Off to the circus…. we love you… we will pray and worry, and pray and worry some more…but will be proud of you every step of the way….

May 19, 2012

Yes, I know, prayer and worrying shouldn’t go hand in hand….But for those whose children are flying off on their own fully understand this paradox. ….I always had a feeling my oldest daughter was like a round peg in a square hole while studying at one of the best all girl prep schools in Florida….  I felt the same while she went to a top 50 US university in LA then to a master’s program rated one of the top 3 in the world…. 

My daughter has a split personality that amazes me. She is an academic on one hand; performing complicated research and landing at the top of her class….while at the same time seeking to perform and display her creative side in the most interesting and unusual art forms…. During her prep high school years she excelled at musical theater. The classic triple threat:  singing, dancing and acting. We sent her to London, Salamanca and New York to train in the top venues in her field.  In New York she fell in love with circus performing.  She graduated from prep school, went to LA to one of the best film schools in the world and proceeded to graduate with a bachelor degree in archeology…  Yes, it’s a wonder her mom and I don’t have whiplash from her ongoing career changes!  She found a local circus group and performed as a contortionist while going to school.  Those were the longest 4 years of our life – but she got through it, as did we. 

Back in Miami, I got her into one of the most prestigious marine archaeologist masters programs in the world.  She achieved 5 different degrees of high level diving certifications and completed her course work.  Now I realize she excelled in prep school, college and a master’s program probably because of my pressure and my selfish reasons…. All along she dreamt of being a circus performer.   So right after passing her final masters class, she announced to her mother and me that she was heading back to LA in less than a month to join a circus troupe fulltime.   

Her mom is convinced she won’t be back soon.  I tell her if that is the case it’s because she is successful in what she chose to do. If her artistic dreams do not meet her expectations, she will always have a great education to fall back on.   However, that won’t do much to alleviate the helplessness and fears her mom and I will feel while she tries her hand at something that is so foreign to us. 

We are people of faith and know the Lord has her in His Hands.  But as we lie awake at night wondering how she is doing so far away, I will always remember my little girl hugging me and telling me as I fail to hold off my tears……it will be OK papa, I will always love you both….you and mami taught me well…  

And off she goes to the circus….as I pray and worry and worry and pray some more…but always proud of my baby girl…..I love you too….

You’re the worse dad in the history of the world!…No really…you are!

May 15, 2012

We have a new policy set in stone in the Alvarez family beginning the next school year. Boy do I wish I had implemented it this past year!  Our youngest daughter, evolving from a tween to a teen, will begin the school year grounded until we get the grades we feel she is capable of attaining….  As a seventh grader, we have struggled with the huge emphasis from her peers on guys and parties….Geez, I could have sworn our 23 year old didn’t start the drop off boy-girl parties until her sophomore year in high school….Then again our soon to be teen says her older sister was a nerd!

Parents, we need help, we need to work as a team of Catholic parents focused on living the faith we proclaim to be ours. It’s easier to turn a deaf ear to the constant wailing and whining when our soon to be teens do not get their way.  My 12 year old daughter, otherwise a wonderful human being, seems to thrive on skating on thin academic ice.  She expects us to jump for joy when her friends get summer school and she doesn’t. She expects us to applaud mediocrity.  She also expects us to reward her with party after party on the weekends…. 

We put our foot down this week and limited her to one party this past weekend.  Each and every day the week before the parties brought exaggerated levels of whininess, including the old standby: I hate you! She tried using her mother against me and vice versa. She actually waited until her mom was asleep, then cajoled an OK from her while she slept to go to the second party! When I held my own the next morning, she raged and sulked…something only a tween can do at the same time!

The morning after the grounding for the first party, the storm passed.  I can’t believe  my wife and me held our own and held to our new rule.  I’m sure our daughter now understands that rules will not be bent from now on.  But unfortunately, some of our peer parents don’t do the same.  We as parents, need to set the standard. We must set the bar at a level that will make them successful young ladies, both academically and morally.  Next year she goes into 8th grade. A pivotal year academically that will determine what high school she goes too. 

