There are many parents who look for advice from friends, and sometimes the responses are in the form of absolute declarations about the “only way” to parent. In reality, many parenting matters are best left to an individual’s judgment. As Catholics, we believe that there are certain issues that are black and white, but not everything falls into that category! The first step to responding to others with charity is to realize that our way is not always the way for everyone. In this episode, we also take on a question about discipline when you have 3 under 3, which gives us the chance to talk about toddlers - one of our favorite topics! And we play a recording of a question sent in by a listener about mentoring teen boys whose brains are being flooded with testosterone. Our answer? Look to the elephants. No, really, we do say that. Listen in and join the conversation!
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If you've been wondering how to bring the rich traditions of the Catholic Church's liturgical year into your home and into your family, this is the podcast for you! In it, we interview Kendra Tierney of Catholic All Year about incorporating the richness of our faith into the life of your family. Kendra has lots of great ideas for moms and dads of all ages and family sizes. After discussing the importance of incorporating Catholic traditions into family life we talk about what to do with kids of various ages, or when you have a spouse who is not enthusiastic about new traditions. Kendra has some truly great wisdom to share! Because this was an interview with our member site (the messy family neighborhood), we also have some great questions from other parents included in this podcast. Listen in and get inspired to strengthen your family’s culture this Advent and Christmas season.
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The use of technology is a major issue in most households. Tech is invading our homes in an unprecedented manner and the influence on our children is something we are just beginning to comprehend. How can parents effectively navigate these waters with their children? Kids need guidance in this area more than almost any other area of Life, but it is here where parents usually are completely unaware. In this essential podcast for parents we try to light a fire underneath you and show the seriousness of the tech situation with kids. We share our own experience and start giving you tips and tricks to guide your children on their tech use.
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Many times when we think about taking time to pray parents’ first reaction is “I don’t have time to pray!” But the problem with that is that prayer is the foundation of our life of faith and relationship with God. As we pray, we grow in knowledge and love of God. We all need that! In this podcast, we discuss internal prayer which is also called mental prayer. The many means that the Church has given us to pray such as in our liturgy are beautiful and some are essential, but that is not all there is. We need to take time to speak to God and hear Him speak to us in the scriptures and within our hearts. How should you do this? Where can you start? Listen in as we share about our own prayer life and walk you through how we take the time to be with Our Lord.
We have a treat for you as we are sharing a special date night interview with Scott and Kimberly Hahn. They have been married for 40 years and have six children along with eighteen grandchildren. They are world-renowned Catholic evangelists, speakers, authors and teachers. In this show they share their wisdom on falling in love and staying in love through the tough times. They share some of their struggles and not always being on the same page with great encouragement and direction for couples. They also share some of the challenges in parenting and how to effectively pass on the faith to our children. You won’t want to miss this episode and you may want to take notes. We also had a follow-up handout if you would like to use this show as a conversation starter for you and your spouse.
Referenced in this episode:
Handout for this special date night: https://www.messyfamilyproject.org/date-night-with-hahns/
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After 26 years of parenting you would think that we knew how to promote an atmosphere of virtue in our home automatically. But it doesn’t work that way! We have had to stop and evaluate the way that our younger children have been treating each other and address it intentionally. In this podcast, we share some of the teaching we gave to our kids about practicing kindness, how we followed up afterwards, and why its important to train the actions AND the hearts of our children. Listen in to hear our Seven Tips on Kids and Kindness at home as well as Mike’s reflections on his recent hike on the Appalachian Trail, update on our fabulously successful Date Night with the Hahns, upcoming events, and how to promote our podcast.
The sexual relationship you have with your spouse is the most intimate relationship you will ever have, but it certainly can be complicated! In this podcast, we have a conversation with Byron and Francine Pirola, founders of Smartloving and international speakers and teachers. Our conversation about physical intimacy between spouses is honest, frank, and explicit, so please listen to this podcast in privacy. But we do believe this information is desperately needed by couples, so we have created a summary and download for you to use after listening to the podcast to create a conversation with your spouse. Please listen in, use this topic as a conversation starter with your spouse, and share with others!
All parents will fail. How do we know this? Because we are all imperfect! Many parents feel like failures when grieving over their children’s poor decisions or loss of faith. Or they look at themselves in the mirror and don’t like who they have become. How we define failure and how we deal with it will either paralyze us or call us on to greater holiness and virtue. Recognizing how we have failed our children, and even how our own parents have failed us, is how we learn and grow. In this podcast we define the difference between shame and guilt (one is good and the other bad!), the importance of recognizing what we can control and what we cannot, and the centrality of forgiveness in our relationships with our children, no matter what their age. In addition to some hard truths, this podcast gives hope to every parent who wants to improve themselves through extreme ownership and humility.
