As a mother, I feel like I am constantly doing those checks and balances to be sure that the children are learning all they need in these few short years we have with them. I am trying to teach virtue with the balance of justice, with the knowledge that they also need to, one day, join the rest of the world and all its inconsistencies. I admit, it’s a balancing act that keeps me up at night at times. Am I remembering to give them this, or teach them that, or keep this away to build character and so on and so forth. A person can go crazy with all that is required to prepare their children for a world like ours, and yet, keep them solidly grounded in their Catholic Faith. It can seem overwhelming….well, actually it is overwhelming, if we let it be.
Without trusting that God will also guide them, there is no hope. Two parents aren’t enough, never has been. It takes knowing that God will also guide their footsteps if we teach them how to trust Him.
Let me back up. Thinker, my nine year old daughter, has been growing her hair out for a number of years now, probably three or four, with a mission in mind. Her cousin donated her long tresses to “Locks of Love”, an organization who creates wigs for children and adults undergoing treatment which results in hair loss. Having been inspired by her cousin’s good deed, Thinker decided to do the same. For years now, she has grown her hair, we’ve created many different hair styles over the years, and others have remarked on her long beautifully cared for hair.
She grew to love her hair. Often I caught her admiring herself in the mirror as she brushed her long locks, to which I would causally mention that her beauty is a gift from God alone (hoping to keep her vanity in check!).
I had made a hair appointment for her for yesterday, as her hair had become long enough to cut and donate, as was her plan all along. Yesterday morning, she looked longingly into the mirror as she brushed her long hair for the last time before we left. I came to see her, and decided to give her one last chance to back out if she wasn’t quite ready. I asked her if she was sure about this decision. She confirmed her ‘yes’ and then I asked her why she wanted to donate her hair, knowing that it would make her look very different.
Her answer drove away my doubts if anything we were doing was actually sinking in. She said, “I want to do it so some other little girl will look and feel beautiful.”
I asked her if there was any other reason, to which she answered, “Father at school said the other day, that ‘Life is about sacrifices’.”
Wow. I mean really, Wow. When I am constantly doubting in my abilities, I am told by my daughter, that she really is learning some valuable lessons at school.
Some have asked me why I don’t home school my kids. I think it’s amazing work to home school and we know many very successful home school families. HH and I decided long ago, as long as we can, we will send them for Catholic Education. It’s been hard at times to keep that decision, as we wade through the ups and downs of private education.
But this example of Thinker, just yesterday, confirmed our decision to keep sending them to our quality Catholic school we have nearby. Not all Catholic schools are as blessed as ours, I know that, but I have seen such fruits from our school. Knowing that Thinker took seriously a recent homily that Father had given at the school, the fact that he works so diligently to get the message through, gave me a great peace, and a great joy to be sending her there.
I sat waiting as she got her long tresses cut, and the tears were brimming in the corners of my eyes, not hers. I actually felt less alone in the challenge of getting the messages across.
Life is truly about sacrifices, especially when others are in need. I believe that. I’ve tried to teach that, and now I know my children are learning it. Sometimes we just have to give them the opportunity to act on what they’ve learned, to give what they have been given. That can be tough as a parent…..to see them sacrifice. But it builds something in them: a sensitivity towards others, an empathy, and a sincere desire to give.
Today, as we got ready for church, I came into the bathroom to see Thinker brushing her short hair, and she gave me a little knowing smile. I said, “This cut makes you look so much older and mature.”
She said something I’ll never forget, “When I look in the mirror and if I don’t feel as pretty, I’ll think of that little girl who got my hair, and pray that she feels better soon.”
To which I responded, “Honey, because you gave of yourself, you became more beautiful than you’ve ever been. God sees what you have done. Dad and I see what you have done, and you are gorgeous because of what’s inside, your love, your good heart. Never forget that.”
It makes a mother proud. I can’t even express how proud of her I am. It’s difficult, so difficult to give something so valuable to another. And she not only did it, but happily, joyfully and with great peace. She amazes me, and I sit once again in awe of my children. They have so much love to give, when I want to guard my love like a fortress.
Thank you, God, for the gift of my children. They are so loving, kind and forgiving. Allow me to teach them and at the same time learn from them. They are a gift from you, Lord, and I don’t plan on wasting that precious, precious gift.
Copyright 2010 Sahmatwork