Sit Still and Be Quiet!?

I grew up making fun of homeschoolers. It was a way of life I didn’t understand. And now we have decided to homeschool our own children. One of the many reasons is because I truly believe that sitting still for 7 hours and reading from a textbook is not really learning. I get excited thinking about learning fractions from baking or working with daddy in the woodshop; of all the field trips and experiences we will get to have- life is one big education!

Then we had prayer time last night. We asked the kids to sit still and recite their prayers. While it is very important for them to know how to sit still and to memorize their prayers, that is not all there is to be learned about the faith. I realized that to sit still and learn your prayers is teaching in much of the same way that I’m trying avoid.

I think many well intentioned families have turned their kids off to religion by only applying that same approach to faith: sit still a recite your prayers or be quiet and go to Mass.

It is important to eventually be able to sit still and recite the rosary. It is essential to learn to be quiet and sit in Mass. God definitely speaks to us in the quiet of our hearts. But, it has to be age appropriate. And, sitting still and being quiet can’t be all there is to faith. If so, we are missing out on life being one big spiritual education: Who are we? How did we get here? Why is life hard? What is the point?

To pass on the faith means that you are letting your offspring witness your lived experience with t11011453_1596240467281706_5479734691516327357_nhe Trinity on a daily basis. It’s more that sitting still (which again is definitely essential!) It’s talking, singing, crying, laughing, etc. Just yesterday Timothy pointed out to me all the features of the Sacred Heart: a heart, a cross, fire, crown of thorns, blood. When I asked him what all the fire around the Sacred Heart meant, he said: “Love.” He told me today God heard his prayers when he asked for help getting his poopies out. He is beginning to grasp the idea of a relationship with God in the way a 4 year old can.

11246024_1593646200874466_489587991628054299_nBut for many, we are missing an important element of that relationship of faith: The Holy Spirit. I believe that the Holy Spirit is the key to entering into the faith, to living it out, and to successfully handing it on.

The Holy Spirit. The forgotten person of the Trinity. Jesus is easy to grasp because he has a human nature. God is comprehendable because of creation and because we have earthly fathers. But a dove? A tongue of fire? It’s much harder to intellectually grasp the concept of the Holy Spirit.

That’s why I’m excited for Fr. Dave Pivonka’s new series called “The Wild Goose.”

10401939_1596740307231722_8665441408544622917_nIt just finished it’s fundraising to create a 14-part video series that will be available for free December 2015. The goal of the videos will be to invite us into a deeper relationship with the Holy Spirit. So in the meantime, you can read a great article on the Holy Spirit by Fr. Dave called “The Forgotten Person of the Trinity” here:

May your education of faith be much more than sitting still and being quiet. May your children embrace a life of faith lived in the Spirit.

EnthronementHappy Feasts of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (yesterday)
and Immaculate Heart of Mary (today)!

How Gloriously Different Are My Children

Sometimes it’s hard to believe my children come from the same genes. Not only do they look vastly different but their personalities are polar opposite, too. For example:Image

Timothy is my snuggler. He wants to be held and comforted often. Lily, on the other hand, is Miss Independent and is like, “mom, back up off my space, yo.” (She doesn’t really say that, but it would be awesome if she did.)  Timothy screams for a napkin if a drop of yogurt touches his shirt or, heaven forbid, it dares to dirty his finger. After using that napkin once he will immediately throw it away until he needs a new one two minutes later. Meanwhile, Lily has yogurt in her hair, up her nose, and down her shirt all before her first bite reaches her mouth. Lily will run away the moment you take her diaper off to change it, while Timothy is asking me to put his pants back on.


You get the picture. Any veteran parent tells me their children are all on opposite sides of the personality spectrum, too. It seems like a daunting task to teach, discipline, and love each child in the way they personally need it. Trial and error, they say, to learn how to relate to each of your kids.

“How gloriously different are the saints,” once wrote CS Lewis. It’s true! I’ve been thinking of this often lately: all the vocations, all the religious orders with different charisms, all the canonized saints with vastly different personalities. There is more than one path to holiness; and it gives me comfort- while still overwhelming-to know there is more than one right way to raise holy children. What works for my family may not work for another, and vice versa. And that’s ok!

While I have no practical advice on parenting children, the only thing that I know so far is that the Holy Spirit is sent into our lives to help us relate to each of our kids individually. In Luke 12:12 it says, “For the Holy Spirit will teach you at that moment what you should say.”  If we are parents that are in tune with the Spirit, we can trust we will be guided to raise uniquely different and gloriously holy children.

But if you do have any practical advice, I’d love to hear it!