Tuesday, May 10, 2011

First Communion

Sunday was my daughter Molly's first communion and it was pretty stressful event.  Not just because of the planning or the celebration.   We really didn't go out all out and put on a big shing ding.  In fact, in typical McAdams procrastination fashion, we waited until the last minute to do everything.  We found her dress two days before pictures were taken.   We had a reception at my mother-in-law's house with take-out from Olive Garden that we ordered after mass.   Heck, we were almost late to mass because I had to run to Target to get my son a new pair of khaki's because we couldn't find his.   Okay, maybe some of the stress was from our lack of planning, but the biggest stress was wondering if we are doing everything we need to be doing to fulfill the promises we made at each of our children's baptism.

I'm sure it's every parent's worries that they raise their children to grow up to be good people and to have happy families of their own and successful careers.    I certainly hope that my kids grow up to be kind and considerate people.  I certainly hope they grow up to have long healthy marriages and give me lots of grand kids.  Heck---I wouldn't mind having a son as a priest or a daughter as a nun if that is their vocation.  Of course I want them to have good jobs and to want for nothing when they get older.  I DEFINITELY don't want them to be living in my basement when they are in their 20's.

The fact of the matter is that will be a failure as a parent if I haven't everything I can to prepare my kids to know God and know how they are to serve him.   I'm a failure if I haven't done everything I can to ensure that my children know that they were made in the image and likeness of God and that He loves them no matter what happens.

I fully realize that my kids have free will just like everyone else and are free to grow up and make their own mistakes just like I make my own. I realize that they are responsible for their own actions and in the end--they are responsible for keeping themselves in a state of grace and responsible for ensuring their own salvation.  I will be able to help them out when they are adults.  I'll be able to bail them out when they get in jams.  I'll also be able to be in a position to let them sink so that they can learn from their mistakes.  But when it is their time of judgement, they will have to stand in front of God themselves.  I can't help them there.  Only God can truly see into their hearts.

The concern I have is "have I done EVERYTHING I can".   Obviously, I make sure have received all of their sacraments.   I make sure they go to mass.   I've sent them to Catholic school.  I try to be a good example.  

But then I look back and see ways I could have done better.  I've been irresponsible and don't always ensure they are reverent at mass.   I don't make them go to reconciliation.  We aren't a real prayerful family.  I've sent them to a Catholic School.  I'm not always the best example.

I've done better than some parents.  I've done worse than some parents. I've been average I guess.  I don't want to be average in this category.  I want to excel.   I want to know--no matter where I end up--that my kids will spend eternity in the presence of God.

Do any of you have these same worries?  What do you think you do well as a parent as far as raising your kids in the Catholic faith?  How do you think you can improve.  


  1. Jamie - oh gosh yes, I have these same worries!! One thing I've tried to start doing is not to worry about how I compare with other parents I know...I should just strive to follow in our Blessed Mother's footsteps the best I can. Or maybe I focus on a Saint...and I try to follow in their footsteps.

    As far as what I think I do well...

    I have my kids in Catholic school...but as you know...that's no guarantee of anything! I have a post brewing actually on why I didn't always think Catholic school was the route I'd go with my children.

    We pray together as a family...not as often as I'd like, but regularly enough. We attend Mass together as a family almost all the time. The only time we split up is when we have certain activities or events and my husband's schedule doesn't work with the entire family going. But I could count on one hand the time in the last 12 years that we've split up to attend Mass.

    We try to put our kids in activities that keep Christ the center. Sports in parochial schools always begin with prayer. Challenge is a Catholic club for girls I have my oldest daughter in and they do apostolic projects once a month, read scriptures together and pray together.

    But I could improve in many areas. I have tried to start a regular family rosary so many times...we usually make it about a week or two (if that!) I would like us to study the Bible together as a family...as it is, most evenings are spent with a sport flashing across the TV. I wish I were better at teaching my children about the saints. I know of families who actually celebrate each day a Saint's Feast day...yeah, I'm not there.

    You're probably doing a bang-up job, Jamie. Just keep at it.

  2. Uh, have you not ever read my blog?! These are the same worries as me... plus I'm scared my children will end up as axe murderers!

  3. My children are 17 and 21 and they are beginning to make choices for themselves ... not always ones I am happy about. Then I remember that I had a time when I walked well away from God and perhaps as they've been in Catholic schools and environment all their lives they need to understand what they have by walking away.

    It is a scary place. But as ever they are teaching me to walk in god's Grace. Always their gift to me!

  4. Hey Jamie! I just read this and thought of your post here...you may have already read it, but I thought I'd share in case you hadn't:


  5. Oops, I hit "post" before I finished. I only share it because of your questions about worrying whether you're doing enough, etc. As the article mentions, we should all take stock of what we're doing and how we're doing, but in the end, we just need to keep working. :)

  6. Parents are only human and it is clear you are doing your very best to raise your child properly as a Roman Catholic. Beautiful family.