Having a child come home and state they have a vocation to religious life can be a blessing. It can also be terrifying depending on your perspective. While every good Catholic family feels that it is a blessing to have a priest or sister in the family, having your 'baby' be the one in the family may take some getting used to.
Every parent wants their child to be happy. We all know that following your called vocation will make you happy. Though sometime it takes time to find the vocation you are called to.
Throughout your child's life you should preach openness to vocation without pushing it. As parents we should always be open to the call of God in our life and our children's life. Pushing a vocation whether marriage or consecrated life is counterproductive, but encouraging discernment of the will of God is the best road to take.
Tips for encouraging without pushing
- Attend Mass and have your child understand what is going on from a young age.
- Have regular interactions with priests and nuns so the child knows they are normal down to earth people
- Talking about aspects of religious life, not just Sunday Mass.
- Encouraging volunteer work and serving others in a everyday life.
- Don't overly state that the child should be a priest/nun, but make it an option among many.
- God calls not you, so don't get in His way. Let the child figure it out on his/her own and come to you rather than the other way around
What to do if your child thinks they have a calling
- Attend mass and pray about the calling of God.
- Attend Adoration.
- Have them speak with or visit a religious community.
- Make sure they know the requirements to join.
- Have them be open to all options of religious life.
Having a child open to the will of God no matter the direction they choose is blessing. It means they know and trust God to work in their life and want to blossom to do His will as best they can. Encourage them to listen for the whisper of God, without pushing your own desires for them will result in happy fruitful children who live out their vocation.