For Parents

8 Ways to Be an Awesome Dad

on Friday, 16 June 2017. Posted in For Parents, Family Faith

8 Ways to Be an Awesome Dad

Pope Francis has called Jesus’ Beatitudes our “guide on the path of Christian life.” They reveal something about the ways God the Father relates to us, his children. Seen in this light, the Beatitudes present a unique opportunity for Christian men to become fathers after the Father’s own heart.

That’s why I wrote The BeDADitudes: 8 Ways to Be an Awesome Dad, which looks at how the Beatitudes can shed light on a uniquely Christian vision of masculinity, in general, and fatherhood, in particular. Here’s how the eight Beatitudes can help you be the father God is calling you to be.



The Easter Bunny: Pagan Symbol or Christian Metaphor?

on Tuesday, 28 March 2017. Josh Noem Posted in For Parents, Easter, Seasons

Cultural Symbols of Important Christian Holidays

The Easter Bunny: Pagan Symbol or Christian Metaphor?

Someone at work recently asked me if the Easter bunny still visits our house (our youngest is in third grade). I replied, “Our kids are pretty smart. They know when they have a good thing going, so they don’t ask unnecessary questions.”

In other words, we have an unspoken “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. While we don’t go over the top to encourage the fiction (such as the elf on a shelf nonsense), we also preserve it by hiding gifts and baskets.

We do our utmost to ensure that the most important realities of the Christian holidays are not overshadowed by these symbolic characters—our kids are crystal clear about what these Christian feasts mean for our faith and religious practice. The Easter bunny and Santa are obvious side-shows to our observance of Jesus’ birth, Death, and Resurrection.

We invest a lot of time and energy into Advent and Lent, so when Christmas and Easter come around, we are prepared to celebrate them properly and whole-heartedly. Those preparation seasons include more intensive moments of family prayer (10-15 minutes of quiet prayer individually each night before our normal night prayers), and intentional acts of almsgiving and fasting.  In comparison, visits by the Easter bunny and Santa Claus end up feeling like a nice metaphor.

Recently, I was caught writing clues for the scavenger hunt created by the Easter bunny to lead each child to their basket. The kids simply noted that they saw me writing clues, and left it at that. I was contemplating this and came to an important conclusion.

Becoming Like a Child

on Thursday, 22 October 2015. Brittany Miller Posted in For Parents, Family Faith

Parenting Lessons in Humility

Becoming Like a Child

Of all the great teachers in my life, my most surprising teachers have been my own children. Clearly, they do not help me gain basic knowledge or life skills (I do that for them), but they have opened up for me the path to virtuous living in ways that I could have never foreseen.Caring for my children has provided me with ample schooling in the virtues of patience, kindness and love, to name a few.

However, my children first taught me to practice humility, which was the gateway to desiring to grow in virtue and holiness at all.

Resource Review: Head & Heart, Becoming Spiritual Leaders for your Family by Katie Warner.

on Tuesday, 08 September 2015. Brian Hellmann Posted in For Parents, Family Faith, Resource Reviews

Head & Heart: Becoming Spiritual Leaders for your Family
by Katie Warner

head heart warner

Husbands and wives. Fathers and Mothers. Breadwinners and Homemakers. As men and women, we have many ways of approaching our roles in family life. But what if we could find even deeper meaning in our God-given vocations by viewing ourselves as the spiritual head or the spiritual heart of our family?

 

Fatherhood and the Sacredness of Human Life

on Wednesday, 10 June 2015. Posted in For Parents, Family Faith

Fatherhood and the Sacredness of Human Life

by Kimberly Baker

The upcoming celebration of Father’s Day is a fitting time to examine the irony that in our current culture, fatherhood is rarely mentioned. When mentioned at all, fathers are mocked or portrayed negatively. Some movies and stories downplay the role of the father in a child’s life, yet simultaneously portray the child as suffering from the father’s inability to live up to that role.

In reality, the nobility and significance of fatherhood remain a powerful witness in the lives of those who have had the opportunity to grow up with a present and caring father. And there are, of course, profound stories and testimonies to counter the culture’s defeatist attitude towards fatherhood.

Alongside a mother’s unique and nurturing role, the father also has a vital part to play in safeguarding the sacredness of new human life and in forming the younger generation. The father’s special role in protecting and defending both mother and child helps ensure the stability and healthy development of the whole family.

Pope John Paul II wrote of the importance of fatherhood in his Apostolic Exhortation, Familiaris Consortio:

“A man is called upon to ensure the harmonious and united development of all the members of the family . . . by exercising generous responsibility for the life conceived under the heart of the mother, by a more solicitous commitment to education, a task he shares with his wife, by work which is never a cause of division in the family but promotes its unity and stability, and by means of the witness he gives of an adult Christian life which effectively introduces the children into the living experience of Christ and the Church” (no. 25).

The dedication and commitment of husbands and fathers to their families needs to be affirmed and supported if we are to build a culture of life.

June is also the month of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. How fitting is Christ’s example of sacrificial love when we recall how he gave his life for his bride, the Church. The extent to which he pours out his heart for humanity shows the ultimate model of a man of compassion and quiet strength. We can see concrete examples of this in the Gospel, in the way he treated the Samaritan woman with dignity and in the way he welcomed the little children who wanted to meet him.

When a baby is growing in the womb, the first vital organ that develops is the heart, which starts beating by about 21 days. What does this say about the human person? It is almost as if God honors the capacity to love by giving the heart supremacy even in the physical development of the human being. While not physically connected to newly developing life in the same way as the mother, the father need not be excluded from this beautiful mystery. During this month of June, may all hearts look to the Sacred Heart as a source of inspiration, and may all husbands and fathers be renewed in their calling to build up the culture of life, starting in their own families.

When Dad Is a Fan

on Wednesday, 10 June 2015. Posted in For Parents, Family Faith

When Dad Is a Fan

by Bernadette Bonanno

I can always tell when my husband is on the phone with his dad. He stops whatever he is doing, walks outside and starts smiling in anticipation of his dad’s latest joke. My father-in-law just survived his third heart attack but continues to enjoy life and see the humor in it all. What a blessing to have a father who, after riding the waves of life with his children, emerges with a smile. Fathers do that. They bring levity to the weight of daily living.

A Strong Foundation

It’s widely held that children formulate the image of their heavenly father based on their relationship with their earthly fathers. So, in 1989 when our oldest was about six and Bart Simpson made his TV series debut, I banned the show from our house. Recently, our oldest son asked, “Mom, why didn’t you want us to watch Bart Simpson?”

Homer, Bart’s dad, was always messing up and treated as an incompetent buffoon. I answered my son, “You have a wonderful dad. You and your three brothers are probably going to be fathers someday, so how would planting those seeds benefit four impressionable minds?”

Fathers are unique in their parenting styles but similar in the fact that they are like foundations of homes; they hold up, hold together and keep the family safe from whatever life throws at them. Interestingly, like a foundation, the powerful role they play is sometimes hidden from view.

 

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