How things have changed . . . in small increments such that each little difference goes unnoticed and unchallenged, until the “old ways” are gone. Are today’s children being raised by their parents, or do they just grow up in the world’s arena, stimulated by the choices of the society “pursuing” them? A parent has a lot of competition.
When I was 13, everyone in my neighborhood was just as aware of God and what he asked of them as they were of what had to be done at home every day. Yeah, there were chores that needed to be completed before meeting up with friends or talking on the phone. My mom and dad worked from 6:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. every day at one factory or another over the years — my mother nursed me on her lunch hour at the Sequoit Silk Mill. They saved five dollars every week for eight years, and were finally able to purchase their own West Scranton home in 1950 when I was nine.
My mom did very little with me, but she made sure that I picked what I was going to wear to school the next day before I went to bed each night. She saw to it that I became a member of the YWCA. I would be with other girls, she would say — learning swimming, doing arts and crafts, and even participating in music. Being an only child, I looked forward to these experiences every Saturday morning, and got there by walking to Main Avenue to take the bus. My mother also made sure that I joined Girl Scouts, and because of that experience I did well in high school in my cooking and sewing classes. Making an apron in seventh grade gives a girl a real boost to her self-esteem! I’m not sure if such classes are even available to young teens today.
We knew as much about God as we did about cigarettes, doing things we knew our moms and dads wouldn’t like, or going where we weren’t allowed. And if we decided to instigate or go along with an undesirable act, we lied about it, until we had to come to grips with that “cringe” in our belly that reminded us that God knew what we did. It never took long before we came clean to our parents.
My mom and dad did not practice their Catholic faith, but even though they didn’t go to church every Sunday, we were expected to attend services and, most importantly, to go to confession. They knew what was important, and it wasn’t toys, expensive clothes, or giving me money. It was teaching me to show respect, to tell the truth, and to be obedient to the faith they chose for me.
Thus, later in life in a particular time of need, I was open to divine intervention, and was drawn to asking God for help. He immediately stepped in, and after a very memorable prayer meeting one day, I came away with new purpose and direction, full of confidence about what to do next and how to proceed along my journey.