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Messy Family Podcast : Catholic Conversations on Marriage and Family

Parenting is not a clean-cut, simple process for those who like to follow the rules. Family life is messy and unpredictable, but it is the greatest adventure you will ever have. We are Mike and Alicia Hernon, parents of 10 children ranging from 10 to 27 and we would like to invite you into some of the conversations we have had with each other about marriage, parenting, and Catholic family life. Our hope is that our conversation sparks a dialogue between you and your spouse that leads to greater unity and intentional Christian parenting in your home. Listen in to our podcast and start the conversation as we seek to lead our families to heaven. Visit us at https:///www/MessyFamilyProject.org for resources, guides, links and show notes.
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Messy Family Podcast : Catholic Conversations on Marriage and Family
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May 20, 2024

Summary

In this next part of our series on tech, we talk about the specific challenges that tech use brings to boys and girls.  Just as men and women have different gifts, they also deal with different temptations in their tech use.  Because of this, parents must be proactive in teaching boundaries to their children so they can use tech with freedom when they leave your house and enter the world of adulthood. During this conversation, we give you some principles that you will need to discuss with your spouse to make a tech policy of your own. Every family must have some boundaries, because if you don’t define them, then the reality is that Big Tech will be calling the shots in your house. Their goal is to control your kids and they have the means to do it.  

 

Key Takeaways

  • Because of the genius of men to create and subdue the world they are more tempted to be addicted to video games.  Because of women’s gift of relationships they are more tempted to be absorbed in social media.  

  • Parents must know the symptoms of addiction and immediately respond if they believe their child has an addiction.  Their child’s future success in life depends on it. 

  • The best filter is a well-formed child who knows how to respond to toxic online content. 

  • You must teach and model healthy tech use for your kids - nothing is private, have a healthy skepticism of any online content, and learn good manners.  

 

Couple Discussion Questions

  • Are we aware of the symptoms of tech addiction?  Are any of our children in danger of this addiction?  If so, what are we going to do about it? 

  • Do we have a written tech policy?  Plan a time to discuss with your spouse and create one.  

  • What is our plan for social media use for our children?  

Resources

May 13, 2024

The destructive effects of video games are not on boys' cognitive abilities or their reaction times, but on their motivation and their connectedness with the real world.

~Dr. Leonard Sax

Technology can be a blessing or a curse. It can be used for great good and yet it can expose people to grave evil. Helping our children learn how to responsibly navigate the use of technology, especially social media, is one of the immense parenting challenges of our age.  In this podcast, we look at the unique challenges that technology presents to parents and why parents must meet this challenge head-on!  We talk about how to discern your tech use as a family and why just locking down every device is simply not enough.  Like most areas of parenting, we need to first train ourselves and then take the time to train our children.  

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Don’t be naive. Stay on top of what your kids are watching and what they are engaging with.  It is our responsibility to prepare and guide them. 

  • Discern your tech use as a person and as a family. Walk them through the seven keys to empower them to make good choices because tech is a powerful gift of God and should be used for good.

  • Seven keys the church gives us to guide us in using technology

    • Does it communicate a balanced worldview?

    • How is the creator's attitude oriented towards the subject?

    • Does it dignify the human person?

    • Does it speak the Truth?

    • Is it inspirational?

    • Is it done with skill? 

    • Is it motivated by experience?

  • Train your children to use it as they grow. Like driving a car, prepare them to use it as they mature and are old enough to use it wisely and virtuously

 

COUPLE DISCUSSION

  • In what ways have we been blessed by media and technolgy?  How has it helped us? 

  • How can we discern our media use as a family?  

  • If our goal is to form our children to become adults who can make good media choices, how and when can we give our children appropriate freedom?  What does that look like for our kids today? 

 

Resources: 

Infinite Bandwidth: Encountering Christ in the Media. By Dr. Eugene Gan

https://www.afterbabel.com/p/algorithms-hijacked-my-generation

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapediatrics/article-abstract/2799042

 

https://www.mayoclinichealthsystem.org/hometown-health/speaking-of-health/are-video-games-and-screens-another-addiction

 

https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2024/03/teen-childhood-smartphone-use-mental-health-effects/677722/?gift=9xPqLPcwLfFbf_nnCRecvKJ-3gklcv6nZX-Hliug6W4&utm_source=copy-link&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=share

 

https://ifstudies.org/blog/is-your-son-addicted-to-video-games

 

May 6, 2024

“We can only see our spouse clearly when we look at Jesus first.” - Dan Lawson

 

Summary

In this podcast, we tackle some hard issues in marriage.  What makes couples believe that they need to get divorced?  Why is it essential for couples to have a vision for their individual lives and for their marriage?  What is the pattern in successful marriages that we can emulate?  We even talk about what to say to a person who tells you they are getting a divorce - a very difficult and sensitive topic, but one that we have to discuss.  Dan Lawson is a Catholic therapist who takes a solution-focused approach with his clients, as opposed to “problem-focused” approach.  This means that instead of looking only at what is going wrong in a relationship, he asks questions and guides clients to look at what is going right.  This hopeful approach helps spouses to encounter their own goodness which is where you need to start to create a pattern of mutual admiration, one of the hallmarks of a successful marriage.  Listen into this essential conversation! 