This past summer our family lost a beloved uncle, brother-in-law, and husband. Alicia’s uncle passed into eternity at home with his wife, and Alicia and her sister Maria were privileged to be present for his death. Death is a profound experience and one that we should all think about more. Many of us are afraid to confront the thought of death though it is (obviously!) a part of everyone’s life. Our culture influences us more than we realize and we can get lulled into thinking this world is all there is. But this world is not our home! In this podcast, we share the story of walking with them through this difficult experience, but also we share our reflections and the lessons that we have learned from them.
In this podcast we continue to answer some very important listener questions about family life. Many listeners have spouses who don’t share their faith life and forging unity when that is the case can be tricky. We came up with some creative ideas on how to love your spouse more! Other questions included disciplining pre-teens and teens and as well as forming their hearts. Our Discipline Guide is a good place to start for this, but we expand on some of the ideas found there and apply them to our Questioner’s specific situation. If you find our answers helpful, share the podcast, subscribe, and tell others about us. And certainly feel free to send us more of YOUR questions as well!
Listeners send us questions all the time and we try to answer them as best we can via email. Some of these questions are really great because they bring up subjects that many people struggle with. In this podcast we tackle some questions about in-laws, and we answer from the perspective of a married couple but also from being a mother and father-in-law ourselves! We also give our advice on navigating the minefield of politics as well as social media. Though we have a podcast on preparing tweens for adolescence, we answer a question about that as well. Listen in and if you have more questions, email us. Maybe you’ll be featured on the next episode of listener questions!
Rituals are an essential part of creating connections with other people, whether that is our spouse, our children, our extended family, our local community, and even our nation. Rituals connect how we act with what we believe - communicate values can be contrasted with “routines” that create order and address merely physical needs. Both are important but on different levels. When routines are disrupted, its a hassle. When rituals are disrupted, the family cohesiveness is threatened. When something is an obligation only with no emotional/heart connection, then the value of the ritual is lessened.
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Looking at the turmoil we are experiencing within our culture, we are becoming more and more convinced that we, Catholic families, have the answer that people are looking for. People are searching for purpose, belonging and identity. How do we “share” our family with the world? Well, first we need to make sure we have our own house in order. Examine your family culture, shore up the weak areas, and be intentional about the messages you are sending. The motivation to have a vibrant family culture is so you can take it to the next level and act in the world according to the unique giftedness that your family has been given. We are not all called to serve in the same way -- we are all different! When every family discovers their unique giftedness and then uses those gifts to respond to the call that God has put upon their hearts, God can establish His reign in the world. Listen in to get motivated and learn how to discern the call that God has given to you.
Play and Pray Challenge Sticker and Mass for your family: https://www.messyfamilyproject.org/challenge-complete/
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Many of us are looking at the events of these days with despair, sadness, and even anger. It is hard to witness division and hatred in our world and to see the suffering of those who are caught in its crossfire. We want to respond but many of us don’t know how to. This is such a huge problem with far-reaching consequences and deeply rooted origins. Parents, do not allow the devil to use that which is far off to distract you from what is near! The greatest influence you can have is within your own home. Parents need to proactively discuss these issues with their children in order to form them. This is YOUR job and no one else’s. Listen in as we share our own experience and give tips on how to address these topics with your children.
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The Play and Pray Challenge is a way for us to spread the kingdom of Jesus Christ into every home in a fun, interactive way. We have learned that if you are going to PRAY with your family, you need to PLAY with them! This June from the 12th to the 21st, we are challenging families to do three things: Organize and execute an amazing FAMILY DAY, plan and go on a DATE NIGHT, and proclaim Jesus Christ as the KING OF THE HOME by placing the image of the Sacred Heart in their house and “enthroning” Him as King. We want to make this a fun and rewarding experience for families, so we have created some resources to help you out. Go to our website messyfamilyproject.org/challenge to get our Play and Pray Challenge Kit. We want this challenge to go viral, so spread the word to get other families to do it too!
Watch the video and sign up for the Play and Pray Challenge: https://www.messyfamilyproject.org/challenge/
Join the waiting list for new member site: https://www.messyfamilyproject.org/membership/
Related podcast episode: https://www.messyfamilyproject.org/mp-091-king-home/
Trust is the foundation of any healthy relationship. When we trust our spouse we can stand before them, just as we are, knowing that we will be accepted. Full knowledge with full acceptance. That’s the goal, but the road to building trust is not easy for most of us, because we are sinful people dealing with our own shame. As we work on our relationship with our spouse and with the Lord, we are creating a bond that helps us work together as a team and rest in the knowledge that He will be with us no matter what happens. The reason I know “everything is going to be ok” is because I trust that God is in control.
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One “yes” is protected by a thousand “no”s. If we want our children to have the ability to say “yes”, to be responsible, free and, ultimately, loving people, parents need to believe in the power of NO. When a parent says “no” and defines a boundary for a child, they are helping that child to shape who they are. Boundaries enable children to “construct” themselves. This is hard work for parents, usually because we don’t recognize what good boundaries are, and sometimes simply because we are lazy! In this podcast, we talk about the book Boundaries for Kids by Drs. John Townsend and Henry Cloud, and share some of our own experiences in defining boundaries for ourselves and our children.
Visit us at http://www.messyfamilyproject.org
The Church has always made it clear that parents are the primary educators of their children and chiefly responsible for their family’s spiritual formation. So what is our advice to you? First, don’t worry if your kid fails this quarter in school and, second, turn off streaming mass and start leading your family in prayer. Be empowered to lead your family and focus on what YOU think is important during these challenging times. In this podcast, we share some of the ways our family is bonding this month, and we give inspiration and ideas on how to lead your family. God has given you the grace. Family, become what you are!
Virtual Catholic Conference: https://aliciahernon.krtra.com/t/AMa71LKg02oQ
Guide for Holy Week through Easter for your family: https://www.messyfamilyproject.org/celebrate-palm-sunday-to-easter/
Does this sound like you? We won’t lie - all of the sudden being forced to be with all of our children 24/7 is not easy. We are struggling just like everyone else! But instead of asking God “why?” we need to ask “what?”. What do you want to teach us, Lord? What do you want us to do? What do you want to show us? We have said many times that parents are the first teachers of their children and leaders of their families. Today we see that more clearly than ever! This crisis is giving us the opportunity to rid ourselves of all the extraneous activities that normally distract us and allowing us to focus on our children. Listen in as we give some valuable ideas, encouragement, and inspiration for this time or any time of crisis.
“We know certainly that our God calls us to a holy life. We know that he gives us every grace, every abundant grace; and though we are so weak of ourselves, this grace is able to carry us through every obstacle and difficulty.” ~ St. Elizabeth Ann Seton
Advice and strategies for families in these challenging times, especially how to celebrate Sunday when there is no mass… sign up at https://www.messyfamilyproject.org/join/
Men and women approach sex from two very different standpoints. This can create tension in your marriage. Nevertheless, sex is a topic that married couples need to talk about. In this podcast you can expect honesty, humor, and above all some great insight to help you have a more satisfying, fulfilling sex life with your spouse. Listen in and discover how you can be more open with your spouse, because this is an important way to strengthen your relationship. Get the kids out of earshot, or put in your earbuds and listen in. Moms and Dads, this one is for your ears only.
Marriage Check In (3 weeks to greater unity): https://www.messyfamilyproject.org/marriage/
We’re expanding - job descriptions: https://www.messyfamilyproject.org/were-expanding/
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This Lent and Easter why not walk on the path of holiness that God has laid out for you already? We are proposing that couples intentionally embrace their calling as parents and spouses. Since we are called to love and sacrifice first within their own homes, we designed a simple program called Cana90 to challenge families to become more of who God is calling them to be – communities of life and love. We will help you choose commitments of prayer, fasting, and mercy that turn your heart towards your family. What would Lent and Easter look like if we leaned into our vocation even more. Let us begin again and seek transformation through prayer, fasting, and mercy for our marriages and our families.
Sign up for the Cana90 program: https://www.messyfamilyproject.org/cana90/
Each of us has a story and we are part of a story. We are part of the story of the human race, of the Church, of our country, and most importantly, you are part of the story of your own family. In our modern world we tend to forget this! We also need to be aware that when we engage with our story in a healthy way and then we share that story with our children, we empower them. When parents are at peace with the story of their own lives, they can share their experiences with their children and teach them using their own examples. We can give our children hope through the witness of our own lives.
Sign up for Cana90 at https://www.messyfamilyproject.org/cana90/
Other links and resources referenced see:
Our culture all around us is throwing tough issues into our lives and the lives of our children all the time. We are dealing today with topics that our most of our grandparents never had to confront, let alone explain to a child. To guide our children in the way of truth, we must first understand the truth ourselves. Then, before we communicate, we need to recognize that children have specific stages of moral development. We as parents need to realize this so we can “feed” them information appropriately and in a way that children can digest and use correctly. In this podcast we group “tough topics” into categories and then give our take on how to explain these to children.
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If you're interested in buying and finding out more about this great resource, visit MadeThisWayBook.com
For some couples, praying together is very natural but for others, it feels awkward or forced. (You’ll have to listen in to hear our experience!). The reality is that there are many different ways to pray with our spouse and every couple is unique! In this podcast, we discuss how you can engage in speaking to your Heavenly Father as a couple, bound together with Him in a covenant of love. Each type of prayer is important - blessing, intercession, plea for guidance, communal prayer, and repentance. Growing in your prayer life is an essential way to develop and deepen your relationship, but also a way for you to support your spouse and love them more profoundly.
Family Board Meeting worksheet: https://www.messyfamilyproject.org/family-board-meeting/
For more information and resources visit https://www.messyfamilyproject.org