Friday, September 30, 2011

An Evening Prayer

I came across this prayer in the back of the July/August/September 2011 issue of Living Faith. It seems a good one for the days I've been having lately . . .

I have to admit, Lord, that I'm glad to see this day over and done. Thank you for seeing me through all its difficulties. Grant me the rest I need to face another day tomorrow, one I hope will be better than today. Help me to see the opportunities for grace in the situations I face. Give me confidence in your abiding love for me and for all the people I am concerned about. Amen.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Happy Feast of the Archangels


I know it is late in the day for me to post this, but today (September 29th) is the Feast of the Archangels - St. Michael, St. Gabriel, and St. Raphael.

Saint Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle;
be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray:
and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host,
by the power of God,
thrust into hell Satan and all the evil spirits
who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls.
Amen.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

40 Days for Life Starts Today!

40 Days for Life Begins September 28th and goes through November 6th. It consists of prayer, fasting, peaceful vigil, and community outreach for an end to abortion. Please prayerfully consider what you can do to help support the cause. Thank you!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Free E-book for Children about St. Therese


St. Therese's feast day is coming up on October 1st. One great way to share about her life with your younger children is with this free e-book by Margaret Mary Myers: Little Saint Therese Book

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Lessons from Rosh Hashanah

The Lord said to Moses, “Tell the Israelites: On the first day of the seventh month you shall keep a Sabbath rest, with a sacred assembly and with the trumpet blasts as a reminder; you shall then do no sort of work, and you shall offer the oblation to the Lord.” (Leviticus 23:23-25)

I’m embarrassed to admit how little I actually know about Judaism, but I’m always interested in learning more. An article in The Springfield Republican about Rosh Hashanah by Rabbi Max Davis set me on a mission to find out more about the Holy Day of the Jewish New Year.

The creation of this Holy Day by the Lord is recorded in the book of Leviticus. Rosh Hashanah literally means “Head of the Year” and will be celebrated this year the evening of September 28th through the evening of September 30th. The Jewish people are beginning the year 5772 on their calendar. Rosh Hashanah is known by a few other names. It is referred to as Yom Ha-Zikkaron (the day of remembrance) or Yom Teruah (the day of the sounding of the shofar). It is also known as Yom HaDin which translates as “Judgment Day.” As Rabbi Davis states, “It is considered a judgment day of sorts, the days upon which God scrutinizes our deeds of the previous year and notes whether or not we have lived up to our potential.”

One of those areas of living up to our potential is in the realm of our personal relationships. Rabbi Davis continues, “Rosh Hashanah celebrates the fact that it is never too late to attempt to repair our friendships, even if they are stale or sour. Rosh Hashanah bids us to seek forgiveness from the Almighty as well as from fellow mortals – and be willing to grant forgiveness too whenever possible. We are urged to mend our fractured relationships through prayer, dialogue and most importantly, through pushing ourselves to look in the mirror and admit fault when we see it.”http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif

One of the customs that is part of Rosh Hashanah is Tashlikh ("casting off"). According to Judaism 101, “We walk to flowing water, such as a creek or river, on the afternoon of the first day and empty our pockets into the river, symbolically casting off our sins. Small pieces of bread are commonly put in the pocket to cast off.”

We Catholics have the wonderful gift of the Sacrament of Confession for casting off our sins, but we can always use the reminder to repair our human relationships. It is a sad fact of life, but we all hurt, and are hurt by, those we care about. We let important relationships fade because of these hurts – it sometimes seems easier to walk away then deal with the messiness of human life. We hate to have to admit we were wrong.

“I’m sorry” can be the hardest words to say. “I forgive you” falls into that category as well. Yet, those two statements, provided that the meaning behind them is genuine, can go a long way in healing our wounded relationships.

Rosh Hashanah is a Jewish Holy Day, but we can all take a lesson from it. What relationships do we need to heal? What apologies do we need to offer? What forgiveness do we need to extend? This is the time to begin anew.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Prayer Request Update

Thank you to those of you who prayed for my friend's baby. Her heart surgery was today (postponed from yesterday) and she came through as well as can be hoped for. She is now in the intensive care unit.

Now or Later?

At Bible Study today, we were discussing Adam and Eve and the first sin. Eve was promised knowledge of good and evil and that, if she ate the fruit, she would never die. She had to make a choice between obeying God and the implied promise of good things to come or having something that seemed good now.

It is the same choice we all have to make, and it determines the course of our whole lives. Do we believe in heaven and the promise of a blissful eternity beyond what we can imagine? Are we willing to sacrifice now with all the pain that entails because it is the right thing to do and the life God asks of us?

Or . . .

Do we believe that this is all there is? In which case, suffering and sacrifice make no sense and serve no purpose and we should really try to squeeze as much self-indulgent pleasure out of every day that we can, no matter who we hurt in the process.

Which will you choose?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Saints Alive! on EWTN



EWTN is featuring a new program which offers "interviews" with the saints. Find out more at Saints Alive

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Year with the Angels

Under the heading of "Books I Would Love to Get My Hands On" comes this one by Mike Aquilina. A Year With The Angels is a volume of contemplation and prayers about those most mysterious of all created beings: The Angels.

A Year With The Angels invites you to discover the authority and strength of the Heavenly Host. Angels embody virtues, graces and knowledge of the truth because they stand before the very throne of God. Among the Angels' responsibilities are governing the universe and the movements of nature, and acting as messengers of God to mankind.

This year, learn to appreciate our unique relationship with the Angels, especially those Angels assigned to protect us during this life on earth.


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

ADHD and Homeschooling

Here is an interesting study on children diagnosed with ADHD and the positive effect homeschooling can have: Freedom to Learn

Monday, September 19, 2011

Join the Holy Souls Sodality

Of course, you can always pray and offer sacrifices to help the souls in Purgatory, but here is a more formal way to pray for the deceased. The Marian Helpers offer a Holy Souls Sodality. According to their website,

Our times have become indifferent toward Eternal Life and a righteous Fear of God, consequently a very little awareness of the Souls in Purgatory. Ignorance of the Church as threefold — here on earth as the Church Militant, in purgatory as the Church Suffering, and in heaven as the Church Triumphant — reduces true and holy union and the help each can be for one another. Our responsibility to aid each other here on earth by living holy lives is forsaken and so, too, assistance by Masses and prayers of those suffering in purgatory. The true nature of Mass as the supreme prayer of Jesus to the Eternal Father is lost as many want to sense spiritually good without the sacrifice which makes all things holy.

Few, if any, hear teachings on this basic profession of our Christian Faith as we say – "I believe in…. the communion of saints." It is not only saying words but it is living the unity and bond given us at Baptism. The time to correct this humanistic error is now, we as a vibrant Marian family — the Marian Fathers and the Association of Marian Helpers — have a wholesome challenge as given us by Pope Paul VI in May of 1973:

"While giving help to the souls undergoing purification after completing their earthly journey, teach people that they have (here) no lasting city, but they ought to seek the one that is to come (cf. Heb 13:14). Thus your spiritual and religious life will give you strength for taking on this apostolate, so abundant in fruits, which has been entrusted to you."

We Marian Fathers wish to recommit ourselves, and you our Associate members, to praying daily for the deceased. With this in mind we set forth the Holy Souls Sodality as the fulfillment of our Constitutions #19 "following the abiding faith of the Church in the communion of saints in the mystical Body of Christ, with great devotion honors the memory of the dead and offers suffrages for them."


Find out more at: The Holy Souls Sodality

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Do We Question a Generous God?

This week’s Gospel (Matthew 20: 1-16a) tells of a vineyard owner hiring and paying his workers. Some workers work all day. Others come at noon. Still others start work at three in the afternoon. The last group comes at five in the afternoon. In the evening, much to everyone’s surprise, everyone is paid the same! When those who worked all day complain, the landowner replies, “What if I wish to give this last one the same as you? Or am I not free to do as I wish with my own money? Are you envious because I am generous?”

At this point, those of us who are being honest should probably nod in agreement. How many times have we complained to God, “That’s not fair!” We see someone else having success (whether that be related to family, work, or health concerns) that we feel should be rightfully ours, and we protest. “But God, I’ve worked and worked and prayed and prayed, and she did so little and got what I wanted!” How many times have we resented another’s supposedly undeserved good fortune? This Gospel tells us we have no reason to do so. God can do exactly as He wishes – His generosity knows no bounds.
Of course, this works on a spiritual level as well. Those of us who have been faithful Christians all of our lives can wonder about a God who rejoices in and welcomes the sinner who repents at the last moment of life. Think of the criminal hanging on the cross next to Jesus, whom Jesus informs, “Today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43)

Like the workers who labored all day, we complain, “That’s not fair! How can that person receive the same reward as someone who has lived a good life all of his days?” We can start by taking a hearty dose of humility and realize that none of us is without sin. Jesus died for all of us. He opened the doors of heaven for all of us. We are all in need of His mercy.

Does this mean we should live a hedonistic, selfish life, ignore the Ten Commandments, and plan to convert at the last moment? Of course not. We have heard the Gospel and are called to live it. Plus, death can come like the thief in the night. One can never be sure that one will have that opportunity to have that change of heart.

What it does mean is that we should rejoice when people change their ways, no matter how late in the day that conversion may come. There is hope for every living person, even the hardened sinner and the person who has hurt us most deeply. We should pray always for others to make it to heaven.

It also means that we should trust in God’s mercy and love. We have a generous God. We should not question His ways, but rather trust in them and be thankful for them.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Understanding Islam

It always saddens me when otherwise very good Christians speak against Islam. I know it comes from a place of ignorance. Those who practice Islam are people who find their roots in Abraham, just like Jews and Christians. Vatican II's Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions makes the following statement:

The Church has also a high regard for the Muslims. They worship God, who is one, living, and subsistent, merciful and almighty, the Creator of heaven and earth, who has also spoken to humanity. They endeavor to submit themselves without reserve to the hidden decrees of God, just as Abraham submitted himself to God's plan, to whose faith Muslims eagerly link their own.

Although not acknowledging him as God, they venerate Jesus as his prophet; his virgin Mother they also honor, and even at times devoutly invoke. Further, they await the day of judgment and the reward of God following the resurrection of the dead. For this they highly esteem an upright life and worship God, especially by prayer, alms-deeds and fasting.


St. Anthony's Messenger dedicated their September 2011 issue to Catholic / Muslim relations. I found the following two articles especially informative:

10 Things to Know About Islam

Franciscans and Muslims: Eight Centuries of Seeking God

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The National Catholic Register College Guide

The National Catholic Register's Catholic Identity College Guide is now available. If you have a high school student starting to think about college, this is a guide definitely worth checking out! Be patient - the download of the .pdf takes a while: National Catholic Register College Guide

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Prayer Request

Please pray for my friend's baby who is having open heart surgery on September 22nd.

Thank you!

Thought for the Day

For a variety of reasons, I am exhausted these days. Tired to the very core of my bones, to the point that the words "Rest in Peace" have an unusual appeal! LOL

Needless to say, I am looking forward to the day when I will no longer be so tired, although I have no idea when that will be. I just know it will come "someday." Amidst this exhaustion, I came across an article by Barbara Lishko today that had these words:

Many of us are on the road of our life journey, and we know that “somewhere up the road” we will find happiness, wholeness, rest. We sometimes tend to focus so exclusively on the destination that we miss all the good stuff in between.

It's a good reminder to enjoy what is going on now (at least as much as I can!) while I wait for that elusive rest.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

God Can Use All His Creatures for Good

I've posted stories here before about animals acting as "angels" for their human counterparts. The most recent issue of "The Catholic Mirror" features another such story. In "Fighting Fear with Faith," Nancy Engelbrecht tells how her dog helped alert her to breast cancer:

Nancy couldn't ask for a better dog. Three months after her October 2005 mammogram at age 42 come back clean, she was bothered by one of her golden retrievers, a dog named Ben.

Ben began placing his paw on Nancy's right breast each morning. She was getting annoyed after about six weeks of this behavior. "I said, 'Ben, stop that, it's really starting to hurt!'" She then put her hand where her dog had been directing her and felt a lump.. . Following Nancy's surgery, Ben never again placed his paw on her in that manner.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Do Men Think Smart Girls Unattractive?

I just scheduled this article by Anthony Buono for Catholic Exchange for next week, but in reading it, I was so flabbergasted, I had to post about it now. In his article Do Men Think Smart Girls Are Unattractive? he makes the following statement:

Unfortunately, the person women become while they’re single and pursue a career can be unattractive to certain men. By certain, I am thinking about Catholic men who want a traditional role of provider, and hope to have a stay-at-home mother for their children.

