Husband, Father, Grandfather
My wife, Timmie, and I have been married 48 years and we raised our six children, three boys and three girls, in downtown Manhattan, Greenwich Village, where we were both on the faculty of New York University. We lived in a not very large three bedroom apartment on the 23rd floor of a 30 story building. All of our children grew up in the city and went to school there at least through high school.
After almost 50 years in New York, Timmie and I moved to Arlington, Virginia five years ago. Today our three girls and one of our boys are married; one boy is a priest and one has finished grad school and is working. All are practicing the Faith. Praise God! Also, we have 21 grandchildren. So I am writing from the perspective of a husband, father and now the role of grandfather.
Three Basic Things
What was it like being a Catholic husband and father helping to raise a family in New York City? In many ways how we did it is still a mystery. At the time, where we lived, it often seemed to me that raising a family of Catholics seemed objectively IMPOSSIBLE. I was especially anxious that there would be too little money and too much hostility and danger in the surrounding environment.
I needed to learn three basic things:
1. TRUST in the lord. Somehow, enough money always came when required. This constantly amazed me because I mostly failed to trust. My worry was worthless, hurtful to me and the family. I slowly learned to trust more.
2. LOVE your wife. My wonderful wife did so many good things for the family. Often I took her for granted. My cluelessness was harmful to her and the children. I slowly learned to love her more.
3. GRATITUDE for the many good times. There were really many good times, for example, dinners, birthdays, special trips, other events. These were times that “were as good as it gets!” I slowly learned to be grateful to God for them and other gifts.
Somehow it all worked out, and as I said, often in a mysterious way. There were many struggles that should, even at the time, have been seen as adventures and not as problems.
My proposed actions for the day are three:
1. Explicitly TRUST in the Lord. Perhaps say the Divine Mercy chaplet.
2. LOVE your wife for something you have taken for granted.
3. Express GRATITUDE to God for some blessing. Take at least a few minutes to do this.
Dr. Paul C. Vitz is a Catholic husband, father and grandfather, Professor/Senior Scholar at the Institute for the Psychological Sciences, and a Professor Emeritus of Psychology at New York University. He earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of Michigan and his Ph. D at Stanford University.
Dr. Vitz is the author/editor of a variety of books including: Faith of the Fatherless: The Psychology of Atheism, The Self: Beyond the Postmodern Crisis, Psychology as Religion: The Cult of Self- Worship, Sigmund Freud’s Christian Unconscious, Censorship: Evidence of Bias in Our Children’s Textbooks and numerous articles in professional and popular journals.
This was very helpful. Thank you for your role model for Catholic dads.
Thank you for the gentle reminders that we take for granted everyday. May God bless you and your family and for being a strong catholic in these difficult times.
How sad it is that only can we seem to appreciate the Power of Love. If the young could recognize and appreciate the Power of Love, heaven would indeed be on earth.
Good bless you!
Trust in God is essential and loving your wife not only shows her how much she is valued and appreciated, but teaches children how to love. I think gratitude is frequently forgotten, and God needs to be thanked for all the gifts he has given us and will continue to give.
Dr. Paul, If you can raise a Catholic family in downtown Manhattan, that stays Catholic, that is truly a feat, and shows that it is possible anywhere! I really appreciate your simple 3-part assignment. Trust. Love. Thank.