Righteousness amid the busyness

| Kate Soucheray | May 2, 2019 | 0 Comments

I oftentimes have said that the month of May has become busier than the month of December, with sports practices and banquets, dance recitals, AP tests and the beginning of graduation parties. There are so many events and schedules to accommodate that a family could find itself easily double-booking on any given day or evening without realizing it, and then have to miss something that is truly important to them.

How do we manage it all in this over-booked, stressed-out culture, as we work to raise happy, healthy children and adolescents?

It is in situations like these that a family who has written a family mission statement can guide their actions by the written directive, which serves to clarify their core values and objectives. Once these values and objectives have been identified and written down, the family members discuss and decide how best to activate and articulate the lived expression of what they represent. Ultimately, the family who chooses to be guided by a well-articulated mission statement will find it has congruence and coherence in its actions and decision-making, which are marked by consistency and clarity.

Catholics, and indeed all Christians, would understand this as “right relationship,” which is also known as “righteousness,” or the right order of relationship. This is often confused with self-righteousness, but be assured, they are not the same thing. Self-righteousness is actually self-satisfaction, pretentiousness or believing oneself to be right above all others. This is quite the opposite of right relationship, which is most aptly exhibited as humility, a virtue to which all Christians are called.

ACTION CHALLENGE

Consider writing a mission statement for your family. You will find several excellent guides for writing a family mission statement by searching “writing a Catholic family mission statement” online.

Mission statement

iStock/marekuliasz

Particularly when we get overly busy, it is easy to be persuaded by self-righteousness, because it’s so much easier to believe we are right than to take time to listen to others and understand their needs. By contrast, the concept of righteousness is beautifully stated in Isaiah 32:17, which contends, “The fruit of righteousness is peace, quietness and trust, forever.”

The concept of righteousness is the essence of the Christian lifestyle. Imagine working toward right relationship in your family to help facilitate a sense of harmony and tranquility, stillness and calm, as well as hope and confidence with those closest to you.

When we find ourselves responding to a frenetic lifestyle, particularly during the month of May, we have the opportunity to step back and evaluate what is happening and decide if continuing in the direction we’re headed is the best for ourselves and our family. But what does that actually mean?

It means we can make a choice about how busy we want to be. We can say “no” to activities or to becoming involved in something that will draw us away from our family’s stated core objectives and values in life. If we have decided we want to have meals together, we may have to tell a coach that T-ball practice over the dinner hour does not work for us. We may have to decide the five invitations to parties or dinners will simply be too much, and we step back and accept some, but not all. We may decide that, because the tournament schedule prevents us from attending Mass on the weekend, we either tell the coach we’ll be late for the game or we choose not to participate.

Putting our values into practice in our lives is not practice for our kids. This is the experience of life they are having as they learn about what priorities are and what takes precedence over other experiences, events or activities. Setting a good example for them by aligning your choices with your values will instill in them a sense of confidence in knowing and doing the right thing. Through establishing right relationships with others by making good choices, your children will develop a life filled with the peace, quietness and trust of which Isaiah speaks.

Soucheray is a licensed marriage and family therapist and a member of Guardian Angels in Oakdale. She holds a master’s degree in theology from the St. Paul Seminary School of Divinity in St. Paul.

 

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Category: Simple Holiness