 

Key Takeaways

  • Divorce is a sin against hope.  It says “I can’t change.  They can’t change.”  

  • The goal of life is not the perfect marriage, the goal is holiness. We need to start first by looking at Jesus and pursuing holiness in our own lives.  Then our marriage can improve. 

  • It is essential that each of us look first at what we are doing right in our marriages and in our lives.  When we can see and affirm that, then we can do more of that and “starve” out the negativity.

  • Every person needs to ask themselves the question, “Who do I want to be at the end of my life?”  We need to have a vision for our lives and live that way in our marriages.

  • Establishing a pattern of admiration and trust is key to building a life-long, life-giving marriage. Most spouses struggle to communicate their needs and their feelings. 

 

Couple Discussion Questions

  • What is my vision for my life?  Who do I want to be at the end of my life? 

  • How has my spouse loved me this year?  What are some of our greatest accomplishments together?

  • “The goal of life is not the perfect marriage, the goal is holiness”  What are my thoughts on this?

 

Apr 29, 2024

It’s easier to be patient after we come to realize how patient our
Heavenly Father is with us.

 

Why is it so hard for parents to be patient with their children?  People who thought they were good and normal adults find themselves tearing their hair out over the things done by a child half their size and a fraction of their age!  One thing we tell parents over and over is that parenting is supposed to change you.  It is supposed to form you.  It is supposed to be challenging, so if you are struggling, that is OK!  But we do have some tips for you and some stories that we hope will help change your perspective on growing in this essential virtue for moms and dads.  

 

Key Takeaways:

  • If you are impatient with your children you are normal!  Lean in and allow yourself to be changed as you grow in virtue

  • Children need adults to slow down and give them time to do things by themselves

  • Parenting takes alot of time!  Lessons need to be taught over and over.  There is no magic bullet.  Parenting is a marathon, not a sprint.

  • We can learn to be patient by first realizing how patient God is with us.  We are disobedient, messy kids but our Father teaches us the same lessons over and over

 

Couple Discussion: 

  • How would you rate your patience on a scale of 1-10?  How would you rate your spouse?  Discuss this.  

  • What lessons in your life has God had to teach you over and over?  How has God been patient with you? 

  • Which one of your children do you find it most difficult to be patient with and why?  Which of your children to you find it easiest to be patient with?  How can you learn from this?

 

Apr 22, 2024

“I now am taking this kinswoman of mine, not because of lust, but with sincerity.  Grant that she and I may find mercy and that we may grow old together.” Tobit 8:7

 

Summary

Physical intimacy between spouses is a topic that is difficult to talk about, but one that is absolutely essential in Catholic circles.  You see, Satan’s plan is for people to have as much sex as possible BEFORE they are married and as little sex as possible AFTER they are married!  These lies and confusion need to be addressed in a way that is respectful but also practical for married couples.  In this podcast, we welcome Ellen Holloway of Vines in Full Bloom, a ministry dedicated to helping women and couples experience a joyful, satisfying sexual relationship within marriage. We discuss sexual pleasure, the different ways that men and women handle stress, the relationship between sex and prayer, the difference between “anticipatory” and “escalatory” foreplay,  and what to do when your libido is completely gone.  There is a wealth of valuable information for husbands and wives to hear and then discuss with each other.  Listen in and join the conversation! 

 

Key Takeaways

  • Part of foreplay is being aware of your spouse throughout the day and letting them know you are thinking of them. 

  • Being joyful in marriage means you have a willingness to build intimacy through unity with your spouse.  

  • If you have no desire for sex at all at the moment, ask yourself, “What AM I willing to do?”

  • No one should accept zero libido as a lifestyle. That is not normal. 

  • There are many similarities between how we view prayer and how we view sexual relations with our spouse.  We should be continually learning in both. 

  • Our Heavenly Father made sexual relations to be pleasurable because He loves us and wants us to be happy.  Sometimes we don’t accept how overly generous our Father is! 

 

Couple Discussion Questions

  • Take 5-10 min daily for a week to discuss sex with each other.  

  • How often do we discuss our sex life?  What is holding us back from having this conversation? 

