Our 18 year old just got his first job. He resisted it..."this is 2012, kids my age don't work." Yes, honey, if you were in all AP classes and doing volunteer work on the weekends, we would just hand you cash...but if you aren't even in school, I think it is a bad idea for parents to subsidize their kids play time. In our house it is an old argument. We have been more generous in our stance since he started working. And looking for an apartment. During the week, his friend ran out of gas and was his ride back to the apartment and to work. He asked for and I agreed to $5 for gas. At the convenient store, I picked up a coffee and got $5 cash. I hurried out so he had no opportunity to talk me into more. He was parked on the back fender of my car so he could talk to his dad...he does know how to work me! Another $5 later, for lunch, I wonder how he is able to do that...am I that weak. Or is he?
Today, it was his dad. I heard him talking to our son on the phone. "your mom made dinner and i would be happy to bring some to you. Yes, I know you are working...that's why I said I would bring it. Yes, I know I promised you a meatball hoagie, but I forgot it was Friday...I know you are not practicing your Catholicism, but I still don't feel right about it...I can get you tuna hoagie if you prefer." The second conversation went much the same. I grinned at my husband--maybe its not just me-- and was about to make a smart remark; until my phone immediately started vibrating in my pocket. I said, "its your son." He wanted to know why his father was treating him like that. I told him that if he chose to make his way in the world, he had to take care of himself. Yes, I understood that he was working and we even were OK with buying him a special lunch but we were not buying meatballs on Friday during Lent. If he wanted them, he or his girlfriend would have to get them...she had already offered. He said it wasn't his girlfriend's job to buy him dinner (to which I promptly agreed and thanked her) and he said it was his father's responsibility. I told my son that I was not going to buy it, and I would be upset with his father if he bought it. He wasn't practicing but was baptised Catholic. I told him as an adult, he was free to choose what customs he wanted to follow, but if he wanted something we didn't agree with, he or his girlfriend was free to buy his dinner. He said, "but I want dad to get it for me." Sigh. I looked at Shawn, and he said, "its like Obamacare."
I think the reason Obama's mandated health care makes me so angry is that it is so similar to irresponsible teenager behavior. The only difference is by mandating we pay for it, there is no way to temper the behavior. I always believed that natural consequences would make teenagers become responsible young ladies and gentlemen, however, the older I get, the more I see well-meaning adults protecting their children from these consequences and the resulting tragedies that occur...up to and including death. The Catholic church has always taught that birth control was intrinsically evil. Further, hormonal birth control has an abortifacient aspect which the Church also discourages. And finally, there are proven negative health consequences for using them, regardless of the reason. This is the churches position since BC pills were first approved by the FDA for use and has not changed. In the 60 or so years since it was approved, the church has not changed its position, but the FDA has issued strong warnings, going so far as to label some of them pills as a class 1 carcinogen; on the same level as tobacco. Still, Obama would like to mandate the Catholic church to pay for such potentially lethal and elective drugs and procedures. The Catholic church, its millions of followers, and others who do not agree with the use of the drugs would all have to help pay for the individuals who choose to use them. Regardless of the consequences, the constitution of the United States allows the individuals to purchase potentially life threatening drugs. That doesn't make it right. And there is no such right to it. But making us help pay opens the door to us contributing to many other things that we do not agree with or want to support. That is what makes it so maddening.
Further examples from this week. Lesbian with kids in the catholic school demands removal of a quote that she felt offensive. She could have just taken her child out of the school, however, she felt that it was a good school and she wanted her daughter there. She just wanted to change it. She wanted a 2000 year old institution to change to make her feel more comfortable. In a similar story in recent weeks, a catholic woman returned to her hometown for her mother's funeral. She was in a long-standing relationship so one supposes she is not in a state of grace. She told the priest officiating and also that she was a practicing Buddhist and then presented herself for the Holy Eucharist...the body of Christ. The Priest was reprimanded for his actions....she was applauded. Is it only valid if you "stick it to the church." Makes you think this isn't so much about a person's right to choose, but a person's right to choose to go against the church and make them back down. It is a spiritual battle...not one we are likely to win in the courts.
How about one a little closer to home...most of us have children. Planned Parenthood, an institution that has had arguably the most effect on our culture in the last century, has begun targeting younger and younger children with its message. They provide much of the literature for sex education in our school and they speak the language our children understand. They have begun spreading the message that " Good Parents let kids have sex at home. There is no reason to stunt your sexual development...it is perfectly normal and healthy to have multiple partners even at the same time. Just do it safely. Your parents don't understand." Yes, we understand that you talk their language better than we do. We also understand that, like our bishops, we are going to fight back.
- We will study the youth culture. We will learn the things you are up against, and we will remain or become relevant in your life. We will win you back.
- We will set rules about important things and try not to back down when you test them. We will cry with you when you suffer from making a mistake, but will still love and support you, and live to see you in a happy relationship and raising a family of your own. We will be sad, if in fact, you don't make it but will pray that you embrace your faith, love God, and live happily with God forever.
- We will not compromise our values. We try to espouse the values of the Catholic church...values that are tested over the course of centuries and not just a few decades...They are not whims of a few who have nothing to base them on except feelings; feelings that we know are only fleeting. We will hold your hand, support you, and love you. We know from living our own lives that it isn't easy...nothing important and good ever is. But it is true.
St Michael the archangel, defend us in battle. Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil...