Tag Archives: Children

Fatherhood 101: Raising Catholic Kids @ LovingTheChurch.com

A Father's Guide to Keeping Your Children CatholicThis week at LovingTheChurch.com, I share some of the ground rules Krista and I have focused on in raising our kids Catholic – Fatherhood 101: Raising Catholic Kids

Fatherhood can be very challenging but raising Catholic kids is the primary responsibility of every Catholic father. I can’t give what I don’t have. Living the Catholic Faith is extremely important and takes a “daily” effort. Here are a few simple ways that Krista and I do that.

May God bless you and keep you.

*The photo this week is of my sister, Maria, and her family.

Children & Sharing @ LovingTheChurch.com

Visit LovingTheChurch.comI wanted to share with everyone a wonderful opportunity I’ve been given to collaborate with LovingTheChurch.com.

LovingTheChurch.com focuses on how faith engages culture.

Loving the Church in Brief…

Commentary on Life, Culture & Faith. Thoughts on Family, Being a Good Father & Mother. Dialogue with the Great Minds of Our Heritage. A Resource for Prayer, Spiritual Life & Holiness…

I hope each of you will take the time to visit LovingTheChurch.com. It is a great site and a wonderful resource for growing in our love and knowledge of the Catholic Faith.

Here is a link to my first post – Children & Sharing: Thoughts from a Father

The Practice of Patience

Kids Teach Us PatiencePatience.

That mysterious, elusive word.

Just when I think I’ve got a little, real life comes crashing through.

It normally goes something like this…

  1. My son decides that it would be a good idea to chase his sister.
  2. My daughter decides that the best way to deal with the brotherly pursuit is to scream at the top of her lungs.
  3. Right before all this…daddy decided it was a good time to make an important business call.
  4. Patience has officially left the building!

I wish I could tell you that this is a rare occurrence but it isn’t. In fact, with both my wife and I working from home it actually happens more frequently than I’d like to admit.

HOWEVER – We are working on it…consciously.

know that I must set a good example for my children. I know I need to practice patience. I know that patience is a fruit of the Spirit, a ‘perfection that the Holy Spirit forms in [me] as a first fruit of eternal glory’ (CCC 1832). I know that patience is an attribute of charity (1 Cor 13:4).

Yet all this knowledge seems to avail me little in the heat of the moment. Why is that? Aristotle is quoted as having said:

Patience is bitter, but it’s fruit is sweet.

Maybe that’s explains why it can be so hard. Bitterness. It’s a hard pill to swallow.

I want things to go the way I think they should go.

I want others to behave the way I think they should behave.

I think “out of control” situations and “perceived” misbehavior demands a response.

Archbishop Fulton Sheen insists that it does, but under certain conditions.

Patience is power. Patience is not an absence of action; rather it is “timing” it waits on the right time to act, for the right principles and in the right way.

I guess it comes back to what Mom repeatedly told me as a kid – Two wrongs don’t make a right.

It’s okay for me to take a minute before responding to any situation or person. I have to check my motives, my disposition.

Is it the right time to respond?

Is the motivation for my response based on the right principle(s)?

By responding now, am I acting in the right way?

This criteria works…whether I’m stuck behind a truck going 20 miles an hour or my kids are going berserk.

The rightness of my timing, my reasons, and my action really does matter. St. Paul admonishing the Romans said:

For [God] will render to every man according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life… – Rom 2:6-7

It is for this reason that I must be in business of trying. Everything is at stake.

Dear God, please help me to faithfully practice patience.

May God bless you and keep you.

Father-Daughter Time!

Father-Daughter Time My 3-year old daughter loves me!

I know that because she loves to tell me that throughout the day…everyday.

And I absolutely love that!

I take my role as “father” very seriously.

I know that my daughter needs me. She needs my affirmation, empathy, confidence, courage, friendship, guidance, and, most importantly, my love. She needs me to be a model of faith and fidelity. I must show her God’s love. The Catechism of the Catholic Church affirms this:

2222 Parents must regard their children as children of God and respect them as human persons. Showing themselves obedient to the will of the Father in heaven, they educate their children to fulfill God’s law.

It’s hard to constantly keep all of this in mind. I get busy with work, obligations, things around the house, and just everyday life.

It is for this reason that my wife and I, early on, agreed on the importance of “dedicated” time with our children, both together and individually. My daughter and I look forward to Father-Daughter Time.

We do all kinds of fun things – play at the park, watch movies, play doll house, go for walks, have father-daughter dinners, or whatever else her little heart desires (within limits of course).

I firmly believe that these times together will help to shape the woman she one day becomes. She needs me in her life.

Meg Meeker, in her book Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters beautifully explains this:

When she is a baby, her eyes will search for your face. Her ears will listen for your voice and everything inside her will need to answer only one question, “Daddy, are you here?” If you are there, her body will grow better. Her IQ will start to rise, her development will track where it is supposed to, but more important, she will realize that life is good because you love her. You are her introduction to love; you are love itself…If she knows that you are there, dependable and full of love for her, you will have taught her this great lesson: Life is good. Good men help make it so. (pg.232-233)

The family, as the domestic church, must be the school of love. I have an obligation, as a father, to teach my children the lesson of love through the practice of self-denial and the complete gift of self. I have to lay down my life for them.

Sometimes, as is the case with Father-Daughter time, that gift of self is utterly enjoyable. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. She is my precious little girl, and I always want to be there for her.

God is truly good to me, as His son. I, in turn, want to share that goodness with my children.

God please give me the grace to be the father you desire me to be. Amen.

Just a closing note: In addition to Father-Daughter time, I have Father-Son time, whole family time, and my wife and I still go out on dates just by ourselves. Time spent with the family, individually or as a whole, is always time well spent.

Becoming Like A Child

Trusting in GodKids long for affirmation.

As a parent, I have to be mindful of this need. Whether by commenting on a picture they are coloring or lifting them up when they successfully complete a lap around the yard I strive to fulfill their need for attention and praise.

Whenever life gets hectic or I “zone out” on some project and forget about this need, they come in search of it. Both of our children will come and try to show Daddy what they are doing or call out to me to take notice. They generally are not satisfied until I look and make some comment of approval or tell them how awesome they are.

Isn’t this how our relationship with God should be? Shouldn’t we be running to Him seeking His delight?

We know that Christ demands child-like faith of us (Matt 18:3). We know that we are to “ask…seek…knock” (Matt 7:7), but how often do we actually do it?

I find that if I’m not turning to the Father in prayer on a daily basis I forget my need for God. I become self-reliant, the poster boy for self-will run riot. It never ceases to amaze me.

I have to be like a child, constantly looking back to see if Daddy is watching me, approving of what I’m doing, and leading me on.

In prayer I ask for His Will to be done in my life. I make a decision to turn my will over to the care of God. But decisions require action. I have to spot-check myself throughout the day.

Is this God’s will or my will? Will this please God my Father?

As I run this lap around the yard of life, I should constantly be looking to the Father for His approval, for His delight. I must become who He has created me to be. With Jesus I pray:

Not my will, but thine, be done (Luke 22:42).

One of my favorite lines comes from the movie, Chariots of Fire when Eric Liddell says:

I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure.

Today, may I seek the Father’s pleasure.