Archives for January 2013

How Should We Pray?

I remember when I wondered for the first time whether it was best to pray with eyes shut or open. I was only a child then, but I have often revisited the same thought. My memories on the matter were revived after stumbling onto this post: Eyes Wide Shut Prayer?

Like the rest of my family, I have always been an “apophatic prayer”–someone who closes their eyes, bows their head, and folds their hands when praying. At an early age, I realized that not all people pray the way my family and I do. Since then, I have always wondered which way of praying was actually right. However, over the years, I was brought to the realization that it isn’t really important whether people chose to pray with their eyes shut or wide open.

How one prays is a personal thing.  Prayer is our way of talking to God, and it should not be in any way stiff and stringent. Instead, we should pray in a way that we feel would best draw us near to Him. I feel comfortable and more connected to God praying with my eyes closed, but in no way will I insist that you must follow my way of praying. I believe that it is important that each of us pray as we see fit.

Certainly, God does not concern Himself with the manner with which we pray–kneeling, standing, lying down, eyes open, or eyes shut–but looks at what is inside our thoughts and hearts.

Accepting Imperfection as a Parent

Like all mothers, I have always wished to be the perfect caregiver for my child. In the time I  have spent being parent, I  realized that it is just not possible to be perfect! I was glad to read 10 Truths I Learned In 3 Years Of Imperfect Parenting, a post from one Mom who shared my exact sentiments.

Parenting will put you through a myriad of situations that will elicit a host of emotions within you! You should expect to feel anger, incompetence, guilt and resentment; but know that there will also be feelings of joy, love and pure happiness. Believe me when I say that you wouldn’t trade those beautiful emotions for anything in this world.

Being a parent will change your life forever. In my opinion the change is definitely for the better. Having children is probably one of the biggest responsibilities and most difficult tasks you can have in your entire life. Nevertheless, without a doubt, it is also the most rewarding and the most beautiful experience.

Thoughts About The “Cry-Room” at Church

A few days ago, I shared my thoughts about how I admire parents who take their children to Mass. Today I would like to share my thoughts about the “cry-room” (also known as the family room) that most churches provide for mothers or families with young children. My thoughts were inspired by one mother’s experience on taking her kids to Mass alone. (If you want to read about it, here it is: “I Took the Kids to Mass Today!“)

There is no doubt that churches have put up the “cry-room room” with the best intentions–that is, to make sure that worshipers get to hear Mass undisturbed. However, I believe that parents shouldn’t be forced (by anyone) to use the room if they think their kids can handle sitting with the general audience. Of course, they are kids and there certainly will be some minor hiccups from time to time, but I think that as long as a child stays put and doesn’t throw fits, there is no need to use the “cry-room”.

Furthermore, I think that parents ought to train their child to behave well during Mass rather than choose to have them stay in the family room–where no one really gets anything out of the Mass. It is important that we teach our children the right things early on, instead of having them do what they want all the time. It isn’t fun to have to correct their wrong behaviors, but it is the right thing to do.  Lastly, if you happen to sit beside a mother with her kids in the general audience some time soon, please don’t ask them to sit in the “cry-room” and deprive them of the chance to enjoy and worship the Lord fully.

Parenting Tip: Adjust Your Parenting Approach For Each Child

Parents have to formulate some sort of expectations when they are raising a child. The must grow as parents, as their child becomes older. What they thought were realistic expectations a year ago might have drastically changed today. It is critical to know your child and understand them as a person. This will help you to have a more balanced relationship with them. In my opinion, the worst thing a parent can do is to apply all the same expectations and rules to all of their children.

I read a post titled, “The Parenting Chronicles: The House Rules”, and it talks about adjusting your rules for each child. While some would argue being consistent with all of your children is fair, the author of this post tends to disagree. I completely see where the author Brenda is coming from with her thoughts. I suggest you check them out.

Respect Parents Who Bring Their Young Children to Mass

I respect the families that choose to bring their young children to Mass. Most of the time they are really well behaved, and I think it is important to instill the habit of attending Mass in kids today. Sometimes I see parents struggling to keep their child quiet during Mass, and some people give them annoyed looks. I really dislike when people do this. The parents are simply trying to do something good. Sure, the young children might cry or have an outburst at some point, but can you blame the parents for trying to teach their kids about God? I think we all need to relax and let these parents keep doing what they’re doing. Eventually those little kid will grow up, and hopefully the good habits of their parents will help them grow into future members of your parish.

I read a post that I thought was really cool recently. It was written from the perspective of the youngest child of a family who attends Mass together. The post is titled, “A Letter to Frankie About Mom’s Mass Survival Tips”. I thought it was an awesome post because it describes how this mother has kept her family full of children under control at Mass. Hearing it told from a young child’s perspective was hilarious though.

Pope Benedict Knows the Importance of Evangelizing Online

Yesterday was the feast day of Saint Frances de Sales. Saint Frances is known as the patron saint of writers, and that pertains to authors and people like me who simply blog on the Internet. Saint Frances’ feast day has also become associated with the Pope releasing his World Communications Day message. The Pope usually addresses some form of Evangelization in this message, and yesterday Pope Benedict XVI spoke about the Internet and social media. I thought this was so cool because it is specifically what I try to do. I think social media and blogs are some of the best tools we have to Evangelize with.

In his message the Pope touched on many points that you can read here. He acknowledged the great effort that many have already put into their social media efforts, and the commitment it takes to build online relationships and a following. Pope Benedict XVI also stated that unless the word of God is being spread on the Internet, it may not reach the large portion of the population who rely heavily on these tools. If you are a fellow blogger or just enjoy social media check out the entirety of what Pope Benedict XVI had to say.

How Do You Like to Picture Jesus?

There is a hilarious scene in the movie Talladega Nights: The Legend of Ricky Bobby, where Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly, and the rest of the cast describe how they picture Jesus. If you haven’t seen this movie, and are looking for some mind-numbingly stupid entertainment I suggest this movie. It is a hilarious film, and I put part of the clip below where John C. Reilly describes how he pictures Jesus.

Even though this is an obviously ridiculous portrayal of Jesus that was meant to be funny (I think it is), it can show us something. The point of bringing up that movie was that people all picture Jesus in different ways. I recently read a post on Catholic Sistas that talked about picturing Jesus as strong, tall, and muscular. The author’s point was that she wants her children to grow up trying to be like Jesus, and that she doesn’t like the “hippie Jesus” image that is often used. She wants her boys to have a strong, masculine role model, so she pictures Jesus as that. How do you picture Jesus?

Create a Catholic “Bucket List” of Things You Want to Do

I am sure that you are all familiar with the term “bucket list”, in fact a movie starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman was made about it. I digress, I never thought about the term “bucket list” before I read a post on the blog Cartwheels and Windmills. The author Cat wrote about her own personal Catholic bucket list. I never thought to make a “bucket list” that was faith specific before so the post intrigued me. I also learned that more people have been making similar Catholic “bucket lists”, so apparently I’m behind on this. I thought it was a cool idea, and I figured I would share some of Cat’s “bucket list” entries that I also would like to do before I…kick the bucket I guess.

Some of her entries that I would also like to accomplish included going to the Easter vigil and welcoming the new Catholics at the end of the Mass, bringing up the gifts at Offertory, and attending an ordination. I might take some time to compile my own Catholic “bucket list” sometime soon!

Siblings Should Be Close Friends

There is nothing cooler than seeing your children get along when you are a parent. Every parent dreams of raising their children to all be best friends. It makes growing up easier when they are all close. They look out for each other, teach each other things, and play games with each other. As they grow older maybe they will do even more things together like make a band or room together at college. MaryAnne at Mama Smiles recently posted about Siblings Helping Siblings.

The post includes a wonderful picture of MaryAnne’s six year old helping her four month old read a book. This is a perfect example of how raising your children to be friends makes growing up easier. The six year old is occupied by reading and feels important because of her reading skills, and the six month old is thrilled to be held and read to. That is some really awesome parenting on display!

Be the Good Person That You Want Your Child to Be

Parents all want their children to “treat others as you want them to treat you”, however sometimes parents don’t give their children a very good example to emulate. Children are the greatest imitators in the world, even better than that guy Frank Caliendo who pretends to be George Bush and John Madden. Children thrive upon imitation especially when they are young, but it is apparent as they grow up as well. I read a post titled, “Be the Person You Want Your Child to Become” recently and it made me think about this.

The post gives examples of how you should act if you want your child to show traits like integrity, respect, trust, and good listening skills. Your child might develop these skills even if you do not display them ever, but they have much greater odds if you show them these traits in your relationship. You need to be respectful of your child for them to respect you. I suggest reading the article linked to above, it was a great read.