To allow someone to help us requires us to come to terms with our own vulnerability.
We went out to dinner recently with a family whose son, Jonah, was celebrating his 14th birthday.
After checking with his parents whether it would be all right to order something special, he chose steak and a double-baked potato, a step up from the burgers the rest of us ordered. When the meal came, Jonah, not a regular steak eater, found he didn’t care for it. His dad offered Jonah his own burger as a trade. Jonah, feeling bad about his decision, could not accept.
How scripture can help you talk to your kids about pain and suffering.
Jesus came with them to Gethsemane and said to his disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took along Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to feel sorrow and distress. Then he said to them. “My soul is sorrowful even to death. Remain here and keep watch with me.” He advanced a little and feel prostrate in prayer, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet, not as I will, but as you will.”
Unknown saints can play just as large a role in our daily faith lives as famous ones.
If a saint is anyone who has died and is in heaven with God, as the Catholic Church defines the word, there are a lot more saints up there than the few famous ones the church has canonized.
Release the tight chains of anger.
Shannon, a partner in a Chicago-area law firm, had a client who was offered the opportunity to settle a case with a business competitor for $70,000 and the closing of the competitor’s business.
Any Catholic teaching on family spirituality must consider the economic reality of American families.
I have one child, a son, born when I was two months from turning 35—the age when expectant mothers are termed geriatric. My one son seemingly presents a problem for a surprising number of strangers and people I know well: “Only one?” they ask suspiciously as they look at me with narrowed eyes. “But isn’t he going to be lonely?” (As the most off-the-charts extrovert in our family, he is not.) See also: “But big families are fun!” (For whom? I long to retort.) “I think you’ll regret it later if you don’t have more.” (The reverse could also be true.) “Children are a blessing!”
Catholicism is easier to pass along than you might think.
“Show, don’t tell” is one big commandment of writing. Telling is super boring: “The left fielder had a strong arm.” You want a writer to show you the scene: “As 31,942 fans watched in disbelief, Oakland A’s outfielder Yoenis Céspedes hurled the ball 300 feet from the left field corner of Angel Stadium and cut down the Angels’ Howie Kendrick as he streaked for home.”
Four practices that can help parents and children move toward authentic conversation.
Kevin and Amy have a rule at their dinner table for their three teenagers as well as themselves: What is said at the table stays at the table. “Our family committed to this when the children were young so they could express themselves without worry that their siblings or parents would talk to other people about what they shared,” Amy says. “They also don’t need to worry they are going to get in trouble for what they say. This has worked well for us, and some of our best conversations continue to happen at dinner.”
Traveling with adult children can be like parenthood turned upside down.
I went to Spain so I wouldn’t need to make any decisions.
Liam, our 20-year-old, is spending this semester studying in Spain, and two of my friends offered to move into our home for a week and take on life with our two high-school daughters so Bill and I could visit him. The semester coincided with our 25th anniversary, and after asking each friend approximately 16 times if she was serious about the offer, Bill and I booked tickets and hotel rooms and didn’t plan anything else.
Teaching children to love Mass is much like teaching them to like vegetables.
Parents who want their children to grow in appreciation for and commitment to Mass are much like parents who are determined to make sure their kids go off to college loving vegetables. Both recognize that their child’s best opportunity for adult physical and spiritual health will come out of the habits they establish in childhood.
Teaching kids about racial justice isn’t a one-time conversation.
I was making dinner last January, my then-3-year-old following me around the kitchen like an insistent cat in want of food, when he asked me a question I didn’t immediately have an answer to. Last year was only the beginning of such questions, and though he’d already bombarded me around Christmas with deep theological inquiries about the conundrum of how Jesus’ father could be God while he at the same time is also God, I was unprepared for this new one.