Does that sound too old-fashioned and stereotypical? Maybe even shallow? Regardless, a serious Catholic man will not mind a smart woman, as long as she is smart enough to want to give up her career once children come along and stay home to raise them. That’s what they are thinking.

And this is where a HUGE misunderstanding occurs, and both men and women can mess things up. The fact is, smart, educated, intelligent, practicing Catholic women who are successful career women do want to give up their careers to stay home with their children and be homemakers!




Certainly, this is true of some women, but not all. There are those who were truly destined to be mothers. They have spent their whole lives dreaming of the day they could nurture small children and they excel at it. And then there are those who, yes, want to be mothers, but also want something else.

Some women are totally fulfilled by motherhood and that is wonderful. Others, like me, are not. I love being a mother and I try to do the best I can at that vocation, but if I didn't have the opportunity to use my education and my skills in some way, my mental health would greatly suffer! I look forward to my time in the evenings when I get to work. Most women I know, dedicated mothers all, work part-time in some fashion - whether that be from home or outside the home. God gave us talents and the opportunity to be educated. Why would He not want us to use them in some way?

Amazingly, not one of the people (thusfar) who commented on this article took issue with this statement. Maybe the question should be, "Why do these men feel we need to give up our brains when we have children?"

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows

The Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows is celebrated on September 15th. This feast recalls the seven scriptural references to Mary’s heartache. For a woman who “kept all these things in her heart,” (Luke 2:51) that heart knew a great deal of pain. Heartache often goes hand in hand with parenting. With great love and sacrifice comes the capacity to hurt deeply. When our hearts are hurting, we can turn to Mary and know that she has been there and that she understands.

Vatican approval for the celebration of a feast in honor of Our Lady of Sorrows was first given to the Servite Order (also known as the Order of the Servants of Mary) in 1667. In 1814, Pope Pius VII extended the feast to the whole Latin Church. Originally assigned to the third Sunday in September, Pope Pius X moved the feast to September 15th in 1913.

There was also a second feast in honor of the Sorrowful Mother which was celebrated one week before Good Friday beginning in the 1700s. Considered a duplication of the September feast, it was omitted in the 1969 revision of the Church calendar.

The following are scriptural reflections for the seven sorrows of Mary followed by prayers Pope Pius VII approved in honor of those sorrows.

The Prophecy of Simeon: “And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, ‘Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted (and you yourself a sword shall pierce) so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” (Luke 2:34-35)

I grieve for you, O Mary most sorrowful, in the affliction of your tender heart at the prophecy of the holy and aged Simeon. Dear Mother, by your heart so afflicted, obtain for me the virtue of humility and the gift of the holy fear of God. Hail Mary…

The Flight into Egypt: “When they had departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, ‘Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him.’ Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed for Egypt.” (Matthew 2:13-14)

I grieve for you, O Mary most sorrowful, in the anguish of your most affectionate heart during the flight into Egypt and your sojourn there. Dear Mother, by your heart so troubled, obtain for me the virtue of generosity, especially toward the poor, and the gift of piety. Hail Mary…

The Loss of the Child Jesus in the Temple: “After three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions, and all who heard him were astounded at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him, they were astonished, and his mother said to him, “Son, why have you done this to us. Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.” (Luke 2:46-48)

I grieve for you, O Mary most sorrowful, in those anxieties which tried your troubled heart at the loss of your dear Jesus. Dear Mother, by your heart so full of anguish, obtain for me the virtue of chastity and the gift of knowledge. Hail Mary…

Mary Meets Jesus on the Way to Calvary: “So they took Jesus, and carrying the cross himself he went out to what is called the Place of the Skull, in Hebrew, Golgatha.” (John 19:16-17)

I grieve for you, O Mary most sorrowful, in the consternation of your heart at meeting Jesus as He carried His Cross. Dear Mother, by your heart so troubled, obtain for me the virtue of patience and the gift of fortitude. Hail Mary…

Jesus Dies on the Cross: “Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, behold your son.’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Behold your mother.’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his home. (John 19:25-27)

I grieve for you, O Mary most sorrowful, in the martyrdom which your generous heart endured in standing near Jesus in His agony. Dear Mother, by your afflicted heart obtain for me the virtue of temperance and the gift of counsel. Hail Mary…

