NOTE: The following is an excerpt from Xaverian’s monthly eNewsletter.
By Brother Daniel Skala, C.F.X., PH.D.
Our New England winter weather is wreaking havoc with our school schedule and plans. The recent snow storms remind us of the fierce beauty of Mother Nature. However, February brings with it a sense of new possibilities as the days grow longer again and the thoughts of spring promise new life. Learning to wait with an open mind to whatever is coming our way surely is a sign of the maturity we need to weather the darker months of our lives.
This past month Amy Chua whose parenting skills are chronicled in her book, “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother” got a lot of attention. Her authoritarian approach has caused a furor from some and an admiration from others. Parenting today is not an easily understood undertaking especially when it comes to teenagers. One thing for sure is that there is, contrary to Mrs. Chua’s portrayal, no certainty in adopting one approach over another. There is no such thing as only one way to be a parent. Raising children today is more about love and unending support than it is about finding a formula and a certain way. Teenagers, indeed all of us, need to be aware of the support of family and community so that no matter the circumstances of their lives, there is never a doubt that they are not in it alone. Building bonds by staying involved with your sons is the surest way to have a direct and lasting influence.
Your sons need your guidance because they can easily fall victims of a technology that promises easy satisfaction and joy. They have been raised in an age of instant gratification, able to have whatever they want almost immediately, without too much effort, and they become hooked on the here and now. They can become anxious when they meet the smallest obstacles, and often become paralyzed, unable to act.Perseverance is not part of the vocabulary of those addicted to an online world and a culture smothered by excess.