***This post has been edited from it's original version***
I have been working on my book and have found so much wisdom in going through different aspects of my life. One big one that I am feeling called to share is the reality of divorce and generational pain. What I am about to share is based on my own life experiences.
(The following paragraph simply paraphrases what the Catechism of the Catholic Church shares with us about this topic. For further reading go here: http://www.vatican.va/…/ccc_…/archive/catechism/p3s2c2a6.htm)
You see, as Christians, when a couple marries they become ONE FLESH. And so when they have children, those children receive their identity from their ONE FLESH. Stay with me here as I explain. You see, inside all of us, at an ontological level is our identity as a created human person and it is born from and relies on those two people who made you. Just like we were created in the image of God, so it goes for our children. They are born in our (mother and father's) image. So imagine what happens at a level so deep within you when those two people separate and divorce from one another. What created you now no longer exists. You see, you got WHO you are from their love, their ONE FLESH. That is how important marriage is. That is why in our vows we say, “For better or worse, till death do us part.” Because the separation of the ONE FLESH then separates the identity of the child at its very core (being).
(Now this is my personal opinion based on my own life experiences and the extensive research done on this topic)
Inside of this child there is now chaos and sadness, turmoil and heartbreak because everything inside of them that told them WHO they are has now been dissolved. Most of these children who feel this way can't even explain why they feel sad or angry, they "just do."
Take a look at the picture, those are images that pop up when you Google children and divorce. Now, before you start to attack me for posting negative about divorce let me share with you that I am not judging anyone in this post and if this post upsets you because you have gone through a divorce (or two or three) then I ask you to ask yourself why the TRUTH of divorce would make you upset?
Personal opinion based on my own experiences---> This needs to be shared far and wide. Families are suffering because of divorce and we are passing on this generational pain because adults are choosing their own needs/happiness over the well being of the child. We need to recover from this divorce epidemic and fast.
My opinion of some solutions for the problem ---> How do we do that? Support marriage! Support couples who are struggling! Unless a person’s life is in danger, reconciliation is what we are called to. We need to celebrate engagements, betrothals and weddings! We need to discourage divorce. If we know someone who is thinking of divorce we need to counsel them in hope that reconciliation can be had.
My personal message to these particular people because of the various conversations I have had recently on this topic ---> If you have willingly (not if you had no choice and your spouse took you to court and forced the divorce) gone through a divorce and are reading this then I want to share something very important.
(If this applies to you and your situation) You may wish to stop expecting your child or children to be happy about your divorce or to understand it. At the core of their being they are not happy about it (and again don't know why) and are adjusting and adopting to the situation the best they know how. At the appropriate time and age, acknowledge that the divorce has torn them apart not just outside but on their inside as well. Let them grieve, let them be angry, let them mourn the loss of the love (ONE FLESH) that created them. Apologize to them. Tell them you did the best you could at the time and didn’t realize how much it would affect them and then let them know that you are there for them in their saddest and most difficult times. Let them know that it is OK to feel terrible about it because it is something that makes a person feel terrible. The key here is to help them to not feel so alone. And if you are a person of faith, instill that in them, share with them the Good News and that with God nothing is impossible. That even after divorce He is capable of healing and restoring all that is broken! (These are the things that are suggested to help children of divorce feel understood and not so alone, that is why I am sharing them.)
No fault divorce has been on the scene now since 1970 and we are seeing the fruits of this decision and the affects it has had on the children. These children are now adults who are speaking out about the pain divorce has caused in their lives. We should let them speak. We should hear their voice. They have stories to tell in the hopes that other marriages can be saved. (There are Private Support groups for Children of Divorce available, email me if you would like more info).
(Something I recently learned and felt called to share.) The point of this post is to help people understand that divorce affects children in so many different ways than just what we see on the outside. Because their inmost being was created by these two people, when those two people split, there is an ontological change. And research shows that there is also a psychological change as well as a physiological change too.
