Faith education starts with me
The difficult path to agree on the right school for our daughter
By Emilie Christy
My husband and I met when we were 20 years old and married two years later. We were young and in love, and life seemed easy. Neither of us wanted to upset or disappoint the other, and it seemed like we were living the dream.
As sometimes happen with young couples, we did not have much job stability, and our finances created stress. I was quickly forced to face reality.
I had heard of embracing Jesus Forsaken present in our sufferings as I grew up living the Focolare spirituality, but this “opportunity” to love him was never more real and challenging. I wasn’t always successful, and to this day —
10 years of marriage and three children later — I am still a work in progress, especially when it comes to agreeing on how to raise our children, even more so as the kids got older and our family grew.
We were a family of five with one income. When our oldest daughter was born, I was able to go back to work. But when we had our son almost three years later, we decided that it would be best for our family that I stay home. When it was time for our oldest daughter to begin school, my deep desire to send our children to private Catholic school became a topic of friction with my husband. The mere mention of it would cause us to argue, so I decided that I would just homeschool her instead. I honestly felt that it was my way of compromising, never realizing that I made the decision alone and never gave my husband a say in the matter.
Although we had a successful year, it became apparent that it would be better for our daughter to be in school. She became so used to being with me, that the mention of my leaving her side even for a 15-minute trip to the grocery store would send her in a panic.
However, even after all my very logical explanations about the benefits of Catholic schools, I still could not convince my husband that it was the better choice for our daughter; I felt that it was so important to transmit to her the faith that was so dear to me.
I asked my dad for advice. He answered, “Why aren’t you even considering your husband’s point of view? If you want your kids to be close to God, it is your responsibility, not the school’s, no matter which school you send them to. You cannot expect them to grow in their faith if they don’t experience him at home. It has to start with you.”
I realized then that I was making all these decisions on my own and without taking my husband’s concerns about our financial situations seriously.
Every day that I drop my daughter off at her public school, I would say, “For you Jesus, I take this cross because I know that I am doing your will.”
I feel that this experience has not only brought me closer to my husband, but it has strengthened my relationship with God. Even though my husband may not use this terminology, I feel that both of us are loving Jesus in each other and embracing our differences out of love. And for sure, this atmosphere will allow our children to experience how we try to practice what we preach!
O. A., Florida
If you are interested to read more articles like this::