The Privilege of Serving Others
With twenty-three years between my two children, there was a huge difference in how I raised them; with my first child as a working mother, and with my second, as a stay-at-home mom. Being a widowed working mom raising a child alone was vastly different from being a privileged, stay-at-home mom raising a child with the help and support of a caring spouse whose concerns about our child were as great as mine.
Well aware of the enormous difference between these two experiences, I longed to provide a better, more compassionate understanding of anyone parenting alone, even parents with partners who nevertheless feel alone in raising their children when their partners are not available to help. Reflecting on the many joyful moments of parenting, I also recall the hardships, strain, and guilt I endured raising my daughter alone. Support and help make all the difference, and my heart aches to heal the wounds of anyone raising children without help. I hope these words of comfort will help them hold onto their faith and dreams, for themselves and for their children.
The world does not honor parents enough for their work in raising children the way it honors people in glorious professions or careers. I believe we dishonor motherhood when we treat a mother’s role as less important than a great profession. Maybe this is why many parents are looking for other ways to serve, and this impulse comes from the loving essence inside us that is constantly expanding itself.
When she appeared in Medugorje in the 1990s, in one of the letters that Mary, the Blessed Mother, dictated, she said she cried for our children because those in middle- and upper-incomes families were more in need of love and care than those in poorer families, even if the poor families didn’t have a home to live in, because those poor children often were better comforted by their parents who held them close. By contrast, wealthier children were often sent away to be raised and educated by strangers. This means the most important part of these children’s foundation is missing: the love and nurturing of their parents or guardians. We didn’t understand that this situation would affect children so adversely, having been conditioned by society to believe that education should be our first priority, and in children’s best interest for getting ahead in life. When I read that letter from Medugorje, I cried. And I could hear once more my mother’s words about putting the children first.
Excerpt Imprinted Wisdom
Causes Catherine Nagle Supports
Westwind Foster Family Agency, Christian Children's Fund, Compassion International, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Invisible Children, Save the Children