Saint Benedict Center's main site is An online Journal edited by the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Richmond, New Hampshire.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

When Parents Cry Wolf

By Russell LaPlume

The sky is falling, the sky is falling,” spoke Chicken Little as she ran to warn the king. Most of us are familiar with this tale, and to most, the moral of the story is, simply, don’t cry wolf to alarm people unnecessarily. But this old fable has received several different endings depending on who related the story. The original ending had Chicken Little picking up her barnyard friends (for she had them convinced that the sky was truly falling) and taking them all to warn the king. One of these friends, a fox that pretended to believe the alarm, and, when the time was right, he proceeded to eat them one by one. Another version had a friend, in his dying breath, warn Chicken Little about the fox, giving her enough time to make good her escape. And still another had the sky truly falling and killing the fox before he could exercise his mischief. And the moral of all this? We do not know the day nor the hour when the sky will fall upon us as individuals and a rendering of all of our life’s actions will have to be made to our Redeemer.

In my lifetime it seems that the pace of social, economic, technological, and educational change has accelerated to warp speeds. One can hardly buy any communications device that won’t be outdated in a matter of months. One cannot dream of financial security without the government, or some social entity, changing the rules and severely altering the plans. One dare not express an opinion contrary to that of the liberal masses on such issues as the environment, the government, morals, or education without eliciting their condemnation. But for all this acceleration one fact remains endlessly true: in terms of eternity we are all rushing to that one defining moment when the Face of the Judge will force us to cease and desist and give an account. And it is this one inescapable truth that all parents should impress upon their children. How to do that? Well, that is what this story is about.

It seems that most Catholics (and many evangelical sects) are intrigued with the “end times” and the signs that mark the end of this life and the beginning of eternity. I was certainly engrossed with this theme for many years, having read all I could on the subject. Whether it was the Apocalypse, or writers such as Yves Dupont, Fr. Miceli, Nostradamus, or Hal Lindsey, no author escaped my perusal. It got so bad that I would eat Chinese just to see what the fortune cookie had to offer by way of prophecy. I became so obsessed with the subject that it became my main topic of conversation, and, as I started to raise a family, this preoccupation was dosed out quite heavily to my children along with Catholic truths. I would tell them about the “three days of darkness” (and being from New England where the electric power goes out quite frequently in the winter, I would have to endure the inevitable comment from my children that I was right all along). I would tell them of the indisputable signs of the end times in the “wars and rumors of wars” and the famines and earthquakes forecast almost everyday in the global events as we read them in the press. I would highlight the crisis of faith the Church was enduring as well as the telltale decline of Catholic influence in the world, quoting Our Lord’s words concerning His second coming: “But yet the Son of man, when he cometh, shall he find, think you, faith on earth?” (Luke 18:8) And, of course, there was the “Comet,” the great ball of chastisement that would one day come to cleanse the world of demonic activity. I would advise them to keep their eyes up towards heaven but with their feet planted firmly on the ground of truth, not on the clouds of passing fancies. I would comment wittily that “it was better to look up and trip over a curb than to look down and get hit by a comet” — of course, I would add that even though you were looking up you still could get run over by the proverbial beer truck.

How much of this stuck I do not know. Was I crying wolf and thereby filling their heads with unnecessary trepidation? After all, are not current events supporting the latter day expectancy of our time? A few short years ago did we not whisper among ourselves that a one-world government was looming over the horizon with headquarters already established in Geneva? And today, is not this very subject advocated by the majority of our world leaders? Most people called us alarmists and conspiracy theorists amongst sundry other epithets. I never considered myself a pessimist, but a realist. Although never abandoning my conviction that we were on a fast track to apocalyptic events, I finally had second thoughts on my approach in dealing with the subject when one day I heard someone jestingly call me “Doom and Gloom LaPlume.” That is when I took a different tack.

I stopped reading these books and started reading history, specifically history that dealt with Catholic events and how they influenced the world. History does repeat itself and, there being nothing new under the sun, I found more sane knowledge to govern my future than any book I read trying to predict it. By way of prophecy I focused more on the Marian messages of Quito, LaSalette, and Fatima, which not only warned of the dire consequences of not following heaven’s plan, but also gave a positive recipe of how to avoid these predicted calamities, or at least to mitigate them. With this newfound knowledge I was able to guide my children in a more positive way, all the while keeping the negative aspects fully cognizant in their minds. They now know that the “end times” will come to pass. They also know that the hour and the moment is of no consequence to them if they remain in the state of grace, keeping always in mind that eternity could be a heartbeat away.

So, is it more important to focus on the “latter day” dire warnings? Or is it better to focus on the “here and now” positive aspects when we instruct, not only our children, but even ourselves? Every person, parent or not, has a different approach, and I am not one to guide him in the application. Personally, I think a healthy mingling of the two (that is the interaction of Catholic history measured against contemporary events and the Marian warnings from heaven), will do most in impressing upon us and our children the fragileness of our earthly existence and the need to keep our eyes heavenward. Then, if we do trip over the curb, we’ll be quick to pick ourselves up and avail ourselves of the sacramental means of gazing upwards again. But, remember, somewhere out there a beer truck is rolling and your name might be on it.

Email Russell LaPlume at

No comments: