Parenting is no easy or simple task. Now that my own children are reaching the age of reason (7), I am quickly learning the new challenges that will unfold between 2nd grade and high school graduation.
Perhaps the biggest challenge is projecting: projecting how one act or habit now predicts good or negative outcomes ten years down the road; projecting our own experiences either from childhood or even now as adults onto our children; projecting the values of the world into the souls of our children; and finally, projecting anything besides God's plan for our children into decision making, which includes even a possible clash between what we as parents think is best for them and what God ultimately already knows to be the plan.
My current perspective also lends itself to seeing how the development of children plays out over a decade, and then I think about the scariest thing that could ever happen: my children opt no longer to live as members of the mystical body of Christ. They fall away from a Eucharistic relationship with our Lord and eventually find themselves living a self-destructive lifestyle, much like the prodigal son.
The only solution I can come up with is that it starts with me, involves the we, and most importantly, a whole lot of faith. God can't save us without us, which is only to say that he did his part and now it is our turn. There is a mysterious but dynamic reality that connects us to the ground of all being. Every moment of our existence is willed by God and more potent than any superpowers the Avengers have is the reality of cooperating with the intangible, visible power of grace.
When God sends his grace to us, it is both sustaining and spontaneous. However, to unlock this power, a certain fertility of the soul is required. There needs to be openness not only to Him, but to others. I think therein lies one of the most underestimated factors in faith: we can be open to God and still miss out on all the grace if we are not truly open to others. And sometimes, it is nearly impossible to be open to those closest to us.
Which brings me to my act of faith: I need to have faith not only in God, but faith in my wife, faith in my extended family, faith in our community, and faith in my children. In this context, faith is trust.
Fr. Mike Schmidt recently posted a video on mastering our relationships. He referenced what the experts observed about couples who recall stressful moments from the past; those relationships that lacked trust led to subliminal but physical responses (sweat, increased heart rate) while those relationships filled with trust reflected physical inward peace even when recalling a particularly stressful moment from the past.
My prayer for all of us is "Father, get us closer to that place of inward peace where nothing present disturbs nor previous haunts us."
I hope to see you all on Friday!
Yours Truly in Christ,
Derek Tremblay, Headmaster