Jesus is Taken Down from the Cross: “When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea named Joseph, who was himself a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus; then Pilate ordered it to be handed over.” (Matthew 27:57-58)

I grieve for you, O Mary most sorrowful, in the wounding of your compassionate heart, when the side of Jesus was struck by the lance before His Body was removed from the Cross. Dear Mother, by your heart thus transfixed, obtain for me the virtue of fraternal charity and the gift of understanding. Hail Mary…

The Body of Jesus is Placed in the Tomb: “Now in the place where he had been crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had yet been buried. So they laid Jesus there because of the Jewish preparation day; for the tomb was close by.” (John 19:40-42)

I grieve for you, O Mary most sorrowful, for the pangs that wrenched your most loving heart at the burial of Jesus. Dear Mother, by your heart sunk in the bitterness of desolation, obtain for me the virtue of diligence and the gift of wisdom. Hail Mary…
Let Us Pray:

Let intercession be made for us, we beseech You, O Lord Jesus Christ, now and at the hour of our death, before the throne of Your mercy, by the Blessed Virgin Mary, Your Mother, whose most holy soul was pierced by a sword of sorrow in the hour of Your bitter Passion. Through You, O Jesus Christ, Savior of the world, who with the Father and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns world without end. Amen.

We Remember and Pray

This prayer was in my parish bulletin for this week:

Almighty God, Lord of all compassion,
we remember the terrible events
of this day in America ten years ago.

We are reminded that we live in a broken
and grievously divided world,
where some are bent on terror and destruction.

We recall that day when planes speared into the twin towers in New York, that later
collapsed in dust and fire to rubble;
another hit the Pentagon, and a fourth crashed
because brave men fought to stop it
reaching its target.

In a world where some are willing to die
in the name of their religion,
killing and maiming thousands
of innocent people,
we struggle to understand and
combat terrorism.

As Jesus commanded, we pray for our enemies;
for an end to the hatred, the wrong
teaching and beliefs,
and the recruiting of suicide bombers,
some no more than children.
We pray for the victims of this day in 2001
and other atrocities.
We pray for the children left orphaned;
for bereaved parents;
for people still suffering from injuries and terrible memories.
We pray for those who work to relieve
and heal the suffering.
Pour your Spirit upon us to enable us
and all your people
to work for justice and true peacemaking,

In the name of Jesus Christ, King of Peace and Lord of Lords,

Amen.

Friday, September 09, 2011

The Angelus

Today at Bible Study, my friends and I prayed The Angelus. I always knew it was a prayer meant to be said at noon, but I had never prayed it before. I'm not even sure I've ever actually heard it before. So, in case you are in the same situation, I am offering it here:

The Angel of the Lord declared to Mary:
And she conceived of the Holy Spirit.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of
our death. Amen.

Behold the handmaid of the Lord: Be it done unto me according to Thy word.

Hail Mary . . .

And the Word was made Flesh: And dwelt among us.

Hail Mary . . .


Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray:

Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts; that we, to whom the incarnation of Christ, Thy Son, was made known by the message of an angel, may by His Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of His Resurrection, through the same Christ Our Lord.

Amen.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Book Review: "Stealing Jenny"

Stealing Jenny
by Ellen Gable
Full Quiver Publishing, 2011

In her third novel, Ellen Gable weaves a suspense-filled pro-life story. "Stealing Jenny" focuses on Jenny Callahan, looking forward to the delivery of her sixth child after a difficult pregnancy complicated by placenta previa. Jenny must have a c-section or else both she and the baby will most likely die.

Her mentally unstable infertile neighbor has been eying Jenny with great envy and interest. That baby should be hers! She hatches a sinister plot to kidnap Jenny and steal her unborn child. Will the police find Jenny in time? What will happen to her husband and family left behind? The second half of this book is particularly gripping. You won't want to put it down.

Ellen Gable is an NFP instructor and staunchly pro-life. She frequently writes non-fiction focusing on these topics. Her fiction is one more vehicle to get that message out to a larger audience. "Stealing Jenny" is an enjoyable story with a solid Catholic message. It is a worthy addition to the Catholic Fiction genre.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Happy Birthday, Mary!


