When you become a parent, you start looking at your own parents differently; examining what they did and didn’t do well in raising you. While nobody is perfect, my parents did a darn good job at raising us in the faith and giving us solid ground for raising our own kids, too. I know many of you have awesome parents as well, but I didn’t grow up with them, so here is a list of the things I love most about how my parents raised me (in no particular order):
1. Catholic Parties. As children, we were surrounded with other Catholic families. We’d have huge parties together, celebrate feast days and holidays, and just be fun! We’d end up playing praise music and praying. As a kid, being Catholic was normal.
2. Personal Prayer Time. In high school I can remember brushing my teeth every morning before school and watching my parents pray the daily readings on the couch in a nearby room. They weren’t trying to do it so I would see them, or even wanting me to join in, but I was a witness to their humble and sincere desire to grow closer to God every day together.
3. Daily family prayer time. I have a confession that might offend some: if my parents had been the type to have EWTN on all day long and forced us to pray all the mysteries of the rosary every night, I probably would have rebelled and wouldn’t be writing this blog today. Our prayer times were sometimes reverent, and sometimes not so reverent, especially when the opportunity to crack a joke presented itself. We learned about the saints, we learned our prayers, we memorized bible verses, we learned about our faith, but most of the time it was fun. The length and content of our prayer time changed with our age. More than just time to grow closer to God, we grew closer as a family in laughter and tears.
4. My parents love each other and they showed it. Oh yes they disagree and argue like any human beings, but in 30+ years of marriage there also has been much PDA, smooching, squeezing, and other things that make you embarrassed when you are a child- but now that you’re older your parents are your heroes for being so affectionate so long into their marriage.
5. We grew up knowing morals and learning right from wrong, but we weren’t sheltered. Sure we watched saint videos and veggie tales, but as we got older we watched normal movies and did normal things too, and I went to public school most of my life. My parents said, “I love you” and “I’m proud of you” often and they gave us the freedom to make choices instead of hovering over our every move. Most importantly, I know my parents prayed for me every day, and God listened.
6. They were involved in the church. They taught NFP classes and Pre-Cana. They sang in the music group. They participated in parish functions. They even started a prayer meeting there years back. From that example led me to be involved in parish activities, too. In high school I volunteered to teach Religious Ed with my mom, and eventually ended up working in a parish myself.
7. My parents encouraged us to be involved in youth group, prayer meetings, Steubenville youth conferences, and even attend Franciscan University of Steubenville. These experiences deepened my faith and solidified the foundation my parents gave me.
If I can be half the parents that mine were, than maybe our kids will turn out ok:)
Happy Feast of the Holy Family!