Nalini Joseph: Vision on your child’s path to greatness
By Nalini Joseph
While meeting with Father John Eckert, the priest of Sacred Heart Catholic Church, I came to a new realization about greatness.
Father John and I get together sometimes to talk about the church, religion, the world, politics and, of course, about his life as a priest. I find his life fascinating. I have so many questions about his life — what he does in his free time and how he balances his prayer life, which consists of many hours of prayer each day, with all the other aspects of his job as well as what it’s like to be celibate in America.
I asked him a question just last week that I thought I knew the answer to. I asked him about the loneliness and isolation he faces as a Catholic priest. He surprised me when he answered with a response that quickly quashed my presuppositions about how difficult it is to live in this world as a celibate priest. No, he doesn’t experience loneliness very often and, no, he doesn’t feel isolated. He explained that he finds fellowship and companionship with his brother priests, church family, parents, siblings, nieces, nephews and, of course, with God. It appears to me that he communes with God and scripture in such a deep way that he has little time for loneliness. This conversation brought to mind what I wrote about in the Salisbury Post just last week: the value of preparing your child for life’s undulations.
Because Father John Eckert was heavily prepared for a different kind of life, he was able to embrace his somewhat unusual path and calling with an open heart and mind. It’s interesting that many of us who follow societal norms through marriage, divorce, children and work outside the home are sometimes unable to embrace our “normal” state of being. We are constantly looking for a better life, more money to spend and more things to do with our precious time off.
Maybe most of us spent our childhoods just being kids; we didn’t have a vision that included a life of celibacy as a priest or a nun, or a life of a scientist, shut away from the world in a research laboratory. Instead, we dreamed about getting married and having children, getting a great job and making lots of money that we could then spend on boats, houses, cars and trips around the world.
Vision is seeing something that doesn’t exist. It’s more than a dream. It’s being able to visualize, taste and feel an idea. It’s being able to articulate in great detail how you will reach this dream.
Preparing your child for greatness means that you have to keep your child’s vision ever before him. You must talk about the vision on a consistent and daily basis. Use everyday occurrences to make that vision real. For example, your child’s dream is to work as a top-notch software engineer for a social media company like Facebook. That means that on your way to Dairy Queen, you talk about a subject related to social media, like advertising. How does Dairy Queen advertise? Why did he choose Dairy Queen instead of Sweet Frog? What would happen to the Dairy Queen franchise if everyone that went there on that particular Friday night got sick and then wrote about it on social media?
Your quick trip to Dairy Queen just made your child’s vision a little clearer.
Envisioning your child’s vision and keeping it in the forefront of your consciousness will dictate your every action and inaction. You will do things like find another person whose vision was similar to your child’s and ask them to sit down and talk with your child about how their vision became a reality. (My guess is that your child will hear “preparation” and “hard work” repeated a few times.) You and your child will spend time with people who are like-minded in the attainment of spiritual, career and life goals.
To prepare your child for success, you must allow your child to define and re-define his vision as he grows. You, in turn, must share in your child’s excitement, teaching what you know, and partnering with your child to learn what you don’t know.
Nalini Joseph is a resident of Salisbury. She is the proud mother of 10-year honor-roll student, Rohan Joseph, who also serves his community as president of COVID Busters. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.