eucharistic miracles throughout the world. This and the virtuous life he lived led to his beatification. His life can really resonate with kids!
There are so many other saints your children can love. They just need to get to know them! Teach your children about these holy men and women. Help them understand that they were sinners as well, but that every day they strived to do better and to become closer to God.
Buy your children books about different saints. Find articles online. Help them find one or two go-to saints whose lives really resonate with them. Then teach them to pray for that saint’s intercession. Teach them to befriend that saint, to talk to him, and to reflect the virtues he possessed.
You can even use lessons from the Culture of Life Studies Program to teach your children about these saints. We have lessons on St. Patrick, St. Valentine, St. Joseph, St. Teresa of Calcutta, St. Damien, St. Maximilian Kolbe, Blessed Chiara Luce Badano, and of course, our Blessed Mother.
Our children can learn so much from these amazing men and women. And in a world where there is no moral compass, we need to create one for our kids. We need to create that Jehoiada.
So, take some time today to reflect on how you can keep your child—and yourself—on that path to heaven.
Who will be Jehoiada for you and your kids?