  • Do I believe sex is a sacred gift from God? Why or why not?  

 

Resources

Charting Toward Intimacy podcast

www.vinesinfullbloom.com

Physical Intimacy download from MFP website. https://messyfamilyproject.org/guide/physical-intimacy/

Apr 15, 2024

Parenting is not an inborn skill. It is something that we learn over time from trial and error and with help from others. 

 

Summary

Over the past 28 years raising our 10 kids we have made a lot of mistakes, but also learned from them!  In this podcast, we go over 12 tips that we have found make a big difference in the life of a family.  They are principles that we live by and how we have gotten where we are today.  None of them are rocket science - but they are things you may not have thought of before or realized how essential they are.  We have released this podcast before, but now we have a new perspective since our kids are older and now we have grandkids.  The great thing is, we have found that these tips still work!  As you listen, make sure that you choose 1 or 2 things that you want to implement in your lives starting this week.  Don’t try to do everything! Small changes over time have the biggest impact.  Listen in and join the conversation!  

 

Key Takeaways

  • It is not your job to make your children into saints.  It is their job to make YOU into a saint!

  • You are irreplaceable.  Your children will only ever have ONE mom and ONE dad.  No one can do for your child what you can do. 

  • Your children cannot be the center of your family.  They are part of a community.  

  • Love requires boundaries.  But at the same time, remember that rules without relationship breeds rebellion.  

  • Children need to be taught everything.  They don’t know the words to say to be respectful, or the way to respond when you ask them to do something.  Do not be surprised when they don’t do what you want right away.  Your job is to teach them.  

 

Couple Discussion Questions

  • Do I find it easy or hard to embrace my authority as a parent?  Do I recognize my unique place in the life of my child?  How would I articulate my role? 

  • How do I feel about my child making me into a saint?  What are ways I see them teaching me how to be less selfish? 

  • Do we have a plan for discipline? Are we on the same page?  Where do we disagree?

 

Apr 8, 2024

Summary

Most of us rarely have an opportunity to sit down and talk to a priest, let alone a bishop!  We were so blessed to have a conversation with not just a bishop, but an archbishop and one who loves the Lord, loves families, and who leads with the heart of a shepherd.  Join us as we talk to Archbishop Naumann of Kansas City who shares his story of growing up without a father and how his mother and family gave him the stability and security he needed to flourish and become the man God called him to be.  He provides insights to families in our conversation along with a good dose of humor and practical encouragement.  

Key Takeaways

  • Family stability and security are essential for children to flourish and fulfill their God-given potential, as Archbishop Naumann's own upbringing exemplifies.

  • Archbishop Naumann emphasizes the importance of love, faith, and commitment within families as foundational elements for building strong communities and societies.

  • Practical encouragement and humor are valuable tools in navigating the challenges and joys of family life, as shared by Archbishop Naumann during the conversation.

Couple Discussion Questions

  1. How can we emulate the stability and security that Archbishop Naumann experienced in his upbringing within our own family dynamic?

  2. In what ways can we prioritize love, faith, and commitment within our family to strengthen our bonds and contribute positively to our community?

  3. How can we incorporate humor and practical encouragement into our family life to navigate challenges and foster a spirit of joy and resilience?

  4. Reflecting on Archbishop Naumann's insights, what changes or adjustments can we make to our family routines or habits to better reflect our values and priorities?

  5. What lessons or inspirations can we take from Archbishop Naumann's story to enhance our own journey as spouses and parents?

 

Mar 25, 2024

Summary

In this episode, Mike and Alicia Hernon explore the transformative impact of conversations with children. They emphasize the importance of fostering a family culture centered around meaningful dialogue. From toddlers to teens, discover practical strategies for nurturing curiosity, understanding, and mutual respect within the parent-child relationship. Don't miss out on this engaging discussion that highlights the profound influence of conversations in shaping both children and parents alike. For more information on this and other topics visit: https://www.messyfamilyproject.org/

 

Key Takeaways

  • Conversations form your children, but more importantly, it forms YOU

  • Kids will not always remember what you said, they will remember how they felt. 

  • Conversations should be different depending on the age of the child

  • Conversations should be part of your family culture.  How the conversations happen, when they happen, and what you talk about. 

 

Couple Discussion Questions

  • On a scale of 1-10 how good are we at talking with our kids?  How can we improve? 

  • What is the most difficult part of talking with the kids? How can I get over this? 

  • What assumptions do I make when I am talking to my children?  

  • What are some topics my children would like to talk about?

