“I kept faith, even when I said, ‘I am greatly afflicted!’” (Psalm 116:10)
Keeping the faith means daring to follow Christ’s supreme command to love. That means putting others before ourselves – putting others’ afflictions, grief, worries and fears fears before our own…even when we ourselves are greatly afflicted.
My parents made Christ’s teaching the family standard. For sure, mom and dad were far from perfect parents, but they were deeply committed parents.
My parents never tolerated bad behavior from their kids – never. Believe me, it was not that I was particularly virtuous as much as I knew with certainty that my bad behavior would not go unnoticed, would not go unspoken and never would be uncorrected.
- I grew up an occupation zone – my parents occupied my entire life!
- They knew where I was supposed to be and with whom I was supposed to be.
Curfew was set and enforced. If they had gone to bed, we woke them up when returning home. It never occurred to me to do otherwise – never. They set clear boundraies and equally important they kept them.
To their great credit, mom and dad always spoke and acted as one. I cannot recall either ever speaking ill of the other, even when they had things to settle between them. Nor were we ever permitted to speak unkindly. Say something nice or don’t say anything at all was enforced. In a word they demanded that we demonstrated respect – even when we ourselves were afflicted. Words matter as do actions.
Mom and dad set the house rules and made us respect them. Certain tones, certain words and violations of rules absolutely were not permitted. Period. While we claimed certain things as our own like our bedroom (which I shared always shared with brothers), our dresser drawers, our clothes and the like, there was nothing they could not and would not inspect. Never did we ever think of protesting their looking through anything.
Secret words and secret actions were not allowed. Privacy, yes – secrecy, never
Parents: know your children –
- know their interests, know their dreams, know their afflictions, know their actions, know their whereabouts, know their friends, know their friends’ parents.
Is it harder to parent today? Absolutely! AND the increased difficulties make it all the more urgency to dig in and bear down to shape your child and define your home and not have it careen wildly out of control by unsavory influences and unclean spirits.
Friends, we are all about the same thing: keeping the faith, and doing so even when greatly afflicted. That is, to keep Christ at the center of my life, my home, my work, my leisure, my daily living.