Technology has contributed greatly to our lives, but it’s also become embedded into our schools, our workplaces, and our homes, making our family life more complicated and more open to outside influence than it once might have been. Parents can feel overwhelmed and think there’s no escape. We live in an unprecedented, perplexing time that has parents stressing out as they overmanage, overschedule, or overprotect their children. Many children and their parents are swimming in an ocean of anxiety.
Children do best when their parents are each able to take care of themselves and know how to love their children’s mother or father. With divorced parents, the children do best when the parents manage to heal and forgive their former spouse and move into coparenting without pulling their children into taking sides. Once you’ve determined the challenges your family faces, it’s easier to see what you need to add, subtract, or modify to keep your family focused on God and each other. Take quiet time to listen to how God is calling you to grow in wisdom and grace.
Parents need to see the need to slow down and take action. They must acknowledge what they can do for themselves as well. All of us need to wake up and then grow up. Waking up is about becoming conscious, which cannot happen when we’re always on the go. Working two or three jobs, either as a couple or as a single parent, and raising a family, is taxing. Tired, joyless parents give children the unspoken message: “Grow up so that you, too, can eventually become a joyless and exhausted person like me.” Our words have power, but our actions still speak louder. Responsible parents require respite care. It cannot wait until after the children grow up. Many parents with school-aged children have never gone away for an overnight without their children. Toward the end of an annual marriage enrichment program, one of the wives was disappointed that the Church does so little to support marriage in any consistent and ongoing way. “I realize that if we’re ever going to have our marriages supported and strengthened, it’s really up to us to do it,” she said. Family people need to take responsibility to see to it that marriage enrichment and family support happen in the parish either by demanding it and/or by initiating it.
Source: Family, the Church, and the Real World, a Redemptorist Pastoral Publication (826207), © 2015 Liguori Publications.
To order, visit Liguori.org or call 800-325-9521.