"As I teach, I project the condition of my soul onto my students . . . and our way of being together. The entanglements I experience in the classroom are often no more or less than the convolutions of my inner life." (Palmer, Parker; The Courage to Teach, p. 2).
The implications for teachers is clear, but for parents a rewording helps make it clear: "As I parent, I project the condition of my soul onto my children . . . and our family life. The entanglements I experience in our home are often no more or less than the convolutions of my inner(spiritual) life."
As I write this I am fully aware that I risk both offending people and losing readers. Today's world seems to prize the ability to lay blame elsewhere. I myself dislike being reminded that the problems and difficulties I experience in my life are often the result of my own doing, but ultimately I end up thanking God for the wake-up call that allows me to see reality clearly.
So if you're determined to stick with me now, I ask: what's the condition of your soul? If it's anything like mine, it needs some work. The only thing I can be one hundred percent sure of is that no human being who reads (or writes!) this blog is perfect. We all need a spiritual wake-up call. Following Palmer's lead, perhaps we can determine areas that need our attention by taking some time today to get in touch with the "condition of [our] soul."
We can ask God for the strength and courage to look inward instead of trying to find outward sources of blame. We all know those areas that seem to be a consistent problem in our family/classroom life. We can resolve to be aware of them and to work on them for the sake of our kids.
If we are to grow faith-filled kids, can we risk doing any less?
For any fathers reading this who'd like an even greater challenge, Catholic writer Matthew Warner has written a great post at his blog Fallible Blogma, called "It's My Fault." If you're anything like me, you will be humbled by it, challenged by it, and ultimately blessed by it. Click here to give it a read!