Archives for December 2012

Keeping God in Your Teen’s Life

Helping your kids stay faithful throughout their teenage years is really tough. With different influences growing in their lives, they may begin to question the beliefs that you raised them on. It is important to talk with your kids about things like this, and gauge their feelings.

I read a post titled, “Raising Kids in Favor with God and Man” recently and the main point of the post resonated with me. The mom who posted this article prays each night for her children in hopes that they can accomplish just what the title of her post says. If you are a parent who hopes the same about your children then you should check out her post if you have a second. It is definitely worth your time.

Parenting Tip: How to Avoid Punishment When Your Child Misbehaves

As a parent, there are times where you must discipline your children. Discipline doesn’t meant punishment though and I believe there is a distinct difference between the two. There are always alternatives to actual punishment, and many of them are easy to do. You just need to have the right mindset about it. I recently read a post titled, “4 Powerful and and Effective Alternatives to Punishment”, that I thought was really great. The author’s tips in this post are precisely what I am talking about when I say that punishment does not have to happen.

The article talks about four main points prevention, alternatives, examples, and self reflection. Preventing potentially disastrous situations at home and in your life in general can save you and your child a lot of stress. Planning ahead is really not hard to do, and this means something as simple as putting fragile items in your home out of reach. Offering alternatives and examples are sort of the same. It means not freaking out when your child is throwing a baseball in the house. Take the baseball, but don’t scold them for it. Then when you have taken the ball give them a softer one that won’t break things. You could take it a step further and give them an example of this by showing them how to play with the new ball in a safe way. Self reflection is pretty straight forward and as a parent is something that I think could benefit anybody.

Fun Ideas to Keep Your Kids Busy This Winter Break

Now that the excitement of Christmas Eve and Christmas has passed you probably have a full two weeks of having the kids home full time from school. For them this is amazing, and they are probably really excited! The prospect of spending time with your children is also something most parents look forward to as well. It is freezing outside though, and it gets dark here at 4:45ish. So that really limits the fun activities that you might be able to do.

A recent post I read titled, “10 Things to Do with Your Kids Over Holiday Break” might be useful for you if you’re stuck with no ideas. The article suggests some cool ideas such as a day trip adventure, seeing movies, playing board games, and teaching your kids how to bake. It is going to depend on how old your children are, but there are always things to do. Getting the creative juices flowing seems to be the main issue. So if that has been your problem I suggest reading the article and having a brainstorm session when you are done.

The 12 Days of Christmas: What They Really Stand For

Since yesterday was Christmas you can safely assume you will not be hearing much more Christmas music for a while now. A lot of us are probably ready for that since it seems like every year I hear these songs earlier and earlier in November. I read today about the history behind the 12 days of Christmas. The post explains that the song that we all hear around Christmas every year has a very different meaning than most of us probably think. The Twelve Days of Christmas do not start on December 12th or 13th. In fact they start on Christmas day and go into January. Each of the days has a meaning too.

I thought this was pretty wild considering I always thought the song was just a weird Christmas tune I heard a few times a year. In reality, this song can be tied into Catholic beliefs. The partridge mentioned on the first day of Christmas represents the birth of Christ. Jesus gave his life to save us, just like a mother partridge is known to do for her young. Every day continues to build on more beliefs that you probably wouldn’t expect! I thought that was pretty cool to find out and wanted to share it with all of you.

Do You Make Room in Your Life For God?: Pope’s Christmas Eve Homily

On Christmas Eve Pope Benedict XVI spoke during Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica. His main point was that so many Catholics live hectic and technology driven lives, that he questions whether people are capable of making room for God anymore. This is obviously an issue that people should take seriously. If you cannot find time in your day for God you are not looking close enough. Maybe you spend too much time watching TV or on the computer, there has to be something that can go to make more room for God in your life. Pope Benedict spoke about this during his homily, where he drew a comparison between today’s situation and Joseph and Mary not find room at any of the inns they visited. He stated that “we are so ‘full’ of ourselves that there is no room left for God.” I cannot say that I disagree with this view point, and I think it was a good way to bring up this issue.

Read more about Pope Benedict’s Christmas Eve homily by following this link: “Pope Worries We Are So Full of Ourselves ‘There is No Room For God'”

Actions Really Will Always Speak Louder Than Words

Spreading the word of God is something that all Catholics should strive to do in their lifetime. Sharing the happiness and grace of God’s word should be something that brings you great joy. I know I struggle to find ways to do this as often as I’d like to though. Nobody wants to be outwardly pushy about their faith, mostly because of how much that is frowned upon in American culture these days. I read a post recently that made me look at this in a different light though.

