Carrie with her family

As a wife and mother of a young child with a busy life of work, family, school, and community commitments, I find myself still asking, “How can I say I’m responding to the call for justice so requested by our Loving God when I feel I’m mired in the minutia of toddlerhood and unclean house gutters?!” I was in a lucky minority prior to having a family—my work was justice oriented. It required an attention to and investigation of such matters as poverty, violence, and racism. But now, I struggle to find ways of integrating my previous experiences of volunteering, witnessing and protesting into the radical challenges of parenting which are simultaneously exhausting and exhilarating.

The Ignatian Solidarity Network is most often present to young adults from high school and college… but then what happens? While many of us first encountered the ISN at the Ignatian Family Teach-In in Georgia, or at a Leadership Summit, or through the web, we have now grown up, secured employment and entered family life. We’re still committed to a ‘Faith that Does Justice’, but we’re struggling with a practical image of what that looks like in the ‘real world’ of spouses and children. I believe that while Micah 6:8 states it plain, “And what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?,” living this out is quite another thing entirely.

I am convinced that justice and family life can go hand-in-hand. However, in my opinion, the scale becomes much smaller, i.e., paying a regular nanny for vacation time or health benefits, or focused daily on a more local level, such as taking the time to explain something to a toddler who is crying and upset. In the next several months, let us take the time to open our minds and hearts to sharing ideas and pouring forth encouragement to one another as we look to strengthen the Ignatian Solidarity Network with justice… family style.

5 replies
  1. Avatar
    Debbie Jaegle says:

    Thank you for bringing attention to young parents. As a grandmother of three I could use some support. All of my children were raised Catholic; however none of them are active in their faith. Consequently, my grandchildren are missing out on the foundations of the Church. I have been in church ministry all their lives. How do I help them to realize how important faith development is for their children?

    Reply
  2. Avatar
    Kelli Brown says:

    Hi, I am very excited to be a part of this discussion as I too have struggled with balancing family responsibilities with my social justice ideals. I tried to join the blog, but received an error message. Can you please add me to the list? Thanks!

    Reply
  3. Avatar
    Kelly Swan says:

    Oh, what joy to see this. This may be one of the most challenging aspects of parenting…the blend of the intensity of small children and the pull, as an adult, to work for justice in the greater community. Wonderful.

    Reply
  4. Avatar
    Megan Kennedy-Farrell says:

    I too am excited to see this. I was just having this exact conversation with a friend while holding my 13-day old baby and thinking about my toddler. Looking forward to this discussion.

    Reply

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