My Anniversary Reflection: How My Parents Avoided Raising Snowflakes

My Anniversary Reflection: How My Parents Avoided Raising Snowflakes

It’s the anniversary of my ordination to the priesthood today, and it finds me, once again, grateful to my parents, and reflecting on what they gave me by their strong and excellent parenting …

I know I am going to sound like an old-timer who walked uphill – both ways – in blizzards to go to church on Sunday, but I do believe my parents did it right. And, this was “common” among most parents during my childhood.

We were taught that, if you want to achieve, you have to “work hard at it.” We were rarely handed anything … we were taught to “earn it.” My siblings worked … the boys were mowing everybody’s lawn, the girls were babysitting everyone’s kids. My dad started a company, and all of us worked in the warehouse, helping the family business. Dad had a chart he made for the wall that had stars next to our name for duties we accomplished. He always instilled a sense that reward comes from “earning it.”

My dad volunteered as a coach but, other than that, we would ride our bike to sports practices and games, and ride home to tell our parents about it … while mom ran the house and dad ran the business. So, no hovering over us for every sports practice and game.

Because we did not allow sports to consume family time, we were always among the first to donate our time at our parish … yes, mom, dad and seven kids volunteered regularly at our parish. Our parish was a second home. We didn’t look for “positions of notoriety” at our parish … we were happy to do the grunt work of washing dishes at parish socials, etc. No … we weren’t just happy to do it, we were “joyful.”

Mass on Sunday was a “highlight” in our family, not a nuisance amidst our other interests. We *got dressed up* … Yes! … it was a “Big Deal.” And, Sunday afternoons were set aside to “celebrate family.” There was always a “major meal” at the grandparents’ home or, later, at my parents’ home. This had total priority over everything else. It usually revolved around the Packer game. 😉

As a result of this upbringing, all of my five brothers and sisters are happily married, multi-tasking hard working parents who would not dream of missing Mass on Sunday, and are quite active in their parishes. I am a priest and one of my sisters is a Catholic school principal. Did just about every one of us go through a “party phase” in our late teens? Sure. But, the foundation our parents gave us, brought us right back to our strong sense of right vs. wrong in our early twenties.

I’m worried about the “snowflake generation.” This isn’t about just a “party phase” they are going through … they seem to have been messed up by a generation of helicopter parents who coddled their kids and bought into the notion that the neighbors would see them as neglectful for not being at every single solitary one of their sports practices and games. They bolted their children into car seats and padded their playground equipment. They wanted their children to “enjoy” their childhood by saving them from work. They handed their children whatever “fad toy” or even “hottest cell phone” so their kids would be accepted by the other kids.

They threw the worst recreational attire on their kids and hustled them into the car to get their duty in on Sunday morning, if they brought them to church at all. They rarely let the children see them volunteer at the church, much less getting their children to volunteer … there was just too many sports practices and games to go to. They protected their kid’s “feelings” with a mountain of “participation trophies.” They left their children exposed to every misguided ideology through radicalized public schooling and the internet.

Do I exaggerate?

Is it any wonder how we ended up with “snowflakes?”

Thanks, Mom and Dad!! Requiescat in pace!

(The photo is my dad kneeling next to his annual Santa Snowman he made for all the kids in the neighborhood)

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