Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Parenting: What I've done right!

~


Now that my parenting faults, flaws and deficiencies are out there for all to see, first going international* and then becoming legendary, I thought I'd switch it up a bit and tell you what I think I've done right as a parent.

Yes, this will be much more fun!

So, after mulling over my 20+ years of parenting and asking my older kids for their thoughts, I have come up with my three indispensable keys to effective parenting:

  • Moral formation is the top priority.
  • What I teach must make sense. 
  • Nothing is off limits for discussion.

Let's take them one at a time:

Moral formation is the top priority

When I say "top priority", I mean that with every fiber of my being, and my kids know this. It really doesn't matter what else I do as a parent, because if I fail in the kids' moral formation, I not only fail them, but I also fail society and God. Fail at virtue training = fail as mother.

I have a suspicion that the average American parent no longer places "moral formation" at the tippy-top of the priority list. Seems to me that "academic/career/financial success" or "popularity" have taken the lead. Or a general philosophy of "Whatever makes my child happy!"

Oy, vey.

If we don't raise our children to be moral first and foremost, then we miss the point of parenthood entirely. We have enough financially successful, popular and "happy" degenerates out in the world already. What we can never have enough of is saints.

Now, it goes without saying that a child can be properly formed and still go off the rails, as there is that pesky little thing called "free will". But woe to me if my child crashes into the ditch because I never placed and secured the rails in the first place.

I can't stress enough and I even risk redundancy here: Nothing supersedes moral formation as our top parental priority! Got it? Good. That brings us to:

Our beliefs and principles need to make logical sense

Please understand this! We live in an age of non-stop information. Not knowledge, not wisdom, just information. All of these conflicting bits of info are competing with us for the souls of our children. If we don't explain to our children why our Catholic Faith is logical, coherent, cohesive, consistent and beautiful, they will have no reason to stick with it when the rest of the world says it's stupid, superstitious, oppressive and irrelevant.

Young people really do want to transcend the noise and chaos and sin and find the straight path. They really do want their world to make sense, and our job is to show them that it does.

To that end, here's what we must never say to our inquisitive children:

"I have no idea why the Church is against [fill in the blank], or why we believe [fill in the blank]. You just need to follow the rules!"

No, no, no, no! What we say instead is, "Well, honey, I am not sure exactly why the Church teaches that, but I am going to find out and get right back to you. The Church always has a good answer."

(That's when you email me and I hook you up with some nice resources or a killer Bubble post, heh, heh, heh.)

Here's something else (worse!) that we must never say to our kids:

"Look, the Church teaches a lot of outdated stuff that no one really believes, including me, but we're Catholic and that's where we're staying."

Um, yeah… try that with teens and they'll be going. Right out of the Church. That kind of attitude lacks integrity and is nonsensical, and our confused kids will soon be seeking truth elsewhere. Can we blame them? Of course not! So, we must learn our faith well, live it without exception or apology, and pass it along simply and clearly. It's a beautiful thing to lay out the tapestry of truth before a child and hear him say, "That makes sense."

Which leads us to:

Nothing is off limits for discussion

And I do mean nothing. Sex, drugs, death, hell, crime, whatever. Age appropriate, of course, but nothing is forbidden.

My kids know that whatever they ask me will be answered. I am approachable, and I want them coming to me before they even think about going to anyone else about these matters.

Just two days ago, for example, my middle-schooler came to me with a one-two punch of shocking questions regarding things he had heard, things I could never repeat here. My face stayed relaxed, I met his gaze, and I calmly gave him the explanations and information he needed.

I worry when I hear even conscientious, devout Catholic parents say that they avoid such discussions, or don't have them at all. They tell me they don't know what to say. I say, too bad. You have to do it. That's your job. They are your children, and you need to take them seriously, look them in the eye, and tell them the truth. They want to hear it from you, and they will absorb your wisdom on these matters. Don't let them down.

When my middle-schooler and I finished our talk, he left the conversation relieved and satisfied, and so did I. The straight talk we had was informed by our Faith, which [refer to second bullet point] made sense to him. And the discussion was a catalyst for [refer to first bullet point] deeper moral formation.


See how seamlessly that all works? Man, I love our Faith!


So, there you have it. I still cannot cook, sew, or throw a party. But I can form, teach and talk till the cows come home. My kids may not have clean sheets, but they know the value of a clean soul! ;)




*That's Portuguese, not Spanish!








.

80 comments:

  1. This needs to be published everywhere...ah hem, in every Catholic publications in the U.S. SO logical. I am taking up your three commandments on the fridge you need to start making fridge magnets girlfriend. And, you could also go on speaking tours with this. Genius.

    ReplyDelete
  2. THIS is what needs to be taught and discussed in preperation for marriage classes everywhere!!!! Having a conversion AFTER your kids grown adults, I see the troubles my kids are having BECAUSE I and my husband (their father) fAILED to do this!!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I am sharing this AND printing it and sticking it my fridge! I love love love your blog and have been a (sort of) long time lurker. Thanks for teaching me so much!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks! I will be making my husband read this. :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. I love this Leila! I so agree. Nothing makes me crazier than when a parent backs away from answering their childs questions because "they're too young for that". Nonsense! They are capable of understanding so much, and the church has such beautiful teachings. I just had a discussion with my 10 year old the other night about the changes that are coming for him, and I'm so glad I did. I want him to hear it from me first, and in light of how amazingly he was created. Ya know? Anyway, I'm totally on board with ya. Great stuff!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Love this!!! In fact...there is an email coming your way with a request :).

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thanks for this! It helps make the thought of being totally responsible for the tiny human inside me seem a little less daunting. Maybe I CAN do it after all, as long as I follow this! You are right on with all this. Let's hope THIS ends up as the #1 story!!!! :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. I love this so much. Thank you thank you thank you! I'm gonna need help raising all of my brood. Believe me. lol

    ReplyDelete
  9. Leila....this is perhaps your best post. Every person living in the Northeast must read this. We who live here all worship at the altar of academic achievement and success, and it is killing us. Even in my Catholic home and extended family, all you heard was the adulation of those who earned the Ph.D's, the JD's and those MBAs. We killed ourselves to get into the best colleges. I literally know people who tried to kill themselves after they did not get into the college of their dreams, as if that was going to secure their entire future. My whole life would have been different if this was not the case. How different it would have been if the virtues had been taught in the correct order.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Mary, and everyone. Thank you. Please, if you think it's important, link it, send it, post it where you can. If even one parent gets the message, the whole blog has been worth it.

    ReplyDelete
  11. This makes me feel like I could be a good parent. I think I can do these things and you're right, this is what is most important. I'll try to excel at this, to make up for my deficiencies in the kitchen! :)

    ReplyDelete
  12. Yay! Excellent post, as always. Congratulations on the international fame! :-)

    I wrote last week also that we should never hesitate to enter their room, sprinkle the electronic devices with holy water (enough to silence them if necessary) and make a giant sign of the Cross to pray for protection from evil.

    ReplyDelete
  13. This is FANTASTIC. I think every parent needs to read this!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Oh my gosh! My two college kids just "liked" this link on facebook! That makes me so happy and adds some validation, ha ha. My son, in particular, is not quick to hit the "like" button, so I am honored. :)

    ReplyDelete
  15. Can you come live with me and form my kids?! I want to do this SO badly, but I'm so scared I'm not going to do it right, or get caught up in life and realize too late that I messed up. Heck, I'm not sure what moral formation means! I know you have more post ideas than you know what to do with, but maybe sometime you could elaborate on that for those of us who are a little dense? ;) I need Catholic Parenting For Dummies. What I'm *hoping* is that it's stuff I'm already doing and that right now I'm just over thinking it.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hmmmm, allyouwhohope, that's a great idea for a subsequent post: What exactly is moral formation?! Hang in there with me. Basically, it's teaching them right from wrong. Not just saying it, which is important, but going a little more into it, so they can understand. It feeds into the "make it make sense" thing. Interestingly, the stuff about sexual morality is very, very easy for them to see when you show them what happens with the misuse of human sexuality. Nurturing the smallest kids' natural disposition to be utterly pro-life is the first step there.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I meant, "Hang in there with me until I get around to writing an actual post on that."

