Worrying About Your Children
Eppie Blackwell“You never stop worrying about your children, no matter how old they are.” a friend of mine told me once. How much I came to appreciate the universal truth of this statement. We want the best for our children and we always wonder what the future holds for them. Will they enjoy good health? Have we chosen the right school for them? What profession will suit them? Have they found the right spouse?........... It never ends. Ah, what about pension funds?
Some years ago I went on a retreat to the Visitation Nuns in Sussex and was given a little prayer card with this saying from Francis de Sales:- “Do not look forward to what might happen tomorrow; the same Everlasting Father who cares for you today will take care of you tomorrow and every day. Either He will shield you from suffering or He will give you unfailing strength to bear it. Be at peace, then, and put aside all anxious thoughts and images”.
This wise saying from the saintly Francis has given me much encouragement and serenity over the years. For indeed, through baptism, we become children of God. Our heavenly Father loves us more than our own parents and, in the same way , loves our children more than we ever can. We need not worry unnecessarily. All we have to do is to learn to love God the way a child loves his parents, with complete confidence and dependence, without any cares. We rely totally on God’s grace and when we fall and stumble, we know that our Father God will pick us up by the hand and gently comfort us. He will teach us to get up and start again.
Knowing that God loves and cares for me as a loving father every minute of the day has freed me from a lot of worries and anxieties. I realized that my children and I can be happy in this world , not only in the next, depending on how close we are to the Blessed Trinity. To achieve an intimate father/ daughter relationship, I have to maintain a constant dialogue with God, ie: to pray. But how? Well, another saint came to the rescue. I found this little paragraph written by St. Josemaria Escriva in “The Way” 91. He says: “To pray is to talk with God. But about what? About him and yourself: joys, sorrows, successes and failures, great ambitions, daily worries – even your weaknesses! And acts of thanksgiving and petitions –and love and reparation. In short, to get to know him and to get to know yourself – “to get acquainted!”
I learned that by setting aside time to talk to God each day in spite of the many demands that any mother and wife faces helps me to be cheerful and optimistic, always remembering to have a supernatural outlook in good times as well as bad.
St. Francis said “A spoonful of honey attracts more flies than a barrelful of vinegar.” It may seem unloving, almost unfeeling to compare my children to flies, but it is certainly true that I can more easily get them to come round to my way of thinking and doing things if I have a smile on my face. A mother’s job is to run a happy home where everyone learn to be more selfless. I can’t imagine Our Lady walking around witha sour face in Nazareth, so I suppose it is tough, I’ll just have to be sweet to all, as St. Francis said. What me? Furious? Who says? Never!!
If we can live in this way, Mother’s will be celebrated by their children with real joy in their hearts, thanking God for their mother on earth and their Everlasting Father in heaven. Thank you, St. Francis.