Sending our children to a Catholic high school does not absolve us from our responsibility to prepare their souls for eternity. I had the incredible blessing to go to confession with our beloved Bishop Augustine Roman only a few days before his passing.  I mentioned my concern as a Catholic parent that I wasn’t doing enough to guide my daughter through these tumultuous years as a Catholic young girl.  He told me in no uncertain terms that a Catholic education is only as good as the morals and lifestyle taught at home and shown by the parents. That Catholic High schools in and of themselves are not an adequate replacement for the examples of parents.

I wasn’t on a committed walk with our Lord while we were raising our eldest daughter.  Even though she is a wonderful young woman and gifted academically and artistically, I beat myself up for not giving her the example I should have as a Catholic father….  I am determined not to the same with my evolving tween….  I pray that the Lord give my wife and I the strength to hold our own and be an example as Catholic parents; not only to our daughter – but to our peer parents as well. 


The Devil in the Bedroom….. Fifty Shades of Gray and The Magic City

May 11, 2012

Miami, the Magic City and Fifty Shades of Gray….

Those that have heard my testimony regarding my walk as a Catholic man, have heard me say how dangerous it is to dismiss the existence of the Evil One…. It’s easier to turn a deaf ear or blind eye to the not so subtle attacks on those of us that have chosen to walk the walk and not just talk the talk….

A few nights ago I convinced my wife to watch, in a rare moment of idleness, the much touted and positively reviewed, Miami, the Magic City.  The program shows Miami Beach in the early 60’s including the influence of the early Cuban exiles.  The segment we watched began two very sexually provocative scenes which were a bit uncomfortable to watch.  However, it escalated quickly with a scene of the programs main character in a bedroom telling his sexual partner that he was a God and she should sexually sacrifice himself to her…Shortly thereafter she went to lie in a bed,  totally topless and began to masturbate in front of him; presumably to turn him on….

The Evil One entered our bedroom and in a fog of pornography froze my wife and me into brief submission…. Because she and I have put our lives into God’s hands, HE quickly came and lifted the confusion from our eyes and I told her this is not something we should be watching…   

Now, those that know my wife and me, know we are not prudes…and no matter how melodramatic the above paragraph reads…. Hollywood and its liberal, immoral majority, want my wife and I to feel abnormal and out of the mainstream if we didn’t enjoy the newest hit on HBO….. 

We are called to be soldiers of Christ in all walks of life.  The war against the Evil One begins in our bedroom, extends to the rest of our home and into the workplace.  We, Catholic men,  must stay vigilant and be leaders of our families in all aspects of our lives…..Let us stay strong and in community and tell Hollywood and their advertising sponsors, that we will not give in to the immoral movies and television programs of our times….

And to my women Sisters in Christ….. Beware of the newest popular book to invade your psyche….. Fifty Shades of Gray….  or Mommy Porn, as it is affectionately being called… The book is one of three in a trilogy with a lead character that enjoys affairs, bondage and other sorts of kinkiness shrouded in the entitlement you are being told you have earned…  Where women’s independence is more and more based on the lowest forms of sexual abnormality ever seen in our society…..The title insinuates that there are no more moral boundaries of black and white….just do what makes one feel good while wallowing in the fifty shades of gray…..

Sisters, you can’t have it both ways… You want your men to be Catholic leaders of your families and soldiers of God in society – then we need your help and support.   The Devil knows that by dividing and conquering Catholic marriages, he will win….. We cannot and will not let that happen.

Remember, when we wake up in the morning and our feet hit the ground, we want the Devil to say:  OH SHIT – THEY ARE UP! Not only one soldier – but two married soldiers of God that will defeat me with their collective commitment to the Lord!

Be strong and stay together in the Lord – Our society and our children’s future depends on us…..

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