    ReplyDelete
  18. I think the most important part of the moral formation is living it out authentically. I am focusing on showing my children by my life that I believe in the teachings of the Church, and I hope to show them that it is not impossible to live that way. I worry that some day my kids may leave the faith bc of hypocrites within the Church...as so many have and do. What I want them to understand is that we are ALL hypocrites...just doing the best we can to live a life that grows more virtuous with time. I want them to never expect too much from human beings, but to put their faith in the One who showed us what we are to aim for. He will never disappoint. The fact that 2 of your older children linked this post on facebook, Leila, shows that they do not view you as a hypocrite...but they honor and respect you as a woman of virtue and wisdom. I hope I can get there with my kids!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Now I'm worried. Is there something your middle schooler heard that my middle schooler also heard but was less forthcoming about?

    ReplyDelete
  20. Beauty, mama! I also would like to add that nothing beats analogous teaching for kids of all ages. If we can draw an analogy for their minds to wrap around, no matter the subject, then I believe it paints a more concrete picture for them to grasp mentally. This is why I love logical, analogous teaching/learning.

    ReplyDelete
  21. AYWH: Your kiddos are still very little, so your teachings will be little for now! Simple, simple teaching, I think, like holding your hand while walking in the parking lots, not throwing their food at the table, using kind words and having gentle hands. That's what I think. I'm sure you're good to go already!

    ReplyDelete
  22. LOVE it!

    One of the foundations of parenting teens that I had (in addition to the above 3 that you mentioned) was ... "Mama will stay up to talk as late as a teen wants/needs, if there is a serious conversation to take place." (At one point we had 8 teens living here ... 6 of our own, plus 2 extras.)

    Seriously. Teens/young adults need to know that Mama is AVAILABLE ... on their timeline, not just her timeline.

    My hubby was always a go-to-bed-early type of guy, and he always wondered why the kids told me everything, and not him.

    Sometimes, seriously, my kids had to "take a number". The teen that had to get up first, got to talk first. The teen that had to get up next, had the next time slot. Sometimes I literally had 3 or 4 teens/young adults waiting for their turn.

    And ... it was WONDERFUL. I LOVED those late night talks, and so miss all of my Big Kids.

    Laurel :)

    ReplyDelete
  23. I love this post and agree 100 percent!! I think in my parent's generation, they just told us to do it, no explanations....like why do we genuflect? Why can't we chew gum during Mass, or tuck it in the back of our mouths on the way up to Communion?

    I suppose it is because I was not taught the "why's?" that I teach them to my kiddos though. But it is sad that 2 of my brothers left the church.

    I know I wish I'd known sooner.
    Sex? My parents, still, to this day, would tell you they never even french kissed. And that's all you'd get out of them.

    I hope to be like you and talk talk talk with my kiddos, I want them to know those "whys?" and feel comfortable enough to ask.

    ReplyDelete
  24. LOVE the added wisdom here! Keep it up! And Manda, remember that you are no hypocrite. Failing to live up to one's ideals is not hypocrisy, it simply means we're sinners. ;)

    More on that:

    http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2011/07/youre-such-hypocrite-or-maybe-not.html

    Elizabeth…. good question! I don't know. Keep those lines of communication open. So much yuckiness out there. My older kids didn't hear this much vileness that early, I don't think. Every child, every school, every class is different. Be alert is all I can offer.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Oh, and keep a good "mommy network" going, as you all can be each others' eyes and ears. I glean lots of info that way.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Thanks, Leila! I should have put hypocrite in quotations bc that's what we hear so often from people who have left the faith. :(

    ReplyDelete
  27. Not all people who have left the faith call Catholics hypocrites :) I prefer not to use a them vs. us mentality. Doesn't really elevate Christianity . Kind of a waste of time really.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Good point Nikki, and you're right that we must must not engage in an us v them mentality with other Christians. However, I will say just from my own experience, that when I became Catholic (at age 21) leaving a vibrant Evangelical Church (and much to the chagrin of my staunchly-Presbyterian parents!) that I was called a hypocrite and much worse ("idolater" is still my favorite). It goes both ways, I'm sure, which is very sad.

