Humility is not a problem for me. Well, scratch that. It is. The part that isn't a problem is actually humiliation. I get plenty of that. I have nine children who have mastered the art of making dear old Dad look like a sputtering buffoon. Often without trying very hard. It's a gift.
I recall several years ago an incident in which our eldest daughter, fresh from the throes of toddlerhood, informed our "perfect" neighbors that "mommy and daddy fight ALL the time. It is SO ANNOYING!" The horrific sound of nervous laughter peppered with quick smiles and furtive glances...made me long for the days when she couldn't speak. As they grow the humiliations become sinister..."Your daughter informed me that she gets bad grades in biology because you make her babysit every night for hours." Oh, she got an earful for that one. But my favorite of all, most often exclaimed on a crowded beach of slim, trim twenty-somethings: "Dad, PLEASE don't take your shirt off! Who wants to see THAT." Mrs. Marciniak, that's who. So there.
Teenagers, in particular, can be very damaging to the psyche. Especially when they do something really STUPID under the watchful gaze of Christian society. I have some that are very good at that...for instance, I was tickled to find a picture of one of my lovely daughters on the Internet kissing a boy. She no longer has lips, so that isn't a problem any more. Nonetheless, definitely not a shining parental moment. Or, the boy who is failing RELIGION CLASS. Yes, the son of Catholic missionaries. Failing religion. He gets great grades on tests; just seems to not understand the concept of homework. Gets better: the teacher is an old friend. Great. Luckily, there are group of parents that double as spies, informing one another and gathering intelligence, or at least reporting the lack thereof. We have to stick together. We are like the allies in WWII. We don't always speak the same language, but doggone it, we sure know who the enemy is. And it shops at Sephora.
And so I thank the children, young and old, who have brought me to this lowly state, endeavoring ceaselessly to pull the wool over dear old dad's eyes, and to proudly utter the most embarrassing statements at the least opportune times. Without this spiritual help I surely would be lost in a sea of pomposity. Indeed.
Blessed Louis and Zelie Martin, parents of St. Therese of Lisieux, pray for us!