Steer clear of Beelzebub or Baal.
When our first son was born, my husband and I, both writers, labored over the choice of what to name him. It had to be right. It had to be original. It was, my poet husband declared with much gravity, “naming a life.” The burden of that weighed heavily on us. We scoured bookstores and online lists of baby names. We wanted something our son could live up to, something that was different, but not weird. After months of combing through thousands of names, we finally landed on Atticus Levi, a nod to both Atticus Finch and my husband’s favorite poet, Larry Levis.
What exactly do children get from watching TV?
In his book The Rhythm of Life (Beacon Publishing), Catholic writer and speaker Matthew Kelly discusses his favorite childhood film, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. In particular, he recounts the final scene when Charlie sets the Everlasting Gobstopper down on Mr. Wonka’s desk, thereby giving up any reward promised by Wonka’s competition, Mr. Slugworth. All we see is the back of Wonka, then a close-up of his hand as he gently places it atop the returned Gobstopper.
Teaching kids the difference between right and wrong doesn't always teach them empathy. In fact, it might do just the opposite.
So much for the golden rule. A since-contested study published in the November 2015 issue of Current Biology reported that, perhaps contrary to what one would expect, children from religious families were found to be more punitive and less altruistic than children raised in secular households.
None of us is eager to expose our children to the state of the world.
“It’s a good thing we’re white,” our 7-year-old son Atticus said, prompting my husband to almost leap out of his chair in pausing the movie we were in the middle of watching. The movie was The Help from Kathyrn Stockett’s novel by the same name, which exposes the continued slave treatment of “the help” in Jackson, Mississippi in 1962. The scene responsible for our son’s precocious observation of his white privilege involves the violent arrest of maid Yule May.
The older I get and the bigger my family becomes, the more deeply I need other faith-filled moms.
When I first became a mother, I lived eight hours from family while my husband worked on his Ph.D. He was as present as possible while working toward that goal, but most of my days were spent alone, facing the challenge of keeping a baby alive and thriving for the first time in my life. Phone calls to my mother were mostly tear fests, me sobbing about the usual loss of sleep and tedium of the first year in a newborn’s life. I was happy to be a mom, but I felt so isolated that the sadness often overcame the joy.
Parents suffering the loss of a child through stillbirth need the support of their family, friends, and parishes. Here are some ways you can help.
I gave birth to a stillborn baby boy. It was a profound, wild grief which too quickly had to be restrained, contained, eventually smothered. I had left the hospital empty-handed, in a daze, and simply gone back to my flat. —Reflection from a grieving mother
The church needs a better pastoral response toward women and families who experience miscarriage and stillbirth.
When Katherine Brown experienced the stillbirth of her first child, Grace, during her 27th week of pregnancy, she struggled with the lack of support from her parish priest and faith community. Like many Catholic women confronting miscarriage and other forms of pregnancy loss for the first time, she was uncertain of what parish and faith resources were available to her and her family. “There was no guidance from our parish about how to handle this,” she recalls.
Parents should talk to their kids about sex and sexuality long before adolescence.
I was behind and I didn’t even know it. Despite considering myself a progressive, open parent, I took our 3-year-old son to his annual doctor’s checkup only to realize I had already missed an important opportunity to educate him. After asking my son to disrobe, his pediatrician said, “I’m going to look at your private parts, but it’s okay because I’m your doctor and your mommy and daddy are here.” My son barely paid attention, but I realized that somewhere between baby proofing and the ABCs, I had forgotten to teach my son about who is allowed to look at his privates.
When we bathed our son in holy water, our whole family was immersed in a holy community.
My son turned 2 this summer, and over the past year he has expressed a keen interest in church. And when I say that he has expressed an interest, I really mean that he has started to lead our little family on a journey of faith that I had never before imagined for us. It started with his pointing out crosses. Sans serif, lower-case t’s demand his attention (and ours), as do graphicly hip plus signs, ornate crucifixes, and the simple stone crosses on the church we drive past every day to and from his daycare.
This Christmas, give the kids your attention before they're left to their own electronic devices.
Presents are a dime a dozen this time of year. But presence—that's another matter entirely. The ability of family members to be truly present to one another is under siege—from kids' over-the-top sports schedules, extracurriculars, sometimes even too-abundant homework. The other culprits sucking up family time, however, are devices we've bought and introduced into our children's lives, often heedless of what we are unleashing. Some true stories: