labour day reflections – from babies to adults in the work world

Mothers (and fathers) know why birthing a child into the world is called labour. It’s hard work. But, it’s only the introduction to the intense, 24/7 years of parenting ahead of them. By the time the children are grown the sleepless nights, loads of laundry, endless meals, clean-ups, school lunches, sibling mediations, and broken curfews are forgotten (almost!).

Our children are all adults now. Some are settled into careers and family life. Others are still finding their way in the work world. In their diversity and uniqueness, our five children are proving that paths taken can be just as diverse and unique. Here is what I have learned from their experiences.

  1. An after-school and/or summer job for young adults builds character and teaches financial responsibility and time management.
  2. Even the toughest, menial labour can be manageable with friendly co-workers and decent bosses.
  3. Respect and learn from those who do their job well and make other’s lives better for it.
  4. Weekends don’t exist for many working people, especially young folks.
  5. Holidays and family feasts with all seats filled around the table are rare due to shift-work or extended store hours.
  6. Sometimes the road to a career can take many twists and turns before the destination is reached.
  7. Do not ask a new high school grad what their life plans are. They usually don’t know and are feeling pressured enough already.
  8. Not everyone is ready for university or college straight after high school. Take a breath, and respect the desire to find their own way on their own time.
  9. Teach your children their employee rights. Too many employers take advantage of minimum wage workers, cutting corners with labour laws.
  10.  If your child discovers their passion and is able to pursue it as a career, get down on your hands and knees and thank the good and gracious God above!

I hope that you can find some time this weekend to rest from work and worries and have fun with family and friends. Hubby and I plan to. 🙂

Happy Labour Day to all!

LCWR coverage in the Prairie Messenger

The latest catholic dialogue column in the Prairie Messenger is titled Difficult conversations have a greater need for dialogue.  It builds on a previous blog reflection on Sr. Pat Farrell’s strategy for dialogue as described in her presidential address to the LCWR Assembly in August.

I’m proud of the Prairie Messenger for its coverage of the ongoing story surrounding the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. One might wonder why a news journal from the Canadian prairies is so interested in what happens to an American organization of religious women. The Catholic Church extends far beyond our local parish walls, and the PM tries to give a fair and balanced coverage of local, national, and international church stories. The more we learn about each other, the more we can rejoice in shared gifts and support each other in our struggles.

The present situation between the bishops and the women of the LCWR is a microcosm of the bigger issues facing our church today. What are the roles of women and men in our church, whether vowed religious, ordained or lay? How do we address the tension that exists between an authoritarian,  hierarchical style of leadership and deep seated beliefs in participatory leadership, equality and freedom of conscience? How do we begin to build the bridges across the ideological chasms that continue to divide liberals and conservatives, progressives and traditionalists?

I believe we have much to learn as we watch the drama unfold to the south of us. Dialogue is key. We can only pray that true, respectful dialogue will be possible.

Check out the August 29, 2012 issue of the Prairie Messenger for more LCWR commentaries and reports.

the gift of traditions – a guest post

image provided by microsoft

The following is written by my friend, Christine Suriano. She and her husband Tony are inspirational models of faith-filled marriage and joy-filled family life. Thank you, Chris! 🙂

Therefore, brothers and sisters, stand firm, and hold fast to the traditions that you were taught. (2 Thess. 2)

I think there are times we do not hold on to tradition; be it home, family, community, church. It may appear “old-fashioned”, maybe even worthless to some. And, we certainly don’t have time anymore. Do you hear what I hear?

I love the times when we are together and talk starts about what we did when the children were young, or the habits and lifestyles of grandparents and relatives. We laugh heartily, and that seems to bring on yet another story that is even funnier.

Much of what we talk about is how we enjoyed the simple things. Not having a lot of money, we made do. We couldn’t afford hotels and resorts, so we tent camped.  Sue and Chris shared a pair of clogs. The size was in the middle; a bit small for Sue and a bit large for Chris.  Recently, we recounted memories of those who lived with us on a temporary basis. I had forgotten who they were, but we laughed our heads off.

We had the Lent and Advent traditions; both what we did at home and how we recognized the needs of others outside our home. How and why did we keep certain Christmas traditions, especially the tree and the food preparations?

The church was one of the most important places within our family. We shared and cared and were supported by genuine, faith-filled people and clergy.  Taking on any responsibility was expected. Many shared and many gained from these experiences. It was a kind of Kumbaya-time in our lives.

Yes, things have changed over the generations. Change is a challenge, right?  Times are different and there are some traditions we won’t give up.  No matter where our families live, everyone gathers with other family members or neighbors and friends and has the traditional Italian Christmas Eve dinner.  Our Christmas gifting remains the same. Even though someone might not agree with the chosen charity, it is their choice when it is their time up at bat.

It’s the memories, the traditions that may or may no longer exist, that have brought all of us to where we are as a family. Right here. In this moment in time.  They have helped build relationships that have held true for 30, 40 and 50 years.

For all the above thoughts, emotions and memories, I thank you, God.  You are forever awesome.

May you continue to enjoy your traditions!