The Journey series
This week’s Mustard Seed continues on family.
Several years back some friends and I started a non-profit society to develop a Divine Mercy Centre. It was very ambitious but we decided that if the Lord willed it, it would succeed. We held several fundraising and awareness events. We made annual deposits into a chancery office account.
Our bishop informed us that our project was very similar to the retreat and formation centre the diocese intended to build. He asked us to focus instead on promoting use of the as yet unbuilt facility. Our bishop took over our project with the best of intentions yet changing our mission led to our society’s demise.
Last week, as I was writing, the incident came back to mind. Are governments and charities taking over the family’s purpose with all their social service programs? We have child care and school to train our young. We have unemployment insurance, food banks, soup kitchens, shelters, half-way houses, public health care, and many other supports to attend our needy. We have seniors’ residences to care for our elderly. Has family become a social construct past its time?
In today’s economy a decent standard of living obliges, in most cases, both partners in a marriage to work. Food, clothing, shelter, and taxes claim ever increasing shares of our income. Who can afford children? Work, commutes, household chores, and sleep demand the bulk of our days. Who has time for children? Perhaps we can manage one or two, but that’s it.
Then think about the burden people place on the environment. If we have more children mother Earth won’t be able to support them. Consider, too, all the uneducated people in third world countries who must be taught how to control the number of children they have. We know better and have a responsibility to compensate by having fewer. We mustn’t be selfish.
It’s too late to avoid the elderly and infirm but should families be obliged to care for them? We have seniors’ residences, care homes, and palliative centres. We offer Medical Assistance in Dying. Aged and otherwise challenged people can be sent where workers have the time, experience, and equipment to properly care for them. At the appropriate time simply call in the MAID service.
Is this the world we’re heading to? Children will be perks for the wealthy. Immigrant will man our factories. Elderly and infirm will be dispatched with compassion. Think of the money couples will save by not having children. The countries where families are too ignorant to stop having children will benefit from the money their children send home from our factories. Better still, we’ll send the factories (and their pollution) overseas too. Even if the elderly and infirm don’t agree with the new way they won’t be here to complain.
For my part, I’d rather give up designer clothes, bigger house and car, and yearly cruises than cede either of my sons. I raise my sons to care about mother Earth and strive to better her. I believe our planet is better off with my sons than without them. If those who are aware of and concerned about our world’s problems don’t raise a next generation with the same awareness and concern who will our world will be left to? What will it become? Earth is much more a victim of our habits than of our existence.
Raise a family. Love them. Teach them to love and care for their community and environment. Help them discern between needs and wants, means and ends. Let them see the sunset, hear the birds, smell the flowers, feel the sun, and taste the ocean breeze. Show them what’s important. Gather with friends. Laugh and sing. The world will heal family by family. Governments can’t do it, conglomerates won’t. We must.
Next week: Free Market.
11/18/2021 11:09:34 am
This writing is done in love with a condescending tone. The idea that people are not educated and too ignorant to control the number of children they have is self-righteous. Population control is a good ideal to pursue but it is for those who have the fortune of such pursuits. People are born into circumstances and it is not a choice. I know plenty who have been afforded an education and they hold onto myth and archaic beliefs and claim it as fact. Think of people who are so simple that they believe Adam and Eve were actual people. People have misconceptions about the very reality they live in and often embrace ignorance from genuine ignorance. These people have not had the opportunity to know anything else. It is not a matter of education. It is matter of development. We can assist those in there development while not requiring economic shifts to accomplish this. Knowledge and ideas are free. However, strife may occupy the life of many and that which is free cannot be received. This is the case for those who hold onto passe notions of our reality and they do live in a developed society. They have fears that can only be comforted with simple explanations and well-worn tales. We can encourage and enlighten those who still live in ignorance by challenging them and lifting them. Both old ideas of family and old ideas of God leave people in the dark. We in the developed world still believe in saints and angels while those in the underdeveloped world believe big families will secure them. Both are moves from fear and do not have fruitful outcomes. Embracing each other and willfully working in kindness may open the doors for us to be of help. Acting as if we can teach someone out of ignorance will not change much. Walking with someone in their fear may change the world.
11/22/2021 10:56:37 am
I agree totally with your last two paragraphs, Peter. Isn’t that what the natural rhythm of life is? We are put here to love God and do his will. Raising children (for most people) is part of the plan. We are to teach our children to appreciate what is given to them and raise them to become socially aware, decent human beings who contribute to society and work toward the common good for everyone in the world. When I think of the simple, and at times very difficult, life my grandparents had I can see value in their way of life. I’m not saying we need to forget about the advances the world has made in that time but that we should live our life with the notion less is more. We should focus less on things and consider the many ways we can show love to our neighbour and to God and be thankful for all our blessings.
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Peter T Elliott