Magazine article U.S. Catholic

Be Not Anxious

Magazine article U.S. Catholic

Be Not Anxious

Article excerpt

Jennifer, mother of two school-aged boys, finds that parenting is fraught with anxiety. "I am doomed because I come from a long line of worriers," she says. "I have anxiety about whether I am being the best parent I can be. I also have anxiety about my boys becoming teenagers and something happening to them because of an accident or bad choice that I cannot control."

Jennifer turns to her husband, Dave, for support. "He reminds me we can't control the unknown. He'll encourage me to pray about what's making me anxious or pray with me. His reminder about having faith helps to calm me as much as the prayer itself. It inspires me to relax, take a deep breath, and believe."

Anxiety is an age-old problem. Paul's Letter to the Philippians is a letter to all of us who are prone to worry. Paul tells us to turn over everything to God, to take every situation in our lives and be thankful or make a request. Paul does not allow us to pray and keep worrying. Instead, he tells us to focus on the true, the beautiful, the honorable, the lovely, the gracious, and the excellent.

To Jennifer, for example, Paul might say, "Don't think of all the dumb or dangerous things your kid might do someday. Instead, think of that beautiful soccer goal from last weekend, that true smile when he tells a story at the dinner table."

Paul's way is not an easy one. Once we begin to carry the burden of worry, we become accustomed to it, and it's difficult to hand over that worry to Christ. Yet Paul promises that when we are brave enough to trust Christ and be mindful of all the loveliness around us, we will find peace.

Helping anxious children. In addition to managing our own fear and anxiety about our children, parents need to help kids manage their anxiety in a healthy way. Angie, who has struggled with anxiety in her own life, says she's happy to see that so far, her children have strong coping mechanisms, including turning to God. …

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