Are Good Parents Rich Parents?

Do you need to be wealthy to be a good parent? Parents rightly concern themselves with providing the best for their children. They want to make sure they have all of the best opportunities. They want to ensure their children have success. However, often our culture equates success with material wealth, which can tempt well intentioned parents to question whether they have enough material resources to be good parents from the beginning. A lesson from Jesus, Mary and Joseph is helpful here.

Mary and Joseph were not positioned to have a wealthy family. They did not have titles or riches to bestow upon the newborn Jesus. How did they provide for him? What did they give him to ensure he set out on the right path?

First, it is clear that Mary and Joseph loved this newborn child. They brought him into their hearts and into their home. Those silent years of Jesus' upbringing were a time of laying down deep roots into this earthly life. He 'grew in wisdom and stature' (Lk 2:52). Mary and Joseph did not have impressive means, and those means did not increase with the addition of a child. But they did have an abundance of love, and that profited the young Jesus more than anything else.

A second characteristic of that sacred home is that Mary and Joseph were open to Jesus' destiny, even if it was a mystery to them. Though they didn't necessarily understand the details, they believed in the good purpose for which this child was sent. They supported his individual mission and gave him the freedom to fulfill it.

These are the essentials of parenting as we learn them from Mary and Joseph. It does not take wealth to give a child deep roots in love. Neither does it take wealth to believe in a child's good purpose. However, it does take generous and rich hearts. If parents have any concern about their ability to provide for their child's needs, they should concern themselves with the size of their hearts over the size of their wallets. 

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