As promised, I have continued thinking about the tough question posed to me (and a room full of other Catholic parents) at a meeting about a week ago. “How would someone, who did not know you or your family, know that your children come from a faith-filled home?” I have decided that while my initial reflections are true, they alone do not answer the question adequately. A fleeting glimpse of my children at play might or might not reveal the depth and beauty of our Catholic faith and the love of Christ at work. If you were to observe my children at a playground for ten minutes or so, or you happened to spy them tagging along with me at a store running errands you might not be able to tell that, in our family, we strive to be good loving Christians, because strive as we do, we do not always achieve that goal. However, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that if you were to really spend time with them, talking to them and getting to know them- you would absolutely realize my children are being raised in faith. Because, despite our imperfections, my children are wonderful examples of at least a few virtues….
First of all, my children are wise. I was talking with my five year old son the other day and I asked him a few simple questions. First, I asked, “What do you believe in?” He answered, “God.” Then, I asked, “What do you believe about God?” He answered back, “God loves everybody, even the bad guys.” Not bad for a five year old. I happen to know there are many adults who lack even that basic understanding. His brother possesses wisdom beyond his years as well. Over this past weekend I mopped the kitchen floor. I worked hard and long making it shine yet within an hour my work was un-done. The baby had climbed up to the kitchen table and spilled an entire glass of sticky lemonade all over my newly mopped floor. As I cleaned up the mess, mopping for the second time that afternoon, I jokingly said something like, “Baby you are lucky you are cute because I am not paid well enough for all this work you create for me.” My nine year old son called out from the next room, “Don’t worry mommy, you will be rewarded for it all in heaven.” No, my boys may not be perfectly kind and loving every moment but they are wise.
Second of all, my children are forgiving. I occasionally have bad days. I even lose my patience once in a while. A few days ago, after a rough morning of school, I looked at my sweet, helpful oldest daughter and was filled with remorse. “I am sorry I was so hard on you this morning,” I said. She smiled at me. “You were not so hard. You are a great mother,” she said, obviously forgiving and forgetting more quickly than I usually do. In fact, every time I find myself apologizing to her for one mistake or another, she readily offers not only forgiveness but reassurance that I am a good mother and should not be so hard on myself. A beautiful example of forgiveness and, maybe even a little bit more of that wisdom I mentioned! My middle daughter had been sent to her room in the midst of that same difficult day and when she came out she gave me a note that said, “Dear mommy, I am sory. I will try hard to be beter. I love you vary much.” Now, her spelling may need a little work but her forgiveness was sincere.
Lastly, my children are loving and affectionate. They kiss and hug us every night before bed without fail, not going to sleep until they tell us that they love us. They practically knock Tim over flinging themselves into his arms when he arrives home from work. They climb up on the laps of their aunts and uncles when they see them, even if it has been months since our last visit. Whenever we go to my parents house for the day the children always have a picture or treasure of some sort to give them. It may not always show in their interactions with each other but they are truly loving, generous children.
So, after all my reflection and pondering, I have come to the conclusion that, with enough time, even a stranger could see that my children are being raised to know God, to love God and to serve God. And though they are far from perfect, they certainly do show some signs of being little saints-in-training.