“Try Harder.” – A Mother Reacts to Counterintuitive Spiritual Advice

By a Homeschooling Mother of Eight

“Try harder.”  These were the words spoken by my spiritual director as I tried to explain my difficulty in reacting with cheerfulness to the everyday demands of life with a large family.  I was struggling to adopt a placid tone rather than an abrupt one toward my children when I was interrupted or when the children talked back.  I could not seem to muster a gentle response in those situations.

I was certainly taken aback by the words of my priest.  I do not know what I was expecting, but it was not, “try harder.”  In his defense, he had asked me many questions to try to get me to explain the situation more clearly, but I just did not know how to articulate that my lack of gentle words was only the tip of the iceberg.  The real problems were the chaos that was my everyday life and the habit of escaping into my phone that I just couldn’t kick.

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