The Doctor is In
Since some of you asked...here's the rewind on Dr. Ray Guarendi's talk at our parish tonight.
First, let me just say that if you like him on his radio show, you'll love him in person. He is every bit as down-to-earth as he sounds and ten times more funny. He is like a walking caricature of himself.
He covered a wide range of topics-including parenting (discipline in particular), his adoptions, the wisdom of the plethora of parenting *experts* in our culture, and even touched briefly on his journey back to the Catholic church.
One of the most important things that I think he spoke about was the resolve of parents, the ability to stick-it-out with our kids for as long as it takes to discipline them. As he said, society doesn't take kindly to "undisciplined" (read: whiny, pouty, my-way-or-the-highway, spoiled, bratty) individuals whether they are 3 or 33. Heck, we, as parents, don't like it when our kids act that way. He talked about all the labels which exist that "excuse" this sort of behavior: the difficult child, the strong-willed child, the high maintenance child, etc...Then he talked about the need for the BIG people to stop kowtowing to the LITTLE people and stop offering them excuses and start showing them that our will to help them become a person of strong moral character is stronger than any will they might possess. Why? Because we love them that much.
He asked how long we, as parents, thought this process might take; how long we would need to persevere. In silence, we considered his question. Then, he called to our pastor in the back of the church and asked, "When people come in for confession, Father, do you usually hear, 'Well, I've pretty much conquered all my sins. Thanks for your help. See you later.' or do you hear, 'It's me again, Father, here I am with the same list of sins I've been confessing for the past 40 years.'"
I'm not sure about the rest of you, but that convicted me right on the spot. If God loves me enough to hang in there with me and repeatedly forgive me, while I persist in what is surely incredibly frustrating behavior to Him; then as His example to my children, they deserve nothing less than my unending love-through my commitment to discipline them to become who God wants them to be.
Dr. Ray's talk is available on DVD here. And whaddya know--you can even watch clips of his talk as well!