Thursday, March 01, 2007

Weaving a Family Rooted in Faith

Peggy Weber is a columnist for my local diocesan newspaper, “The Catholic Observer.” I have been a huge fan of her column “Spun from the Web,” in which she writes honest reflections about her life and her family as they relate to the spiritual journey, for the last twenty years. I had never before had the opportunity to read her self-published book, “Weaving a Family” until now. I had shied away from the book, thinking it would be a simple replay of her columns, but a friend of mine recommended it and pulled it off her bookshelf for me to read.

I was truly impressed by Weber’s writing in this book. Written in 1996, her children were 14, 12 and 8 years old at the time. Being a faithful reader of her column, I have had a window into these children’s lives. They are adults now and have all turned out amazingly well. This fact gives even greater credence to her parenting advice. She uses the metaphor of weaving a cloth to describe the way life shapes a family’s story. The pattern won’t always be what one expects. There will be colors and fibers one didn’t plan for. There will be times when the cloth comes unraveled and needs to be rewoven. The cloth is a work in progress.

Weber’s chapters cover the full gamut of family life, from the marriage that holds it all together to communication to coping with money matters and surviving the death of a loved one. It offers a mini-course in living a meaningful family life rooted in faith. Weber uses wonderful anecdotes from her own life to illustrate the lessons she has learned. Each chapter ends with a brief reflection and “Weaving Lessons,” a bulleted list of key points she hopes you will take away from that chapter.

As I read “Weaving a Family,” I found myself nodding heartily in agreement. This book is a wonderful manual for shaping family life.

I especially enjoyed her final chapter: "Having Faith: The Ultimate Weaver." I will leave you with this quote which really resonated with me:

"I truly believe that most parents I have met love their children dearly and try to provide them with the best in life. But so often they neglect the soul of the child. They leave them hungry for meaning in life and naked to face the world as an adult. . .
Nothing makes sense unless one believes. Children can choose to reject their faith or even change it when they are older. But it is the obligation of parents to communicate faith and morals to the family.

It is not enough to provide for the physical, educational, and emotional needs of a child. They hunger for a spiritual and moral life. It must be there."

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