Friday, January 25, 2008

Worshipping the few

As society tells us that children are too much work, too expensive and just plain too messy to bother having, we oblige and run ourselves and them ragged, spend too much on them and make a mess of raising them.

I guess the fewer there are, the more those few should be worshipped.  Strikes me as odd, we value them so little, yet we worship them endlessly.  Take for instance the complaints this priest fields from parents.

More often, I find, are the truly bizarre complaints: “Why does my child have to memorize the Act of Contrition?” “I don’t want my child to have to do any homework from religious education; he’s too busy already.” “You don’t really expect us to come every week, do you?” “My child doesn’t have to go to confession, she hasn’t committed any sins.” “What’s the big deal if he got a zero on the test, it’s not like it’s the S.A.T. or something.” I am not joking here. These are actual questions posed to me by some St. Matthew’s parents. The purpose of our Catholic Faith is to help people get to Heaven. Its purpose is not to allow people to have nice parties after Baptism, Communion, and Confirmation.

What he is finding there is parents that either worship their child or aren't willing to stand up as a parent.  Seems so many are worried about offending the child rather than raising them.  And we wonder why they are self-centered.

Our blind son that goes to public school had his heart set on being the dog in the an upcoming Lewis and Clark presentation.  He went to the audition and tried out.  A bit about him, he is good with a microphone and love performing.  But singing or dancing is out.  So in part because of that and because of the popularity of that part, he didn't get the role.  He got a different part and after a bit of convincing, has it pretty much memorized and is enthusiastic about it.

But one of his teachers or someone involved with the audition called my wife and said he didn't get the part, and was that okay with us?  That blew me away.  I thought he went to an audition, not an entitlement bazaar.   Was it okay that our son didn't get the part he wanted but wasn't truly willing to commit to because of the bit of dancing?  Emphatically YES!  It is okay for my son to fail. 

If he had tried out for the part and just not gotten it because he wasn't good enough, I would have felt a little bad for him.  But he wasn't willing to do what the part required and now the teacher asks us if that is okay?  Yes, he is blind, but that doesn't entitle him to squat.  He is a child and has a dignity all his own, but please don't think he is entitled to special treatment.  Perhaps I should also petition the Idaho legislature to include blind children who don't like to dance as a special interest group that is being singled out for harassment.

Handicap children are a ton of work.  But thank God we have many children and are busy enough that he doesn't get treated like he is more special than how special all children are.

Child, meet the parents.  Parents, meet being the grown up.  Get used to it.

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