Recently on The Patrick Madrid Show, an anonymous mother wrote an email to the show asking for Patrick’s advice about her relationship with her son.
My son started to date a girl in his senior year of high school. He’s a senior in college now. Our family did our best to embrace this young lady, but she always seems to find fault with our family. Needless to say, we think she has convinced our son to leave the family. I wrote many letters and tried to figure this out, and now cannot even figure out where they’re living.
I’m heartbroken, as well as our family…I pray every day that my son will come back to his family. He is graduating soon. Please keep my son in your prayers.
Patrick began by explaining that while this mother’s story is tragic and heartbreaking, there is very little we can do to explain the phenomenon of why children act out in ways like this.
Patrick recalled in vague detail how he and his wife Nancy had experienced something very similar with one of their adult sons. He had begun to date this girl who Patrick and Nancy had thought was wonderful from the interactions that they had. But as time went on, Patrick’s son started to exhibit some behavioral changes at the expense of the family. He started to visit them less, speak to them less, and rely more heavily on the advice and guidance of this girl who had different ideas of how to handle things.
But eventually, Patrick’s son broke up with her and returned to his old self. At the moment, this girl’s advice seemed like a good idea, but Patrick’s son’s decision-making process may have been clouded by his feelings for her. He said that he looks back on that time in his life and realizes that he didn’t even know why he followed her advice.
Having gone through some of what this mother was experiencing, Patrick offered her some simple, but effective advice in dealing with her son’s absentee behavior.
“Stay the course. Be the same good mom that you always have been: loving, open, ready to have a relationship with your son. And when the time comes, I have a feeling he will wind up making his way back. That long and winding road will bring him back to your door, and you’ll be there to open it with a smile.”
In the meantime, as she embraces that passive solution, Patrick also offered a more concrete one. Situations like this are very difficult because there is not much that one can do, but it also makes figuring out the solution very simple because there aren’t any other options. Patrick asked this mother to offer this pain and suffering up as a prayer that her son might return to his faith and family.
We recently celebrated the feast day of St. Monica last Saturday and nobody is a better role model in these types of parenting situations than her. For over thirty years, Monica suffered, prayed, and offered sacrifices that her husband and son would come to know Christ. And what did she have to show for it? Her husband – a deeply faulted man – and his mother converted to Christianity before he died. Her son, Augustine, a man after his father’s own vices, converted at the age of 31, became one of the most renowned Church Fathers and a Doctor of the Church, and was canonized St. Augustine of Hippo in 1303.
The power of prayer and sacrifice cannot be underestimated. Here at Relevant Radio, we keep all of the heartbroken parents of fallen-away Catholics in our prayers in the hopes that their children will one day return to the arms of Our Father in heaven.
Tune in to The Patrick Madrid Show weekdays 8am – 11am CT