I am not a parent and I have no intention of telling parents how to raise their kids. However, I know a little bit about parenting or at least the other side of parenting; I was a kid once…
In this article I have two messages to put forth. The first is for parents and the second is for my fellow I-gens who are perhaps struggling with the same concupiscence which I struggle with.
Right now the Faithful are in a comfort zone, with the mentality that we are “Safe”. Despite some major scandals, the Catholic Church in America is rapidly picking up the pieces of the 60’s and 70’s. Our religious orders are growing, parishes are enlarging and are forming some very good and proactive church groups, new catholic colleges are forming and older ones are having to expand, in general the Church one could say has entered into a “Golden Age”.
There are very few families who can compare to the Martin family however, the majority of today’s church-going Laity tends to be pious and very serious about their Faith. Most families (At least the families I know) have family prayers every night, they go to church every Sunday and go to Daily Mass when the opportunity arises. They live the Faith. So, the family is serious about its Faith while the parents reside over it with contentment and pride.
This picture is healthy, happy and holy. It can certainly breed holiness. That being said, oftentimes however, it can breed a “Phariseeitical Catholic”. This of course happens when a child watches his parents pray and talk about the Faith without realizing that there is a mental conviction that the Faith entails.
Mom and Dad taught all seven of us the basics of our Christian Faith when we were little, and as we grew our education became more enhanced and our understanding became very keen. Through their example we learned to love our Faith and hold it very dear to us. It is strange sometimes that we can love a thing to an extraordinary degree and have a lucid understanding of it while at the same time withholding ourselves from enjoying it to its fullest extent. I learned to love my Faith, which mistakenly translated into the mentality: “I am a serious Catholic. I know that I am not a saint and probably will never reach there, but I am a darn good Catholic”. I, like many other cradle Catholics, are shooting more for being good Catholics not good Saints.
This self righteousness of which I am speaking is SO underlying that it is hard to admit to ourselves. It is hard to admit that we really aren’t “Saved” automatically just because we spring from a devout Catholic home. We learn in the catechism but we don’t necessarily grasp the fact that the family grants the child the TOOLS to reach Salvation. The family unit does not grant Salvation itself and it is hard for a child (and many adults for that matter) to grasp that fully.
In my mind, there is no possible way to eradicate this way of thinking in a child. But it is crucial to recognize this side effect of pious upbringing and thereby minimize this result. Growing up in a large Catholic family in an environment with other Catholic families, the challenges of a child are small. As they grow older they are still immersed in the Catholic environment, and if they go to a Catholic College even when they are adults.
The meaning of words like “Death”, “Suffering”, “Hate”, “Evil”, and other extremes is a distant thing to the child living in a happy family. Which is how it should be. But, it also should be grown out of when they become adults and intending to raise kids themselves.
What made the Holocaust so REAL to the victims during the Second World War, is that the Jewish (and other minority) children were subjected to torture starvation and death, being shocked wide awake from the ignorant bliss and innocence of childhood. Unfortunately, these children became more adult at 10 then the average american college graduate is today.
I am not saying that in order to become an adult, you have to experience some horrible tragedy. What I am saying is that you cannot be living in the hunky dory, everyone is Catholic and good pretense. MARTIN LUTHER WAS A CATHOLIC PRIEST YA’LL!!
True, everyone is aware of crimes like Abortion and Trafficking, but the buck stops when it comes to me, myself, and I. It is inconceivable to think that “Myself” could fail in my calling of being a living example of christian charity , Disclaimer Here: At least fail enough to go to Hell. But Purgatory is fine…
Catholic adults are living in a perpetual state of childhood, as they perceive the evils of the world but fail to recognize it in themselves. Probably there are few who are exempt from this mentality. If you are not a saint right at this moment then this is so. Something is holding each of us back from Eternity (the good Eternity that is), when will it be the time to start towards our heavenly goal?
My advice to parents is this: PLEASE do not think your kids are infallible because you raised them right. Many children are probably burning in Hell and many more in Purgatory because of this. If you think and act like your kids are just short of being saints, you will be responsible for brainwashing your kids.
Fellow generationals, You are not infallible, you are not a saint. There is no reason not to be though. Remember, the saints are where they are because God was their sole vision, which obliterated all else. They lived in the ONLY reality there really is.
In the end then, become like the Psalmist, “Zeal for your house has consumed me” Psalms 69:10