Last week, I wrote about the sayings that were popular while I was growing up. Each saying had its own unique meaning and most people knew exactly what the saying meant. Here are a few of the old sayings that I didn’t mention last week:
Last week, I ended my article by asking why most people from my generation (or older) recognize the sayings that I outlined, while millennials — those people who were born between 1980 and 1996 — don’t recognize them and don’t know what they mean. Why didn’t they learn these sayings while they were growing up? The answer has to do with their smartphones.
A few years ago, a report was released that disclosed that the typical smartphone user checks his or her phone 150 times a day. The report also stated that the first thing most smartphone users do immediately upon waking up is check their smartphones.
It’s as though millennials have an umbilical cord that connects their brains to their smartphones. Their lives are so dependent on their phones that they have withdrawal symptoms if they are away from their phones for more than 30 minutes.
What did people do before they had smartphones? How did they spend their time when they weren’t hooked up to a device that they felt compelled to check 150 times a day? I know the answer to those questions because I grew up during the 1960s and 1970s, before any such devices existed.
When I was growing up, we spent a good part of our time with our brothers, sisters, cousins, and friends. We visited with each other, played board games, rode bikes, played baseball and basketball, climbed trees, went swimming, shot guns, built things, played yard games, went to the movie theater, and helped each other with household chores and projects.
Because we spent time together in each other’s homes, there was a lot of interaction that took place between us and the parents of our relatives and friends. Those parents treated us like we were their own, which meant that they felt as though they could correct us and tell us what we should be doing. Because of the way they treated us, we frequently heard the same sayings and expressions from them that we heard from our own parents.
For example, when we would argue with each other, one of the parents would say, “Stop making a mountain out of a molehill” or “You need to knock that chip off your shoulder.” The sayings that we heard from other parents were universal. It seemed as though every time we turned around, one of the parents would use one of the sayings on us to get a point across.
In today’s world, with our young people constantly plugged into their electronic devices, they miss out on the interaction that would otherwise be taking place if they were engaged in activities with their relatives and friends.
I feel sorry for the young people who don’t have the benefit of regularly learning from the experience and wisdom of the types of authority figures that I learned from while I was growing up — parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and the parents of friends.
There’s one more thing that I want to cover before I finish discussing this topic. There’s another saying that I grew up with that was well known among Catholics. The saying — The Family That Prays Together Stays Together — originated with Father Patrick Peyton, who was recognized internationally as “The Rosary Priest.”
Father Peyton’s saying had its own unique meaning. When he talked about the critical need for families to pray together, he always discussed it within the context of the daily family rosary.
During the 1950s and 1960s, Father Peyton organized “Rosary Rallies” throughout the world. Millions of people attended his rallies and pledged to pray the daily rosary with their families. The picture on this page is from a Rosary Rally that Father Peyton held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1962. More than 1.5 million people attended the rally, and more than 1 million of those people pledged to pray the family rosary every day.
While I was growing up, whenever we complained about having to stop what we were doing so we could pray the family rosary, my mom would repeat Father Peyton’s saying, The Family That Prays Together Stays Together. When we had friends or cousins with us, Mom always insisted that they join us for the family rosary.
Now, more than 50 years after my mom instituted the daily family rosary (which began in the early 1960s), all of my parents’ children still get along with each other and encourage, pray for, and help each other when needed. My parents had 17 children, 16 of whom are still living.
I’m a little surprised that we all still get along. Why? Because each one of us is fiercely independent, self-reliant, and opinionated. And while some of us are more stubborn, impatient, and unforgiving than the others, all of us still get along and respect each other. Why? Because the family that prays together stays together.
My wife and I have seven grown children and 13 grandchildren (with more on the way). To my knowledge, all of our children pray a daily rosary, a ritual they learned while they were growing up in our home. I’m thankful to God that they have continued this daily ritual with their own children. All seven of our children still get along with each other, and each of them are still faithful to the teachings of the Catholic Church.
There is a secret to family peace and unity in today’s disruptive, combative, and fractious world. That secret is the daily family rosary.