Praying for Boston

Praying for Boston

Please join me in prayer for all those injured at the Boston Marathon today and for the emergency workers who protect and care for us all. May our Risen Lord have mercy on us today.

As reports of death and injuries are reported, please turn to the Lord each time to pray for them and for those who love them that they would receive the consolation of the Holy Spirit, the mercy of God, and the loving maternal embrace of our Blessed Mother.

Thank you, dear readers for your concern. Our family and friends are so far all safe and accounted for, but nevertheless my heart is aching tonight for the families of those who have died and of those who are injured.  most especially for the parents of a nine year old boy who died today and for the parents whose children are in critical condition in the hospital.

“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted.” Psalm 34:18


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  • (Feeling better this morning, or will after my cup of coffee.  6 more weeks!)

    What especially bothered me about the demand to be in public without being exposed to children is that there’s no restriction on the obnoxious imposition other people can be just because they’re not children anymore.  I’ve had a series of deeply unpleasant bus commutes lately thanks to seat mates who, under normal circumstances I could have been reasonably gracious to, but right now deeply strain my patience.  But the price we pay to go out in public is to agree to be inconvenienced by other people, and our general social understanding of this is fading rapidly.

    Children are easy targets for this, not just because they’ve been dehumanized by abortion, but because they can also be dehumanized when their own parents refuse to see them as people.  This applies equally to parents that refuse to see their child’s flaws as to parents that refuse to see those bits of child-brilliancy, to parents that hover possessively over and micromanage their children as to parents that essentially ignore their children in favor of their own work and life and interests.

  • These are some pretty rough thoughts, as I’m both queasy and sleepy.

    All of this dovetails rather neatly into Leah Libresco’s latest post on how the increasing expectation is that we don’t have to interact with children even when we’re in public, and that any interaction that does take place is an imposition.  There are several common threads that strike me in all of this:

    One, children are increasingly not recognized as being people.

    Two, the social contract of being in public (which I’m roughly defining as being in the presence of strangers who have as much right to be there as you do yourself) requires us to accept an certain amount of imposition, inconvenience, and annoyance from other people.  But this social contract is rapidly disintegrating – we are not willing to attempt to limit our impositions on others if it involves imposing on ourself.  Children aren’t the only ones we are increasingly not recognizing as people… they’re just the largest group.

    Three, recognizing a child as a person is a crucial component of education, and I think this is behind both why education is failing and our increasing lack of empathy as a society.

    Really, seeing your child as a person, to see them clearly in all their flaws and bits of brilliance, and responding to who they are and not who you want them to be… this the most difficult part of parenting.  It’s the acknowledgment in action that your child does not, has never, could never belong to you.

  • Yes. Yes. Yes.

    I saw Leah’s piece and reposted it on Facebook. Boy did it strike a chord for me.

    And the root of children not being recognized as people: abortion.

    Once you deny the humanity of the unborn, it’s not too hard to start seeing children as optional, a choice, a lifestyle accessory. And something to be avoided if they might cause too much inconvenience.

    And when you aren’t around them all the time, when you don’t have them and your friends don’t, when you don’t grow up with a horde of siblings and cousins and life in all it’s messiness… well it is true children are messy and noisy and inconvenient at times, they are demanding and needy and they aren’t in control or controllable. And the whole pro-choice movement is all about control, isn’t it? Children demand sacrifices not just of their parents, but of society at large.

    And when you don’t actually know any children, it can be hard to see them as people for sure. Heck, I spend all day every day with my kids and I still have a phenomenally hard time talking to other people’s kids, even my own nieces and nephews. So yeah, they can seem rather alien and impossible to communicate with unless you spend enough time with them to begin to enter into their world.

    “Really, seeing your child as a person, to see them clearly in all their flaws and bits of brilliance, and responding to who they are and not who you want them to be… this the most difficult part of parenting.  It’s the acknowledgment in action that your child does not, has never, could never belong to you. “

    This. Yes. It is a daily struggle to let them be themselves and not an extension of me. Oh this is why motherhood sanctifies us, because it is a daily invitation to die to self.

  • Very interesting discussion.

    It is a vicious cycle too. Fewer kids means fewer people are being drawn out of themselves to die to self… thinking back to Calah’s post on why kids are necessary. Fewer kids could play a significant role in why adults are having a harder time coexisting charitably in general. I’m so sick of hearing about how offended people are. So many people seem to get offended so easily and they don’t just blow it off.

    But it is especially interesting to consider Leah’s and Calah’s pieces with regard to education. Are the adults who run the system becoming more and more detached from the kids they claim to want to help? Are they not listening and viewing them as less than persons? I’d be curious if someone did a serious study speaking to kids and what and how they’d like to learn, what the results would say and what kind of program or system might better suit kids. But, of course, to listen to kids means recognizing them as people and respecting them in the first place.

  • I have such a huge problem with the expectation that kids will learn best when seated for hours listening to one (or even several) people talking.  I know that good teachers mix in discussion and student presentations… but it’s all listening-based learning. 

    Some kids do well with this, but not for six hours a day.  Other kids need to spend more time reading/thinking or looking at/touching things. 

    Plus there is so little fluidity in the rate of learning when you have to bring twenty or thirty students together in a traditional learning setting.  The blessing of my existence was loving to read and having teachers who encouraged (or didn’t discourage) me when I read during their classes.  I learned so much more from my reading than they expected me to learn from them!

    I know and understand that longer school hours can help some, whose lives would otherwise be totally chaotic.  But… even these children need time for recollection, time to interact with others, time for free play.  And probably in individualized doses.

    How are we going to cure our system if we institutionalize even more than we have already?

  • The thing that stood out to me most in the first article was this sentence: “Finland, a perennial leader in the P.I.S.A. rankings, has eight universities that train teachers; the United States has more than 1,200.”

    That may be true, random journalist, but what is the overall population of Finland compared to the overall population of the United States? What is the under-18 population of both countries? (I don’t know about Finland specifically, but many European countries have very few children anymore.)

    Shoddy journalism makes me cranky.

    Article 2:

    It’s worse than that in public schools. Back when I was in public school, I wasn’t allowed to check out books above my grade level from the school library, even though I could decode much more difficult books. (In second grade, I was reading at about an eighth grade level. Getting by on 2 early readers a week—because you were only allowed to check out 2 books at a time—would have been terrible for me. Fortunately, my parents took me to the real library as often as possible.)

    I am, in general, a big fan of giving kids ideas that are too big for them and letting them grow into them, but it never even occurred to me that people would try to dumb down children’s READING. I am now making a note to myself that I should read to my children until they go to college. (Seriously, I have a secret dream of hosting a great books seminar once my kids are in high school…bring all your friends and as many copies of the Iliad as you have!)

    That’s about all I have to say today, but it’s probably long enough, so I’ll post it and go find something else to do besides clutter up your combox.