In our last story, we saw that wise men came from a distant land to worship baby Jesus. But the King of Israel, a cruel man sought to put him to death, so Joseph and Mary fled to Egypt and for some time, lived in that foreign land. They then, returned to Nazareth and it is in this small town that Jesus grew up. Have you ever wondered about the childhood of Jesus? What was He like? Did He spend time playing with his friends? Did He go to school? Did He have brothers and sisters? Did He always obey His parents? Well, we are now going to give you the answers in our 15th story. But first of all, I am going to ask you today’s question, listen carefully and you will have the answer at the end of the story: Was Jesus a model?

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It was in Nazareth that Jesus grew up. Joseph, His father worked with wood for he was a carpenter who repaired houses, made tables, chairs, wooden chests and ploughs. What did His mother Mary do? She did what all Mums did at that time. She fetched water from the well, crushed grains of wheat or barley to make flour, and she washed clothes by hand for washing machines did not exist at that time. Some of her other duties involved weaving, making clothes, and of course, cooking for the whole family. Mary and Joseph were not rich but they were honest and hardworking. They loved their children and taught them to obey. When He was still an infant, Jesus learned to walk, first on all fours, like you and me. Then He started talking, running and climbing. Yes, He grew up just like all the young boys of his age. One day, His tunic was too short for Him and His sandals were too small. He played with his classmates and went to school. Yes! He learned to read, write and count. He could recite the Psalms by heart. The Psalms? It’s a little like poetry. Perhaps you too have learned Psalm 23 by heart. Jesus had younger brothers and sisters and since, He was the eldest child, He took care of His family and He helped His Mum. He learned how to use Joseph’s tools, the saw and the hammer. He may have hurt his fingers sometimes. He learned the trade of carpenter because at that time, boys learned their father’s trade. How do you think that He behaved towards others? Was He a troublemaker or a good friend? Jesus was a perfect child; He always did what was pleasing to God, to his parents and to others. He always told the truth, and could be trusted not to do anything stupid! Do you know at what age He went on His first trip? At the age of 12! He went to Jerusalem with Mary and Joseph, friends and dozens of other people. They were going to attend the feast of the Passover. The journey lasted several days. Jesus discovered this great city with its narrow streets which were so crowded that you could hardly walk. There were people from all over the country, as well as animals, sheep, camels, donkeys. What a hustle and bustle! But something was of particular interest to Jesus. It was the temple with its ceremonies, and all those who came to pray. He came into contact with the religious leaders and priests. He listened to them attentively and He asked them questions about the Word of God. He also provided answers when they questioned Him. These highly educated men were amazed. – How a twelve year old can know all this? They said to themselves, – He is extremely intelligent. It’s surprising; we’ve never seen anything like it before! – Where is this child from? He knows the Word of God as well as we do! The celebration came to an end and Mary and Joseph set off on their way back home. Jesus was not with his parents and they thought that he was with friends or relatives. But that evening when Jesus did not join them, they started to get worried and they thought, It’s just not like Him! – They asked some: “Is Jesus with you?” and others: ”Have you seen Him?” But no-one had seen Him! They decided to return to Jerusalem. They were extremely concerned! How could they find their child in such a big city that He wasn’t familiar with? They searched high and low, walking the streets and asking everyone they met: – We are looking for our young boy, have you seen Him… a child who is alone, yes… we don’t know where He is! But no one knew His whereabouts. One day, two days, still no Jesus. Where could He be? What could they do? After three days, they went to see if they could find Him in the temple. Mary saw him. But what was He doing there sitting amongst these men? He was discussing sacred texts with them. Mary and Joseph were happy and relieved but also astonished! They couldn’t believe their eyes; they never imagined finding him there. – My child, Mary said to Him, why did you do that”? Your father and I have been looking everywhere for you! We were so worried!” – Why were you so worried?” Jesus answered .Did you not know that I had to attend to my Father’s business? Mary and Joseph did not really understand his answer … His father’s business! Had they forgotten the words of the angel Gabriel, or the words of Simeon, or the shepherds? Had they forgotten who Jesus was? Jesus knew exactly who He was. He was only twelve years old but He knew that He was the Son of God and that very day He reminded Mary and Joseph of it. He knew that He had come from heaven on a very important mission and we will see as we continue, just what that mission was. The three of them returned to Nazareth where Jesus continued to grow, always obedient to God and to His parents.

1, 2 3, 4 AND YOU AND ME! We don’t always want to obey, but do you know what God says to all the children in the world? Obey your parents in all that is good. If God tells us, then it’s really important, isn’t it? To help us, we have Jesus as a rolemodel. He always obeyed his parents. He was a nice, young boy, but if someone had asked Him to do something wrong, like stealing, do you think He would have done it? No, of course not! If one day you don’t know what to do then let me give you a tip! Ask yourself this question: What would Jesus do in my place? It has often helped and strengthened me because, even if others are not happy because I do not do what they want, I know that Jesus is with me, and that, my friend, fortifies me! And so, we have the answer to the question: Is Jesus a role model? Yes! Jesus is a role model for us.

4, 3, 2, 1 AND WE PARENTS! It’s the dream of all parents to have perfect children, who are always obedient … But the problem is that our children are of the same nature as us. So, it’s not always easy and the family atmosphere is sometimes very tense and our patience is sometimes severely tested! But we need to persevere and lead them to Jesus, the role model who has always done good and rejected evil. He too learned obedience. Many others models will be presented to our children, but take courage! As you know, we who are their parents- their Mums and Dads – are their first and main references. The imprint we leave on their lives will remain deeply engraved upon their hearts, and the Holy Spirit will remind them of the right words of the Gospel at the right time.