 

Mar 18, 2024

“Thank you, every woman, for the simple fact of being a woman! Through the insight which is so much a part of your womanhood you enrich the world's understanding and help to make human relations more honest and authentic.”
~ John Paul II, Letter to Women

 

Summary

Women have particular gifts to bring to the world which were identified by John Paul II as the “genius of women”.  The Given Institute was created by religious superiors of the major orders in the United States and works with young women in all states of life to help them realize that they are gift, work to discover their unique giftedness and then make a plan to bring those gifts to the world.  In this podcast, we discuss these topics with Michelle Hilleart, their Executive Director who is  passionate about the need for women to know their own dignity and worth.  There are so many lies and confusing messages being given to young women today and these messages are preventing them from not just being who they were created to be, but also preventing them from knowing how they were created.  Listen in to hear about what REAL “girl power” is! 

 

Key Takeaways

  • John Paul II identified the “genius of women” as receptivity, sensitivity, generosity, and maternity.

  • Every woman is called to be a spiritual mother - whether she is a natural mother, single woman, or consecrated woman.  

  • Every woman is called and gifted and those gifts begin to grow when a woman knows who she is as a daughter of God. 

  • Once we know what those gifts are we should then create an “action plan” to bring those unique gifts to the world. 

 

Couple Discussion Questions

  • Do I recognize my dignity as a daughter of God? 

  • What are the gifts that are uniquely mine? 

  • How can I develop those gifts and bring them to the people around me? 

 

Mar 11, 2024

“It's our experience that parents who don’t allow their children to play with weapons have little boys who will chew their toast into the shape of a gun”

 

Summary

Hello, I wanted to ask a question in regard to violent play for a toddler. My 4 year old boy is obsessed with all types of toy swords, lasers, etc. Any suggestions on how to manage it in a way that lets him explore but also places limits on it?  

This question came from a listener who is a mom of a normal boy!  But often this type of behavior catches parents unaware.  Our culture gives so many confusing messages to boys in the world.  Sometimes the behavior of little boys can be surprising or even shocking to moms who aren’t used to rough and tumble play.  But the beauty of boys is that they are made for this!  And playing is how they learn to make sense of the world around them, handle conflicting emotions and learn to relate in a healthy way to other boys.  In this podcast, we tackle the issue head on with some funny stories and practical advice.  We also discuss some of the psychology behind the emotional life of boys and what parents need to do to keep their boys well-adjusted and loved.  In the end we have tips for you on how to teach your boy to use his body in a way that respects himself and others.  

 

Key Takeaways

  • Violent play  in young boys is natural and when it comes from within their own mind (not from images introduced to them) it is not just harmless, but important to allow. 

  • Boys work out their emotions physically. The verbal and emotional parts of their brain are not hard wired as girls’ are.  

  • Getting your boys comfortable and confident in their bodies is essential for their emotional and mental health.

  • Boy’s emotions are just as present and as deep as girls are. They are just expressed differently and need to be responded to differently. 



Couple Discussion Questions

 

  1. What do I find hardest about my boys

  2. How can we respect the way they are made 

 

Resources: 

Documentary on the emotional life of boys

https://youtu.be/y9k0vKL5jJI?si=W8v5vmmWzNojXKAV

Mar 4, 2024

Join Mike and Alicia Hernon on this enlightening episode of the Messy Family Podcast as they sit down for an insightful interview with Bishop Joseph Coffey of the Archdiocese of the Military (United States). Together, they explore the intriguing question, "Where do Bishops Come From?" and delve into Bishop Coffey's personal journey of faith, discernment, and leadership within the Catholic Church.

With candor and wisdom, Bishop Coffey shares his unique perspective on the role of bishops in today's world and offers valuable insights into the formation and responsibilities of these spiritual leaders. From his early experiences in the military to his calling to the priesthood and eventual consecration as a bishop, Bishop Coffey's story is both inspiring and enlightening.

Throughout the conversation, Mike and Alicia engage Bishop Coffey in a wide-ranging discussion that touches on topics such as the challenges facing the Church, the importance of prayer and discernment in leadership, and the role of bishops in shepherding their flocks through turbulent times.

Whether you're a devout Catholic seeking a deeper understanding of the Church's hierarchy or simply curious about the journey of bishops, this episode offers a fascinating glimpse into the life and ministry of one of the Church's spiritual leaders.

Subscribe now and join Mike, Alicia, and Bishop Coffey as they navigate the complexities of faith, family, and leadership in today's world.

Feb 26, 2024

In this faith-filled episode of the Messy Family Podcast, Mike and Alicia discuss discuss the significance of authenticity, the power of family traditions, and the impact of a vibrant faith community. Whether you're a seasoned parent or just starting your family journey, this episode promises valuable insights and practical tools for nurturing a legacy of faith that will endure for generations to come.

