Go ahead and read this article on the need for children to attach, and then I will talk about it!
Done? OK The first time I heard of attachment disorders was at a conference on raising money for Catholic campus ministries. Although I did have some rocky experience with Petrus, the company that put on the conference and whom I hired for a time, I give them credit for projecting a big vision for campus ministry. At their own conference, they brought in speakers to help the chaplains in their ministry, as well as with money. One of those speakers was a psychologist from IPS, a Catholic graduate school of psychology, speaking about attachment disorders. It made so much sense out of what I was seeing on campus, not only the obvious things like the hook-up culture but even things like why so many good guys don't ask girls on dates. She had this crazy idea that babies and small children need lots of their mothers' time, attention, and physical contact. I thought that this was so true and explained so much. But I also thought that it would not get anywhere: that in the world's view it was just a kooky Catholic's idea. And then I just happened to run across this article in a secular newspaper. I rejoiced, and I had to share it with you. I have no idea who the writer is, but I need to find out.
Over my years in campus ministry, I have become convinced that ordinarily a human foundation has to be built before much of anything supernatural can be established. At least at places like the universities where I minister, there is no real human community, despite the banners and mission statements which proclaim it. Everyone is pretty much doing his own thing without serious reference to other people, much less to God. I see young people on the brink of engagement or marriage still making decisions about careers that will be detrimental to the formation of a marital union. There is so much fear of giving up anything of the self in order to form relationships. This does not bode well for the children of such a union. Will such a mother sacrifice the time necessary for attachment to take place? And will such a husband offer the tenderness to his wife to give her the confidence to make this sacrifice? Yes, if they see the formation of a family as their vocation and fulfillment.
Finally, I want to point out that this article is from The Chattanooga Times - Free Press, which is the parent of another newspaper named the Times ;-) I confess to looking at the Chattanooga paper regularly. I really love that city, from my high school days.
Oh yeah, and a shout out to my friends at St. Mary's Catholic Center at Texas A&M. I am so glad that I went to visit them so early on in my chaplain days. I think that St. Mary's and A&M generally do foster community. Any Vanderbilt fans down there for the game this weekend should go to the St. Mary's tailgate. Tell them I sent you! It is that sense of community rooted in Catholic faith that causes me to say that as a university chaplain if I am good and say my prayers, when I die I will go to College Station!
It is good to be back!