When my boys came home from college for the summer, they parked the old van in the driveway, dragged their bags into the foyer, dumped their backpacks upstairs, and began the summer-long process of undoing the order and cleanliness of every room in the house. (maybe a slight exaggeration but that's how it felt) Of course, I was more than happy to welcome them back, but less than thrilled about accommodating their extra "stuff" or their turning of our 9-5 workday schedules topsy turvy with their comings and goings.
Parents have the right and responsibility to temper disruptive behaviors of their college-aged young adults with appropriate consequences. I've written before about the importance of setting boundaries based upon God-given principles. But, the month of June is the "season of the Holy Spirit", and, as I prepare my heart for Pentecost, I find myself wondering, not so much how to manage their behavior, as how I can be a gift to my children this summer.
The Holy Spirit, the ultimate gift-giver, brings us “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23). When these graces are active in our soul we find ourselves patiently emptying the dryer full of their rumpled clothes, welcoming their friends who unexpectedly show up for dinner, offering gentle encouragement when they're down...
If it seems to us like their faith is waning, we resist the urge to nag. Instead, we set an example by faithful Mass attendance and daily prayer. We talk about our faith in a natural way, staying cheerful and positive, remembering what Billy Graham famously said: “It is the Holy Spirit's job to convict, God's job to judge and my job to love.”
This summer, let's remember that we are the best gift to our children when we are simply ourselves--happy, peaceful and loving--filled with the Holy Spirit. Happy Pentecost Sunday to Praying College Moms everywhere. Come Holy Spirit!