Tune in to the Messy Family Project podcast today and discover how to build a legacy of faith that withstands the test of time. Don't miss out on this inspiring conversation that will empower you to embrace your role as a faith-filled parent and create a lasting impact on your family's spiritual journey.

Subscribe now and join the Messy Family Project community as we navigate the beautiful messiness of family life together! For more information on this and other topics visit: https://www.messyfamilyproject.org/

Feb 19, 2024

In this episode of the podcast, we delve into the heart of family bonding and spiritual growth with an enlightening interview with the Marinist Family. Guided by the profound core beliefs of the Marianist Family Retreat Ministry, our guests share invaluable insights into strengthening familial ties, fostering communication, and embracing forgiveness and commitment within the family unit.

Key Takeaways:

  • Discover the transformative power of affirming familial love and forgiveness.
  • Embrace the teachings of Mary as a model for nurturing familial spirituality.
  • Explore the concept of discipleship of equals and its impact on family ministry.
  • Learn how community plays a vital role in nurturing familial bonds and spiritual growth.
  • Uncover the structured and unstructured opportunities for growth within the Marinist Family Retreat Program.
  • Embrace the practice of prayer and discernment in opening oneself to the gifts of the Holy Spirit within the family context.

Couple Discussion Questions:

  1. How can we incorporate the teachings of Mary into our family dynamics?
  2. Reflecting on the pillars of the Marinist Family Retreats, which aspect do we feel is most crucial for our family's growth?
  3. How can we create a balance between structured and unstructured family time to nurture spiritual growth?
  4. In what ways can we foster a sense of community within our family and extend it to the larger community?

Tune in to this enlightening episode as we uncover the tools for deepening familial bonds and fostering spiritual growth with the Marinist Family.

Feb 5, 2024

For a child to learn how to love, they need to first be loved. 

So many people find disciplining their children to be one of the biggest challenges of being a parent.  We look back to the way our parents raised us and often we realize that we want to do things differently, but we just don’t know how.  Without a new perspective, many times we just fall back on what we experienced as a child and we react from our own woundedness or our own view of what a father or mother should be.  In this episode, Mike and Alicia talk about how parents can model the perfect parent, God the Father Himself.  As we do this, we will find ourselves walking in our true  identity as a son or daughter of the Most High.  When we understand that, then we can form our children as God forms us.  

Listen in to this essential conversation and use our Key Takeaways and Discussion Questions to go deeper with your spouse on this topic.

Key Takeaways

  • We need to parent the way God fathers us, free of emotion and manipulation

  • Discipline starts with relationship because its all about forming their hearts.

  • We need to teach children how to repair and restore relationships when they do the wrong thing.  

 

Couple Discussion Questions

  • In our childhoods have we experienced shame from our parents or those in authority?  How did that make me feel?

  • Do we imitate those behaviors in our parenting? 

  • How can we reflect God the Father more in our formation of our children? 

  • Consider one of your children in need of formation.  What is the best way to reach their heart? 

 

Jan 29, 2024

Your family culture is the operating system in your home.  It communicates to your children more powerfully than any written word.

Family culture is something that we are passionate about in this ministry!  We believe that this is the secret weapon of the Catholic family and something that every mom and dad needs to be very intentional about.  The culture within the home is like the operating system in your family and it communicates more powerfully than any written word.  In this episode we give the foundations of family culture and explain why it's important.  Because there is so much to cover, we only get to talk about the spiritual life of the home and what that means for the children.  This is a re-release of a previous episode, but the information is timeless and the principles are the foundation of many of our courses and guides.  Re-release MFP096 Building a Family Culture

For more information on this and other topics visit: https://www.messyfamilyproject.org/

Key Takeaways

  • Parents don’t create a culture, they steward it.  All the members of the family participate. 

  • Family Culture is the unspoken system that binds your family together and communicates your expectations, beliefs, and values more powerfully than any written word.  

  • Your culture must be stronger and more attractive than the secular culture and it must communicate more powerfully.

  • A wise family learns how to manage the urgent and prioritize the important.

  • The spiritual life of your home needs to be the foundation of your culture because it is our connection to God that gives meaning to our lives.

Couple Discussion Questions

  • There is a culture in our home right now.  What is this culture communicating to our children? 

  • What are some values that we want our children to learn from our culture?  How can we do this better? 

  • What are the Urgent things in our life that we need to manage better? 

  • What are the Important things that we are putting off? 

Resources

 

Jan 22, 2024

In this episode, Mike and Alicia keep diving into the complex relationship of man and woman in marriage. It is vitally important that we keep in mind that we need to act according to our nature to have a successful, peaceful marriage! Part of this is realizing that there is a dance that happens between spouses - that is the giving and receiving. So what some fundamentalists may call “headship” we would say this is really men giving to their wives and families because this is what enables them to receive. What others may call “submission” we would say is really women receiving from their husbands in order to give. This is where the idea of “mutual submission” comes from. Both men and women are called to give and receive, but it is in a different order.

