On the care and feeding of sons

Today and tomorrow are happy days. The son who is three months into his freshman college year is coming home this afternoon and the son who is three months into his senior year is coming home tomorrow. I’m thankful for the homecomings.

I’ve been reading Confessions by Saint Augustine. In recalling his years of education he writes of his father’s sacrifice for his education, yet it isn’t in a spirit of thankfulness for this education or sacrifice that he writes.

Everyone of course praised my father because, although his means did not allow it, he had somehow provided the wherewithal for his son to travel so far for the sake of his studies. Many a very much richer citizen did no such thing for his children. Yet this same father never bothered about how I was growing towards You or how chaste or unchaste I might be, so long as I grew in eloquence, however much I might lack of Your cultivation O God, who are the one true and good Lord of your field, my heart.

Now that my husband and I are nearing the end years of our educational responsibility for our sons I find those 1600-year-old words worth some soulsearching. There is so much in terms of education parents need to provide their children, so much children need to learn in order to make their way in the world, to stay safe, to thrive. To cover it all is not only overwhelming, it is impossible. From the bottom of my heart I hope that my sons have taken from their education a strong sense of learning plus faith, learning integrated with faith. It is certainly easier, however, to look at a grade and assess academic competence than it is to probe the spiritual heart of a teenager or young adult. I’m thankful that my sons went to a high school in which Confessions was required reading.

Now I’m off to the grocery store to stock the refrigerator. No matter the state of their hearts they are always hungry. :)