"The study from University College of London found that children who experienced the breakdown in their parent's relationship before the age of 16, regardless of whether their parents were married or not, had 16% higher levels of C-reactive protein at age 44. C-reactive protein is a marker of inflammation measured in blood samples...long term raised C-reactive protein is a known risk factor for diseases such as coronary artery disease and type II diabetes." (McCarthy, Torn Usunder, page 43).
This post is to educate. Why? Because I myself had no idea and the findings are tremendously important to helping future marriages, families and children as well as divorced families. I have had a few conversations about this with divorced friends recently and they have been so grateful to hear it and try and understand it because they knew in their hearts that it is true and they want to help their child in whatever way they can.
It hurts to think that your child may be in pain, but it hurts everyone even more to pretend that it doesn't matter or affect them negatively and that is what we are seeing more and more of in our social norms today.
Once again, I stress, this post is NOT a judgement on you and your own personal situation. I am not a heart reader (that is God's job). After re-reading my initial post I totally agree with the feedback I received that it sounded hopeless and strong. I have done my best to explain myself and the context in which I am writing this and I hope now that those who took offense to the original post will better understand what I am trying to share.
I do recommend the following books/articles on this subject for those who are interested:
Familiaris Consortia, St. John Paul II, number 14
Primal Loss, Leila Miller ISBN#9780997989311
Torn Usunder, Margaret Harper McCarthy ISBN#9780802872050
The Case Against Divorce, Diane Medved, PhD ISBN#0804106339
Let's talk about homeschooling. Shall we?
I know you have read in the news about a few families lately who have done horrendous things who were also "homeschoolers" and I can understand the outrage you are feeling from what these children endured. Me too.
But blaming homeschooling and thinking that reforms on homeschool education and "security checks" for homeschooling families is ridiculous. Let me explain why.
#1- BECAUSE AS PARENTS WE ARE THE FIRST AND FOREMOST EDUCATORS OF OUR CHILDREN. School is secondary education in the formation of the child. Our society and government has bullied parents into believing that if YOU actually educate your child then you are unfit, insane or need "supervision."
#2- THE NUMBERS DO NOT LIE. Here we are trembling in fear now of homeschoolers because of the Turpin and Hart families. Think about this. In 2017, their were approximately 50 million school age children in the US. In 2016, approximately 3% of school aged children were classified as "homeschooled." 3% of 50 million is 1,500,000 children.
That is right. Approximately 1,500,000 homeschooled children.
Now ask yourself if what you are seeing on the news makes any sense now. 19 children who were abused. Now over 1.5 million are going to be "supervised and regulated" because of this "widespread epidemic."
#3 YOU ARE FALLING VICTIM TO THE GLORIFICATION OF EVIL IN THE NEWS. Man, how happy would the devil be to get everyone worked up about homeschoolers so the government can come in and regulate and "supervise" them. That the government would now be able to come in and determine what is right and what is wrong for all of these families. That many of these families would be judged incorrectly and tormented, possibly even separated from each other. Yeah, the devil LOVES splitting up families and he is going to use your decision to act on your emotions and feelings instead of evidence and logic. Don't fall for it. You are smarter than that.
#4 HOMESCHOOLING FAMILIES EMBRACE AND LIVE OUT THE MEANING OF DIVERSITY. We understand that children are different and may have different learning styles. And in that understanding we allow the students to learn in ways that help build them up instead of making them feel different or incapable. We are able to give the student the additional time they may need depending on their own special needs. We embrace the identity of the WHOLE child, not just the academic test scores to determine who they are as a person, not just who they are as a student. And we form and instruct our children in the traditions of our faith, whatever those beliefs may be.
I do not support nor agree with the work of Planned Parenthood. But public schools welcome PP into their classrooms. It is my right as their parent as well as their educator to raise them in our own family's beliefs. That is called religious freedom and it is protected under the Constitution of the US.
#5 YOU ARE IGNORING THE POSITIVE RESULTS AND ASPECTS OF HOMESCHOOLED CHILDREN. Money wise, homeschoolers do not rely on public tax funded resources for education which saves American taxpayers approximately $27 million each year. Did you know that the home educated usually score 15-30 percentile points higher than publicly educated students on Standardized Testing? They also score typically higher on SAT and ACT testing and are now sought after by many colleges and universities.
