Today’s readings focus on following God’s law. We love God’s law, for it reveals to us how to love. In fact, when my husband and I are doing Theology of the Body presentations, we talk about why we need to follow God’s law. The goal for any Christian is to totally internalize God’s laws for life so that we don’t even have to think about them to ‘know’ what we are supposed to do in any situation. Instead of fighting with the Church about whether something should be a law or not, we should be practicing it over and over so that it becomes second nature. Yes, we all go through periods of questioning, but these should be short periods and should lead us to a deeper understanding of what God is calling us to be and to do.
Understanding this is one thing. Teaching a child this is something else totally. Teenagers. Need I say more? At this point, technically, I have two in the household. In reality, the 20-year-old is still very much a teenager, so I still say I have 3 teens. So, knowing what I do of adolescent psychology as a certified youth minister, you would think that I would understand and be able to guide my own teens through this period of questioning and growth. HA! If you did, you thunk wrong.
I remember when my children were young. I remember thinking that if I received a nickel each time that I said “no” or needed to redirect a child’s attention away from something they weren’t supposed to be in, I would be a millionaire. I thought that I couldn’t wait until this stage passed! Now, I am dealing primarily (I do still have two pre-teens) with teenagers who can’t see beyond their own mirrors. Life revolves around them, not the sun. (Sorry to have kept that one a secret for so long, but I was just needing the 3rd experiment to “prove” my data wasn’t skewed on the first two. *sigh*) These days I believe that if I got a penny each time I tried to help them realize that there is more to life than what is in their direct circle of experience, I might be able to retire VERY comfortably.
The reality is that children don’t change. There are seasons to life that we all go through. Watching my now 5th child learning to read, I realize that this is now the 5th time I have waited for that light bulb to go off and to watch her go from being “able to read” to “loving to read”. From the earlier experiences, I have learned not to worry, but to wait. It is coming and my worrying won’t make it come any sooner. Our growth and development is part of the never ending cycle of life.
Life is changing. I no longer get to hold and snuggle with babies on a daily basis, reconnecting with that bond that only another breastfeeding mother could understand. But, I do get to sit and discuss life with my teens and challenge them to take what they have learned and fly with God into the future. And when the teens are cut up in their self-focus, I can go to my younger two and create an imaginary castle with knights and princesses who need saved from the bad barbarians and once again be the hero.
Overall, the goal is to keep reiterating those laws. On my own, I am the teacher from the old Charlie Brown movies. “Mwa, mwa, mwa, ma, mwa.” But, with prayer and God’s grace, eventually they will come to understand what we are trying to teach them and internalize these laws. When the laws are within, what comes out, leads us to sainthood. And what else is there as our goal besides sainthood?