By Patricia Jones, CEO, Catholic Family Service

Patricia Jones, CEO, Catholic Family Service

Catholic Family Service offers high impact programs that build strong families. And that’s exactly who we are about: families.

When we say families, we mean all families, regardless of who they are, where they come from, what they’ve been through, who they choose to love, or where they choose to pray.

The Irish author James Joyce described “Catholic” as “Here comes everybody.” If you finish reading this thinking that everybody belongs at CFS, we’ll have done our job showing you who we are.

So why families? I can tell you that we know that strong families give our kids the absolute best chance in life to write their own strong story about who they are. Strong families help kids develop the resilience to celebrate their successes and withstand the challenges of life with people who love them like no other. The science of brain development clearly shows that healthy and robust family interactions build better human beings.

I have two kids – a 25-year-old and a 23-year-old – who, like all in their age group, don’t use a telephone. If you want to talk to them, you better figure out how to text.

So if my phone rings – actually rings – and I look down at the call display and I see that it is either Julia or Christopher, I lead with a feeling that is raw fear in the pit of my stomach, followed by the thoughts: What is wrong? Are they hurting? Can I fix it?

Many of you know exactly what I am talking about. I’d wager a guess that many of you reading this have “gotten that call” from your child or their school or someone else. It is terrifying. I don’t usually have this feeling when anyone else calls. This speaks to the unexplainable, visceral, intense connection that exists within families.

Research backs this up. We are hardwired for connection and belonging (as much as for food and water). This starts early and continues throughout our lifetime.

Grade 8 kids were asked in a recent study whether they understood the difference between fitting in and belonging. They knew the difference in a very profound way. “Not fitting in at school is hard. Not belonging at home is the worst.” Many of the parents of these Grade 8 kids would say that their kids are not in the least interested in them – on the surface at least.

This is the deal – there IS that intense connection in families. When we get it right – or rather, right enough – we raise kids who have a much better chance of bouncing back strong.

It is impossible to prevent life from happening to us – good, bumpy or sometimes tragic. At Catholic Family Service, we support families to equip their kids with a foundation of resilience so that they can grow rather than crash from whatever comes their way.

But if that connection is missing or damaged or lost, people hurt deeply. And we are all going to bear the cost of getting things back on track.

It is probably pretty clear to you by now that we passionately believe in the healing power of family and that by serving the entire family we can ultimately change the course of a child’s life and the life of generations to come.

If you are interested in hearing more about how we build strong families, please call me at (403) 205-5200.