If your son or daughter is considering a missionary life, you want them to feel comfortable talking about it with you. Perhaps you’ve already had discussions about the commitment they are considering. This is also a terrific learning opportunity for you. St. Columban said, “A life unlike your own can be your teacher.”
It’s also a commitment on your part. It takes understanding parents to deal with the feelings of missing your child. Christmases might be missed, big family events might not involve your child and phone calls may not be as frequent. You can take comfort that God has a calling for each of us, and if your son or daughter’s calling is to be a missionary, rest assured that God had plans for you to be the parents of a missionary.
Wondering why that’s a calling? Missionaries are not created at seminary. The call to mission life begins at baptism, which you probably had a strong hand in. Most children are baptized at a young age because their parents hear God’s calling of their son or daughter to join the community of faith. From there, attending Mass, becoming confirmed and being active in the community are key to understanding our place in God’s Church. Whether you gave loud or silent advice, or if you just stepped out of the way as they blazed their own trail, your influence provided guidance.
At this point, more answers will be sought. Here are some questions you may help you and your child talk about becoming a missionary:
- What are the experiences you’ve had that opened your eyes to social justice, poverty or the need for peace?
- When have we seen God’s blessings for us urge us to help those who may not have recognized similar blessings?
- What are your individual talents or interests, and how might those benefit persons of a different culture?