A Catholic Convert in Ottawa

A Little More Conversation

Posted on: July 18, 2013

I’m not a fan of hot, humid summer weather, and so the past few days have been trying. I’d much rather spend my mornings writing posts for this blog than trying to get housework and errands done before I melt. (Well, maybe not melt, but it feels like I might.)

At the same time, the heat and humidity have reminded me to be grateful for some things. Like clean water for drinking, taking a quick shower to cool off, and washing swimsuits and beach towels. Air conditioning and ceiling fans. Dehumidifiers. Ice cream and iced tea. But I’ve also had something else to be grateful for over the past couple of weeks: I’ve been driving my son to day camp, and that time in the car gives us a chance to talk.

If you have a teenager or remember what it’s like to be one, you know that “talking” frequently means the parent talks and receives nothing more in response than noncommittal grunts, eye rolls and simple answers like “Fine,” “Sure,” and the dreaded “Whatever.” In this case, I’m talking about actual dialogue.

Naturally, some of the conversation revolves around camp activities such as my son’s success in assembling a “bug” that moves toward light at robotics camp or in executing difficult spinning kicks at taekwon-do camp. But sometimes we’ll hear about a current event on the radio or see something as we drive that gets my son talking.

It’s interesting for me to get a sense of the kind of person he’s becoming from his reactions and the issues he raises, and it’s challenging to answer his questions about why events unfolded as they did. But I’m grateful for these opportunities to talk without the distraction of an MP3 player or video games.

Whether our children are preschoolers or university students, having fewer scheduled activities and a more relaxed pace in the summer means that we have more opportunities to talk with them about their concerns, their values, their dreams, and their goals for the future. I pray that we would give them the listening ears that they need and learn what in their lives we need to pray about—from their perspective rather than based on our hopes and expectations.

And with World Youth Day 2013 just ahead and pilgrims soon making their way to Rio, I pray that the young people who attend would be strengthened and refreshed in their faith and encouraged to use their talents for God’s glory.

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Food for Thought

(Y)ou do not know about tomorrow. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and we shall do this or that.” ~ James 4:14-15

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