The Family and Vocation
From Christian marriage comes the family, in which new citizens of human society are born, who become children of God by the grace of the Holy Spirit in baptism, to perpetuate the people of God down through the centuries. In this domestic Church, so to speak, parents should be, by word and example, the first preachers of faith to their children, and ought to encourage each of them in their proper vocation, taking particular care for a religious vocation. (Vatican Council II, Lumen Gentium, n. 11)
Educating Children for Vocation
The family is a kind of school of more abundant humanity. But in order for it to attain the fullness of its life and mission, it needs the kindly communion of minds, the common deliberation of spouses, and the painstaking cooperation of parents in the education of their children. The active presence of the father is highly beneficial to their formation, but especially the younger children need the care of their mother at home, and this domestic role of hers must be safely preserved, without prejudice to the legitimate social progress of women.
Children should be so educated that as adults they can follow their vocation, including a religious one, with a full sense of responsibility, can choose their state of life, and if they marry, can establish their family in favorable moral, social and economic conditions. Parents or guardians should by prudent advice offer guidance to their young with respect to founding a family, and the young ought to listen gladly. At the same time they should avoid putting direct or indirect pressure on them to enter marriage or to choose a specific partner. (Vatican Council II, Gaudium et Spes, n. 52.)
Teaching Vocation to Children
What are the best ways to teach children about vocations? The most important way parents can help their children discern and follow their vocation, is by way of example, by being themselves faithful to their vocation as parents and spouses, so that their very lives show an abundant and generous love for their family, for the Church, and for God. This means constantly striving for conversion of heart, frequenting the sacraments, asking God for his grace, and seeking to be ever more faithful to his will.
The second way parents teach children about vocation is by their words, when they explain to them the different ways in which they may decide to follow Christ, when they tell them the beauty of the vocation to marriage, or of the still greater beauty of the religious life or priesthood, and when they give them considered advice as they deliberate about their choice of a way of life.
Here are some articles and resources for Catholic parents pertinent to the vocation of their children.