    ReplyDelete
  29. I recently gave my oldest a copy of The Care and Keeping of You for her ninth birthday. I pointed out one section that she might not be comfortable with reading just yet (about periods/tampons), but I explained that she could use it as a reference for the upcoming changes she could expect for the next three to five years. Then she turned to me and said, "But you're still the best reference I have, right?"

    That was the best compliment ever. It was one of the few times I felt like I had done something right as a parent. I always try to answer any question my kids have HONESTLY even if it means saying "I don't know, but I'll try to find out" or "I think this answer is something you aren't ready for yet, but when I think you are ready I will gladly talk to you about it".

    So, I definitely try to do all three, but I feel more confident in #2 and #3 than #1. I think that's the hardest because you don't know if they've really got it until they get older, have more autonomy, and have to start making big moral decisions for themselves.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Yes it does go both ways. I too have heard it from both sides. My Catholic side ( granted the older generation) thinks I wont make it to Heaven and when I was Catholic my Baptist mother-in-law thought the same thing. Although hurtful, it has given me true compassion and love for fellow Christians no matter denomination. We spend to.much time and energy being right and not enough energy in what does unite us. As my momma would say, " this must make God so sad"

    ReplyDelete
  31. Not to get totally off topic (ha ha), but Nikki there certainly is a spiritual danger in leaving the One True Church when you know that Christ founded it. I won't lie about that. Let us pray for one another.

    rdcobb and Mama D, awesome! Jamie Jo, oh my on your parents! A lot of that is generational, but I think we lost a lot of people because of that, esp. since the culture changed and no longer supported traditional values. So, the parents needed to keep up on that. Sad.

    ReplyDelete
  32. I am not shocked by this Leila. Jesus is my Savior. God is my judge. Your fear doesn't really concern me. Thanks though.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Awesome post! I love starting little and that is what I planned to do when Joseph arrived . .. that we will learn as we go and then we received two more souls who were damaged by neglect and IMMORAL formation and sometimes I feel so lost.

    We are doing the above three things with the older boys, but sometimes I feel like my teaching is not received by a tender heart that is form-able. Know what I mean? Our goal to bring the truth home for them is to not just tell them the 'truth' and expect them to suddenly find value in it, but to let them see it lived out and rewarded with peace of heart and let God mold them through our actions or lack of Reaction (responding poorly to others, them, or God for that matter) in the wrong moments.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Thanks, Nikki! And, it's not fear, it's simply what the Church teaches. That's what I do here on this blog. Blessings!

    ReplyDelete
  35. Amazing Life, your situation is really difficult, with the two extra souls to form (after the fact, in a sense!). You are doing such a fantastic job. I can't imagine they could be in any better place. The grace just abounds there in your home, and it's bound to have its effect. But you now know more than most how detrimental it is for young people to lack that moral formation from a young age. So sad, and you and DH are so courageous to take it on!

    ReplyDelete
  36. Love this post!! Definitely one of my favorite posts of yours and bookmarkable (is that a word?) for sure!

    ReplyDelete
  37. Loved this post! It took me an hour to get back to it because I went to check out your "becoming legendary" and the stories on there spanned from awe-inspiring to nauseating but I had to read each one.

    Have to ditto MamaD's late night talks. I opened the door one night for my 20 y-o son, he talked to me about his faith and his life for 2 hours! I will drop everything to talk to my teens and young adults. We often have long talks after the little ones have left the dinner table too.

    I dropped my oldest off at the airport today to study abroad for a semester and cried the whole way home. I pray I have succeeded at Leila's top 3 with him and that I work even harder at it for the next 6!

    ReplyDelete
  38. Leila,
    You give us more credit than we deserve! We are mainly just flying by the seat of our pants!! I feel like I am losing mt religion over here and got a speedpass straight to the firey pit.

