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Monday, January 2, 2012

Thought for the Day from Walker Percy: On Parents and Children

A friend sent me a segment of an interview with Walker Percy about his Catholic faith which sent me searching for other interviews with this wonderful Catholic writer (who, by the way, did not consider himself a very good Catholic even though he was a believer). Here is how he answered the question, "How much do children owe their parents, and vice versa?"

WP: Don't know, beyond a certain decent respect. Love's fine, but so is toleration. Thus, parents should recognize that most children, especially the most talented, have to rebel to become themselves. Young people should recognize that their parents are not necessarily the cretins they appear to be. Each should try to put up with the other, difficult as that may be.

So...all you parents having trouble with their children, keep this in mind and keep loving them as best you can while gritting your teeth. And...all you children with "cretins" for parents, grit your teeth and love them as best you can too. Maybe the old man and old woman will learn a few things during 2012 and beyond and even come to be friends.

Toleration (i.e., "putting up with each other") is a great watchword for the new year...never silent tolerance of evil which must be opposed (although if you've already made the point with someone you love, don't beat it into the ground), but tolerance of conscience. Prayer and penance will go much further to change hearts than browbeating.

NB: I'm obviously not talking about tolerance in the politically correct, homosexual activism context. Some things must be opposed always and everywhere in terms of policy and law. On the other hand, relationships with individuals require unconditional and patient love that calls forth the best in the other. The true, the good, and the beautiful appeal to the human heart and image the goodness of God. Advance these everywhere and you will be doing much to bring about the Kingdom of God on earth.

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