July 2007 - Little Monsters

"The child is king!" An old slogan has become reality; in fact, quite a sad reality. The child has not become king, in spite of all the promises, but only a base tyrant concerned with satisfying his whims. His parents play the unenviable role of puppets; and woe to them if they hesitate even a little in satisfying the least desire of their little darling! They risk cruel reprisals that they will not easily forget. A first salvo is immediately shot in the form of piercing cries and abrupt gestures... the life of these poor parents is like the beginning of hell, with its cries and gnashing of teeth!

Dear Friends and Benefactors,

"The child is king!" An old slogan has become reality; in fact, quite a sad reality. The child has not become king, in spite of all the promises, but only a base tyrant concerned with satisfying his whims. His parents play the unenviable role of puppets; and woe to them if they hesitate even a little in satisfying the least desire of their little darling! They risk cruel reprisals that they will not easily forget. A first salvo is immediately shot in the form of piercing cries and abrupt gestures... the life of these poor parents is like the beginning of hell, with its cries and gnashing of teeth!

It would be erroneous and dangerous to think that these budding tyrants do not exist among us. On the contrary, they abound, forming an important contingent in our chapels. Indeed, it has become increasingly common to hear strident and capricious cries which show that these charming little monsters are used to dictating the law in their homes and that they certainly intend to impose their wills everywhere! Let us be clear: we do not complain about the inevitable noises that the presence of children will produce in our chapels. What we stigmatize are the noisy demonstrations of childish authority. It is easy to distinguish the cry of a child trying to express a temporary difficulty in the only way in which he can, from the capricious cry that reveals his habit of dealing with his parents as with slaves from whom immediate obedience is expected and received.

How did we get to this point?

Unfortunately, living in a society impregnated with Rousseau's platitudes, in particular those regarding education, we cannot escape this influence. Helped by the winning smiles of charming little children, we forget that even our baptized children are wounded by original sin and that their nature itself inclines towards evil. Only a strict education can counterbalance these bad inclinations, an education that does not exclude - quite the contrary - giving them the affection that they need.

To illustrate our subject, let us briefly consider an orchard. It would be inconceivable to think of growing tomatoes without planting stakes to which we will attach the seedlings. Woe to the gardener who does not firmly fix the supports or fasten his plants to them! Because of their fragile stems, the seedlings will not be able to support the load of their fruits and will fall to the ground. The few tomatoes which are not irremediably spoiled in this fall will quickly rot on the ground.

The faithful gardener has another duty: he must regularly prune his tomato seedlings and pitilessly tear off any wild shoots, so that the sap can preserve enough strength to make possible the growth of the tomatoes.

A similar work must be carried out regarding children, and it is the parents' duty to do it. They must give to their children a strict rule and oblige their young wills to follow it, in spite of their tendency to pay attention to their own inclinations, which will lead them downwards. They must have courage to cut the wild shoots that appear precociously in the form of whims, in spite of the immediate and violent resistance of the children.

Alas! Bludgeoned by a shameless propaganda that exalts the pseudo-innocence of the child - and thus caught in a sentimentalism that takes the place of true affection - parents yield to the fashions of the day, tremble at the thought of exerting their authority, and give in to the least whims of their little angel, who is in the way of becoming a perfect demon.

However, let us not reduce the role of parents to that of gardeners. Let us not forget that parents must form souls, while gardeners only grow vegetables! But nobody can attempt to form a soul without devoting himself entirely to this noble task. The necessary dedication of parents to the education of their children contradicts today's hedonism, by which we are all affected.

Unfortunately, such dedication is rare.

To raise a child requires, indeed, a great spirit of sacrifice. It is not enough to sacrifice a certain number of personal habits. It is still necessary to sacrifice oneself in order to be the constant, vigilant loving and strong power so necessary for the full development of a child.

Let us again give to our children, deeply unhappy in their sad guise of tyrants, the key to happiness, submission to their parents and, thus, respect for God's created order.

In Christo sacerdote et Maria,

Fr. Yves le Roux

A REMINDER FROM THE SEMINARY

• Please take note that during the summer - that is, during the months of July and August - there will be only one Sunday Mass at the Seminary, at 9:00 a.m.