An Ode to Parents Weekend (© all rights reserved)
Chaplain Joe Molina CDR, UMSC / Chaplain to the Corps of Cadets
Way back in 1990 there was a “T-shirt testimony” making its rounds in the local south Florida market. A number of people wore it proudly with no fear of recrimination or ridicule. It read: “God Made Notre Dame #1. Miami Made Them #2.” Well, it was boastful and maybe borderline blasphemous. I am not too sure if The Almighty is in the business of getting involved with national football championships (some of you may disagree). However, I do know this: there are divine priorities… and I believe that “family” is a divine priority. To God, the family is precious!
To be sure, I believe that in the divine order of things the family is sacred. If this is true, then the family is to be protected and cherished. In view of this, the family is also the workshop for applied and practical spirituality. It is the basic unit where we can affirm the goodness of God. No wonder that when things go wrong with the family so much else goes wrong with us individually.
I wonder that if truth were known, would we be in agreement with all of the aforesaid? I wonder whether we would, instead, be wearing a T-shirt stating: “God Made The Family #1. I Made it #2”? I am not a prophet of doom. I believe that chaplains are called to be (among other things) ministers of hope. I believe that chaplains are called to convey a message that will help us to be better. Indeed, that is my goal as I write this article. Nevertheless, sometimes we have to face some sad facts in the process of arriving at true hope. A very sad fact is that the family is in trouble in our society. The stability of so many families have been threatened and even destroyed through rage, frustration, unhappiness and helplessness. The statistics bear this out. Since the early 1960’s violent crimes in families have increased exponentially. The rates of teenage pregnancies, teenage suicides, and divorces reflect the general malaise, which undermine the preservation of the family. Anyone of our families can become a casualty.
Whether we have been victims of the attack on the family or not, we can all make a new start and rekindle our hope and commitment for the family. We can recapture a vision and a life which is in line with the kinds of values that build-up our families. Here’s a primer that I personally review to help me stay the course:
- There must be a passion in us that is greater than personal privilege. Is our personal privilege secondary as it relates to the family? How can I serve my family members? How can we render proper respect and honor to those in our families that have always been there for us? All of this translates into expressing appreciation, good communication and capturing those special moments to encourage.
- There must be a purpose larger than life. When we have purpose, we’ll have priorities. When we have purpose, we will put our passion into action. Good purpose will involve us with our family in good ways. When a family shares in a common purpose, its priorities and goals will be congruent and productive of “good fruits.” A purpose that is “larger than life” strives to leave gifts of good will and good works to benefit the greater society as well as our posterity. It becomes part of leaving a legacy.
A family that is committed has an orientation that hungers for moral, spiritual and emotional growth. The family can become a wonderful journey that never ends.
Wouldn’t it be nice to fashion a T-shirt that states “God Has Made The Family #1 And I Agree With It!”