September 30, 2016

Faith and Family / Sean Gallagher

Be faithful in little things from childhood

Sean GallagherAs our five sons grow older from year to year, I see them naturally wanting to do bigger things, things they weren’t able to do when they were younger.

Our youngest son Colin, who celebrated his third birthday earlier this month, takes offense when my wife Cindy or I attempt to peel a banana for him. He wants to do it himself.

And my oldest son Michael, who is 14, started earning money on his own this summer by mowing some of our neighbors’ yards.

Now flush with money, Michael understandably wants to use it entirely as he sees fit, even if Cindy and I are lovingly determined to use Michael’s first move into money-earning to teach him how to properly balance its use in spending, saving and giving to the Church and other charities.

In moving onto bigger things, sometimes our boys naturally leave behind things they did when they were younger.

Raphael, 11, has moved on to bigger chores, such as mowing and washing the dishes, that aren’t yet appropriate for his younger brother Philip, 7.

The younger boys in their play still gravitate toward toy cars, blocks and Legos while the older ones spend more time with books and computer games.

It is my hope that as our boys take these steps through life they’ll see the mystery of how they’re interwoven with their relationship with God.

The gifts and talents that God had in store for them from all eternity are starting to blossom in their lives. But with these emerging gifts also comes growing responsibility. “Much will be required of the person entrusted with much” (Lk 12:48).

Being entrusted with much does not necessarily mean, though, that little things are left behind. My older sons are starting to learn this lesson with some dismay. Getting to do bigger things also means having to do more things.

Philip is old enough to put away his clothes and shoes at the end of the day (even if he has to be reminded of it frequently). But Michael and Raphael still have that same duty, even if they are doing more significant chores or having fun in ways they couldn’t when they were younger.

After they’ve had a busy afternoon of homework, some play and after-supper chores, the older boys sometimes growl when they’re told to pick their clothes up off the floor before going to bed.

Hopefully, they’ll be a little more philosophic by the time they’re adults and learn that adulthood is as much, if not more, about doing lots of little things every day than getting to do big things that are a lot of fun. Indeed, the big things they’ll have to do as adults will often come with big headaches and worries.

But it’s that faithfulness in little things, starting at this time in their lives, that will help them be faithful when big things come along.

“The person who is trustworthy in very small matters is also trustworthy in great ones; and the person who is dishonest in very small matters is also dishonest in great ones” (Lk 16:10).

Maintaining that faithfulness in one little thing after another day in and day out is impossible without God’s ever-present help.

The more we lean on his help, though, the more he’ll open our eyes to the wonders of his love in the ordinary moments of our daily lives. †

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