As a financially challenged large family the question of what activities and “normal” American experiences to provide for our children is especially magnified. What opportunities least stress our financial and time limitations?Which are best for their development? Will they be social outcasts if they don’t own an ipod, cell phone, or team uniform? My catholic-rural-mom-of-eight ideal on what constitutes real world knowledge has significantly changed from my former South Floridian and secular liberal state university student perception.
If I rate my children’s education and social development on their knowledge of Hollywood creations, sport team stats, current music hits and politically driven environmental theories my children would fail miserably. When I die and face God I do not fear he will tell me I failed as a parent because my kids were not culturally popular or “in”. The development of their souls and their ability to do God’s will is challenged by trying to “be cool”. In order to blossom into strong individuals with the ability to stand against wrong and to perform good works requires being counter cultural.
I hope to provide an environment which develops a healthy knowledge of God’s beautiful creation. By understanding God’s physical creation, it is easy to foster a sense of respect and awe for the world we live in. It saddens me that so many children fear our world and feel as if they are hurting the world merely by existing. People have been disconnected from the earth and no longer understand the beauty of being part of it. They see it only from the outside and falsely, perhaps even arrogantly believe they can and need to control it. Not realizing their God given place in creation they worship it instead of God. Animals, trees, even dirt become more important then eternal human souls. Children feel guilty for being human. Many believe that eating the flesh of animals is sinful and cruel; the same flesh that protected God’s people during the Passover, the same flesh that our Lord shared with His disciples. This mentality is manifested in the elevation of pets to the status of people. Loving a dog is seen as more important than loving one’s neighbor.
By limiting the influence of modern culture and exposing my children to true art (not pictures made with dung), beautiful music (without lyrics about using other people’s bodies), and quality literature (not the feminist, new age spiritualism, casual sex is healthy garbage) I hope to inspire their imaginations. By giving them opportunities to be part of the cycle of life by raising their own food, caring for animals, experiencing nature with all its beauty I hope to instill in them a sense of responsibility to care for creation. By giving them a constantly growing knowledge of their faith I hope to cultivate souls that love God and choose to do his will. By providing them with an education I hope to develop minds capable of thinking for themselves and having empathy for others. By loving them and their father I hope to set an example of how people are to treat each other. I pray my children will have the conviction to go out into the world and be a force of strength, goodness and joy for a weak, lost, sad society.
How others see my children does not matter, so long as they have faith, hope and charity; along with the ability to act with prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance. Oh ya, when I forget this and freak out that my kids don’t “do” enough please wack me upside the head. Thanks