My son Leander is just over sixteen and has a mind of his own! He reads a lot and philosophy is his pet subject besides cinema. Of course, most parents who have teenage sons and daughters will agree that they're going through a hard time understanding their children. Gone are those days when we, in our generation would not dare question our parents (or else suffer the belting!).
Children of today demand to be 'heard' and their 'space' respected. Parents have to 'reason out' with them rather than 'bark orders' at them. If the reason is good most of today's children will listen and fall in line however, if the reason for expecting them to do anything is not 'good enough', you can threaten to do all you want and the only retort will be. " Ma/Da, you are being unreasonable".
Yesterday, we all (The Dias family) set out for church and 'The way of the Cross' service, after much pleading with the boys. It was only after several murmurs like ... "So boring'... " Why are you forcing us"... " I'm tired" .... "I'm not in the mood" etc. that we set out for church. We were taking a lift with our Bro/Sis-in-law since finding parking for two cars outside church would be senseless. When we had dropped the ladies off at the church gate, the men and the boys went to find parking. My bro-in-law, who was listening to Leander moan in the car, lashed out at me saying this is all my fault for not instilling in Leander and Leroy the love of the age-old traditions of the Catholic Church and those our fore-fathers have left behind. Later he went on to firmly explain to Leander how his (Leander's) mom's father would make it a point, come rain or sunshine, to participate in all the church functions, specially the 'Way of the Cross'. Leander and i were both silent after that outburst, more because we were not expecting it!
During the service, i was reflecting on all that was being 'rattled' from the 'small booklet' by people. I usually never read from the little booklet for i do my own reflection at each station but strangely, a lady standing in front of me turned around and handed me a booklet even though i politely declined. But she just wouldn't take it back! (Maybe the Holy spirit wanted me to have it!). I began to reflect on words like, "I embrace all the suffering You have destined for me until death" and "nail my heart to the cross" - written on it! .... Did i really mean these words? Did everyone who were present there also meaning these words (Who am i to judge anyways!). I then thought of my own family going faithfully to church every Saturday morning but coming out the same (sometimes even worse than before we entered the church) ... and then it dawned on me that the children were noticing all this and deep down in their consciousness, were making their own deductions about religion and its futile efforts to unite rather than divide humanity!
As i write this article, I'm reminded of my own Catholic upbringing. I was literally pushed out of bed at 5.30 in the morning, to go for mass with Gran from the early age of 6, EVERYDAY! I was an alter boy from the age of 6 and served mass until i remained in Goa (Age 22). I was a member of the 'Legion of Mary' and later 'The Grace Youth Association' for many years. During my late teens, i secretly believed there was no God. I went to church even when i was doing a lot of 'bad' things, only to impress my family and extended family. I came to Dubai, fell into bad company, drank like a fish, womanised ..... Finally i got married ....had kids ... but through all this ... still continued going to church just to 'show others that i was still PART OF THE FOLD'.
But until the 'CONVERSATION MOMENT' i had some three and a half years ago, i was really not going anywhere with my 'form of Christianity'. Until i received a 'personal' touch from my Lord, i was just another 'Sunday christian'. I would rather help my children come to their 'conversion moment' as soon as possible then to force them and make them revolt! There's a lot to be said about the CONVERSION MOMENT! Unless we come to the point where we truly KNOW Jesus, we will not be able to LOVE Him and therefore, we will not be able to SERVE Him!
(More on the 'CONVERSION MOMENT' next time!)