Concerning an earlier post, I received the following:
Giselle, Can you give an example of how you used the "methodology" on your own kids? I have just left RC, and feel like the scales are just now falling off my eyes. I don't know if I could even tell if I was using the methodology to control my kids or not. I feel a sense of loss since leaving the Movement, but also a sense of relief. I always felt that RC helped me to what I was trying to do on my own--draw close to Christ and draw others closer to Him. However I couldn't stay in the Movement when I don't trust Fr. Alvaro, and the National Leadership.
While many very good [wholesome, highly-functioning] people were drawn to the Movement, lots of us were otherwise. Interestingly, it seems to have been the Legion's goal to bring less-committed Catholics into communion with God through the methodology in order to have a stronger hold on them -- and those who brought a little dysfunction with them found their poor habits exacerbated.
I was raised with alcoholism in the home, which was countered with hyper-control by the sober spouse. This is very typical when a family doesn't access the 12-step program (which brings a great measure of peace). Rather, since the alcholic cannot be controlled, the spouse goes overboard on other elements, which requires great energy and manipulative skills. Add to this a form of Calvinism (which relies on guilt, shame and human respect) and you have some pretty messed up kids.
I was always drawn to Catholicism and converted as soon as I could get out of the house. While I was always theologically sound, humanly I had a long way to go. There was so much to peel away, but unless you know that you're toxic, you never begin. When I met RC, it helped me to baptise my learned behaviours -- which were to guarantee my children's good choices through guilt, shame and parental control. Now freedom is difficult in the early years because children have to be formed: we limit their freedom to be messy, to talk back, to disobey authority and neglect acts of piety. That's alright -- to a degree. I'd never write a manual (or even recommend one) because legitimate parenting styles can be very different, not to mention even the personalities within families (what works for one child doesn't work for another).
But I took it further. I believed, like the Chilean LC, that, "They need it - they just don't realize it yet;" and "It's God's will." I could do spiritual end-runs around them for the greater good, bypassing their ability to choose the right path unencumbered. We could look really polished on the outside (that's the human respect part) while masking all sorts of anger, bitterness, resentment and lack of authentic freedom. Finally, while being a convert made me very intellectual and up-front about love for the Church, I assumed that they would be Catholic, rather than taking the time to evangelise them properly. Wrong and bad.
I don't want to say our family was a disaster by any stretch (I thoroughly enjoy my semi-grown children now) but there was something wrong at the core of how I controlled them. This was a combination of family-of-origin and the Legion. You see I was always policing emotions and words to make sure they conformed to RC happy-talk, the bounds of charity and suppression of the dark side. Additionally, I severely limited their choices so they could only choose between A/good or B/better (backed up with emotional manipulation to make their life better if they chose B).
A specific incident with one child showed how messed up our relationships were in terms of how I expected them to live the faith. An adolescent daughter went to a hockey game and endured a very traumatising experience outside. An older friend of mine was listening in, so I made sure that my daughter stopped speaking negatively about the man who had taken her (he was an older friend of the family) and I had to keep interrupting to help her "rephrase" her account. Finally my friend blew a gasket, saying "Can't you see she's upset and frightened? Just let her tell you how she feels!"
[Later the need to clean up my act and learn to respect the freedom of others was intensified when one child became an alcoholic and the remaining children had to learn to deal with the rage and disappointment concerning a loved one. As I've said before, much of the wisdom you find here has come through the crucible of the near self-destruction of a child. When you say you pray for me and my intentions, you have no idea of the depth of my gratitude, though we are all well now, praise God!]
Thus, first I let go of Regnum Christi and later, I learned to let go of the methodology. I don't stress and strategise about what book, what word, what anecdote will be the silver bullet that brings them to God. I pray hard, love them where they are and try to model the freedom and joy inherent to being children of God. It's subtle stuff. The ones still at home are in diocesan schools, but I allow them to joke freely about what makes them uncomfortable, about bad teachers, about rude friends, and only occasionally do I suggest how God might be working through little events. I'm no less Catholic, but I'm far less anxious and fearful. They perceive that and are grasping the joy as well.
I have confidence that the strayed lambs will return one day, but until then I'll just love them and encourage them and enjoy them as the gifts they are. We're not a "model family on display," (evengelising with our mere presence) but wounded souls hoping to find meaning here on earth and a place in our heavenly home one day. It's a much better way to live.
UPDATE: Last thought. In the Protestant world, there's the phenomenon of PK's (preachers' kids). They feel as if they are on display, and so often express rebellion either publicly or in passive-aggressive ways to show their resentment at their unique situation. I think this applies to the children of RC leaders, who sense that eyes are on them and that their parents are being judged by their actions. (Ultimately, all communities have their leaders, which heaps unreasonable pressures on their kids. This would also apply to school principals or mayors in small towns. Think even of Chelsea Clinton or the Bush twins.) God has no grandchildren, and just because one person has received particular graces or gifts doesn't make the gene pool stand out as a whole. This should have been obvious, but it took me a while to embrace fully. Better late than never.
UPDATE II: Tangential thought. Children are hyper-sensitive to hypocrisy. Although I defined "maturity" for my kids early on ("Doing the right thing for the right reason") I didn't live that either. Just remember that the RC crowd (or whatever group mother hangs out with) is simply one more peer group. When you are worried about how your peers will see your kids and interpret their behaviour, it's no different than what your children do with you in front of their friends (and remember how mad we get about that!). Same shoe, different foot.
Deep down, I think this was part of the whole hippie rebellion -- since the fifties culture was seeped in shallow social conventions that had lost all Christian meaning -- but let's not get distracted. How our kids measure up before the community is very much secondary to the heart of their spiritual journey. Letting go of that external pressure is freeing for the whole family.