Gospel Values, Inc.
For children aged 2-102
Hope in the tough times
Meaning in everyday living
Dear Father Joe,
What if I fail?
Dear James –
When I was in grade-school, I read the book, The Little Engine That Could. It’s the story of a little blue engine with a kind heart that volunteers for a tough mission. The little engine repeats to itself again and again, “I think I can, I think I can.” And … it does: It makes it! The moral of the story seems to be: If you believe in yourself, you will achieve great things!”
There is some truth in that. It is good to believe that you are someone who can make a difference in this world; because you are. But it is dangerous to think that, if you believe, you will succeed. It is wrong to think that you always MUST succeed.
Yes, we need to try, to give good things our best effort. But failure happens. And it is okay! Not everything is all that important anyway. And there is something of life… of goodness … of God… we can only experience when things don’t go so well.
In addition to The Little Engine That Could maybe it would have been good for me to also have read stories about little engines that couldn’t. Perhaps then I wouldn’t have always been so afraid of failing. Mostly, you and I need to know that – whether we succeed or fail – what matters most is the kindness of our hearts.
Dear Father Joe,
What good can I do when there is so much suffering?
Dear Chantey –
It is so good that you see the suffering, and that you care. There is such great heartache in the world, isn’t there? A man I know was quite upset about all the suffering in the world. He saw starvation, illness and hatred, and it broke his heart. He told me that – when he was praying one day – he said to God in his frustration, “Why don’t you do something about all of this?” He said that somewhere in his heart he heard God’s response. God said to him, “I did. I created you.”
God created that man - and each person - to make a difference in this world. One of the hard things about life is knowing that we cannot stop all suffering or help everyone in need. But each of us who follows Jesus is called – as Jesus did - to do our part.
Yes, when we stand before the sufferings of the world, it may seem that we can’t make much of a difference. But we do not stand alone or without something to offer. For when we do our part, God takes the good we do and works great beauty from it, usually in ways we will never see. Even a small act of kindness has meant so much to so many.
Please, Chantey, don’t quit caring and don’t quit trying. For in that, you are like Jesus himself.
Fr. Joe Answers Questions From Children
Parents, as you look for ways to deepen your faith and share God's love with your children and all those in your life, you can find inspiration every day in Living Faith for adults.
Fr.. Joe answers children’s questions on different topicsThese letters can be found in each edition of Living Faith for Kids.