My father taught me to pray with intensity and to be unafraid to kneel during Mass.
For most of my childhood I was a little bit afraid of my father, a stranger who didn’t arrive home from his downtown office until after 6 p.m. and who then demanded silence while he watched the local television news, the network news, and another half hour of local reports before we ate dinner as a family at 7:30. If my brother, Kevin, managed to make my sister, Sue, suppress a laugh so that milk came out of her nose or someone made the mistake of putting their elbows on the table, we all flinched if Dad stood up quickly.
White Christian parents need to examine how they talk about race with their kids, says religion professor Jennifer Harvey.
White parents need to talk to their kids about race—and the sooner the better, says Jennifer Harvey, professor of religion at Drake University and author of Raising White Kids (Abingdon Press).
A deacon’s personal account of parenting a transgender child.
Fifty years ago this year, the church restored the permanent diaconate, opening the doors to married clergy who brought and continue to bring with them all the joys, sorrows, and complexities of family life to ordained ministry. In the case of my family, that included first-hand experience with LGBT people. In the fall of 2013, at the beginning of our oldest child’s sophomore year at Georgetown University, she came out as transgender. With that news, my family found itself plunged into questions and issues that surround families of faith with LGBT children.
Family sing-a-longs can bring you closer to each other and to God—but they don’t have to be during Mass.
There are many ways my husband and I differ, but perhaps the most significant is that I come from a family prone to spontaneous outbursts of song while he comes from a family prone to subtle nods as they listen to the car radio together.
Why Catholic institutions should strive for policies that support parents and kids.
Right after Tralonne Shorter began a new job at a women’s organization, she learned she was pregnant with her first child. What should have been an exciting year of preparation and anticipation was mired by the dismal realities Tralonne and many other women face when figuring out maternity leave. The women’s organization she worked for did not have a paid maternity leave policy, and because she was a new hire Tralonne wasn’t eligible for anything except short-term disability.
Hint: Families have never been just a mom, dad, and 2.5 children.
The fairy tale pushed by bedtime stories, Disney movies, and traditional values in general is that we grow up, find that special someone, marry, and have children. But as central as marriage and childrearing are, especially for Christians, as far back as biblical times families have always been about something more than the couple, their 2.5 children, and their family dog.
Sometimes the most important job of a parent is to watch and wait.
I was standing in the middle of a small frozen lake near our house, chatting with my husband and Nate, another father in our neighborhood. I was in ice skates and a down coat; Bill and Nate had on heavy boots and warm gear. The ice was about eight inches thick from a recent cold snap, and the wind was brisk from the north. As we talked, I noticed our teenage daughter walking out onto the ice in socks and sandals. From the other shore, Nate’s teenage son approached in basketball shorts and bare legs.
Use books to teach kids—and their parents—about seeing the world through another’s eyes.
School lunchrooms all smell and look the same, the overripe aroma of hundreds of lunches barely contained by cream-colored walls just this side of salmon. Every table is a petri dish despite the wipe-and-spray done by careless seventh graders more interested in squirting the back of each other’s pants than sanitizing eating surfaces.
Don’t wait for kids to grow up before showing them how to share the wealth.
This year I did something I swore I would never do: I ditched the parish pledge envelopes and signed up for automatic deduction.
Families aren’t perfect—but neither is Christmas.
My father hates Christmas. We have a picture of him lying on my parents’ couch, wrapped up in a blanket, wearing both a Santa hat and a look of utter mournfulness.
For most of my childhood and young adulthood, this was something to tease him about. How could you hate Christmas? What part of gift giving and receiving, good food, and family is not to like? How could anyone not like the music, the celebration, the candles, and the hushed holiness of the Midnight Mass?
Last year, though, I started to understand where my dad was coming from.