When I was growing up, it didn’t happen very often, but every time there was a tornado warning, my dad would go outside and look toward the horizon where the tornado was supposed to be coming from. He wanted to see with his own eyes whether a funnel cloud was coming toward our house. There were a couple of occasions when everyone in our family went downstairs and stayed in the basement until it was safe to come up.
When I was 11 years old, every Friday my dad made me write a personal letter to a woman he hardly knew. The woman’s name was Miss Miller, and she was my sixth-grade teacher at St. Mark Catholic Grade School. I don’t remember if it was her idea or his idea. All I remember is that after she called him on the phone a few times to complain about my behavior in class, they developed a scheme in which I was forced to write the following letter on a blank sheet of paper every week:
Last week I wrote about my five-year-old grandson, Liam, who was scheduled to have open-heart surgery on Tuesday, October 13. At the end of my article, I asked for prayers for Liam. I’m happy to report that the surgery was successful. The surgeon was able to apply a patch that was a little larger than a dime to the hole in Liam’s heart, and after the surgery, Liam’s heart rhythm was normal, and he was placed in the intensive care unit.
In last week’s article, The Defiant Catholic Child, I wrote that in every large devout Catholic family there is at least one child who is difficult to handle and demands more attention than the other children. In my article, I called this type of child “the defiant Catholic child” and limited my discussion to children who grow up in normal, devout Catholic two-parent homes.
I’ve written before about how my wife and I raised seven children — one boy and six girls. An interesting thing happened with some of my children. When they turned 18, they got tired of me telling them what I thought they should be doing and declared that because they were 18, they were now adults who could make their own decisions. The first time I heard that proclamation, I laughed and asked what happened on their 18th birthday that transformed them into the type of person who no longer needed to listen to their parents. The response I got was, “I’m an adult now and I’m old enough to make my own decisions.”
Last month, my wedding-photographer daughter Teresa scheduled a date and time for a family picture. After working with everyone to accommodate their schedules, she sent a text that provided directions on how to get to the area of Bradley Park where we were going to meet for the picture. The time that she scheduled was immediately after an 11:00 AM Sunday Mass at St. Philomena Church.
Over the years, I’ve periodically been accused by various family members, friends, employees, colleagues, and individuals who read my weekly articles that I am sometimes too blunt and harsh. I admit that this type of behavior is purposeful and intentional. One of the reasons that I behave in this way is because I initially learned it from the three men who had the most influence on me while I was growing up: my dad, Carl Williams, my grandfather, Tom Williams, and my uncle, Bill Williams.