I’d like to think that this is just a phase—something he’ll outgrow when he realizes that Mom just has his best interests in mind, but I know from experience that it’s not. Because even as an adult, I know that there are things that I can’t have- things the Church has outlined in various places. And I know that these ‘forbidden’ things seem so much more appealing because of the very fact that they are forbidden, that sometimes I just want to smile at the Church and then run towards whatever tempts me that day.
AUTHENTIC FREEDOM VS. LICENSE
Because of this desire, many people adopt a view of license in adulthood—I’m a grown person, so I can do whatever I want, no rules (no annoying mother --the Church can’t exactly come pick everyone up and place them near real toys-- this thought makes my job look easy). We think: “the pesky Church can’t tell me what to do anyways, I’m an adult.” And, since people are going to do these things whether they are forbidden or not, we should just remove some of the temptation by making them acceptable. Because when we make rules, we also make judgments, and who are we to judge?
This way of thinking, which turns Christ’s teaching back on the Church, seems to be so sound, and solve so many problems. We become tolerant, rather than judgmental, we remove the temptation that saying ‘no’ to something creates. Life is good.
THE CHURCH AS A CARING MOTHER
At the same time, no one would say that I should just hand my son my shoes to chew on—who knows what I’ve stepped in, never mind the chemicals that go into creating the shoes in the first place. It would be like handing him disease (in a cute size 10 package). People realize that a nine month old needs to be told ‘no’ for his own health and well-being. He doesn’t like it, and may cry, but it is what’s best for him.
As adults though, we think we know everything—we can determine what is best for us, and anyone who says otherwise is simply ‘judging’ us, no matter their logic or experience. This comparison makes me think that perhaps we need to think through our ideas of judgment, tolerance and adulthood. Maybe we can learn from the nine month old—it seems to be part of the human condition to always be confused about what is best for us. Maybe we need ‘parents’ all the way through our lives—and being redirected towards the things that will truly fulfill us isn’t actually a bad thing.
Friend of Arise