The Best Catechesis is a Life Well Lived
Recently, my five year old announced that he wanted a different haircut. The minimalist, efficient buzz-cut given to him by his mother was no longer sufficient. He instead wanted a longer, more shapely cut so he could wear his hair like mine.
Around the same time, my four year old announced that he was hopeful that he could grow a beard like me soon. While poorly attempting to conceal my laughter, I assured him it was unlikely for a four year old to grow a beard, but left him with the hope that someday he might be capable of growing one.
A Father’s Attraction
As a father, I am always astonished at how much power I wield over the lives of my young boys. It is not so much a power of command or control as it is a power of attraction.
It frankly never occurred to me that my haircut or facial hair was desirable for a little boy, or that either of them were paying attention to my grooming habits. Yet, they want to be like me. I am the pattern they follow, the model they imitate. They watch with careful observation everything I say and do; what I wear, how I treat others, where I spend my time, how I pray, and how I treat my wife.
It is no use telling them to be kind and compassionate if I am cruel or insensitive. It is no use telling them to share and be generous if I am selfish and greedy. It is no use telling them to love and serve God if I barely pay attention to him myself. What I do, they will do, no matter what I teach them or what they hear from others.