    ReplyDelete
  39. What a great post, Leila!
    I totally agree and think we did a pretty good job at this when all our kids were little, but we've had a few really seriously difficult years, and we fell away from it.
    Now we have two teen boys (13 and 16 and the oldest has aspergers) a 10 year old girl, and two little boys (8 and 5). How do we get them caught up on what they should know- sex is really the hardest one to discuss here. We try to shelter our younger ones from more mature subjects, but have ended up sheltering the older ones too. How do we find that balance, and teach them those delicate things?
    Oh, and we're not Catholic, (but we are interested...) in case that matters.
    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  40. SO GOOD. I just linked to it on Facebook and I think I'll blog it soon too with some of my own thoughts. SUCH good reminders for me of what is most important. Seriously, good stuff. And do you have a book deal? If not, you should write one so I can read it! :)

    ReplyDelete
  41. Amen. Amen. Amen.

    Gosh Leila I wish you lived closer so I could hire you as the catechist for my kids faith formation classes :)

    ReplyDelete
  42. What Hafsa said. I might be flying them out.

    ReplyDelete
  43. LOL, they'd starve to death. You bring the food.

    ReplyDelete
  44. If we rotated meals...I think it would be doable!

    ReplyDelete
  45. Carrie, my feeling is just jump right in and begin! So what if you let it go for a while? No better time than the present to catch 'em up to speed! Also, so excited that you are interested in Catholicism! Stick around the Bubble as we have a lot of fun here!! How long have you been interested?

    ReplyDelete
  46. What the heck happened to the style of these comments? I hate it!! And, replies on each comment? I hate that! I hate all sorts of spidery threads going on! I want cohesion and linear discussion! HATE IT!! HELP!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  47. Oh my... I love this post... this is a keeper!
    I will have many questions for you in the future :)

    ReplyDelete
  48. Blogger must have upgraded their blog comment system. I kind of like the new format; it's easier to tell who is replying to who (that can get kind of confusing at times).

    ReplyDelete
  49. What an amazing post! I will definitely check back (or you'll have to remind me) for when I'm finally a mom!

    ReplyDelete
  50. OK, to keep Leila sane, I propose that we keep it linear in the combox and not use that reply button. I really don't want Leila going insane as I do enjoy her posts :)

    ReplyDelete
  51. I love this post 7 ways to Tuesday. Wow. What blogging crisis? LOL! How do you keep one-upping yourself and pump out amazing posts like this?!

    ReplyDelete
  52. Okay, you said to ask, so here you go: My 12 year old wants to know how natural family planning works. I need to get back with him on this but I'm not sure how much to tell to a 12yo. Any advice?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. hi julie. I would just add, men (boys) are always fertile and women's fertility is cyclical. So women can learn to track their signs and the couple can use those signs to avoid or achieve a pregnancy.

      Delete
    2. Great addition, B and B! (Am I really using this reply thread thing???)

      Delete
  53. Thanks, guys!!! :)

    Julie, I would say it simply: "Well, the woman takes her temperature and observes mucus signs (which can be checked when she uses the bathroom) to find out when she is ovulating (fertile). She charts the changes and can find out tons of information about her body and fertility. It's natural and accurate and healthy!"

    And, if he asks for more, you can refer him to the Natural Family Planning post on this blog! :)

    ReplyDelete
  54. Beautiful post. Thanks. Just wanted to add... my husband and I are both converts who spent a lot of time asking questions about the Catholic Church before we joined. The answers we found were beautiful and amazing and true. There is so much more that I want to learn about the Church, but the more I learn, the more I am amazed by the traditions that we stand upon.

    ReplyDelete
  55. LOVE this! I shall too post on my fridge when I am thinking I am doing everything wrong....and then we sit down for dinner and my two year bows his head for grace or my four year old tells me Jesus is her prince. <3

    ReplyDelete
  56. Brilliant! I'll have to file this away for if/when I become a mama.

    ReplyDelete
  57. leila
    I have an unrealted question re: the diagram on the bottom of your site stating how many visitors are from each country. Does it mean the total from each country ever, or the total on that particular day. Thanks. Looks like you've got a lot of readers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sarah, I wish it were every day, ha ha! No, I think it's unique visitors from that country, ever.

