Last semester, our son, Michael, heard about a class at Holy Cross College called “Rome Through the Ages,” taught by Fr. Michael Sullivan, CSC, my former Carroll Hall rector and long-time friend and colleague. The course culminates in an actual trip to Rome to visit the historical, religious and cultural sites. Michael works 12-18 hours a week at Martin’s Supermarket and makes good money, but he wisely saves as much as possible and does not spend it gratuitously. The course costs an extra $3,000, and he told me after considering it that he just didn’t want to spend the money. I’m glad he takes his finances so seriously.
There are, however, certain opportunities that only come around once in a lifetime. As I thought about how to dispense my fatherly counsel, the great poem by Herrick kept repeating in my mind. This poem compelled me to come up with a creative financing option for Michael – we would spot him some of the money and he would work it off through manual labor in improving our house. The money we’d otherwise pay to a contractor would go to Michael instead. He’d just have to work more hours this summer.
When I presented him this option, he jumped at it. Now for the past 2 days, I’ve been receiving joyful photos and FaceTime calls from a young man whose understanding of the world has just gotten a whole lot broader. He is having the time of his life.
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”– Mark Twain
Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying;
And this same flower that smiles today
To-morrow will be dying.
The glorious lamp of heaven, the sun,
The higher he’s a-getting,
The sooner will his race be run,
And nearer he is to setting.
That age is best which is the first,
When youth and blood are warmer;
But being spent, the worse, and worst
Times still succeed the former.
Then be not coy, but use your time,
And, while ye may, go merry:
For having lost but once your prime,
You may forever tarry.