Summer Love in the Family – Sometimes it is easier than others. I’d like to recall to you a recommendation shared with the kids before we left school. When you don’t know what to do with your time, ask the Lord what you should do, add a prayer, maybe even a decade of the rosary, then settle in and see what comes. So many good things happen when kids have to figure out what to do (assuming they are not “plugged in”.) I recently came across a “Simplicity Parenting” website that reinforces the good that happens with a little space. http://www.simplicityparenting.com/the-movement-an-overview/
Sometimes it takes a little conflict or stress to get the space started……a few examples I heard this week…
#1 – A wife says to her husband, “Stop the car!” Car stops. Mom continues, “That attitude is not acceptable. Out! Get out and walk, we will see you at home!” Child exits to walk the last mile home, by the time he gets there he has cooled down and is thinking more clearly and more charitably.
#2 – Headed to vacation, boarded on the plane, and we wait…and wait…..six hours later clearance to leave is granted. The family gets through it unscathed, but a little frazzled. Certainly not the ideal place for reflection, but the Lord stretches us in many ways.
#3 – Mom has a lunch appointment, but needs to drop her child off at home first. Mom and child are waiting in the drive through line to get the child lunch at a fast food restaurant so mom can go on to her appointment. I’m not sure what the child’s exact words were, but the car pulls out and leaves the line, and the middle schooler forages in the frig for lunch on his own. Surely there was a little reflection time during the afternoon.
Please God, each of these were followed with a bit of learning. Sometimes the hard knocks speak for themselves, other times a dialogue helps clarify the situation, especially when the iron is cool and we can talk in voices without escalation. Mark Gregston from Homefaith summarizes such communication:
“Waiting to meet with your kids when there’s conflict is like trying to string communication lines in the middle of a hurricane,” Gregston writes. “Build those avenues now, when the weather is quiet, and build them in a way that they’ll survive any storm that comes into your family.” From https://homefaith.wordpress.com/2015/06/01/build-a-strong-relationship-with-tweens-and-teens/
I’m praying that you will be able to build your family life this summer. I know it takes effort and there is a lot “out there” that works against us, but His grace knows no bounds. As I recall my top recommendations for building strong children as we continue on in the summer, I also recall what it means for me as a consecrated religious as we all benefit from recalling what we are about:
To build healthy children:
#1 Love your spouse – Kids thrive by seeing their parents loving one another and the Lord. I also need to love my spouse, Jesus Christ. That will also help your kids more than anything I can do, as I will be a good witness for them, and I’ll commend them to His care.
#2 Be Faithful – Go to Mass on Sunday. Kids need to know we practice what we profess. I need to be true to the spiritual life to which I have vowed my life. (In order to be faithful right now I need to finish this newsletter to get home for our community holy hour, get back to it, Sister!)
#3 Be Guarded With Technology – The damage it can do to our kids (and to us) can hardly be overstated. Use vigilance. Covenant Eyes has been a help to many. Innocence stolen early is so difficult to regain, but all things are possible with God. May He protect us all from the evil one, and may we seek His goodness and protection actively.
I’m praying for you this summer, may we all receive well the many graces the Lord has in store for us.