Those other kids need you, too

SummerMinistry_ClaretianBirthdays in Cynthia and Allan’s home start about a week before the actual date. The two live in a smallish condo with their two young daughters. With space at a premium, their priority for the person about to have a birthday is first to give things away. “Each birthday, we ask our pastor if he knows of a family who might need some of our clothes or toys,” Cynthia says. “If so, we bring them to him to give away. If not, we give them to Goodwill.”

While the couple could easily sell the items on eBay or at consignment shops, this would not fit their philosophy of sharing with those in need.

In most cities, the needy and the affluent often live in parallel worlds, divided geographically as well as by income. A lack of affordable housing means that poorer families are priced out of wealthier areas and the correspondingly stronger schools. The result? Most people who are affluent do not personally know anyone who regularly gets groceries from a food bank or who sleeps at a shelter.

This means that if we want to clothe the naked or give shelter to the homeless, we must be intentional about it. And in the midst of a frenetic family life, taking care of the poor can fall too low on our priority list.

We give our time to that which is important. School and extracurriculars can drain a family of both disposable income and extra time. Yet giving all of our family’s resources to our own children’s development and none to the development of the needy children on the other side of the interstate does not square up with gospel values. Christ repeatedly calls us to the poor. If we wait until life slows down to respond to this call, we risk not responding at all.

Amy and Kevin, parents of three, believe they are giving a gift to their children by teaching them the importance of serving the poor. “It is important each Christmas for my family to work in the Daughters of Charity Christmas shop where low-income families come to shop with vouchers for their children,” Amy says. “My sons and daughter see the parents struggle with the fact that they cannot afford Christmas gifts. They learn the true meaning of Christmas.”  …continued next week

By Annemarie Scobey, from the pages of At Home with Our Faith, Claretian Publications’ print newsletter for parents on nurturing spirituality in the home. Winner of the Best in Class award in 2014 from the Associated Church Press, as well as a First Place General Excellence award from the Catholic Press Association for  four years running. Here’s a sample issue.

We offer very low rates for parish use, as well as our free Moms’ Night Out monthly discussion guides.

And don’t miss our popular single-page parish handouts on handing on the faith, helping kids understand the Mass, Lent, and Advent.

Like us on Facebook and follow Homefaith on Twitter.

Claretian Photo by Antonio Lopez

What not to do if you want to be happy

Smiley_Flickr_Candie_NDon’t blame others for problems: Even when their  problems could actually be attributed to another person, happy people tend to take responsibility for their problems. This puts the problem in their own control, rather than within the control of someone else.

Don’t overreact: Happy people don’t create drama.

Don’t feel trapped: Happy people don’t look at jobs or relationships as something that is stifling them.

Don’t focus on a single passion or relationship:  Happy people tend to have many different friends and relationships and varied interests and hobbies.

Don’t dwell on past failures: Unhappy people tend to rehash what they did wrong, while happy people move on.

Don’t use negative language: Happy people tend to avoid speaking negatively, even when something goes wrong.

Don’t spend time around unhappy people: Happy people gravitate toward others who are positive.

Don’t gossip: Happy people are more interested in talking about ideas than about other people.

Don’t procrastinate: Happy people make decisions, then take action.

—adapted from an article by Dan Baker, coauthor of What Happy People Know: How the New Science of Happiness Can Change
Your Life for the Better
(Rodale)

By Annemarie Scobey, from the pages of At Home with Our Faith, Claretian Publications’ print newsletter for parents on nurturing spirituality in the home. Winner of the Best in Class award in 2014 from the Associated Church Press, as well as a First Place General Excellence award from the Catholic Press Association for  four years running. Here’s a sample issue.

We offer very low rates for parish use, as well as our free Moms’ Night Out monthly discussion guides.

And don’t miss our popular single-page parish handouts on handing on the faith, helping kids understand the Mass, Lent, and Advent.

Like us on Facebook and follow Homefaith on Twitter.

Flexible or inconsistent?

bubble boyParents who are flexible have rules for the household and follow through on discipline, but occasionally, when a special circumstance comes up, they may back off on a particular rule as a way of adapting to the situation. Flexibility means being gentle and yielding while still moving toward the particular parenting goal.

Inconsistency, on the other hand, is when a parent intends to follow through but either doesn’t have the strength to do so, forgets to do so, or doesn’t understand why structure and resolve are important to kids. An inconsistent parent is an unreliable parent. Children who are unable to predict their parent’s behavior because of inconsistency cannot trust their parents as well, and the foundation of the relationship suffers. Children thrive in households where parents are consistent, yet flexible.

10 Best Gifts for Your Teen: Raising Teens with Love and Understanding by Patt and Steve Saso (Sorin)

By Annemarie Scobey, from the pages of At Home with Our Faith, Claretian Publications’ print newsletter for parents on nurturing spirituality in the home. Winner of the Best in Class award in 2014 from the Associated Church Press, as well as a First Place General Excellence award from the Catholic Press Association for  four years running. Here’s a sample issue.

We offer very low rates for parish use, as well as our free Moms’ Night Out monthly discussion guides.

And don’t miss our popular single-page parish handouts on handing on the faith, helping kids understand the Mass, Lent, and Advent.

Like us on Facebook and follow Homefaith on Twitter.

 

Talk less, notice more

mom daughter on back, morguefile0002029315062Kim John Payne, in Simplicity Parenting (Ballantine), makes this observation about parents and talking: “When we talk over and under and around a child—when we talk too much—there’s less space for their thoughts, for what they have to say. A child’s curiosity and creativity are stifled when they believe that something is not ‘real’ unless or until you talk about it.”

He goes on to comment that attentive parenting is made more difficult by smart phones and e-mail. “As we multitask, this might be one of our most difficult tasks: to just notice, to quietly bear witness. As a result, it is very powerful when we are able to acknowledge something quietly, to not fill space with words; to not bend, bolster, or embellish.”

By Annemarie Scobey, from the pages of At Home with Our Faith, Claretian Publications’ print newsletter for parents on nurturing spirituality in the home. Winner of the Best in Class award in 2014 from the Associated Church Press, as well as a First Place General Excellence award from the Catholic Press Association for  four years running. Here’s a sample issue.

We offer very low rates for parish use, as well as our free Moms’ Night Out monthly discussion guides.

And don’t miss our popular single-page parish handouts on handing on the faith, helping kids understand the Mass, Lent, and Advent.

Like us on Facebook and follow Homefaith on Twitter.

Build a strong relationship with tweens and teens

mom and daughterYou want to help them get good grades, clean their rooms, avoid drugs and alcohol, and stay away from sex. Whew. Beneath these very important goals is your relationship with your child, and without a strong relationship, rebellion is bound to happen.

Mark Gregston, in Tough Guys and Drama Queens: How Not to Get Blindsided by Your Child’s Teen Years (Thomas Nelson), says that once a child turns 12 or 13, parents should commit to spending one-on-one time with that child once a week. Coffee, ice cream, lunch—the venue is not important—but these rules for the parent are key: No correcting language, thoughts, comments, or opinions. Be determined to get to know your child, especially their thinking and their personality.

“Waiting to meet with your kids when there’s conflict is like trying to string communication lines in the middle of a hurricane,” Gregston writes. “Build those avenues now, when the weather is quiet, and build them in a way that they’ll survive any storm that comes into your family.”

By Annemarie Scobey, from the pages of At Home with Our Faith, Claretian Publications’ print newsletter for parents on nurturing spirituality in the home. Winner of the Best in Class award in 2014 from the Associated Church Press, as well as a First Place General Excellence award from the Catholic Press Association for  four years running. Here’s a sample issue.

We offer very low rates for parish use, as well as our free Moms’ Night Out monthly discussion guides.

And don’t miss our popular single-page parish handouts on handing on the faith, helping kids understand the Mass, Lent, and Advent.

Like us on Facebook and follow Homefaith on Twitter.

How to get the right help for your marriage

couple overlooking water morguefile_125Like mechanics, plumbers, and anyone who fixes things for a living, some therapists are better than others.Some therapists are “marriage neutral,” while others place a very high value on preserving and improving the marriage. A couple who is going to therapy to improve or save their marriage needs a therapist who leans pro-marriage. Some questions to ask a potential therapist:
1. “What percentage of your practice is marital therapy?” Avoid therapists who do mostly individual therapy as they likely have worked little with couples.
2. “Of the couples you treat, what percentage work out their problems and stay married with a reasonable amount of satisfaction?” Look for a therapist who bats 70 percent or higher. Be wary of a therapist who says this is not a measure of success, because they may be neutral about the marriage commitment. Couples in floundering marriages need a pro-marriage therapist.
3. “How do you see the importance of keeping a marriage together when there are problems?” Look for general statements in the answer that show the therapist’s first priority will be to help you find tools you need to improve your marriage, rather than walk away from it.
—Questions taken from Take Back Your Marriage: Sticking Together in a World That Pulls Us Apart by William J. Doherty (Guilford)

By Annemarie Scobey, from the pages of At Home with Our Faith, Claretian Publications’ print newsletter for parents on nurturing spirituality in the home. Winner of the Best in Class award in 2014 from the Associated Church Press, as well as a First Place General Excellence award from the Catholic Press Association for  four years running. Here’s a sample issue.

We offer very low rates for parish use, as well as our free Moms’ Night Out monthly discussion guides.

And don’t miss our popular single-page parish handouts on handing on the faith, helping kids understand the Mass, Lent, and Advent.

Like us on Facebook and follow Homefaith on Twitter.

The shopaholic also known as Mom, part two

…Continued from last weekShopping bag RGB mgyr22s

Fill the need, not the brand name. When Maureen’s daughter wanted boots that cost about $200 a pair, Maureen found a similar pair at a local discount store for about $25. “I told my daughter that I would buy the $25 boots, because I recognized she needed boots,” she says. “But if she wanted the brand name ones, she could put my $25 toward those boots and make up the difference herself. She chose the less expensive boots.”

Give it time. Nancy, mother of two, has noticed that simply putting a day in between the child’s request and the parent’s response decreases the urgency of the request. “Addie constantly wants the newest app and, of course, not the free ones,” Nancy says. “I ask her if she will want it as badly tomorrow as she seems to want it today. Many times, a day of waiting makes her realize it’s not that big of a deal.”

Carol, mother of four, says that it is through making mistakes with their impulse buying that her children have learned to be more thoughtful: “When our kids receive gift cards for Christmas or their birthday, I actually let them use them how they want. When our one daughter was younger, she would want to go to the store right away and spend the whole gift card. I let her. Within a week or so she was lamenting her quick decision—especially when just a week later she saw the same item on sale. She has now learned to give more thought to how she uses gift cards, many times saving them until she sees a sale or after really thinking about whether or not she needs whatever item she’s looking at buying.”

Redefine wealth. Brigid and Bob, parents of four, verbalize to their children how much the family has, in this way: “We often remind our children that we are very rich indeed; we have everything that money can’t buy: good health and healthy relationships.”

By Annemarie Scobey, from the pages of At Home with Our Faith, Claretian Publications’ print newsletter for parents on nurturing spirituality in the home. Winner of the Best in Class award in 2014 from the Associated Church Press, as well as a First Place General Excellence award from the Catholic Press Association for  four years running. Here’s a sample issue.

We offer very low rates for parish use, as well as our free Moms’ Night Out monthly discussion guides.

And don’t miss our popular single-page parish handouts on handing on the faith, helping kids understand the Mass, Lent, and Advent.

Like us on Facebook and follow Homefaith on Twitter.

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