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Question: We recently put our kids back into the local Catholic school due to demands associated with our oldest developmentally disabled child. Originally we pulled our children because the school promoted writing programs to a truck driver through a trucker buddy program without our permission or knowledge until our daughter came home telling us. We also decided to do so because the curriculum was lacking emphasis on spelling correctly and other similar issues. We had been watching and feeling our family fall apart so decided to fall back and regroup. All was going nicely until our oldest began making suicidal threats in his middle school. That was taking up so much of our time our other children were suffering and we figured let's try the school again and keep a closer eye on things. Well the curriculum problem hasn't been solved and now our 4-5 grade students are going to see a play at the public HS that deals lightheartedly with death and coming back to change people's minds and the red guy with horns comes to collect one who begs for his life etc. In the end it's all a dream and all is well with the story line but I do not feel this is appropriate for my 9 yr old to see. So again she will be ostracized and teased and doesn't understand. It bugs me too because they will be taken to see this play but there is a huge beautiful Vatican exhibit in a museum about an hour and a half drive away and no plans were made to go there. I am going to voice my concerns. I am struggling with are we suppose to leave this parish because of the school issue. The parishoners here have been awesome to us. It's the school that is causing the angst and I am unsure of what to do. I feel my judgment is clouded while trying to discern what God is asking me to do, if He is asking that is. I want my kids to have a solid faith foundation not one with added silliness and untruths. Am I overreacting? Any help is appreciated.

Dear Mom,

Well I can tell you right now, that I would not want my children to see such an awful play. I don't care how lighthearted it is. I'm the mother and unless the school wants to come in my home and help with the work of raising the children, take the financial responsibility and the emotional burden of parenthood seriously then they can keep their silly play and all that goes with it. Imagine!! Life is far too short and far too important (our life here is the makings of our eternal life). Don't feel badly about your reasoning. You are a prayerful woman who is a seeker of knowledge in the Lord. Keep your focus! You are dealing with a great deal right now. You are concerned about your son and this is important. Take your daughter to see the exhibit yourself while they go to the play. Just say "no she isn't going". Period. You do not have to compensate for your choice.

Lovingly and with gentle tenderness explain how you feel to your little girl. Give her your support and your embrace. I think you may be surprised to find out that you are not the only parent who feels as you do. Children love their parents and desire the return of this love more than the acceptance of a peer group. That is the truth. You are loving your child in a sacrificial way and that is worthy. Let me tell you a story. When I was 10 years old I begged my mom to let me go to the movie theater with my friends to see a movie. The other children were going to be 'dropped off' at the theater by their parents. I was the oldest of 6 children and my mom did not have the time to sit with me in the movies nor was she going to 'drop me off' at the movies. 'No. You are not going to the movies was her reply.' When I protested and whined she replied, 'I love you too much to drop you off at the movies.' Well I have thought about that sentence many times over the years of parenting. Many challenges, many heartaches, many joys and many many times when I went to my knees not knowing if I was doing the right thing that sentence and my mother's resolve when she said it have made the difference. In her voice and through her peaceful action she told me volumes about parenting. She didn't apologize for not letting me go to the movies and she accepted that it would make me mad but she loved me enough to assert her right as a parent. My mom is 80 years young and sleeps peacefully every night . She is peaceful because she knows that she did her best as she understood it at the time to parent according to the Lord's will for her and her children.

Remember that when we go to our Reward and stand before the Lord with empty hands, He will ask us 'Did you love me?' We love the Lord through the children that He has entrusted to our care. We love the Lord through the hard choices that we must make from our desire to serve the Lord. We love the Lord each time that we are persecuted by those who do not understand or appreciate our desire to love the Lord.

Do not let this incident vex and worry you. Ask that the Lord give you the peace that passes all understanding and rest in His embrace. Jesus loves you and longs to hold you, empower you and to inspire you with the tools and resources necessary to do His will. I admire you very much and find in you a holy witness of the vocation of motherhood. Your letter has been a real blessing to read. It helped to give me strength and to keep moving forward. Thank you for taking the time to write.

Let us pray together a Hail Mary for all those parents who feel that they have lost the strength to parent according to the Lord's will. Jesus we ask that you continue to empower us to make the choices that will ensure that our children are not only safe but return to You.

Sending out a prayer,

Rita Munn

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