September 2005 - Volume 10, Issue 2
I would like to share a few thoughts with you on your family. If you read many of the journals and many of the family planning books that are coming on the market, one trend is constantly repeated. It is that within 15 to 20 years many of our aging parents are going to be, because of a loss of income or the fact that no one can take care of them or they do not want to go into nursing homes, once again living with their own sons and daughters. This is as clear as it can possibly be concerning future planning. The aged in our country are living longer. Their income, especially because of medical expenditures, will be curtailed and for all particular purposes they have no one to turn to, but their own sons and daughters.
Just to show you how complicated this problem will become, 58%, not just 1 out of 2, 58% of all marriages today end in divorce. And that figure of 58% is expected to go higher. Now you have the complicated problem of mothers and fathers returning to their children where a divorce has taken place and life does not plan to be that pleasant. If you go back a few moments into the family life for the last 20 years, you might recall about 25 years ago the father was the principal bread winner. We have heard in counseling many fathers say, "I am working two jobs to keep bread on the table and give my children a good education. I cannot spend as much time with my children as I would like to because of my work schedule". Then a short time later the woman of the home gets into the main force of work and she was putting in long hours in addition to her husband to keeping food on the table and to giving her children a greater educational opportunity. What has happened in the mean time is that many children do not have that parental presence or that parental guidance that would solidify good family values being handed on. You certainly cannot blame the parents, they are doing their best. Sigmund Freud once said, "being a parent even in the most idealistic of conditions is an impossible vocation". That was said over 60 years ago. It is probably more accurate today. Being a parent is tremendously difficult. We cannot go day after day or week after week and ignore all of these violations that are taking place in high schools and then wonder why the government cannot do more, the church cannot do more or the state cannot do more. Because of various laws in our country the actual protection that your children need oftentimes is unable to be given. Yes, we can have metal detectors, more security guards, we can even bring in security dogs, but if the children coming into that school have a degree of disturbance or dysfunctionality and have a determination to shoot someone or blow up someone, all of these protective safe guards often times fail in what they were designed to do. There is no perfect way to totally protect your children who are going to a school that might be filled with a lot of disturbed youngsters. Your innocent children, coming from your good families, can be made victims in the blink of an eye. That is the sadness, that is the tragedy that realistic people know can happen.
But in the meantime each parent, and I am well aware of the shortage of time that each parent has, has to make an effort for that parents future to make sure children are endowed with qualities that will help you as parents in the later part of your lives. You endow your children with the right qualities of charity, compassion and consideration. You teach them the value of solid communications because this is so necessary growing up and especially in the sacrament of matrimony. We cannot come to church week after week hearing that the average husband and wife out of 1440 minutes speak only 12 substantial minutes to each other. We cannot continue to hear that these busy parents where both parents are working two jobs now, only have about 7 minutes of communication with their children. We have to ask ourselves, even though I am making more money, am I making a sacrifice of family values that will be costly to the entire family as we all grow old together?
Sigmund Freud once said, "the average child between the ages of 2 and 4 knows the difference between right and wrong". He said, "by the first 7 years of a child's life a good part of that child's apparatus is developed". When you think of the teaching of Jesus Christ reminding each one of us that our children are precious, our children are sacred, and that we have to be more concerned with the values that we put into their minds and souls than the clothes we put on their back. The average child today is a child that is searching. When you think of the tragic fact in our country that l out of 5 children today experiences serious bouts of depression. When you figure today that over 30,000 teenagers commit suicide per year, we cannot sit back and blame the school, blame the church and blame the government, we are responsible as adults for the early development of our children. When you figure the average child today is being formed by television values of anywhere from 25 to 40 hours per week, it is a reminder that people are playing with the minds of your children, helping them form values that are totally in conflict with the teachings of Jesus Christ. Christ's message has run throughout the years that you have to be a person of love, not sex. That you have to be a person of charity, not self- centeredness. That you have to be a person of compassion, not what's in it for me. Those are the messages and values that have to be imparted to our children before they leave your home. Every child who is under your care has to be taught a sense of duty, a sense of determination, a sense of dedication and a sense of devotion before he leaves the confines of your home. Otherwise he will never be able to stand up for right values and will be easily a prey to any new trend or any new cult that taps into his vulnerability. We just cannot sit back in a passive fashion and decry all that is happening to our families and justify everything by saying we are all working 60, 70 or 80 hours for the sake of our children and then find out that the children that we work to educate and to be wonderful children have been taught philosophies by others outside our home.
You know as well as I do that oftentimes when you hear the language on television and you see the second degree efforts of many of these actors and actress who come in through your television screen that you would not allow these people to enter your home through your front door. You have to turn on the televison and they are presently undermining Christian values and undermining the values you want them to be taught.
No one ever maintains today that it is easy to raise a family. Every one of us knows the high cost of living that for some families two jobs, mother and father, are a must. We found out over year ago that in the State of Pennsylvania most couples are working two and a half jobs, the father has a full time job, the mother has a full time job, the father is a part time security guard or the mother is a part time secretary or waitress. It is much harder to raise a family today than it was during the depression era. But when you analyze everything, it comes right down to one word, what are your priorities. When you think you can send a child from your home that can give honor and glory to you and honor and glory to God that is a great achievement. If your child leaves your home with third degree ethics and third degree values taught by others that child will join the list of dysfunctional children that are becoming so numerous in our country. There is no question about it the family is the main unit in our society. Every parent has to work for that common goal and every child in every family has to work for that common goal, the common good of your family. We cannot as youngsters sit back and say I am only 14 or 15, I cannot make any great contribution of any great significance to my family. That is so wrong. You can honor your mother and father knowing how hard they work. You can honor their reputation. You can honor their value system. You can protect your home and some of your peers and friends who would like to see you in the same adverse family life they are living in. You too can make a contribution of your personal charity, your personal compassion, your personal consideration to each other. No youngster is that poverty stricken that you cannot make a contribution of your thought or your talent to making sure that your family stays together. We can all go back into history of the great works of Arnold Toynbee, the great historian, who one time said of the nineteen great civilizations that have existed since the beginning of time sixteen have crumbled because the family value system died. We do not know what is ahead for many of the baby boomers of today or their aging parents of tomorrow, but one thing we do know if each one in the family does his share to protect and build your family value system, if each one in your family, no matter how young, brings the charity of Christ and the compassion of Christ to each other your family will not only give honor and glory to each member, but your family above all will give honor and glory to God.
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