262. The Synod insisted that “the family continues to be the principal point of reference for young people. Children appreciate the love and care of their parents, they give importance to family bonds, and they hope to succeed in forming a family when it is their time. Without doubt, the increase of separation, divorce, second unions and single-parent families can cause great suffering and a crisis of identity in young people. Sometimes they must take on responsibilities that are not proportioned to their age and that force them to become adults before their time. Often, grandparents are a crucial aid in affection and religious education: with their wisdom they are a vital link in the relationship between generations”.[FD 32]
I’d say it’s also important to see how second unions and single-parent families fared in prior centuries when life expectancy was lower and it was more a case of the widowed finding themselves parenting alone or in a blended family. The sense of loss and trauma for children and adults was no less severe. Today’s Catholics perhaps suffer a certain myopia in assuming that the “death” in “till death do us part” was always a faraway thing. In many situations, it wasn’t.
263. It is true that the difficulties they experience in their own family can lead many young people to ask whether it is worthwhile to start a new family, to be faithful, to be generous. I can tell you that it certainly is. It is worth your every effort to invest in the family; there you will find the best incentives to mature and the greatest joys to experience and share. Don’t let yourselves be robbed of a great love. Don’t let yourselves be led astray by those who propose a life of rampant individualism that in the end leads to isolation and the worst sort of loneliness.
This is a good encouragement in any sort of vocation: work, education, art, etc.. Not allowing ourselves to be swayed by negative voices is vital for us to find our own voice, our own place. Any thoughts?
The text in color is © Copyright – Libreria Editrice Vaticana. Remember, the full Apostolic Exhortation is at this link at the Vatican site.