As I have said before, it never ceases to amaze me how many extraordinary insights have come my way by means of everyday people. This is what I am most grateful for in regard to Neal Obstat, that I have become less deaf to God’s voice flashing in life all around me.
An employee at a local Catholic institution in New Orleans shared with me last Fall a quote from, of all people, Jacqueline Kennedy, and said this quote changed her life the day she heard it as it helped reshaped her priorities in regard to her at-the-time adolescent children.
If you bungle raising your children, I don’t think whatever else you do well matters very much.
She said, “I realized that even though I was doing good things in and for the Church, it was coming at the expense of time with my children.”
Core insight: the final meaning and authenticity of our life’s work revolves around how we tend to those “first things first” that divine Providence has entrusted into our care. And their is no more precious treasure entrusted to parents than children.
It also provides a simple and potent means of discernment: make certain that all your evolving commitments serve the demands of your God-given primary vocation, whatever that may be.
As my children grow, I realize that time is not on my side, that my opportunity for influence is relatively short and terrifyingly decisive, and that my children spell love most vividly as T-I-M-E.
And time is something I have come to relish “wasting” with them.
Not Good Enough, And It’s Okay
My wife and I strive to do our best, repent often for our frequent failings and trust that our decision to daily pray for our children is by far the most crucial choice we make every day.
Thank God God can make good use of our bungles, if we give them to Him. On many nights, it’s my only sleep aid.
Lord, help us to love them as you love them….
Spread love everywhere you go: first of all in your own house. Give love to your children, to your wife or husband, to a next door neighbor… Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness; kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile, kindness in your warm greeting.”
— Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta