"Failing to plan is planning to fail." – Ben Franklin
Your family is your own little corporation and you are president of the board. Well, maybe not exactly, but you and your spouse are the partners in running your home, and how can you do that effectively without a plan? Once a year, it’s a good idea to get away, dream a little, and make a plan. A Family Board Meeting isn’t about success or failure; it’s about being unified as a couple in your vision and goals for your family.
"Do or do not… there is no try." - Yoda
“Musical nourishment which is ‘rich in vitamins’ is essential for children.” ~ Zoltan Kodaly, music educator
Music is a powerful tool, and an absolutely unique vehicle for ideas, emotions, and stimulation. As parents, we need to train our children to recognize music that is good and music that is not worth listening to. By exposing our children to lots of different types of music, we can help them to make judgments and choose what is good. We can’t underestimate the importance of music in our culture and in our home.
"Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything." ~ Plato
“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother." - Matthew 18: 15
As married people, we each have a duty, a solemn obligation to help to get our spouse to heaven. Sometimes we help them by being a cross for them ☺, but sometimes we need to help our beloved by pointing out things in their lives that need to change in order for them to grow in virtue. Here, we're not talking about a difference in values – most of those are not moral issues – but correction regarding sinful patterns of behavior or vices that need to be rooted out. How do we do this? How do we know when to speak up and when to just pray or be silent? How do we get the courage needed to have this conversation with love?
“My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” - 2 Corinthians 12:9
“A lovely thing about Christmas is that it’s compulsory, like a thunderstorm, and we all go through it together.”
– Garrison Keillor
Thanksgiving and Christmas are times of great joy and celebration, but can also be times of unprecedented stress and conflict. Buying gifts, traveling to see extended family, and keeping traditions are all important aspects of the holidays. How do Catholic families enjoy this while also keeping Christ as the center of our holidays? How do we love our families while we are striving to keep the peace and make everything perfect for our kids? Listen in as we discuss these challenges and the ways that we have dealt with them in our household.
Show Notes: Shows we referenced and ideas for Advent and Christmas
“The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.”
- John 1:5
“With great power comes great responsibility”
~ Ben Parker (Spiderman’s Uncle)
As Catholics, we have a great blessing in the clarity and beauty of the Church’s teaching on contraception. Using the natural rhythms of a woman’s cycle to regulate birth is a way that couples can use the reason of science as they are informed by the light of Faith. NFP is a gift, but it’s also a challenge! It’s hard to deny our bodies when our culture is telling us that we deserve every comfort as well as instant gratification. In this podcast, we talk about the gift of NFP, but also the reality of the cross of denying ourselves. Listen in and tell us what you think!
Show Notes: Links and resources we mention in this podcast.
You might be a millennial parent if you… have more pictures of your kids than you do of yourself on social media, feed your kids only organic food, regularly ask the internet for parenting advice, have a tattoo or piercing, or...
The generation born between 1980-2000 has a particular way of parenting that is unique. Recently TIME magazine ran an article called “Help! My Parents are Millennials!” and we thought it would be a good idea to address some of the issues it brought to light. This generation is affected by the culture in some very good ways, but also in some very unhealthy ways. It's important to be open-minded, tolerant, and questioning, but not at the expense of being obedient, respectful, and humble. In this podcast, we look at how Millennials are parenting their children and what their particular challenges are.
“…parents must be acknowledged as the first and foremost educators of their children. Their role as educators is so decisive that scarcely anything can compensate for their failure in it."
~ Familiaris Consortio #36
Making educational choices for our children is a daunting and stressful task for most parents. How do parents know what will be best for their children and for their families? The reality is that no one can make this decision for you. Parents need the grace of God to consider homeschooling, public school, or Catholic school and chose what is best for their child. In this podcast, we give some principles that we have used to guide our decisions and share some experiences of all the different schooling options we have chosen.
"What I do, you cannot. What you do, I cannot. But together we can make something beautiful for God."
~ Blessed Mother Teresa
In our culture today, kids have so many options for activities that it can be overwhelming! How do you balance family life with sports, theater, groups, and community events especially when you have many children? Exposure to different activities is important because children need a chance to discover their talents. Nevertheless, we are doing a great disservice to our kids when we tell them that they "can be anything they want to be" -- because that simply isn't true. Not everyone can be an award-winning quarterback or the top gymnast! However, it is true that our children each have unique gifts that they need to discover, and part of being a parent is to guide our children through this process and eliminate things on the way.
"To go on pilgrimage really means to step out of ourselves to encounter God where He has revealed Himself, where His grace has shone with particular splendor, and produced rich fruits of conversion and holiness." ~ Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI
We as Catholics are incarnational people: part of the richness of being Catholic is that we can see and touch the elements of our faith! Bringing our children to holy sites like special shrines, homes of the saints, or places of miracles helps us to make the faith real to them. These aren't just trips: pilgrimages are spiritual journeys that bring together what we know in our hearts and what we see with our eyes. In this podcast, we share about two pilgrimages that we recently went on - to the Holy Land and to Philadelphia to see the Holy Father. Listen in as we discuss how these holy journeys have strengthened our faith and inspired our children.
“Where there is a family with love, that family is capable of warming the heart of a whole city with its witness of love.”
- Pope Francis
Our Holy Father has a pastor’s heart, but often his quotes become controversial. He speaks directly to families, those suffering, and to those in power in a frank, honest fashion. With the Holy Father coming to the United States and the upcoming Synod on the Family, we are taking time in this podcast to discuss his words, some of his challenging comments, and why some of the things he says are taken in a negative light. We all have a responsibility to prayerfully reflect on his words with the knowledge that they are spoken by the Vicar of Christ. We welcome you to listen to our thoughts and share your opinions with us.
"Learn the heart of God from the word of God." - Pope Saint Gregory the Great
How is the Word of God honored in our homes? God is present in His Word; do we truly realize that? As Catholics, we need to surround our children with Scripture through stories, prayer, teaching, and song. We should be using the Bible to pass on the faith to our children, for it is through the Bible that they will come to know Who Jesus is and hear Him speaking to them.
"Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ." - St. Jerome
Show Notes: here are some great resources:
"Nothing makes a father happier than seeing a daughter with a smile on her face and her boyfriend with fear in his eyes." - Willie Robertson
Daughters AND sons need direction and guidance when it comes to dating. The world tells us that dating is private and we have no business "meddling" in our teens' affairs. Nothing is farther from the truth! Kids need mom and dad's wisdom on navigating the perilous world of relationships and emotions. We have some practical advice to give from our own experience that we can share with you. Parents have to be intentional about discussing relationships with their kids and make a safe place for them to be honest and vulnerable, so they don't go seeking affirmation in the wrong places. Dating is another area in which Catholic families can affect the world in a positive way by our example. Listen in!
"Your natural instinct is to protect your daughter. Forget what pop culture and pop psychologists tell you. DO IT." - Dr. Meg Meeker
Show Notes: Here's what we referenced.
Your marriage is only as good as the work you put into it.
A child-centered marriage is a recipe for disaster. Teach children early that their “happiness” is not Mom or Dad’s reason for living.
~Breathing Grace: Everything I Know About Marriage in 200 Words or Less
How often do we take the time to show our spouse that they are "Number One" in our lives? Dedicated time alone without the children is an essential part of any healthy marriage. The foundation of your family is your marriage, and we should never, ever take for granted that we are doing fine. In this episode, we talk about the importance of date nights and get-away weekends. We also address two listener questions - one on toy guns, and the other on how to have effective family time. Listen in and start the discussion on how and why we should all spend quality time with our beloved in order to improve our family life.
“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” - Ephesians 4:29
The words that are spoken in our home can create an atmosphere of trust, openness, and honesty, or one of hostility and distrust. We need to banish from our homes sarcasm and negative humor because they tear down family members instead of building them up. There are many ways that we can use our words to encourage our children and our spouses. We need to take the time to honor and love our family with our words, so our home can be a safe place for our children to thrive and grow.
"Half of the time I feel like I'm running an insane asylum… the other half of the time I feel like I belong in one!"
There are so many needs pressing on parents, especially moms, all day, every day. How can we prioritize our time and energy to create an orderly life for ourselves and our family? In the book A Mother's Rule of Life, Holly Pierlot describes the Six Priorities of Life that can help us create a routine in our day and make decisions that will help us use our time wisely and effectively. Despite what your children think, mothers can't do everything! Moms (and dads!) can create a balanced life by giving priority first to Prayer, then to Person, Partner, Parent, Provider, and Periphery (everything else!). If you enjoy this podcast, contact us about having Alicia come to speak to your parish or group to do a full presentation with more information on this topic.
“My name is Rod, and I like to party.” – Andy Samburg in Hot Rod
To be Catholic is to love to party, because every Mass is a foretaste of heaven, and heaven is a wedding feast! Celebrations are an important way to communicate our values to our children and to the world. By investing our time and treasure to gather friends and family together, we are saying, “This is an important event!” As Catholics, we need to reclaim the sacraments and holidays as times to feast and celebrate. This is how we can rebuild our Catholic culture and revive our communities. Listen in as we tell you about the crazy party WE had last weekend!
"Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence." ~ George Washington
It doesn’t take a village to raise a child, but the village is certainly an important part of his growth and development! The friendships that our children have, even at the earliest ages, are an important training ground for life. As parents, we can’t micromanage our children’s friendships, but we can guide them and provide a fertile environment for healthy relationships to grow. It's important to do this when they are young, because as children grow, friendships become more and more important and parents have less and less influence over those friendships. Listen in as we discuss this topic and its importance in the lives of our children.
"A faithful friend is a sturdy shelter. He who finds one finds a treasure." ~ Sirach 6:14
"Why did God make you? God made me to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him for ever in heaven." - Baltimore Catechism
Dealing with the loss of life is difficult for adults and for children. Our generation is more poorly equipped than the ones that came before us to deal with this issue, because we are repeatedly told that we are in total control of our own lives. This is simply not true. As Catholics, we have the great gift of our faith to form our hearts and inform our minds, so we can embrace the suffering that death brings. In this podcast, we share our own stories of loss and give some ideas for talking with your children about this issue. This podcast ends with a special song written by a mother who suffered the loss of her child, and God's response to her.
"Honor your father and mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it go well with you in the land the Lord your God is giving you."
~ Deut 5:16
We each have a family that we have come from, our family of origin, and sometimes they are very different from us. Because of this, visiting with grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and in-laws can be stressful, but connecting with extended family is extremely important for the well-being of our children. In this podcast, we talk about the importance of visiting family, but also some issues that couples need to discuss ahead of time.
“Life is short, family is forever”
"The task now for believers is to form our own families even more deeply in the love of God, and to rebuild a healthy marriage culture, one marriage at a time, from the debris of today’s decision."
- Archbishop Chaput
The Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the bans on same-sex marriage in many ways was no surprise. The Judeo-Christian values that have supported our culture for so long have been eroding since the 1930s. In this podcast, we share our reflections on this decision and what this means for our families going forward. We need to renew and strengthen the meaning and value of Catholic marriage so we can be a light in the darkness.
"All it requires is that you be a man, a real man, which means a man of courage, perseverance, and integrity. You were made a man for a reason. You were made a man to be strong, long husband and father. So listen to your instincts and do what's right. Be a hero." - Dr. Meg Meeker
Fatherhood is devalued, underappreciated, and desperately needed in our society. Why is fatherhood so important? Why is it so hard for men to be good fathers? In this podcast, we discuss how our relationship with God the Father is the key to embracing who we are as parents. In addition, every man has a role as priest, prophet, and king in his family. Let's talk about what that means so every man can come to a deeper understanding of his role as a father.
I love playing with preschoolers. They make me feel so powerful!
Family game night is quickly becoming lost in our technological age, but it is an extremely valuable pastime for families with many benefits. Not only can board games bring people together, but they also exercise our brains and people skills while having fun! Listen in as we discuss why we play games with our family, the types of games to play, and some obstacles we have encountered with our kids.
What are your top three family games, games you played when you were growing up or games you play now?
"There are no such thing as stupid questions - only stupid people." (but not you all!)
All of you out there have helped to make this a lot of fun for us, and we love to hear from you! We have gotten so many encouraging comments from our listeners, but also some really great questions. In this episode, we decided to take some time to answer some of the questions we have gotten from all of you out there, so this is a very eclectic podcast! Some of the topics we cover include sleeping situations, dealing with kids who don't want to ask forgiveness, reading suggestions for newly married couples, family routines, and more. Thank you to all who sent in questions: keep them coming, so we can address them in future podcasts!
Show Notes: here are some resources and podcasts we mentioned:
Life was so much easier when Apple and Blackberry were just fruits.
Changes in technology happen rapidly, and kids are usually way ahead of their parents on the newest app, social media, or website. It is hard, or even impossible, for parents to keep up! Some parents choose to keep their children away from all screens, and though sometimes we envy these people, this isn't the route that we have chosen. The reality is that techology is here to stay, and as parents, we need to prepare our children to become responsible adults who can function in this world with self-control and discernment. There's no easy answer, but we can offer some encouragement and perspective!
Sometimes we try to love someone in a language they don’t understand.
We all know that our mission is to love our spouses and our children, but how do we communicate that love to them? How do we speak so that others can understand what we are saying? Gary Campbell has written a book that we have referred to often called The Five Love Languages, and it is a great way to figure out how to speak in the way that our family can understand our love.