Friday, August 11, 2006

Another leg in the journey in life...

Once a long while back, while we still lived in Canada and the number of our children was still in the single digits, I managed to squeeze in the attendance of an Opus Dei talk. There was one point that the priest made that night that has really stayed with me, not that I have made the proper use of it - but none the less it has been there, floating about in my memories, sometimes actually making it to the forefront - where it really should have been at all times. He stated, really quite simply that in order to effect a desired change in our loved ones we must, (not should - must) model this desired behaviour to our loved ones before trying to change their behaviour.

Of late I have noticed a lot of squabbling between the children and short tempers are prevailing as are sharp tones. A lot of this behaviour can be blamed on the stress of our recent move, along with the accompanying later nights and a messed up schedule. Still, as I thought about trying to turn all of this around, particularly the manner in which the children are speaking to each other, the memory of Father‘s statement was triggered again and I felt guilty. How nicely have I been speaking to my children or even to my husband? How patient or understanding have I been? Just what kind of example have I been to my family? Have I been the heart that, as mother, I am called to be?

The answers that I came up with were not so flattering. For example, when faced with a grumpy teller at the bank, with a stuffy red nose, who treated me like a four year old that was not following directions properly in class, had I simply, humbly offered it up to God; or had I grumped and complained about that chit of a teller and her nerve… When a child steps on my foot accidentally, while still in their heavy shoes, do I refrain to only an explanation of pain and then smile understandingly when the child apologizes or do I snap at them to be more careful? When I am disappointed because I cannot find the book I had put aside to read during my free time in the afternoon or before bed, do I calmly offer it up, ask for help to find it; or do I stomp about the house grumbling about how nobody cares about anybody else’s belongings and so dampening everyone else’s spirits while also ruining their quiet time?

And if that is my behaviour - should I really be so surprised when this is the behaviour I see exhibited by my children?

The next thought that came to me was that if I wanted to model better behaviour to my children, I needed to better understand why I was not being more patient, more loving and more tolerant. There are many reasons for why I might not be being a better model of a loving heart - some quite simple and others more profound.

I realized in order to answer this - I needed to look at how I was caring for myself. Was I eating well or missing meals, therefor becoming grumpy because I was hungry? Was I getting to bed at a reasonable time or staying up late because I had not managed my time well and I had things still to be done long past a reasonable bedtime. Was I taking time to refresh myself spiritually both through prayer and the Sacraments?

Again, I did not like the answers I was coming up with and I realized that I some work ahead of me, but like it or not, I had the moral obligation to God, my husband, our children, and to myself, to take up this new challenge of caring better for myself.

Wish me luck, eh, as I head forward on another leg of my spiritual journey. Read more!