My mom often gets asked a question, "What did you do with your girls to make them turn out so great?" Her response is always the same, "I have no idea." Last night I think I found the answer to that question.
I'm not trying to brag, but my parents raised some pretty awesome children. My oldest sister is a Phd student studying neurobiology at a University expecting her first child in November, I'm...well....you know me, and my youngest sister is a nursing student and completely devoted to pro-life work. Beyond wordly success, none of us have left the Catholic Church and we have all been very successful at whatever we have set out to do. I have often asked myself that same question, "Why have we all been successful and not lost our faith in the midst of the world?"
Tonight we watched the documentary The Human Experience. If you haven't seen it, it's a must. It documents two brothers who live homeless on the streets of New York, visit orphans in Peru, and speak with the Lepers in Africa. One of the brothers had an abusive father growing up, and didn't say much about his mother. At the end of the documentary, he spoke in length about how people with two parents who loved them growing up take that for granted. He lamented that those people are successful in the world because they always have the "safety net" of their paren'ts love to fall back on.
That hit me like a ton of bricks. All parents make mistakes, but through my parents mistakes I have never doubted for one moment their love for me. I was constantly being told as a child, "I love you!" "I'm proud of you!", not matter what. If I did poorly on a test in school (which was rare), I was simply asked, "did you try your hardest?" If my answer was yes, then it was a simple, "Then I'm proud of you" once again. This is the key to my parents success in raising children. We were loved unconditionally. That is all. I have always felt, and still do feel, that I could go out and attempt anything in this world. If I failed, I knew there was my parents love waiting for me like a giant safety net, to catch me as I fell.
Someone very near and dear to my heart has struggled with alcoholism for a very long time. He has fallen and gotten up more times than I can count. He has never given up on God or himself. I never can figure out what gives him the want and the will to keep trying. Then, I look at his parents and it becomes clear. They have loved him through it all. Though they may not run to him and physically rescue him every time he relapses, they are there, offering masses, saying prayers and holding on to hope for their child. They have clearly and abundantly demonstrated to their child how the Father loves us, even when we fall for the hundreth time. I have never asked this person what drives him to get up every time, or what keeps his faith in God alive, and maybe he wouldn't have an answer. But I do know one thing. I know this man is loved unconditionally by his parents, and they aren't afraid to tell him that.
Parents tell your children you love them! Tell them you are proud of them (even if you were really hoping for an 'A' on that report card)! Every day. Many times a day. Their faith, their life and their sucess depend on it.
Alive not Dead: an Adventure through Life
2 years ago