Children are having a hard time growing up nowadays. I’m speaking of children from good families–not from the other kind. Disobedience and contention have become commonplace in the home. Whence do these arise? Saint James answers that they originate in “passions that are at war in your members” (presumably meaning, from the organs of propagation). The source of familial troubles thus lies within, from passions in individuals which were not tamed by patience, and by the quieting of unruly impulses. In adolescence, lust is a master tyrant, an internal rebel, whose young victims are true sufferers who feel pressures welling up within them to act irrationally in misbehaving and disobedience, in assuming sullen and sour moods, in giving vent to irritable tempers, in wanton experimentation with various kinds of bad behaviors–what’s commonly called “acting out.” This radical conduct is the result of explosive internal forces within a young person such that he feels nearly helpless in controlling them, especially if he had not been brought up early-on to acquire the restraining virtues which suppress egotistical wants and desires.
Plato in the Phaedrus writes about lust’s tendency to go about madly like a wild horse, against the controlling power of its driver, reason. The unruliness due to lust will erupt in the home and then in society–even unto the crimes of abortion, robbery and murder. All began in infancy when tots were not quiet, peaceful and well-disciplined.
I’m grieved that families are suffering from familial disharmony and disturbance. Homes are being beset with agitating music, with a host of electronic devices that vie for children’s attention, with video games, with immoderate snacking, with snotty back-talking, with sullen dispositions towards siblings and parents, and outbursts of anger. This is the domestic School of Rebellion which, in time, will make its unfortunate contribution to the insanity of this world.
Many factors contribute to this disordered condition of our homes: liberal parents who create an unhappy, troubled future for their children–and for themselves; school companions whose permissive parents affect your children; Internet abuse; pulsating music that stimulates lustful urges; school dances and stay-overs at peers’ homes; the unmoderated craving for fun and excitement, and for sports in a violent manner of play that’s well beyond the bounds of healthy competitiveness. (Of course, parents who have not well mastered their own disordered impulses will be so much less effective in detecting and controlling the same in their children.) The vade mecum of the modern child has become the Smart Phone which parents have willingly made available to their kids to keep in touch with them. (Editor: A vade mecum is a companion volume that one carries about, e.g. the New Testament or the Imitation of Christ.) But kids’ reasons for wanting these devices may not be the same as their parents.’ These phones have become tools for tuning-out reality and turning onto the fantasies of pornographic utopia.
Then there’s going away to college. Parents may entertain great hopes for their children’s future through higher education at some distant college or university. Children in turn might be glad to be out of parental control, to live in the ghetto of campus dorms where they can abandon themselves to hooking-up, drugs, drink, and the evasion of classes and studies. Small wonder that college kids become pregnant, alcoholics, drug addicts, depressed, despondent, and maybe even suicidal. These ruined lives began going ‘south’ a long time ago.
My ranting on this subject is motivated by a genuine concern for the eternal welfare of your children. Your prayers for them must be accompanied by effective action. Parents: don’t spoil your kids!
Today (Sunday) is our St. Joseph Dinner after the noon Mass. Come and honor the Saint while enjoying our parish celebration and the food made for you by the Romanos.
Altar boys will be on retreat during Holy Week (see schedule inserted in this Grotto News). Servers who intend on being part of next Sunday’s 9:30 Mass–Palm Sunday–need to be at a rehearsal this coming Saturday at 1:30 for instruction.