Friday, April 10, 2009

Changes: They Are A'Comin...

When I was growing up, I had a very happy childhood. My parents were very loving and supportive. I had a wonderful church family. I had a lot of friends from all different walks of life.

But there did come a time, as it does for most young people, when I decided I could not wait to get OUT! I was going to see the world, experience the world, change the world. This small town was "dragging me down." It was boring. It was too small. And I was tired of everyone being up in my business.

So, I packed my stuff and ran away from home- to college, after graduating High School (I'm not totally stupid). In college I learned a lot of theory, and my eyes were opened to the world- or so I thought. I fell in love and, after graduating college, we married. By then I had decided "home" was not so bad after all. But, to my dismay, hubby had a job that took us all over the place. It took us everywhere but "home."

When we began our family, I wanted nothing more than to take my family "home." There is something instinctual about the way a parent wants the best (or better) for their children. We were certainly no exception. We wanted our son, and any future children, to have the morals, the love, the security we had experienced in our childhood. To us, that meant taking the family "home."

We yearned for our children to experience life the way we had it. However, that was impossible from the get-go. For starters, our junior high school had been demolished and rebuilt in another location. Stores and houses peppered the land that used to be nothing but fields with cows. Our rival junior high school had been transformed into the magnet K - 12 school our children would someday attend. Our high school was now a middle school... How could it really be "the same"?

Well, at least we still had the same friends, same family, same church... Right?

Actually, we made more friends, new friends. We became closer with friends with whom we shared more in common. Old friends were still friends, we just didn't see them as often.

And family changed as members were added and members passed on. But we became stronger.

Church... well, church was one of the things I relied on to be a constant. It was that "x" factor that always stayed the same. After all, church was the House of God.

I wanted my children to have a fun youth group experience, exciting Vacation Bible School during the summers, friends in Sunday School, Eucharistic training and First Communion, acolyte training, Small Catechism, Confirmation, Affirm- all of the things that I believed helped shape me to be who and what I am.

As our world has changed, so has our church, thus proving the theory that any object in motion will stay in motion. I suppose that is better than the alternative, which is any object at rest will stay at rest. But, what if the change is not good? At least from my perspective?

What happens when it begins to feel like I am part of the problem, rather than part of the solution? Can I walk away without a fight? Is it really my fight, or have I grown, moved on, from it?

Ultimately, my children will grow and develop with the guidance of people- not things, like school buildings, or theory, like religion or a particular church. But it is still an awesome responsibility to make sure I make the right decisions about those things and theories to expose my children to the best people.

Thankfully, we do have wonderful, wonderful people (family and friends) who are fabulous role models for our children. And, God is the beginning and end. He will use our good intentions, our prayerfully discerned decisions, to His purpose and glory. He will use us (as long as we allow Him) to guide, shape, mold and love our children.

And, in the end, that is what any parent would really want.

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