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Sunday, January 3, 2010

Excerpts: The Real Gifts Parents Can Give - Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy

Faith is a gift truly given, and always to be cherished, guarded and nurtured. As Catholics we believe deeply in the power of prayer. We know the peace of heart and mind which can come from prayer, no matter what the danger, perplexity and confusion.

Whatever his religion, with faith, a child knows exactly why he was created, he has well-defined obligations to God and humans. He has sure direction, ever-courageous because he knows God is directing him for his ultimate destiny, helping him to dedicate his faculties and opportunities for best fulfilling God's plans. If he can pray, he will have that peace of mind and heart which accompanies prayers, regardless of how heavy is his cross. I have always felt and I think all my children did, too, that God never sends a Cross too heavy for us to bear.

God wants a different thing from each of us, laborious or easy, conspicuous or quite private, but something which only we can do, and for which we were created. What a beautiful gift in only parents could pass along this concept to each of their children, and each could realize how important was his individual contribution.

Another gift which we have always tried to bestow is the gift of zest - of curiosity and interest and enthusiasm for life. Children should be stimulated by their parents to see, and touch, and know, and understand, and appreciate. I believe in explaining family rules and requests, so that children will trust their parents' reasoning and experiences, and have confidence in their judgment.

How can parents give children an interest and ingenuity to cope with life? One way is to encourage hobbies: stamps, antiques, gardening, painting, a musical instrument, sports...any sort of activity which distracts, releases tension, gives more channels to energies. There is no place for boredom in a mind that is constantly seeking new horizons.

Some people collapse under strain, disillusionment, and problems. Others respond to challenges and difficulties and are excited by them. I will never allow myself to be vanquished or annihilated. I have always enjoyed living and working, and I believe I have had a great life.

Which brings me to my last gift: the gift of service. God has created me to do Him some definite service. He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission - I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next. I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons. He has not created me for naught. I shall do good. I shall do his work.

God has bequeathed on us pleasures as well as sorrows, laughter as well as tears. May He give us the capacity to enjoy all these gifts and to share them.

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