As the Family Goes

JP II Quote

"As the family goes, so goes the nation, and so goes the whole world in which we live." John Paul II

Thursday, October 17, 2013


We're having some authority issues with one of our kids.  Nothing major, just slight little things that I notice, which at first seemed to be not that big of a deal but as time goes on, tend to be a symptom of a greater problem - this child rebels against authority.

That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it does need to be properly formed.  I want my kids to be capable of being leaders on their own, and I don't want them to blindly follow every person who claims authority over them if that person has proven themselves not to be worthy of it.  But there are situations where they need to know their place, and that they are not in charge, that they need to follow someone.  The law - that needs to be followed, whether or not you agree or feel like it.  Children need to listen to their parents.  Students need to listen to their teachers.  Without a basic understanding of authority life would fall into imbalance.  Pushing is how a child learns to discern where they can step out and be a leader, and where they must fall back and accept someone else's leadership.

So this little guy does things like deliberately stay one syllable behind everyone when we're having family prayer.  Or sings his prayers when the rest of us are saying them.  He often interjects whatever question pops into his head whenever feels regardless of the fact that I am in the middle of teaching a school lesson.  Despite repeated, "don't do that, don't do that, don't...don't...DON'T!!!" he'll go right on doing what you're asking him not to do. I know it's not uncommon.  But I'm trying to be aware of even the slightest clash of wills so that I can be deliberate in expecting him to follow when he needs to. If I try to be proactive before a situation escalates, I may be able to keep him from pushing me until I feel like I'm going to snap.  Of course, I think I still need to be aware of the times when I need to allow him the opportunity to be a leader, and give him freedom to deviate from my authority a little bit if it's not really required.  We both need to learn to live with each other, to be firm when it is required, and less stubborn when it's not necessary.

And so, as we gathered around the table for lunch today, my dear little guy trailed just a syllable behind us during the Angelus.  I stopped a couple of times to tell him that he needs to keep up, and still he did it.  I know he's not deliberately trying to go against me, I think that more often than not he's just not paying that much attention.  But I want him to learn to pay attention, to look to someone else.  And so I start.  "My dear boy," (I wish I was always so proper, but maybe that was the gist of what I was saying!), "there are times when you need to follow someone in authority over you.  You are not in charge right now, I am.  I am the parent, you are the child, and you need to follow me.  You need to keep up with the rest of us while we pray as a group.  There will be many opportunities for you to be a leader, but now is not one of them. Right now, you need to follow me."

And right then, without skipping a beat, my almost-three-year-old weighed in on the whole thing, possibly sensing his mother's frustration at being in continued oposition with his sibling.  And with wisdom uncharacteristic (or maybe completely characteristic) of his age, in the sweet and slightly dragging voice that is unique to toddlers said, "And WE ALL follow JESUS!"

He is right.  He is so right!  People look at me as a veteran, like I have it all together because I have so many kids.  But there are still so, so many firsts and so much uncharted water to navigate.  So many times I feel like I'm treading along with my head just barely out of water - other times I feel like I've slipped beneath the surface and am struggling to breathe.  And that is when the Lord speaks, plain and clear as day, through the humblest of His servants.

We are all under authority.  In the discipleship of my children, may I never loose sight of the One whom I follow.

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