France Our Friend

Over Saturday, Wife and I carried out whispered conversations with each other. Our subject was the terrorist attacks in Paris.  The aim of our conversation was how to tell the children. They had already heard something about the attacks, so we needed to talk to them soon. These events of absolute evil are always best coming from their parents, even though we feel like we are leading them across quicksand.France
Continue reading

Taking It to Heart

I know other parents go through the same thing. I tell a child what to do, and she does it; but the next time, she forgets. She is instructed to help her younger siblings first, and she forgets. We tell her to flush the toilet, yet she forgets. I was growing weary, and worried that none of the life lessons we wanted to instill upon the children would actually stick. Then, I found I was wrong.

Some time ago I got home late and found Wife was just as tired as I. Somehow the children were fed, followed by a quick cleaning of their faces. Don’t think to put too much credit on me; Wife did all the heavy lifting so to speak. And once she was finished we sent them all off to bed.

#1 asked me on her way, “What about bedtime prayers?”

Our custom is to say several prayers with the children when they are put to bed. However that night I felt just like any old heathen. I looked at my daughter and inquired, “Can you pray with your siblings?”

She nodded joyfully and bounded away. I drug my heels into the bathtub and attempted to soak away a small portion of my fatigue. It didn’t work very well. When I got out, Wife was putting the baby to sleep in our bed. I asked if all the children were in their beds, and she confirmed they were. She then said that she was feeling guilty that she could not get up and pray with them, as she was exhausted as well as tied down by the new baby. I, in a true stock of laziness, assured her that they would be fine.

I walked to the kitchen to get a cup of water, but instead of the nightly silence I expected, I heard a soft rhythm. Coming from the children’s bedrooms, which are down the hall and next to ours, I heard #1 praying from her bed. To my joyful amazement, she was leading a Rosary and her sister in her room and the two in the next followed with the responses. They were praying a full Rosary, meditating on the Mysteries of Jesus and all. A twenty minute prayer.

I quietly entered my room and told Wife about it. We were both overcome with pride. We were blessed with children that knew their prayers by heart; and took them to heart as well. We fell asleep to the melodious hum of the children’s soft voices just on the other side of the wall.Faith

Putting God in the Center

Here’s a funny fact. When someone asked me the other day how I “do it” (I think she meant survived) with so many children, I simply answered, “We just do.”

Now when the same question was posed to a preschool teacher, a good friend of Wife, she answered, “They do it because God is the center of their family.”

When I sat back and looked at it I thought, Ya, she’s right. Wife and I (mostly Wife) try very hard to teach our children their faith. Most of the children can recite all the common prayers. Granted, they have a lot of slurred words and a whole lot of W’s in the place of R’s. We also do our utmost to be good examples, taking the children to Mass (despite the inconvenience of the early morning hour; and the company of the children) and they can watch their parents receive the Sacraments regularly.

We have just now entered a new phase of our life. The children are now coming of age and growing up.

This Saturday, #1 received the Sacrament of Confession for the first time. I watched her wait in line, nervous and yet focused. She took it very seriously. I could actually see her examine her conscience as she sat in silent, penitential prayer. She was not just going through the motions; she really understood what she was doing.

I hope to see all the children develop that way: from repeating prayers, to an understanding of prayer, and into a real relationship with God.prayer