September 8th is the day we remember the birthday of Mary. I've been meaning to post on this for a while, but as this is a Marian feast, it seems especially appropriate. The Knights of Columbus Museum is featuring a special exhibit of "Crowned Madonnas" on loan from the Vatican. Find out more here: Crowned Madonnas from the Vatican Basilica

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of death. Amen.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Sunflower Symbolism

I love sunflowers. Each year, I plant a few and wait all summer for them to grow and flower and show their happy faces. My first sunflower of this year bloomed right before Hurricane Irene hit us. I hoped that my flower would make it through the storm. It did! However, it is now severely bent over. The day after the storm, my younger son remarked that it "looked like the hunchback of Notre Dame!"

Here it is, a week later, and that stalk has produced several more blooms, all trying to turn their faces toward the sun.

And so it is with us. We get beaten down by the storms of life. At times, we may be barely able to stand (both figuratively and literally), but we can still bloom and bring beauty to the world. We can still turn our faces toward God and rest in his light and grace.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Thoughts on Labor Day

Here in the U.S. today is Labor Day. The day, best known now as the unofficial end of summer, is nearly done as I write this, but I thought I would offer a couple reflections I came across regarding what the Labor movement meant to this country and what the Catholic position is concerning it. People can honestly disagree about whether we still need unions in this country, but the simple fact remains that our way of life would be radically different had they never existed.

The first comes from Archbishop Dolan of New York: A Blessed Labor Day

The second from US Catholic: Labor Pains

Sunday, September 04, 2011

The Cure for Your Child's Boredom?

It’s back to school time, which often means it is also back to a frenetic pace of extra-curricular activities. We want our children to be well-rounded and well-educated and so we sign them up for all sorts of things: sports, dance, scouts, library programs, etc. There isn’t anything wrong with any of those things, but I’ve heard of children’s schedules that make me exhausted just listening to them. I know with many families having two working parents, after-school activities are necessary to make sure children are safe and occupied after school. However, our children need down time as much, if not more, than we adults do.

Imagination can only be truly cultivated in childhood. The ability to be creative and come up with new ideas and new solutions to problems (all valued in the workplace) depends on imagination. Developing imagination requires time to simply be and do one’s own thing.

There is a nine year old girl who lives next door to us. An only child who lives with her grandparents, she has spent most of the summer at our house playing with my children and just hanging out. She is a lovely young lady and I have enjoyed her company, but I can’t tell you how many times she told me she was bored this summer. I had never really thought about it much before, but that isn’t something I hear from my children or their other homeschooled friends very often. I started to consider why that might be.

The simple fact is that, in general, homeschooled children are left to their own devices much more than traditionally educated children. Homeschooling doesn’t require as much time on task as a traditional education so these children have more free time in which they need to occupy themselves. They are not told what they need to be doing or should be doing every minute of every day. They are used to amusing themselves.
Therefore when faced with a bulk of unoccupied time, they have no real problem finding something to do. In fact, their lists of what they would like to accomplish often exceed the free time that they have. When they get together as a group, they often create elaborate imaginary games which entertain them for considerable amounts of time.

So, then, could the cure for your child’s boredom actually be more unstructured time? I realize not every parent can or should homeschool, but a concerted effort can be made to allow for more free time, at least in the evenings. Perhaps limit extra activities to one per semester so that every night isn’t occupied with something to do and someplace to be.

If your child is not used to it, they may find the unplanned time “boring” at first and will complain, but in time, their ability to use their imagination and fill that time with activities of their own choosing will develop. Soon, you may not hear them complaining about being bored anymore, and instead hear them complaining of not enough time to do all that they want to do!

Friday, September 02, 2011

What is a Teacher?

With this being the season for back to school, Bishop Timothy McDonnell quoted the following poem in his most recent column. It is a good reflection - for all teachers, and that includes ALL parents. We all teach our children every day of our lives.

A teacher is . . . a path, to help avoid a fall.
A teacher is . . . an ear, to listen when others call.
A teacher is . . . a voice, with which to talk and sing.
A teacher is . . . a hinge, on which the future swings.
A teacher is . . . a shield, for stopping Satan's darts.
A teacher is . . . a hand, to touch a lonely heart.
A teacher is . . . an arm, to lift hearts from defeat.
A teacher is . . . a light, to awaken those who sleep.
A teacher is . . . a rock, to be solid for each day.
A teacher is . . . an example, to show Christ is the way.
A teacher is . . . a hope, while traveling earth's sod.
A teacher is . . . a life, dedicated to God.