It has been a very long time since I have blogged. I have thought about it often but didn’t have any thing inspirational to write about until today.
Let me give you some background information first. My sons and I are Catholic and my husband is Presbyterian. It works for my husband and I. The boys started out going to church with my husband when they were very young. But both of them turned toward going to church with me on their own just before I was going to get them involved in my church’s religious program for kids. It has worked for our family. It was very important to me to raise them Catholic and my husband was fine with that. But it happened more naturally for us which I appreciated very much.
I think most parents experience at some point in raising their children in an organized religion a rebellious attitude. It has been a push to get my kids out the door on Sunday to go to Mass. I remember when I was a kid I never wanted to go either so I just stay strong but deep down understand they are kids and hope they will grow out of it at some point like I did.
More recently my eldest son who is 13 years old has been questioning the whole idea of organized religion. It is a tough situation because the Catholic Church has not had the best press over the last several years and as a parent raising my sons Catholic it can be tricky. I am pretty quiet about my religion and my faith. It is a personal thing and I like to keep it that way. I certainly don’t try to push my religion on others. But to give you a little back ground on my personal faith journey may help you understand where I am coming from and going with this blog.
I grew up Catholic. Both parents were Catholic, went to Catholic schools from kindergarten through high school. It was my choice to go to a Catholic high school though, a lot of my friends were going and I liked the small class sizes. My other choice was public with hundreds of kids, I was an introvert so the smaller size school and the structured atmosphere were very appealing to me.
So I was use to going to church during the week and then again on the weekend. During Easter my family would say the rosary together on a semi-regular basis. Everyone I knew was Catholic – it was all I knew. But the defining moment in my life was when my mom was diagnosed with cancer. I was 10 years old. I clearly remember how I leaned on God to help my mom get through that horrible experience. My faith grew in abundance after that experience. My mom made it through but it was terrible to watch as a young child.
So fast forward to the present time. I often have a heavy heart because I feel like I haven’t done as good as a job raising my sons in my faith. They go to their respective religious classes and we attend Mass on a regular basis but it is an argument most of the time to get them moving on Sundays to go. I feel like compared to my experience as a kid I have failed. I was exposed to so much more in my faith during my younger years by going to Catholic schools and they do the bare minimum and still think I am asking way to much from them.
I see it more with my eldest son who is extremely book smart and is questioning a lot of things about faith, religion and customs of the Catholic Church. I encourage the conversation because I want him to think on his own and come to a place of peace about his faith on his own. But it also concerns me too.
This year is the first year that my boys are being tested in their religion classes. I was tested all the time. My eldest son wasn’t going to study and thought the whole idea was stupid. I explained that he really should review his material and that it was important to understand the things that they were trying to teach him. He refused.
I have been carrying around a heavy heart about it for a few weeks. Two weeks ago they had their test, then last week they were off on Spring break so today he got his test back. My son gets back from class and says to me, “I got my test back today.” My heart took a dive as I heard the words. Then he says to me, “I got the highest grade and it was 10% higher than anyone else in the class.” His teacher gave him a snickers bar to congratulate him and let him know he did very well. As you can imagine I was thankful but in shock. He really does listen, he really is learning and he is remembering what he is being taught. I can’t tell you how proud of him I was at that moment.
After he walked away I thought, after all this struggle with going to class, going to church, learning about our faith, it was worth it. I am not doing such a bad job. His test score felt like my grade as a parent. I just stay on course and things work themselves out.
Now my youngest son is going to be tested in the next couple of weeks. I may be back to feeling like I haven’t done a good enough job for him but for now I want to hold on to this moment for just a little bit longer.
I realize that at some point in my son’s lives they may chose to follow a different path in their faith. It will be hard for me but I will accept it. I will know that I did do my best in giving them this experience.
Hope you are noticing the small moments in your life and taking the time to appreciate them in some way.