If we think back on our own childhoods, we can probably remember bad parenting that hurt us, but also good parenting that stayed with us and continues to strengthen and comfort us even as a memory. This shows that good parenting is real parenting, and it is powerful. So it’s good practice to remind yourself of what you’re doing right. There is probably more than you think, and it probably means more than you realize. Go ahead and list it off for yourself, the slight and the huge, the occasional and the constant. Most parents are doing so much better than they think they are.
I’m not saying we should hold out for the perfect spouse; and I’m not saying you should flee from a relationship the first time conflict crops up. It’s very good to test how well the two of you can work through problems together. And every human being brings a certain amount of imperfection into a relationship: Bad habits, personality flaws, unsavory pasts, immaturity, selfishness, and so on. Everyone’s got something — probably several things — wrong with them; and every good relationship will have conflict at some point.
But there are some flaws that should make us pause, think hard, and possibly back away before we make any vows.
Image: Skedonk [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)]
The thesaurus is a book made not only for utility, but for delight, and that’s surely part of why it’s fallen out of favor. Delight is an imprecise business, and it has its perils.
Image: Iron age coins from Beverly – Portable Antiquities Scheme from London, England [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)]
Probably I will never know what became of that offering I made. It’s not really my business, any more than it’s my business what a beggar does with my donation or a bride does with the toaster I give her on her wedding day. A gift is a gift! All I know is I gave what I have, and I will forever be glad that I made that gift. Once you put something in God’s hands with sincerity and trust, you are praising God. That is never a waste.
Image via MaxPixel (Public Domain)
Good and loving and patient God, difficult me.
Adult converts sometimes sheepishly admit that confession scares them. What they may not know is cradle Catholics often feel the same way. Very often, anxiety around confession begins in childhood, when well-meaning parents send kids all the wrong messages about when, how, and why we go to confession.
But children aren’t doomed to hate confession. Here are some things you can do to mitigate anxiety and help kids even learn to look forward to confession . . .
In case some of you were curious about my process. This takes you from accepting the gig straight up to the day before.
Image: Gregor Reisch [Public domain]
If you think of the liturgical year as a lifetime, the Christmas season is a very brief babyhood, just a bright little sliver on the pie chart, and the dark wedge of Lent hits right around the teen or early adult years.
Doesn’t that explain a thing or two?
A frequent question: What books are good for Catholic teenagers and young adults looking to deepen their faith? I have some suggestions!
What often happens is that the Church really does teach something wise, just, and compassionate that would alleviate suffering or at least not compound it; but the suffering person is surrounded by Catholics who, in the name of the Church, teach or imply things that are cruel, unreasonable, and unjust. And their friends pile on, and they apply guilt and psychological pressure, and they ostracize anyone who doesn’t knuckle under to their personal opinions masquerading as dogma.
Here we have a real problem.