Photo Credit: Steve McCurry, "The Afghan Girl", National Geographic, June 1985
The duty of raising children falls to many of us during our lives. I am currently blessed with that responsibility; it is quite the adventure. Of all the things I notice about my children, I have found that there is one, seemingly obvious, thing they do which provides me with great perspective. They watch us. They are always absorbing the world around them with their five senses but, out of all things their brains soak up, what we parents do is most impactful. It’s frightening to realize that all of our virtues or lack thereof are witnessed, assimilated and imitated. There is something to be said about being a chip off the old block, after all!
Children have a remarkable dependence on their mothers and fathers for their formation. Therefore, for our part, we must consider how we carry ourselves. If our children are monsters, it is time to take a look inside. These little mirrors of ours do not lie.
This perspective can expand outside of parenthood. Who are we children of? Who are we watching? Who are our heroes? We need to ask ourselves these questions to realize who is impacting us.
Consider also that there are often people watching us. How do we act around them? Surely we can see that interactions with them are parallel to a parent’s interaction with his children. We can and will have an effect on those around us because, although they are much more rigid in their ability to absorb, they are still absorbing.
These realities are easily overlooked; however, the perspective they provide is invaluable. If we are honest with ourselves, we will see that we are in part responsible for the way others act since we are called to be “the light of the world.” Having been given so much more, Catholics have an immense responsibility toward others. Our Faith gives us tools to shape ourselves and those around us, and our usage of these tools will determine what we see when we look in the ‘mirrors’ around us.
If we look to God first, we will find that no matter where we are, beauty, truth, and light will surround us, and we will become a reflection of Him.