Listen in and send us your questions! We would love to tackle them in a future episode!

Key Takeaways:

  • The Fall broke the unity between husband and wife and made them distrust each other.  Adam was passive and Eve took the initiative.  This was disordered. 

  • Jesus elevated marriage to a sacrament and called us all to something greater.  To a supernatural call that only He can give us the grace to accomplish.

  • Both husband and wife are called to give and to receive, but the order is reversed.  Men are called to GIVE in order to RECIEVE.  Women must RECIEVE in order to GIVE.  This is the difference between leadership and submission. 

  • Husbands need to learn to receive from their wives, and wives need to learn how to give from their husbands.  

Couple Discussion:

  • What does our “dance” look like in our home?  How to be operate when we make decisions? When we run the family? 

  • How easy is it for him to give first in our home?  How can we both support that initiative?  

  • Are there areas in which he is receiving without giving?  

  • Are there areas in which she is giving without first receiving?  

Resources

 

Jan 15, 2024

Join Mike and Alicia Hernon on another insightful episode of The Messy Family Podcast, where they fearlessly delve into the timeless and relevant topic of headship in marriage in reference to the key passages in Ephesians 5. 

In this episode, the Hernons share the behind-the-scenes of their podcast and video show on YouTube, inviting you to subscribe and become a valuable member of their growing community. They take you on a journey through recent family events, from unexpected hospital visits to the joyous arrival of their seventh grandchild, Declan John.

Amidst the chaos, the Hernons ask for your prayers for a family facing health challenges, emphasizing the power of community and support in navigating life's trials. They also share exciting updates about upcoming events, such as the Good News cruise with Father Mike Schmitz and the Catholic Couples Getaway with Chris and Natalie Stefanik. Stay tuned for announcements for Catholic Couples Getaway 2025!

As the episode unfolds, Mike and Alicia explore the concept of headship in marriage, addressing the age-old question: Do wives have to obey? Gain insights, reflections, and practical wisdom on this crucial aspect of family life. Whether you're a parent, spouse, or part of a messy family, this episode offers valuable perspectives on collaboration, obedience, and the beauty of shared roles in marriage.

Don't miss out on this engaging and thought-provoking discussion that aims to navigate the beautiful chaos of marriage, offering inspiration and support for every member of the messy family community.

Jan 8, 2024

🎙️ Dive into a captivating episode of the Messy Family Podcast with Mike and Alicia Hernon! In this edition, titled "Angels Watching Over Us with Fr. Wolfgang Seitz," we explore the fascinating realm of guardian angels and the divine assistance that surrounds our lives.

🌟 Join Mike and Alicia as they welcome Father Wolfgang Seitz from the Order of Canons Regular of the Holy Cross, an expert on the Holy Angels. Fr. Wolfgang shares insights into the deep devotion his order has for the angels and provides a unique perspective on the vital role they play in our lives.

👼Discover the untapped source of strength that our guardian angels offer, and learn about a yearlong consecration program that can deepen your connection with these celestial beings. Fr. Wolfgang's experiences and teachings shed light on how our guardian angels collaborate with us in both natural and supernatural aspects of life.

🏠 As you listen, gain a profound understanding of the Order of Canons Regular of the Holy Cross and their mission to spread devotion to the Holy Angels. Explore the rich history of the order and how it intersects with the powerful tradition of consecration.

🙏 Whether you're a believer seeking to enhance your spiritual journey or simply curious about the divine mysteries, this episode provides valuable insights. Tune in to the Messy Family Podcast and let the wisdom shared by Fr. Wolfgang Seitz inspire you to embrace the unseen yet eternal presence of angels in your life. Don't miss out on this enlightening conversation that may forever change the way you perceive the guardianship of these heavenly beings!

🔗 Subscribe to the Messy Family Podcast for more engaging discussions and practical insights on navigating the beautiful chaos of family life with Mike and Alicia Hernon. Your journey into the messy and miraculous tapestry of familyhood awaits!

For more information on this and other topics visit: https://www.messyfamilyproject.org/

Dec 18, 2023

In this episode, we look into the world of toys, discussing their impact on children's development and the importance of purposeful and intentional choices in selecting toys for our families. Our special guest, Regina Doman, shares valuable insights into cultivating imagination, creativity, and responsibility in children through thoughtful toy choices.

