Wednesday, March 31, 2010
I was driving home today listening to Shop Vac by JoCo, when I began to remember (for some strange unrelated reason) the show Home Improvement. Last year I began to watch the series on DVR mostly in order, and discovered something that I didn't realize when the episodes were new...it was a good show!
Please bear with me for a moment, I'm not talking about the fandom obsession with Jonathon Taylor Thomas that was all the rage when I was a pre-teen, nor am I necessarily talking about the acting or improbable situations. I was instead struck by how down-to-earth and realistic the family dynamics were. In most "family" comedies today the main male character (sometimes the husband but more often than not a live-in boyfriend, ugh) is portrayed as just plain dumb with no redeeming qualities.
Tim Taylor, however, was more. He was a show-off and pulled stupid stunts, sure. I think that's indicative of many guys. But he was first and foremost a husband and strong father. He was involved in his children's lives, stuck with his wife through thick and thin, and wasn't afraid to do what was right for his family. In addition, he was smart and understood quite often what his sage-like neighbor, Wilson, was advising even if he couldn't paraphrase very well. Something else I always liked was that he was portrayed as a "manly-man", not some wimpy effeminate, androgynous, pussy-whipped wanna-be girlie-man.
Besides the strong main male character, the other thing Home Improvement had going for it was the strong family support. Each member worked to build up the family without going overboard (7th Heaven, anyone?), and everyone had a definitive role that was flexible over time. When faced with an outside problem they often banded together in a united front.
Why can't television today have similar qualities?
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Ah, what a relief it is to visit a church like this. Almost all of these guidelines can be applied to toddlers, the exception being helping them find the pages in the prayer book since they can't read yet.
Why Children in Worship?
John Westerhoff, a leading educator in the Episcopal Church believes that children are necessary in worship.
Westerhoff believes that faith is "caught" not "taught" and what better way for children to know what faith is all about than to be a full part of the community.
When a child is baptized in our midst and made a member of the church of Christ, the adults of the congregation promise to be active in nurturing that child's faith. We need to work together to nurture our children in their faith and to be nurtured by them in return. Children give us the gift of trust and a fresh point of view; adults can share the gift of acceptance, experience and the wisdom of the church through the ages.
May we Suggest:
- Relax! God put the wiggle in children … don't feel you have to suppress it in God's house.
- Use a gentle touch: an arm around your child's shoulder, your hand in his/hers to give reassurance and appropriate attention.
- Explain quietly the parts of the service.
- Help your child find the pages in the prayer book. It is okay if they stand on the pew to see and sing.
- Do not be distressed if your child does not find the proper page.
- Sing the hymns, pray and voice the responses. Children learn good behavior in church by copying yours.
- Always remember that the way we welcome children in church directly affects the way they respond to church, God and Christ. Let them know that they are at home in this liturgy of praise and thanksgiving.
The part that struck me the most was the reminder that we ALL vow to be active in nourishing the candidate's faith during a baptism. This goes along with the last of the guidelines that reminds us that "the way we welcome children in church directly affects the way they respond to church."
Involving George in church is one of my biggest concerns right now with his development. Toddlerhood is the perfect age to introduce a child to the wonders of Christ and His church. This is the age where children begin to learn what is appropriate behavior and make associations. For example, just the other night I was reading George his board-book Bible at bedtime when he pointed to the crucifix hanging on his wall. This being Lent, I thought it was an appropriate time to introduce the basic concepts of the Cross, so I got the crucifix down and let him hold it and examine it. First he pointed out where Jesus' feet and hands were, then began to finger the nails. I explained to him that Jesus had a boo-boo where he was nailed to the cross, and George pointed to a scratch on his own leg and said "boo-boo?"
What a wonderful opportunity to explain that Jesus was hurt, nailed to the Cross....and then opening up his picture book to the Resurrection, I showed him that Jesus rose from the dead! Obviously the concept of the Resurrection is a bit much for a two-year old to handle, but a child that young can still begin to understand what I then explained to George...
When we do something bad, it makes Jesus sad. But He died on the Cross and rose from the dead so that when we tell him we're sorry, he forgives us. Just like when you misbehave, I'm sad. But when you tell me you're sorry, it makes me happy and I give you a kiss.
After this, George took the crucifix and rubbed it on his leg saying "no boo-boo." I had to hold my breath to keep from laughing. Hey, he's starting to understand, right?
*On a bit of a side note, St. Andrew's is carpeted which helps a great deal with the acoustic problem of George's naturally loud voice (a gift he inherited from me, I'm afraid).
**The picture is courtesy Fr. Timothy Matkin
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Saturday, March 6, 2010
As some of you know, I have been in a period of discernment for the last couple of years to figure out if God is calling me to Rome or if I'm just imagining it. I finally got my answer today. Many things have led up to this decision, and it is not a decision I make lightly. I will happily explain more as time goes on, but suffice it to say that I feel I need to make my decision known.
Also, if anyone in the Grand Prairie area (or nearby cities) could recommend a conservative, child-friendly, non-happy clappy Catholic parish, please let me know!
May the blessing of God be upon you.