The Conflict of Values

There are occasions when sudden news seems to have the effect of suspending my progress, in my desire to be present.

My wife told me this week, that our daughter is moving out to live with her boyfriend.

Although I did not react in a negative way  to this news, nonetheless it has affected my peace of mind.

The problem I am learning to overcome, is that the world that my adult children know, is very different to the one I had imagined it would be.

As part of my journey to accept my own reality in the world, which I suppressed for many years, I have also had to overcome my tendency to control and interfere in there lives.

It seemed so easy when they are young children.  They were happy to get up each Sunday and go to Mass with you – in fact they loved it.

They were happy to say that they are a Catholic and you feel secure that your values and ideas of living a life of faith, in a secular world are being transferred to them, as easy as copying data down onto a floppy.

My dreams consisted of handing on my faith to my children. I wanted to see them marry and then have children (in that order) and then in their turn pass on their faith to my grandchildren.

I observe that those in other faiths than my own, seem to be making a better job of it that I seem to have done.

The pull of the world has been too strong for my children to resist and for me to hold back.

Worse than that, as the tension built up between my adolescent children’s desires to express themselves, and my tendency to control and restrict that freedom, I have suffered the loss of their love and respect and now although I am outwardly calm, I weep and mourn their loss – it feels like a grief.

I have learned through my development of self to be with the pain – not to pretend it is not there, but to be with it, to pray over it, to feel it in my body, to think about it and to let my silent tears be a reminder of my capacity to care.

I know that what I am experiencing is a conflict of values, not a judgement on me in my role as a father.

My daughter loves her boyfriend and wants to live with him.

I love my daughter and I want her to be happy.

I can see that our values are different, but they do not have to be in conflict.

I am determined that I will do all I can to assist my daughter and her boyfriend in their chosen way of being together and I will do it gladly and I will do it with love.

My next blog will be: Is it a present or a gift?

William Defoe

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