It's funny. We know how to tell when we are sick, or when our kids are sick. Something is off in our bodies, either our temperature, our heads, our muscles, our joints, our energy...
But there are so many things for which we do not know the norm. For example, what is the normal level of stress under certain circumstances? Should we only measure against ourselves or should we measure it against others in similar circumstances? And then, what do we do about it?
Similarly, we are often not good judges of behavior. Sometimes we look at others and judge their actions based on our own upbringing. But perhaps they have not have anywhere near the upbringing we have had, so they don't even have what we have as a frame of reference. And besides, who is to say what is the right frame of reference?
Here we are getting somewhere, at least in the behavioral sphere. (By the way, all of this is prompted by the gatherings after my daughter's First Communion, which was, by the way, very special!! :) So many times conversations can turn toward evaluating another's behavior. And it makes me think of what is the standard and how do we determine it? I think about growing up and it is funny because in America, we do not like the word "formation," as if we are "forming" our children or that we ourselves have been "formed." There is no common usage of the term and I have the strong suspicion that if I used it commonly, it would cause a sort of repulsion in others. We are more comfortable with "upbringing," but it only suggests manners and not the deeper parts of humanity that touch the heart, the things that are most important. What a poverty this is! And truth be told, I don't believe that most people are raising kids with the idea of "forming" them through and through. It's not a concept commonly understood which seems ludicrous, but I believe it is the case.
So if we want to be "forming" our children, what is our frame of reference? Virtue. It all goes back to this. And why is forming so much more important than upbringing? Upbringing only takes us so far and leads us to be judgemental of others without this so-called upbringing. Whereas a more thorough understanding of human nature, both our own in particular and more generally speaking, will help us to transcend mere externals and read the heart and see people for who they are as well as to have more compassion.
Have a terrific Sunday! Please pray for my son and his team of doctors tomorrow morning as he gets his tonsils and adenoids removed!