As we explore the role of toys in shaping a child's worldview, we reflect on the significance of simplicity, quality over quantity, and the benefits of open-ended toys like building blocks. We also touch upon the idea of rotating toys to keep a sense of novelty and excitement while minimizing clutter. Regina emphasizes the importance of recognizing the formative nature of the home environment and the valuable lessons children learn through play.

We address the common challenges parents face, such as dealing with violent play, and how to navigate these situations with wisdom and balance. To further enrich this discussion, Regina suggests checking out her article on Nova Natural, where she elaborates on her philosophy and approach to toys. We conclude with a prayer for parents, seeking God's guidance and blessings in raising children who embrace the beauty of simplicity, creativity, and responsibility. https://reginadoman.substack.com/p/throwback-friday-toys

Your support and prayers contribute to the mission of rebuilding families and making a positive impact on marriages and children. If you've been blessed by what we do, consider making a donation or spreading the word to help us continue our work. https://www.messyfamilyproject.org/

Thank you for joining us on this journey of exploration and reflection. May God bless your families abundantly, and until next time, may the Lord bless you and keep you.

Dec 11, 2023

“For it is good to be a child sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when the mighty Founder was a child Himself.” ~ Charles Dickens

Christmas is a magical time for children.  Whether you celebrate Santa, St. Nick, Elf on a Shelf or other traditions, this season is a wonderful time for children to develop wonder and awe.  How do parents do this in a way that encourages their children to keep their eyes on the eternal significance of this holy time?  There are so many things that we can do with our kids that it forces parents to be intentional.  We need to make sure we choose to do those activities that have the most impact on our kids in a way that communicates truth.  Listen in as we share our ideas, but also set realistic expectations during this intensely busy time for parents.

🎄 Resources Mentioned: Explore additional resources on Advent and Christmas traditions by checking out our Advent and Christmas Traditions Book, visit our website for more information.

🌈 Join Us in Creating a Joyful Family Culture! Discover how these traditions not only bring joy and wonder to your home but also form the identity of your children in profound ways. Let's build a community that stands out in love, service, and faith.

🔗 Connect with Us: https://instagram.com/messyfamilyproject?igshid=NGVhN2U2NjQ0Yg==

👍 Like, Share, and Subscribe! If you enjoyed this episode, don't forget to give it a thumbs up, share it with your friends, and subscribe for more heartwarming discussions on faith, family, and traditions.

🌟For more information on this and other topics visit: https://www.messyfamilyproject.org/

 

Key Takeaways:

  • Children celebrate Christmas differently depending on their age

  • There is wonder and beauty in Christmas that we should encourage in our children

  • Parents need to be discerning about the environments that we put our children in

 

Couple Discussion: 

  • How can we create an environment that communicates truth to our children? 

  • What are the traditions we want to establish in our home for our children? 

  • What needs do our children have right now?

 

Nov 27, 2023

“The family is where children discover how to be human.”
- Archbishop Charles Chaput

Over and over again people ask us how to help their kids get along with each other.  We usually respond that of course their kids don’t get along - because they are kids!  That is what you are doing as a parent.  You are the ones teaching them how to live at peace with other human beings in the world and they are practicing what you teach them in your home!  This is the training ground for their lives.  But that doesn’t mean that parents do nothing.  There are important lessons that parents need to teach their children at home so they can learn key social skills and have great relationships with their siblings not just while they are under your roof, but for the rest of their lives.  Listen to this re-release of our 2016 podcast on this subject.  

 

Key Takeaways:

  • Be open to giving your children as many siblings as possible. 

  • Don’t always intervene.  Let your children alone to work things out on their own. 

  • Help them value differences between different personalities by learning to appreciate each other.

  • Teach them how to forgive and repair relationships when they are broken.

 

Couple Discussion: 

  • How can we structure our home routine to foster better relationships between our children? 

  • Do we intervene too much in sibling conflicts?  Not enough? 

  • Have we taught our children how to ask for forgiveness?  If not, how can we do this?  

 

Nov 20, 2023

Boundaries are not meant to keep people out, but to set a clear understanding of what is acceptable and what is not within our relationships  

At a few of our events, we have gotten questions from older parents who ask what to do about adult children who have cut them out of their lives.  At first we were surprised by this question, since the parents who attend our events are usually not ax-murderers or reprobates.  But then we realized that this seems to be a disturbing trend in our culture - young people who find fault with their parents and therefore choose to disown them.  Because we serve parents, we wanted to give a different take on the “wisdom of the world” and challenge our listeners to set boundaries and be healthy, but in a way that still honors the commandment that God gave us to honor your mother and father.  Yes, some of us have grown up in dysfunctional homes, but that does not mean that our families of origin should still have power over us.  Listen in as we help color in some gray to a discussion that is far from black and white.  

