Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Who's Teaching Whom?

I am pleased to welcome Judy Dudich to "Catholic Moms Talk" as a quest blogger today. Judy is the author of I Surrender, the study guide for women seeking Christ as the center of their daily lives. She is owner of Homeschool Faith and Family Life: the website that uplifts, encourages, and supports you in your daily family life journey. 

With her husband Tom, Judy is  blessed with ten children and four grand-children and each day enjoys learning along-side the eight kids who are still at home with them. She writes a regular column on several websites, including : FAR Above Rubies and CatholicMom.com. Judy's online radio show, Mothers at Home, is enjoyed on Blog Talk Radio. You can find all links to Judy's blogs, websites, books, and social networks by visiting judydudich.weebly.com

Who's Teaching Whom?

I recently  read a quote which aptly describes my mothering-heart. The author was listed as, "Anonymous" ("Anonymous" has become one of my most favorite authors, through the years!). 

"I have been busy teaching my children all about life. They have been busy, teaching me what life is all about." 

As a Catholic, homeschooling mother of ten and "Grammy" to four, I could be offered as a living testament to the truth of this statement. Often, I ask my darlings, "Who's teaching whom, here?" 

In fact, that's one of the greatest blessings God has brought to me through our homeschooling and family life journey; the opportunity to learn along-side and "from" my children. 

Pope Benedict XVI has proclaimed a "Year of Faith" for our One, Holy, and Apostolic Church. Truly, this couldn't have come at a more appropriate, pertinent, and needed time. (Which is why he's the Pope, right?) 

As I ponder this title and reflect and pray about ways that I can live out the Holy Father's commission to us, I am repeatedly drawn to thoughts of my children; and, the anonymous quote, above. 

I can teach my children the catechism. Of course, I am instructed by the Catechism to teach my children the Catechism.  This Catholic text tells me that, as a Catholic wife and mother, 

I am the first and foremost educator in the lives of my children. Further, that I am obligated to provide a truly Catholic education for each and all of them.  I, like other parents the-world-over, try my best to do just that. 

However, through it all, during it all, in the lessons, after the lessons, in conjunction with the lessons, it is I who am being taught...by them. 

This "Year of Faith" is to be lived. It is to be celebrated. It is to be shared. We are being called forth to study, to know and try our best to understand our beautiful, timeless, and lasting Catholic Faith. 

The current state of political affairs, family life (and the attack on it), faith life (or, lack of it) and day-to- day issues that the average American is dealing with, tells me that the time has come for us, as Catholics to be "real", "authentic", and "courageous" (not to mention "steadfast", "zealous", and "loyal") in our Faith.  

Two of my children are grown, married, and raising families of their own. Eight, are still at home with my husband and me. I look at them, and I can't help but think of Saint Francis of Assisi, who said, "Preach the Gospel, and, if necessary, use words."

My children would not be described, in most circles, as "outspoken". They are, indeed, comfortable speaking to others; though none really goes out of his/her way to "take the stage" so-to-speak, when it comes to espousing matters of the Faith to the general public. They know their Faith, they adhere to the Teachings of the Catholic Church, and they are pretty good at "Apologetics," when confronted or approached by someone trying to "trip them up" or "put them on the spot."

In the spirit of the teaching of Saint Francis, however, it moves me to tears, fills my heart with joy, and, mostly, humbles me, to observe my children "preaching the Gospel" in the way they live their lives; each and every day. 

Christ is alive in the youth of our world, today. I see Him, in my children. The "Year of Faith" is being brought to life. I see it in my children. 

I see it when I walk into a room and find one of my older kids helping his/her little brother or sister to memorize the Ten Commandments.  

I see it when there is a new face in the crowd of our parish and I watch my teens go up to that person, after Mass, to welcome them and shake their hand. 

I see it when I watch them bow their head and offer a heartfelt intention, at the beginning of our family rosary, for a friend in need, for the unborn; even for our president. 

I see it when they do something wrong, and quietly come to me, in private, to speak truth and apologize. 

I see it when they have the courage to change the radio station, in front of their friends, when an inappropriate song is being played.  

I see it when they take bags of sandwiches to the homeless, in the park.  

I see it when they go with my husband and friends to serve the residents at Mother Teresa's House in Washington, DC. 

I see it, each month, when my teens give their free time; as they've done for the last four years, to serve and work at our local food pantry; helping those in need in our community.  

This "Year of Faith" is alive and well in my children. And, they are teaching me "all about life." 

I saw it, when our pastor announced that he was going to walk 100 miles to witness for the Catholic Church: as a  penance, in reparation for our sins, as a quiet testimony against the unjust laws, taking away religious freedom in our nation, and as a way to be seen, in this"Year of Faith" so as to draw others to Christ and win souls for His Glory; and my teens immediately said, "YES! WE WILL JOIN YOU WE WILL WALK 100 MILES FOR THE CATHOLIC FAITH AND FREEDOM!" 

It was summer time. It was scorching-hot outside. It was their vacation time from school; their "free" time. And, they gave it to the Church. They gave it to God. They gave it to their fellow man. They suffered blisters. They missed their family for the eight days it took to get to the Basilica, in Baltimore, MD. They climbed mountains. They slept on hard floors. They were frightened, walking on the edges of highways, with tractor trailers blowing past them at 65 miles an hour. Yet, they never complained. Not once. They never whined. They (and the other awesome teens who were with them) went without much sleep, without showers, without bathrooms and more...because they believe in this "Year of Faith." They believe in their Church. They believe in their country. They believe in freedom.  

I am a wife. I am a mother. I am a teacher. I am a woman of God. I own my own website. I'm a published author. I'm an online speaker and radio show host.  

And, yet, in this proclaimed "Year of Faith," I am a humble student, at the feet of my children; for, like Saint Francis, they are, indeed, preaching the Gospel, by living their lives. 

Our hope lies in Christ Jesus. And, He makes Himself known to us through others. I give thanks for the Youth of America. They are on-fire with love for the Holy Spirit and they want to live their Catholic Faith, in-full; not partially, not cafeteria-style, but, completely, consistently, and joyfully. They are the future of our nation. They are the vessels that God will use to share His love with the world. 

It doesn't matter what is happening in the White House, as much as it matters what is happening in our own houses.  

"I am busy teaching my children all about  life. They are busy teaching me what life is all about."


  1. Judy, God bless you for the beautiful witness of you and your family.

    As my late Franciscan spiritual director, Fr. Marcellus, always used to say to me: "There's all the hope in the world!"


  2. Thank you for your kind words, Lorraine. AMEN to your Father Marcellus's exclamation!