The post is called “What is Catholicism?”, and it talked a bit about how a wife influenced her husband to convert to Catholicism. It took her until he was 76 years old! That is a really long time, but apparently she never so much as spoke about it to him. She led such a good life that her husband was convinced by her actions alone that Catholicism was the right choice. I thought this was so powerful, and in line with the old saying “actions speak louder than words”. Sometimes that seems like an old cliched saying, but in this case I felt it couldn’t be more true. So be mindful of your actions, they might be having an effect on somebody!

The Best Catholic Articles This Week – December 21

As you all know I read a lot of articles every week. I’m pretty active in either mentioning articles I read, or personally commenting on them if I feel compelled to do so. I wanted to share with you the best posts that I found this week.

Three Priests Talk About Spiritual Direction – This post was featured on a site called Roman Catholic Spiritual Direction. In the post three different priests give advice to Catholics about how to find a spiritual director who can guide you. It also talks about what a spiritual director is and why you would need one.

Tips to Help You Pray Not Just Say the Rosary – I can’t say enough about this post, the title drew me in and the article did not disappoint. This article gives you ten tips about how you can become more spiritually in tune when you are praying the rosary. So many people rush through an important action like praying the rosary. It shouldn’t be about speeding through, it should be about feeling spiritually engaged.

Speaking With an Angel Requires Faith, Humility, and Trust – This post goes through biblical instances in which an angel visited a human. The post talks about Mary, Joseph, and Zechariah and their experiences in depth. The post ties together the need that they all had for the qualities of faith, humility, and trust and the need that we all have for those qualities in every day life.

5 Ways to Watch the Hobbit Like a Catholic – I let my nerdy side make this choice for me. I am a huge Tolkien fan and this article points out some interesting facts. It points out a lot of Christian lessons that can be learned from Tolkien’s the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings.

Catholic Dads and the Domestic Church – This article was really well done and asked Catholic dads everywhere to become more influence in their family’s spiritual endeavors. The author calls dads to be better role models for their kids and more engaging overall where religion is concerned.

All of these articles are, in my opinion, spectacular and amongst the best of the week! Make sure to check them out and leave comments for all of the hard working authors.

The Best Parenting Articles This Week – December 21

I dropped the ball on my new habit of doing a post on Friday’s containing my favorite parenting articles from the past week. Cut me some slack though, it’s tough to start a new tradition. Anyway, here are the articles from this week that I found to be noteworthy.

What’s Your Favorite Holiday Christmas Book? – I tend to avoid New York Times articles the best I can, but I truly found this one to be nice. It talks about all sorts of different Christmas books, and reminded me of some old favorites from when I was young. There is a nice string of comments as well to add even more great Christmas books to the discussion. Go join in!

Holidays, Travel, and Baby’s Sleep – This article is a well timed one about how you can get your baby to sleep through holiday traveling. It can be tough if you baby is used to a specific nap time. They might be out of their element in a strange house they aren’t used to. This article had some pretty good tips that might be able to help you get your child to sleep.

When the Kids Scream Fire – This post was a really good and funny one. Nobody was hurt in the process of a tiny mistake, and we can all laugh about it now. The author used his experience as an example for parents. The example shows that parents need to teach their children how to do specific tasks around the house before delegating any type of work to them. Showing your child how to do a seemingly simple task multiple times is the safe way to handle things. Better safe than sorry!

Sheltering, Protecting, and Talking with Our Children: Parenting for Sanity in a Seemingly Insane World – This post talks about how to talk to your children about tragic events like what we saw last week in Connecticut. Nobody likes to talk about tragedy, but it is best that your child hears news from you. Otherwise they may be susceptible to believing rumors they hear from other children at school. This is a situation where, as a parent, you have to step up and do the right thing.

Pray the Rosary, Don’t Just Say the Rosary

Praying the rosary is something that we should all be doing more often. A lot of people simply say the prayers though, and this is not the purpose of the rosary. You should feel something deeper than just the words coming out of your mouth. The words should resonate inside of you and make you feel something more. I read a post with tips to help you pray not just say the rosary and I thought it was really awesome.

Some of the tips on this post included one claiming less is more. What they mean is that instead of rushing your way through the entire rosary, it would be a lot better to say only a decade or two and make it more thoughtful. They also suggest saying each prayer more slowly and clearly, as if you were speaking to God rather than blurting out the words. There are a lot more tips in this post, and if you need some more reasons to make praying the rosary more of a habit then I suggest reading them.

Pope Paul VI Steps Closer to Beatification

This week Pope Benedict XVI helped to move along the movement to beatify Pope Paul VI. On December 10th all of the Cardinals voted to a unanimous decision that Pope Paul VI should be beatified. There is a collection of documents for those being considered for beatification, and the Cardinals unanimous vote paired with Pope Benedict finding a “heroic virtue” of Pope Paul VI’s means he is just steps away. If everything goes smoothly the beatification will likely be sometime late in 2013, and would be a nice end to the Year of Faith.

To read more about Pope Paul VI and his road to beatification read this: The Cause of Paul VI Proceeds