What The Man In The Fiat Said
I admit it. I found myself captivated by The Pope. Everything from his arrival in D.C. to his departure from Philadelphia in the darkness.
Like others, I was charmed by his transportation choice, touched as he reached out to kiss babies along every route, and warmed by his smile. Something about his presence here on our soil gave me a sense of peace. And I’m not even Catholic.
I know many, including the media, who found themselves as did I, with teary eyes at the sight of this man so openly embracing those with disabilities. Having his caravan stop to touch and bless someone who was unable to stand or speak. Such genuine love and acceptance of those for whom life’s challenges are great…how could anyone not be moved.
Yet it was The Pope’s message during his Philadelphia visit about the importance of families, of parents and grandparents, that truly resonated. And it mattered not your religion or even whether religion plays a part in your life. What did matter was his message that families are the core of our society.
The Pope stressed the importance of connection within families, acknowledging that problems are inherent in their makeup. He spoke of the lessons taught by parents and grandparents in the raising of their children, and how isolated we've become in so many ways. He spoke passionately about the family and I found myself saying yes aloud many times as his words continued.
This was a work and family message framed within the context of a religious gathering. But it mattered not whatsoever, for he emphasized to us all what we already know to be true -- that parents have the job of raising their children well. And given that the majority of parents are working parents, this means being afforded the time they need with their children from infancy well into adolescence and beyond. Parental leave, caregivers leave, flexible work hours...all of it.
Yes, this was about work/life for while he never spoke the words, the message couldn't have been clearer. Parents are the foundation of the family and in order for them to do their job well, their fundamental need of time must be met. Time to be present. Time to be involved. Time to be parents. The Pope did a wonderful job of bringing this message home, exactly the place where it belongs.