This feast of the Sto. Nino (Holy Child Jesus) is among our most popular religious celebrations.  Coming after the intense devotion for the Black Nazarene, this time Filipino Catholics locally and worldwide, rally around the image of the Child Jesus.  The festive mood is an extension of the Christmas spirit and reveals how important the child and the young person are to Filipinos. Ours is a nation of children and young people.  The Filipino family loves to care for the young.
The heart of Jesus echoes our own appreciation for the young.  He makes the child the example of true greatness. He extols its humility. “…unless you turn and become like little children you cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Whoever humbles himself as this little child, he is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.” (Mt. 18: 3-4).
But how must we truly value the children and young people in our lives today? These growing and vulnerable members of society are not as simple as before.  Sometimes it is a complicated process to engage in the nurturance of today’s young people.  They are wrapped in a highly technological world and are influenced by its marvels. To survive the challenge of bringing up children and young people, some people have to attend seminars and workshops!
Some parents freely allow their children to indulge in whatever they like. Let him have what he wants, how he wants it. The parents are mere spectators, afraid to interfere in their children’s affairs. But if there is any faculty that is undeveloped in the young, it is the consideration of the future, the awareness of consequences. 
Children and young people live only in the present and are not aware of the results of their actions. To allow them to do and have what they want is abandoning them to a future full of regrets.  Adults caring for the young must gently challenge them to see what will happen in the future because of their actions or decisions.
But many parents also now realize that by correct guidance and discipline, young people learn to appreciate their potentials and respect their limits. Freedom is important but so is right formation and training. Far from constricting the young, this allows for self-control, patience, concern, self-worth and generosity. Jesus has only one promise for his disciples – the cross.  His love for them is one allows for both freedom and accountability. We must lead our children and young people to the path of becoming faithful disciples of Jesus.
Let us pray for families where our children and young are found, that they may truly know how to accompany them towards the fulfillment of their dreams while also encouraging them to visualize the consequences of their actions.  Let us pray that families will feel responsible in bringing up responsible Christians and citizens.  May the Sto. Nino help us in this mission.