Thursday, October 23, 2014

Facing the Challenge of Puberty

On the spirituality page of the Catholic Times a priest columnist remembers a professor who was a great help to him in his education. He was both honest and devoted to teaching, but also human, humble and modest. All who knew him were moved by his warm manners and quiet demeanor, he left many with a good feeling.

He was always a valued member of the study groups, and cultural excursions. Two day trips were always memorable with the professor's erudite information and his pleasant conversations which added joy to the  trips. On these trips you could see him, when out of sight, sending  a text message to his wife. He was always a sensitive and understanding husband.

One day he came to the office of the priest for a cup of tea. They spent time talking about this and that, and the priest asked the professor about his son. The professor sighed deeply and said his wife was having some discord with the son which was causing some anxiety. The priest trying to give some comfort to the professor responded.

"When the children are small  they are precious and beautiful but when they grow up they are difficult to control aren't they? Especially when they talk back and defy the parents: 'If you are going to raise me this way why was I born?' When you have these kinds of responses it's difficulty not to be upset."

The professor in his answer went in a completely different direction from what the priest intended.

"Father, that is not the problem. I have been very happy with the relationship with the child. The child has given me much joy. He has given me reasons for being sincere and diligent. Now that he is at the awkward age, with continual back talk, in all honesty, it is not difficult to accept. The boy who is going through puberty is making us be more the kind of parents we should be, and the results will give evidence of that. Efforts that are made during this period will also determine our outlook on life  and the way we will face the future."

Hearing these words the priest was bewildered. The priest thought he was doing the right thing to console the professor by disparaging his son, but it backfired, instead the priest appeared to lack understanding.

The professor was looking on this period of transition for the son as a challenge given to them by God, a gift to make them better parents. The priest's way of looking at the situation was quite different from the father's attitude, and finishes the article with a chuckle. 

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