While spending time with children and grandchildren over Christmas, I couldn't help but think about how our families and children are under attack in ways many fail to appreciate. As one good Catholic mother shared her daughter's question with me, "Mom, why do I need to marry? I don't have to be married to have children?" She looked at me with a tear and asked, "Where did I go wrong? We did our best to raise our kids as good Catholics."
The new curriculum requires children to agree that having more families with children deprived of their mother and father united in marriage is a good thing. That is a blatant lie, but to disagree is now considered intolerant and an example of "hateful" discrimination against those believing in a new definition of the word "marriage" and seeking the right to create families of choice.
We know traditional messages used to defend marriage do not work and expose people to conflict, personal attack, and persecution. Adults can avoid such conversations, but our children cannot because they are immersed in an environment of lies and coercion with the threat of social ostracism unless they comply. Do we continue to use the same arguments and expect different results, or do we try a new approach?
The secret to explaining marriage reality is to present it from the child's own point of view.
Children know their mom and dad are irreplaceable and they long to be loved by them. Teaching that marriage in reality is the choice of man and woman to make themselves irreplaceable is what prepares them for having children. It enables Mom and Dad to welcome the child into the circle of irreplaceability we call the family. Anyone can understand this because it corresponds with the desire to know and be in communion with our own mom and dad — an experience stamped in our nature.
By reinforcing awareness of irreplaceability and its relationship to marriage reality, children become more attuned to the experience of privation that occurs in irregular family situations — conditions calling for compassion not judgment. At the same time, the awareness of irreplaceability exposes the lies advanced by schools and popular culture that promote irregular families and privation.