Sunday, June 17, 2007

Happy Father's Day!!

Happy Father’s Day!! The following is a reflection written by Msgr Thomas Wells on June 8, 1997. It comes from the book, “From the Pastor’s Desk”, which is a collection of his writings.

“ The Wells are morning people. I call the homes of my family with reluctance after nine in the evening, but at seven in the morning, I can be certain of wide-awake receptions. This we get from my father. Any day, by 4:30 or 5:00, he would be at the breakfast table reading the morning paper before he went off to 6:30 morning Mass. I often chuckle about it now.

Many mornings I would wake up early and come downstairs just to be with him. How he must have enjoyed the peace and quiet, and how he must have dreaded hearing my footsteps, since he knew the non-stop questions and comments that would break his morning quiet. But I guess, in the mysterious ways of growing up, I must have sensed this was one time I could have time alone with him.

As he grew older (and probably read the magazine articles telling him how he should have been ‘father’) my father would sometimes say that he regretted that he rarely did the things fathers are “supposed” to do with their children: we never fished and we rarely played catch or took hikes together. He did try to help with homework; that was a disaster as he, the engineer, tried to help me, who even today cannot count beyond the number of my fingers, with math. What he tried hardest to do was to teach us how to think. The dinner table, especially as I got into junior and senior high school age, was torture. Nightly, we would be questioned (interrogated, I thought at the time) about what we learned in school and how this knowledge fit into the larger picture of life. Actually of course, my father’s questions were only props to enable him to launch into a nightly session into one or another aspect of life. Since he spent most of his day in the car going from one construction site to another, I suppose he had much time to reflect on various lessons needed to be learned by his children. It was awful!

I suppose our utter lack of response to or appreciation for his lectures must have frustrated my father from time to time; but, let me assure you, he was never deterred. The marvelous joke of it all, of course, is that, ultimately, he won. Unappreciated lectures are a big part of my job. I only pray that they are delivered with some of the love and concern for his children’s growth that motivated my teacher.”


At 5:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a question I'd really like answered. I do not want to raise my children to believe that confession is a punishment, but when they have done something that they are old enough to understand goes against the church's teaching and is serious in nature, should I reinforce (I guess really require) that they go to confession?

At 11:46 AM, Anonymous Kelly said...

Father Greg,

Thank you for sharing Father Wells' words about his dad. His humor is delightful!

At 11:49 AM, Blogger fran said...

I appreciate your question, as it caused me think about how I approach the Sacrament of Reconciliation with my own children.

In order to get away from "confession as punishment," I would start by emphasizing with children that confession is about the love of Christ and the gift of grace that is received through the
sacrament. It is all about God's love and his never ending mercy.

When I was growing up, my parents made it a point to take us to confession on a monthly basis. I could make a better effort to do this with my own family, so perhaps if there is some regularity in going to confession, it again takes away the "punishment" aspect, doesn't only equate it with making mistakes, serious or not, but makes it an experience that one anticipates and even looks forward to - a beautiful encounter with God which results in a closer, deeper relationship with Him daily.

At 12:00 PM, Anonymous kelly said...

Hi, Anon,

The actual experience of confession will show them that it is a beautiful grace filled experience.

2 of my three children, I take regularly to confession. They look forward to it. They come out of confession, renewed, light hearted, .........with entirely new attitudes. Here is the shocker.........they are teenagers.

I have explained it to them as a gift. I have said you are blessed to have this KNOW that you are forgiven. You are blessed to have a kind priest counsel you, encourage you, and help you. I have never approached it as anything but a complete and total gift. They have embraced it.

Unfortunately I learned this by making mistakes with my first child. My husband and I were less frequent confessors than now. We also did not take her other than during Lent and Advent. By the time, we became regular confessors (every 1-2 months), she was completely disinterested in confession. We lost the window of opportunity so to speak.

Praying for you!

At 4:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like the monthly idea, and maybe I'll think about working up to that in the coming several months. I would be nice if this were offered during school day on a more regular basis as well. I wish the sacraments were a more frequent part of the religious curriculum in parish schools, and not just in Q&A form, but in conversation, sharing and, obviously, practice. It seemed like it was more of a focus this past year, but I still think, in a Catholic school, much more could be emphasized. It would be especially helpful to those parents who weren't raised the way it sound like both Fran and Kelly have been. Thanks for your input.


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