Sunday, September 26, 2010

Family Life Is The Answer

On this "Lord's Day" I have read a couple of articles which deserve a wider audience as well as some little comment. These articles were written from different points of view by very different men. They converge, however, and contribute to the answer to that question which dogs so many of us: "How do I find happiness, peace, contentment?" Over the years we have seen so many feeble attempts to answer the above question. Every attempt has been hobbled by the same shortcoming - it has been rooted in the "wisdom" and presumptuous mechinations of man rather than the wisdom of God.

Over these many years we have convinced ourselves that kids would be happier and healthier, and therefore society would be even more advanced, if we built up their "self-esteem", if we did this through scads of organized activities which are designed to assure the success which would bring higher self-esteem and therefore happiness, peace, and contentment.

I have often thought over the years that there is a biblical principle which is being ignored. Jesus never said: "Love thyself". Dr. John Rosemond, psychologist and columnist, discusses the fruits born by our preoccupation with children's self-esteem. So, while the rest of the world continues to "build up" our children's self-esteem and get no more result in the above named fruits, we would do well to consider the bibilical principles at play here.

I regularly remind my young people that the Great Commandment states that we are to love God with our whole heart, mind, and soul; and to love our neighbor as ourself. I think that this is a biblical standard for us with regards to where our attention ought to be. When we are "other-focussed" we find our true and best selves - both individually and as a society.

Can this be over done? Is it possible that we can be lost in this focus on the other? If we look to the life of the Trinity as our model and standard, or even the sacrament of marriage (which is an icon of the life of the Trinity), we see that this is only possible if all parties are not bound up in this life of complete "self-giving".

Archbishop Dolan writes in his archdiocesan paper about the scientific evidence beginning to be released detailing the benefits of real family life in the lives of children and the subsequent benefits to our society. The only reason any of this is "too hard" or "unrealistic" is that we've spent 30 years telling ourselves that our children must have everything. In the end we deprive them of what they really need, and I believe what they down deep inside want - family.
What is your experience? Let me know! I love hear from readers. Until then - Peace be with you!