Beloved, let's not nag one another...

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This morning, I felt as though God were eavesdropping on our family drive to Mass and that he gave me a “talking to” with today’s readings.  Of course I’d read them in advance, and knew good and well that the “love” theme would be in prevalence.  But for some reason, that escaped me before Mass this morning.

Sometimes, living with two wonderful teenage boys, I turn into the world’s biggest nag.  I was in prime form this morning before Mass, likely thanks to a short night’s sleep and the rush we were in to get out of the house.  I made a request of the boys, something that had been on my mind all morning, using that motherly tone… you know the one…

It wasn’t until we got into church and I began re-reading the liturgy of the word that the error of my ways hit me with full force.

“Beloved, let us love one another,
because love is of God;
everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God.
Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love.”

and then

“As the Father loves me, so I also love you.
Remain in my love.”

and the final reminder

“This I command you: love one another.”

As if the point hadn’t been driven home enough, my music ministry men then began playing “They’ll Know We Are Christians By Our Love” and the motherly remorse kicked in big time.  Had I told my sons and husband yet today how deeply I love them?  Had I said anything nice at all — is there any way that “Brush your teeth” spoken three times can be construed as love?  Yes, there is motherly love behind the reminder.  I don’t want their teeth falling out.  But was my tone one of love, or more one of dissatisfaction and exasperation?

Just about every week, when I stop to get a good look at Eric, I realize how fleetingly precious this time with my sons truly is.  Eric, a Junior in high school, already has one foot out the door.  Do I want to spend the next eighteen months before he goes off to college getting in the last word, or do I want this to be a time of loving support of the man he is becoming.  As Adam ventures into the world of high school, do I want to be the one always saying “no” or the one gently encouraging him to be the best he can be?

It’s such a fine line we parents walk.  We want to help our children avoid all of life’s many pitfalls and protect them from any pain or failure.  We do this out of love.  But it’s very easy to get caught up in what feels like endless nagging.  Was this what Jesus had in mind today when he told his disciples, “This I command you: love one another.”

I don’t have the answers today, only questions and a bit of self doubt.  Blessedly, the gospel message for today has given me my marching orders for this week: a bit less nagging, and a lot more loving.

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About Author

Lisa M. Hendey is the founder and editor of CatholicMom.com and the bestselling author of the Chime Travelers children’s fiction series, The Grace of Yes, The Handbook for Catholic Moms and A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms. As a board member and frequent host on KNXT Catholic Television, Lisa has produced and hosted multiple programs and has appeared on EWTN and CatholicTV. Hendey hosted “Catholic Moments” on Radio Maria and is the technology contributor for EWTN’s SonRise Morning Show. Lisa’s articles have appeared in Catholic Digest, National Catholic Register, and Our Sunday Visitor. Hendey travels internationally giving workshops on faith, family, and Catholic technology and communications topics. She was selected as an Elizabeth Egan Journalism Fellow, attended the Vatican Bloggers Meeting, the “Bishops and Bloggers” meeting and has written internationally on the work of Catholic Relief Services and Unbound. Hendey lives with her family in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Visit Lisa at www.LisaHendey.com for information on her speaking schedule or to invite her to visit your group, parish or organization.

3 Comments

  1. Mark Szewczak on

    Join the club. In the end, they will, and DO, remember that we love them. I have seen it myself in my own family…because Dad’s don’t nag…they NAG! And the nagging IS a form of love for exactly the reasons you mentioned…we want the best for them because we love them.

    I have learned to take the readings as a personal message from God. This may be arrogant on my part, or naive, but most times they absolutely apply to me, now, where I am, what I need to work on. So, take it as a message from our Father, who doesn’t nag but gently reminds. Oh, and by the way, don’t fear that your sons are “leaving”…you always carry them inside and they are always going to be in your life in new and marvelous ways that you can’t imagine. My daughters are 31 and 23 and my son is 29. All out on their own but all marvelously in my life more richly than when I had them at home. I promise. Blessings!

  2. Mark – thanks for the reminder that they never really “leave” – I know this from my own relationship with my parents. I need to speak with them just about every day to keep life in its proper balance! I hope I have that type of relationship with my own boys. It just feels like as they grow up, they are gone more than they’re home!

    Sarah, thanks for your kind words of encouragement. I do my best every day – some days feel better than others, but God is good and they are all blessed!

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