      Delete
  58. So encouraged by this!!! Just to add one little nugget I've held onto since attending a parenting seminar given by Gregory Popcak that came to mind when you said parents avoid discussing certain topics - God gives us the children WE need to work towards heaven. When I am uncomfortable in any parenting situation, I pray about what God is refining in me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I never thought it that way. Very interesting.

      Delete
    2. Yes! It's like in the related post: Our children are like our little sanctifiers! :) They help us overcome our own limitations and faults. Great stuff, Melanie!

      Delete
  59. Got the little babe in my arms so this will be short--love this post, so true, and I hope all who read it will be inspired and walk away with the intention of using it!

    ReplyDelete
  60. Love this post! My kids also don't have clean sheets but know the value of a clean soul. :-)
    Do you have any recommended resources/books for having the sex talk? I want to get the necessary info conveyed but all in the context of it being a gift from God, etc. It's mostly for my kids but also for my husband, who is not Catholic. I want him to be properly informed for any questions afterward.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sherry, for pre-teens, this is a good book that I have used with the kids:

      http://www.amazon.com/Joyful-Mysteries-Life-Catherine-Scherrer/dp/0898706300

      It's a little cheesy and translated from the French, but it's effective and you can modify it as you like. It gets the points across nicely!!

      As for teens, I love Theology of the Body for Teens, as well as anything by Jason and Crystalina Evert:

      http://chastity.com/node/442

      (This link even has a link to his talk to public school kids, with no religion included, for any secularists interested!)

      For adults, I recommend anything on the Theology of the Body. There is a lot out there, from different authors. I think The Good News About Sex and Marriage from Christopher West is excellent.

      Hope that helps!!

      Delete
  61. Thanks Leila -- great post (as ALWAYS)!! Thanks also for the nod for TOTB for Teens - I was already thinking of getting that, not only for my own kids, but for several others that I mentor. God bless!

    ReplyDelete
  62. I love this post! I am filing this away for if/when God blesses us with children. Thank you for speaking truth!

    ReplyDelete
  63. I love the post, Leila! I think you are wonderful, and I'll take this advice and follow it whole-heartedly. I'll admit I avoid some talks. But my oldest is 7, and I have such a difficult time figuring out how to answer certain questions without too much information (all of this alternative sexuality is just being thrown at us!). For example, my oldest son has a fellow 1st-grader in his Catholic school who has two moms. He asked why this little boy doesn't have a dad. I told him that everyone has a dad, but something must have happened to this little boy's dad and that we are to show him love but not to mention it to him because it might make him feel sad. OK, I think I got by with that one. Only recently I found out that the little boy's mom (er - one of them) is pregnant again. So it will most definitely come up...and soon...and I have no idea how to be honest about this!! So I read your post, and now I'm feeling bad for thinking of a way I could divert the topic when it comes up!! I feel like I need to join some kind of support group with all of the stress I've been under trying to figure out the best way to handle the upcoming uncomfortable question!

    ReplyDelete
  64. i love this post, its so so logical and true, i hope when i am a parent i wont forget this :) thanks for this...

    ReplyDelete
  65. I just found your blog recently and I LOVE it! Awesome post. Thank you

    ReplyDelete
  66. I feel a bit validated by this post. My husband and I have used the same "keys" to raise our kids (who are now 24 and 28). As empty nesters, we are so blessed that our kids still come to us to discuss issues they want to work out, or get our opinion on something or just lay "the cards out on the table." They know we don't count any subject off limits. Once when my son was about 4 he said he knew how babies were made. My first reaction was to run from the room screaming. But instead, I remembered my husband's time-tested response of asking a question. So I asked him how he thought babies were made. He proudly stated that it was when Mommies and Daddies kissed for a really long time. I happily encouraged him, saying he was right and he was satisfied. I was glad I didn't react as I initially felt, preventing future counseling or a stint on Oprah. And because of that decision, he went on to ask about french kissing, cusswords specifically used by boys about girls, then on to drugs, abortion, etc. Sometimes I think their test of a boyfriend or girlfriend has been how they handle dinner discussions. Many are quite surprised at how controversial the topics are that we talk about.

