Saturday, March 16, 2013

Families, Be Who You Are!

Families, be who you are!  --Pope John Paul II

Who are you?  --the caterpillar, from Alice in Wonderland

Some family weeds clearly need to be pulled and healthy flowers planted in their place. Weeds such as active alcoholism, untreated depression and mental illness, anger issues, abuse, harsh judgment, and unloving attitudes are not who we are. These are merely the weeds obscuring the proper growth of the roses, lilies, violets, and hydrangeas that reflect our true nature. Before we follow Pope JP II's advice, we need to answer the caterpillar's question. If you are accustomed to the chaos of a disordered life, like found in those weeds mentioned above, you may look around for examples of "normal" families in order to chart a different path. This may be helpful to take a look at how a well-functioning family navigates the world. However, if they are a family of daisies, while yours is really a family of hibiscus, well, you can see the potential issues. Each plant has different needs of sunlight, temperature, soil, and water.

There is no one right way to be a family. Nor is there one right way to be homeschoolers or to raise happy, healthy children. There is no one right pace to learn any particular thing. There is no one body of knowledge necessary for any one child to learn by the age of 18. There is no single, correct diet for people to eat, or best place for everyone to live, or most perfect method of discipline to follow. There is, in my opinion, one true religion--but the possible paths to Truth are endless. Figure out who you want to be as a family, then be who you are. Be who you are, families, without feeling that you need to justify yourselves to anyone. If your life is joyous, if you accept yourselves exactly as you are, then you are on the path to freedom. Your garden will still have weeds, for that is our fallen nature. But we are made in the image of God.

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