In the children's game, Leap Frog, one hops over the one hunched down and then the next. I am near to 40 years old and I cannot play Leap Frog. My hips would give out, rather I doubt my legs could hop over another person! It was fun as a kid. But the leap frog I am talking about for us today is the leaping over what is first priority to do what is second to our purpose.
For example, if my child is ill, my first duty is to take care of him. If I put him aside in order to stick with my day's schedule, I am leaping over him to go do what I think I must or want. Another example, it is the duty of the mother to teach her children how to pray. If it gets to the close of the day and out of fatigue I choose not to end their day with modeling and joining them in prayer, I am leaping over my duty and giving into my desires again.
Sometimes it is clear that we are ignoring our first priorities, and sometimes it is not. I know I have to constantly consider what my duty is and how to carry it out. I have big ideas very often, and although good, they usually are not the best idea for my soul and my family. The best is always that which includes self sacrifice and loving service to our first duty. If we are blessed with time, strength and energy to go beyond that, Praise God! But we need to "leap" no further...our first duty is right before our eyes.
I will end with a suggestion that was passed onto me by a trusted priest. I have adopted this suggestion recently and it has given me peace. Maybe it will you too:
First, attend Mass as often as you can in addition to Sundays. In the Mass, the Lord has light for each of us and strength to give us so we can better carry out our duty. When you listen to the readings and the homily, take what stands out to you and "chew on it" for the day. You can jot down in a notebook the few words that stood out, you can look up the readings later in the day to revisit the daily scripture passages; but in so doing listen and let the message sink in. What to do with it now? Use it to begin to see God showing you His path to follow and then share it with your children. Do your best NOT to make it conform to your desires, but in all things humble comply to God's little way. Then take this message meant for you and pass it onto your family that day. See, God gives us the agenda one day at a time, and He gives it through the Church. Joining in on that message and the Church, we are invited to enter in and witness to all nations...moms do this by witnessing in thought and word to their families. Our children are then sent forth in God's time to also share. But if we do not, they may not...at least not without greater struggle.
Let us each ask ourselves if our lives are hectic because we leap over our first duty. Then let us, by Christ's strength and Mary's companionship, change our lives to put God first and our duty next. God bless you all.