I belong to a Facebook group called "Children's Rights" that advocates the saving of the family unit and keeping families together. I wanted to share the story I read here, and then I'll post my response.
This story touched me on many levels. Here it is:
Dear Dr. LauraAs I was doing dishes, I was thinking of a caller you had recently. She was having second thoughts since leaving her career to take on the job of being a full-time Mom to her little one. She was confused as to how cleaning the floor and staying home with her child was better than working at a job, hiring someone else to do the cleaning and being with her child at the end of the day. So as I was doing the dishes, laundry is next by the way, I was trying to put to words the thoughts I had and decided to write.I think people sometimes lose sight of what love really is. It’s not just the warm fuzzy feelings you get when you think of or spend time with a loved one. Whether it’s your child, your spouse, a friend or even a stranger, the fuzzy feelings are nice, but there are other more important components too. The one that comes to my mind is self-sacrifice. Not too many people understand this anymore. When I’m cleaning the house, I’m not doing it because I enjoy it, I’m doing it because I love my family. When they have clean clothes, warm food, a nice clean peaceful place to come home to, they feel loved because I did it for them. Now an important thing is that cleaning should never outweigh spending time together, like you said, a lot of this we can do together. Working together fosters the love we feel for each other. No one person is served, we serve each other, and all are served with love. This then carries over to others outside our family. We enjoy doing for others, because we have had our own family giving of them to us. There is only one thing Christ commanded us to do, “Love one another as I have loved you.” And he loved us by giving at our Church, we volunteer at school, we help other families as we can and we do things for others out of love.Recently I heard Rush Limbaugh discussing the Catholic notion of fasting. He was not too supportive of the Pope asking Catholics around the world to fast by giving up 2 meals and all snacks for a day. He thought it sounded too meager and compared this to his giving up all food to go on a liquid diet for over a month. That he said was a real fast. He too missed the point. A religious fast is to give up something that you desire or need along with prayer in order to gain graces for others or to obtain something, in this case, peace. We are a Catholic family of 6 and to have God’s grace is the richest treasure there is and it’s what enables us to love each other the way G-d intended. By living our faith and by giving of ourselves, we receive God’s graces. Rush Limbaugh couldn’t understand the difference between giving up something and dieting because he failed to see it as an act of sacrifice. Being on a liquid diet was not about sacrifice, it was about his becoming thinner, and he benefited from it. Sacrifice is when you give something up, whether it’s food, TV, the computer, your free time, or your career, in order to give something to another. If you do this, you will receive the grace from G-d to value what you have done: the satisfaction from realizing that you have loved others before yourself; and the joy from knowing that you have taught your children to be loving people because they know that they are loved. We love by doing for each other, not by feeling the warm fuzzies as we look down on a sleeping child. Kids need to see love in tangible ways. They don’t feel their parents warm fuzzies they need to see that their parents want to be with them; that their parents enjoy being with them; that their parents don’t hesitate to put them first; and that their parents love them as G-d lives them. Then they will know that they are loved. Too many families self-destruct all too often because of lack of self-sacrifice. Divorce is the by-product of this lacking. I assume that if you asked most parents they would say that they would die to protect their child. Ask them sometime, “If you knew your child was terminally ill, and you could take their place, would you?” I think many people would say yes. Then ask them why they would sacrifice their children by divorcing a spouse? Most people I hear who discuss their divorces do so with the reasoning that “I deserve to be happy.” This does not include those who divorce due to abuse, drug addiction of that other spouse or infidelity. I’m speaking of the people who divorce due to “Irreconcilable differences.” These people choose their own “happiness” at the expense of their children’s happiness. If you would die for your children physically, why won’t you die for your children in any other way? All that children want is to be loved by their parents. That’s it. And again, they can’t feel the love of a parent who isn’t there. Warm fuzzies just don’t travel over state lines or through telephone lines. Kids need to have parents close by in order to know that they are loved.I have seen first hand what parental separation does. My husband is currently deployed to the Middle East on a Navy ship and will be gone for 6 months or maybe more. This is the 4th deployment we’ve experienced and hopefully our last, as he goes over 20 years this year. When he is gone, our children suffer. They love their Dad very much, but he isn’t here to love him back. We do our best to stay connected, through emails, videos and packages, but it’s just not the same. We luckily will have an end to this situation eventually, but I’m sad about the millions of kids who will never get their parents back from the divorce deployments that they are on.Both of my parents worked full-time while I was growing up. So I know that side too. My parents were and are very loving people, but they just weren’t around enough to give their love to my siblings and me in meaningful ways. They bought us everything we wanted, but our only true need was never met, the giving of themselves. Partly because of this, I am very emotionally independent person, and it’s probably why I married a military man. But I have tried to overcome it. It wasn’t until after the first 7 years of my marriage that I was really able to let my husband into my heart completely. We’ve been married now for over 14 years. Also, having 4 kids has sure helped me. I’m a better person because of them. But unfortunately my parents ended up raising my siblings and me to not need them emotionally. Sadly for us all, we still don’t. if you want a long lasting, and deeply emotional relationship with your children for as long as you live, you must make sacrifices and invest of yourself into them now. They will not grow up to share their lives with you if you don’t share your life with them on a daily basis. And from my experiences I’ve found that a child’s world takes place in about a 20ft diameter of themselves. Be with them and enjoy their love, its better that anything else in this world.Sorry this letter has gone on so long. But I’m glad to have a chance to share these thoughts with you. I am proud to be a long time listener of yours and a no-time caller J I always laugh when I hear someone say they’ve listened to you a long time, but then ask you why their shack-up-honey won’t marry them even after they’ve had 5 kids with them. You must cringe. Thanks for all you do, you have opened the eyes of many people. I’m sure it’s through the grace G-d has given you.Sincerely,Maria