My husband and I have long had a specific goal of raising children who are innocent — not ignorant. We homeschool and make careful choices as to what our six boys read and the movies they watch. So often, these choices of ours are misunderstood by friends and family. Like recently, when a neighbor was over for lunch. This kind fellow who doesn’t ascribe to any formal religion prodded me about the stack of textbooks on my kitchen counter.
“Is the world really so scary?” he asked with a smile.
“Oh no,” I replied, “The world so full of beauty, and I don’t want them to miss it.”
Let me explain.
I won’t have my boys swapping Smart Phones with friends, scrolling screens with images of naked ladies — unless, of course, those naked ladies were painted by DaVinci. DaVinci’s naked ladies — I’m cool with those. As a family we didn’t bat an eye when such art was on special display at our local museum. We didn’t shield our boys from studying these masterful nudes because these pieces depict the body as Pope John Paul II would describe it in his book Love and Responsibility: “in splendor and beauty,” a gift of God’s creation, not a “thing” to be objectified.
Get it? Innocent — not ignorant. There’s a difference, and this goal of ours along with the fact that my eldest sons, ages 10 and 12, have displayed consistent signs of having the spiritual and emotional maturity needed for D.C.’s March for Life is precisely why they and my husband are among the hundreds of thousands protesting the atrocity of abortion today. They left in the dark this morning, even though as a mom my instincts were screaming to have them stay home with me and my younger four kids on what is sure to be a chilly day.
“They could get sick,” a voice in my head whispers.
“Or scared or lost or worse …”
But I have to let them go for so many millions and millions of Reasons. Reasons who should have been named Susan or William or Brenda or Pete. Reasons who will never breathe air or cry tears or feel the sun shine on their skin. Reasons who were robbed of all their choices because of their mothers’ one fatal and legal choice, a choice often made by default when families and communities have failed to offer support.
And I have to say that as I sit here by the warmth of a fire, bouncing a baby on my knee, I’m deeply proud of my boys. In my mind’s eye, they’re soldiers armed with rosaries, marching in the shadow of the Capitol, giving voice to the voiceless. In a day in age when so many are silent, passive and ambivalent about the holocaust happening in our own backyard — 3,000 babies aborted each day in the US alone — I find sanity in the truth guiding my sons’ protest and the timeless teachings of our our Faith.
My second son, Augustine Ambrose, explained his participation in the March for Life best the other night when he was helping me make supper. “Gus” stood by the stove, soberly clutching a photo of his most recent hero, Saint Jose Luis Sanchez Del Rio, a 14-year-old who was hanged by his government for refusing to denounce his faith during Mexico’s Cristero’s War in 1928.
“When your country’s laws go against God’s laws,” Gus’s dark blue eyes were wide glassy pools, “you’ve got to follow God’s laws instead.”
“Viva Cristo Rey!” I answered, echoing the Cristero’s battle cry as I pulled a casserole from the oven.
“What’s that mean?” my 8-year-old Simeon asked as he joined the family at the table.
“Long Live Christ the King!” My husband cheered with his fist to the sky.
And with bowed heads, we all said “Amen.”
This post has been updated.
Sarah Johnson is a Catholic Convert and home schooling mother of six strapping sons. She lives with her family in the Coal Regions of Pennsylvania, where they stomp through creek beds and wooded glens, seeking out the wonder. Sarah often writes fiction late into the night to the golden sound of so many children fast asleep. She also shares occasional thoughts on Catholic living at Aleteia.org, Catholic Digest and Shalom Tidings.