By Casey Spehe, NolaCatholicParenting.org
As parents, we choose where our kids attend school. We also choose which school we evangelize them in. Our attitudes, responses and disposition evangelize our kids either in the faith or not. We have the chance to be Christ to them or someone else.
You see, five out of seven mornings there is an explosion at breakfast in the Sprehe household. “My oatmeal is too hot,” says Jude. “Mine is too cold,” says Paul. “Mine has lumps in it,” says Ann. It’s like “Goldilocks and the 3 Bears” except no one’s is juuuuust right.
And, in our story, there is this wicked mother barking, “Be grateful; eat your oatmeal; there are starving children; here, look at this picture on the iPad of starving kids.”
That happens for sure on the mornings I don’t pray before the kids get up. On the mornings I do pray, my response is more, “I’m so sorry you don’t like what’s for breakfast, but this is what our family is eating, so please work on a grateful heart, my love.” I don’t need to search for the moments, they come early and often.
I slammed on my brakes once in an almost wreck and yelled an expletive. Paul from the backseat repeats the curse word and has since several times. Now, I pray with him daily, I hug him often, but for some reason that isn’t as repeatable. He isn’t going around hugging and laying hands on other kids at the playground. You fart once in high school, and you’re forever known as stinky.
Parenthood holds onto the same strict standards I suppose.
We have plenty of chances to evangelize our kids by how we respond to life’s circumstances. If I’m being honest and you’re being honest, those with whom we share a home are the hardest to love.
And, this just in – it’s not because we see their junk all up close and personal. It’s because they see ours, and we aren’t as great a people as we thought we were.
We begin to realize it, and we put emotional walls up in between the physical walls of our home. And when we do that, we aren’t truly free to love. We subconsciously push them away, so they don’t see our sin. And when we do see their sin, the humility it takes to love as Christ is a high bar to reach, but it’s one we are encouraged to strive for.
Mother Teresa said, “If you judge people, you have no time to love them.” She had the literal saintly ability to be able to see Christ in others, looking past their faults and approaching them with a merciful not judgmental look.
Evangelizing in the school of Christ starts with loving the family we chose, not the one we’ve idealized. And some of you are thinking “Oh man, but Casey, you don’t know my family.” I know, I know. But you chose them, not me! It’s hard to love them joyfully always, but the cross isn’t easy.
We worship the God-man who was scourged and nailed to the cross, not a lazy boy recliner Jesus kicking it back with a cocktail.
The Christian life isn’t an easy one, but it’s a rewarding one if we choose the school of Christ.
Casey Sprehe is a wife, mother and parishioner of St. Benilde Parish in Metairie. She spends most of her time schooling her two oldest, playing with her two youngest and trying to remain sane amidst the lives entrusted to her. Outside of the home, she is highly involved in the Charismatic Renewal. Having a high school reversion back to the faith, she enjoys speaking at retreats and conferences around the country. With a master’s degree in catechesis and evangelization, she has a heart for the new evangelization as she ministers. Her three favorite things to do are: take walks, take showers and take-out.