    I noticed not many responses addressed the first key. I agree with you that it is THE most important thing a parent can teach their children. We live in an area where affluent parents spoil their children with sports cars or SUVs, luxury apartments at college, every new iPod, iPad, gaming device, upscale clothing brands...all in an attempt to be their kids' "best friend". What's funny is our kids never threw tantrums over not getting the latest and greatest of everything. Okay, never is a strong word - they griped when we wouldn't replace the first Nintendo series with each subsequent model or brand; and they accused us of being dinosaurs when we wouldn't upgrade cable to include programs like Beavis and Butthead or South Park. And my daughter especially disliked our requirement of talking to the parents of a friend who was having a party or sleepover. One of the best things that happened as a result, however, was when she admitted to me, after hearing horror stories at university, that she was now glad we had those rules when she was younger. God is awesome!!! I'm a newbie blogger at waycatholic (dot) com. Hope to share more stories with you. I love your blog!

    ReplyDelete
  67. I LOVE what you had to say here!!! I agree with your #1 100%! I was wondering what you thought about this: http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/brand-new-guidelines-pushing-radical-explicit-sex-ed-agenda-on-schools-nati

    ReplyDelete
  68. I've found that when talking to my boys about sex it's best just to talk. It's handy to have a book on hand so you can show a diagram if you need to, but definitely no photos. I think sex ed programs that use photos that you would call porn in any other context are just that!

    ReplyDelete
  69. As a youth minister for the last 9 years, and having first hand knowledge of the beliefs of our current millennials and gen z-ers... I have to say I wish wish wish that most parents had these three priorities! But the sad truth is that they don't. And part of the reason is that 1. Sports is God 2. They Don't Know what the Church believes or where to go to find out, and 3.they don't understand that sharing the struggles is about being human, not about being hypocritical.
    I am hopeful that the parents out there reading your message find the courage to prioritize in the same way, and find the support they need!

    ReplyDelete
  70. Coming in late on this, but just gotta share two true stories I heard this week, directly related to this. It will doubly validate what you said about answering your kids what they ask about:"...tell them the truth. They want to hear it from you, and they will absorb your wisdom on these matters." Especially regarding sex. This week, the first story I heard came directly from the mouth of a Diocesan middle school child who re-told of her discomfort when she had to role-play as a 16-yr-old (she's 12) interacting with a 43-yr-old on the internet, to illustrate the internet dangers. This role play took place at a Safe Environment Training session, in her classroom and in front of her peers. She was chosen for the role play, and she obediently squirmed her way through it. Ironically, this made her extremely uncomfortable, as she was being educated on how to stand up and take notice of uncomfortable situations. "They want to hear it from you." Not in a classroom. Matters of sex and sexual danger need to be taught by the parent, PRIVATELY. Kids don't want Safe Environment Training to take place in the presence of their peers. (Unfortunately until parents step up, many dioceses believe they need to take these matters into
    their own hands.)
    The second story came from a 25-yr-old young man who shared with me his parents' over-caution in teaching the details of sexual sin. As the family was preparing to visit a(n outed) relative for the first time in years, mom had "the gay talk" with him, for the first time...
    at age 25. He was a bit shocked that she even thought he needed the talk after all this time he had been living (fortunately chastly) on his own, and he wished for more open communication.

    Thank you for saying yes to God's promptings, Leila, to write this post. And may He be praised.

    ReplyDelete
  71. another nice read related to parenting the catholic way :)
    http://www.catholicdadsonline.org/posts/8460/pope-john-paul-iis-father/

    ReplyDelete

PLEASE, when commenting, do not hit "reply" (which is the thread option). Instead, please put your comment at the bottom of the others.

To ensure that you don't miss any comments, click the "subscribe by email" link, above. If you do not subscribe and a post exceeds 200 comments, you must hit "load more" to get to the rest. We often have meaty and long discussions -- trust me, they're worth following!