My husband and I are both passionate about raising loving, respectful kids whose strong relationships with Christ and His Church are lived out in their relationships and community. Sometimes, though, we disagree on our approach and I wonder if our different backgrounds have put us on completely different pages when it comes to reaching our parenting goals.
I’ve got advanced education in Pastoral Studies, Theology, and Teaching. My husband has advanced education in Administration, Teaching, and Social Studies.
I’m a cradle, Catholic-school girl Catholic. My husband is a convert.
There are times when I seriously challenge my husband to become more comfortable with and better understand the words, signs, and gestures of our faith. Sometimes he makes himself talk about (or listen to me talk with friends about) theology, Church doctrine, and what it means to be Catholic because I’ve shown him it’s an important conversation.
There are times when my husband seriously challenges me to remember that all those words, signs, and gestures mean nothing if we do not live as Christians in the real world. Sometimes I make myself to stop talking about theology, Church doctrine, and what it means to be Catholic because he’s shown me that it’s important to just be a Christian interacting with our world instead of talking about how Christianity interacts with our world.
There are lots of times I’m convinced he’s wrong. There are at least as many times he’s convinced that I’m wrong. Then there are those moments – those oh-so-precious moments when I’m missing the mark and he’s missing the mark, but together we are exactly right.
This week our 1st grade daughter was asked by her principal to represent her school by leading the pledge at the City Council meeting.
My response: I’m so proud of you! Because you are so kind and loving and respectful, you are showing people what it means to be a good Christian in our community, how to show Jesus’ love to everyone around you, and they are obviously noticing! What a great job!
My husband’s response: I’m so proud of you! Because you are so kind and loving and respectful, you are showing people what it means to be a good citizen in our community, how to make our world better, and they are obviously noticing! What a great job!
My daughter, who claims she wants to be either a teacher or a singer when she grows us, was instantly petrified. She didn’t want to do it – she was too nervous because she doesn’t think she knows the pledge well enough, she doesn’t know these people, and she doesn’t know what it’s going to be like.
I responded by telling her I think we should take a few days to pray about it first. I told her that sometimes doing good things and being a role model isn’t easy. We talked about how Mary said “yes” when God asked her to do something big even though she didn’t know a lot about what it was going to be.
So…she went to her dad and told him all the reasons she didn’t want to do it
My husband responded by telling her she should take a few days to think about it first. He told her that it would be a great chance for her to be an example for other kids in her school and that it would give the city leaders hope to see someone her age doing something so big. They talked about Rosa Parks and how little people can do big things that make them nervous if they do them by thinking about others instead of themselves.
My response wouldn’t have been right on its own – neither was my husband’s. But both of them together? We brought Church, State, and family together and I think all of us got a lesson from the ‘school of deeper humanity’…
2 wrong people + God = the right family.
Family communion can only be preserved and perfected through a great spirit of sacrifice. It requires, in fact, a ready and generous openness of each and all to understanding, to forbearance, to pardon, to reconciliation.
There is no family that does not know how selfishness, discord, tension and conflict violently attack and at times mortally wound its own communion: hence there arise the many and varied forms of division in family life.
But, at the same time, every family is called by the God of peace to have the joyous and renewing experience of “reconciliation,” that is, communion reestablished, unity restored.
(Listen, I know that comparing standing up in front of the 6 people on our city council and reciting the pledge to Rosa Parks or, you know, the Mother of God is a little heavy handed and over the top, but it’s a pretty big deal to her! Plus, I am an English major and hyperbole is a legitimate way to prove a point!)