 

Key Takeaways:

  • No one should have the right to “push our buttons”.  We need to be free in our relationships even when people are unhealthy.

  • Boundaries are good things to keep our families peaceful.

  • You can’t replace your family - for good or for bad, they belong to you and you belong to them. 

  • One of the Ten Commandments is to honor your father and mother.  This is God’s idea, not ours and it needs to be taken very seriously

 

Couple Discussion:

  • How can we honor our father and mother appropriately?  

  • How would we want our children to treat us someday? 

  • What are good boundaries for our holiday visits with family? 

 

Resources

Forgiveness- Shalom series https://www.shalomworld.org/episode/forgiveness-in-the-family-susan-and-urby-potvin

Nov 13, 2023

“The idea that the family is a democracy and that children and parents have the same responsibility within the home completely ignores the developmental needs of the child ” - Mike and Alicia   

A child’s temper tantrums are frustrating to parents, but we should recognize that they are often a result of a child’s deficit in communication, understanding, and emotional control.  Children simply have immature responses to situations of conflict.  Knowing this may help, but parents also need strategies to get through these tricky, volatile, and potentially embarrassing situations.  In this podcast, we get practical and give parents the Four D’s of temper tantrums.  Determine, diffuse, distract, and - when all else fails - Done.  In a world that says parents and children are equal, parents have no rights, and honor is a thing of the past, we would like to push back and challenge parents to instead embrace the sacred calling to form their children with love and wisdom.  Listen in and start a conversation with us and your spouse.  

Key Takeaways:

  • Determine

  • Diffuse

  • Distract

  • Done

Couple Discussion:

  • When do our children have meltdowns? Why? 

  • What are some strategies to proactively avoid tantrums? 

  • How can we be more effective in responding to our children's tantrums?

 

Nov 6, 2023

“You are called to have great hearts here, counter-cultural and brave.  You can build something better, freer, more generous, and nobler, beginning in your own home.” - Bishop Thomas Olmstead, Complete My Joy 59

Man and woman coming together to build a home is a natural experience that has happened over and over again since the creation of the world, but we need to keep learning about what marriage is for and how to nourish this essential communion.  In this interview with Mike and Sharon Phelan we discuss how marriage can be transformational in the lives of men and women and a path to the true flourishing of the individual.  The problems are coming from a culture that is lying to us and pointing us in all different directions.  We discuss the concept of “submission” and “headship” as well as NFP - the good, the bad and the ugly.  Join in this conversation and find wisdom from this Catholic couple.  

Key Takeaways:

  • Marriage is like ballroom dancing - without a leader, there is no dance.

  • Men need a mission!  And that mission should be to enable their wives to be a mother who is strong, beautiful and free. 

  • NFP unpacks the mystery of a woman’s body to her husband (and sometimes to herself!)

  • Following the Church’s teaching on marital sexuality changes us! Even if we don’t fully understand or agree, acting in a virtuous way promotes virtue.   

Couple Discussion:

  • How is does our marriage “dance” look right now?  How can we do this better? 

  • Are we in “awe” of our ability to bring children into the world?  How does this effect our marital relations? 

  • How can we learn more about the Church’s teaching on marriage and family? 

Resources

  • Complete My Joy - apostolic exhortation written by Bishop Thomas Olmstead

  • The Mission of the Family video series https://www.kofc.org/un/en/campaigns/into-the-breach.html

 

Oct 30, 2023

“An important element in forming Christian maturity in teens is creating a ‘Yes’ culture in the home, where a child can take risks, try new things, and find out more about who they are all while under your guidance.” - Mike and Alicia

With the advent of the sexual revolution in the 60s and 70s and the subsequent increase in teen sexual activity, the response of the Christian community in the 80s and 90s was to make dating among conservative Christian teens verboten.  Among many good Catholic families, there is still a wide range of opinions on when kids should start dating, even among other families that we really respect.  We have allowed our older teens to date and in this podcast we explain why.  Like most of what we do, we have not guided our kids perfectly every time, but we have done it intentionally and we have learned some things over the years that we can share with you.  Listen in to this podcast on mentoring kids during this essential time of development.  

Key Takeaways:

  • Not all dating is the same - there are different levels.

  • We need to prepare our children for healthy relationships and this includes giving them dating guidance.  How you do that is up to you, but it needs to be done. 

  • Create a YES culture in your home.  Freedom and responsibility go together

  • Casual dating is for teens, serious dating is when you are ready for marriage - in college and beyond.  Don’t confuse them. 

Couple Discussion:

  • Have we created a yes culture in our home? 

  • What was our dating experience like? What would we like our children to imitate from our experience?  Avoid? 

  • What are our “rules for dating” for our children?

References to be included in summary: 

 

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