How Great Thou Part

In high school, if my mom could hear me bickering with a friend she would pick up the telephone.

“Girls,” she would say. “Are you being charitable?”

My girlfriends and I would bust out laughing and completely forget the adolescent angst we knew just moments before. 


Of course, so would my mother as she was quite pleased with herself. For the obvious reasons, defusing a situation, being clever and reminding me of our faith. It was a neverending thread in our home.

My mom made it very clear we were to uphold her strong value system.

We would be respectful, kind, hardworking, honest, caring, truthful, generous and more. And above all, we would have an impeccable sense of right and wrong and hold ourselves accountable to this. 

Thus, it begs the question, “Should you leave someone with zero security in divorce?”

As much as my mother adored her children she would always say, “There are two kinds of parents. Those who think their children can do no wrong and those of us who know better.”

My mother was a realist.

She always prodded us to reflect on our decision making with one question, “Do you think you are doing the right thing?”

I can hear her as if it were yesterday continually reminding us of our Christianity.

Of our values. 

Of what she believed in. 

In her words and her example. 

I’m not sure why someone would say there is zero retirement or feign financial distress in divorce.

I do not understand the absence of a system of checks and balances in the area of right versus wrong.

I can’t comprehend a lack of accountability when life presents circumstances one helped to create.

I can’t fathom the extreme lack of empathy necessary to not worry at all about the future of one you once loved.

I will never understand the desire to leave another individual with nothing.


Because in our home my Irish Catholic mother didn’t miss a thing.

She was as astute as the nuns at holding us accountable.

She was never concerned about what we would grow up to do.

She was concerned with who we would grow up to be.

Of our values.

Of remembering what she taught us to believe in and asking…

Are we doing the right thing?

Are we being charitable?

Are we being Christian?


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