Did you know that home educated children are often able more so than public educated children to explore "Who they are" and that home educated girls are more likely to have an unusually stronger sense of self?
But it is not just HOMESCHOOLING the creates these results. It is the combination of two parent families, one parent as a home educator and family cohesion that brings about positive results in all children.
With all of this being said, I want to add that what has happened within these particular (and very few) homeschooling families is absolutely horrendous. These parents are not fit and have committed crimes against their children. But crimes against children are not limited to homeschooling families and the numbers even tell you that if you compared crimes committed against publicly schooled children and homeschooled children you will see that the numbers are greater in the publicly schooled children.
We need to stop this attack on homeschooling families. You are blaming the wrong thing here. It is not because they were homeschooled that the crimes occurred. These are exceptions to the rule, people who hid under the guise of homeschoolers in order to harm children/family.
The numbers don't lie.
Photo cred: penneydouglas.com
As a Catholic convert, there was a ton of things I did not know about the Catholic faith, like, you know, everything! Seriously though, I was one of those people who honestly thought that when people died and went to Heaven they became angels. So you can imagine my surprise, shock and even horror to find out that my Nana was NOT an angel and that that reality was a good thing! Wait, WHAT?!
The beauty of our faith is that things make sense. Once we question something (why is she not an angel if she is in Heaven?) then we are open to receive an explanation or an answer. And if you ask me, that is what our world is so hungry for right now - answers! I am just worried that our younger generations will stop asking the questions...but more on that later.
My question: why is she not an angel if she is in Heaven? Well, the answer is quite simple and easy to understand. Because God created other beings outside of us humans. God created angels and there are different kinds of angels; they have order and responsibilities, but they are all spirit. We, human persons, are spirit AND body. Unlike the angels, human beings are the only creatures God has created that are especially "in His image." (Genesis 1:27) Why? Because God did something very special - He took on human flesh. So special in fact, that when some of the angels heard about this (think Lucifer), they rebelled, not being able to understand how God would 'stoop so low' to become human.
Another way it was explained to me was in the form of a question, "What happened to your dog Duncan when he died? Did he turn into a cat? Horse? How about a lion? Why not? " Nope, because he was created a DOG. We don't change our nature when we die, we are still human, we don't turn into angels and spread wings. That is just as crazy as thinking our dogs turn into cats or horses or lions when they die.
Now some of you may be a little shocked or even mad at this new reality, but don't be. It is a grace, a blessing, an honor to be the creatures that God chose to be made especially like HIM, an honor that not even the angels can claim! I promise you, once you allow this truth to sink into your heart and soul, to truly realize how precious and special you are in God's heart, it will not only make sense and but even seem silly now to think that we turn into angels.
May God bless you and keep you and may your Guardian Angel watch over and protect you! †
Holy Scripture: Colossians 1:16, Luke 20:35-36, Matthew 22:30, Revelation 14:6, 1 Peter 3:21-22, 1 Peter 1:12, Revelation 5:11-12, Psalm 91:11, Matthew 16:27, Matthew 18:10, Exodus 23: 20-21, etc.
Catechism of the Catholic Church (what does our faith teach?):
(The existence of angels - a truth of faith) 328 The existence of the spiritual, non-corporeal beings that Sacred Scripture usually calls "angels" is a truth of faith. The witness of Scripture is as clear as the unanimity of Tradition.
(Who are they?) 329 St. Augustine says: "'Angel' is the name of their office, not of their nature. If you seek the name of their nature, it is 'spirit'; if you seek the name of their office, it is 'angel': from what they are, 'spirit', from what they do, 'angel.'" (188) With their whole beings the angels are servants and messengers of God. Because they "always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven" they are the "mighty ones who do his word, hearkening to the voice of his word". (189)
(What are they?) 330 As purely spiritual creatures angels have intelligence and will: they are personal and immortal creatures, surpassing in perfection all visible creatures, as the splendor of their glory bears witness. (190)