Parenting

Right to Work as a Religious Liberty Concern

With a new Republican governor and a legislature with a strong Republican majority, Missourians saw some changes this year coming out of their state capital. One of the quickest and most striking turnarounds had to do with right-to-work legislation. This had been a top priority for Show-Me Republicans for years, fought ardently by labor unions [...]

Totalitarians of the World, Unite!

Whenever I'm in a diner or a family restaurant, I look around for the most cheerful thing in any day's experience, and that's a young husband and wife and their children. Today the two children sitting with their parents at the table next to us were a baby boy and his four-year-old brother. The four [...]

The Infantilization of Parenting

British author Alexander Pope was perhaps the first writer to turn a "bad hair day" into a poem—really, a satirical tragedy.  Modern Americans, bereft of a sense of humor and inclined to view reality through the lens of a selfie, turn their bad hair days into epic farces. On the way to work in Washington [...]

On Respecting Children When They Make Mistakes

Helping children navigate the road to virtue is a challenging task. Thousands of books, articles, videos, and programs present strategies for how to discipline children effectively. Many parents have found tremendous help this way, and the abundance of information available for struggling families can be a gift from God in difficult and complicated situations. Two [...]

Reflections on Surviving One Year of Fatherhood

My father claims that he’s never changed a diaper. Not once. As for myself, I can’t remember a time when I didn’t have Desitin filling the cracks of my knuckles ... and I’ve only been a father for a little under a year. I’m a dad of the twenty-first century, which means I’m part of [...]

The Role of Beauty in the Formation of Men as Men

Once upon a time in the Western world, exposure to “the beautiful” was an important element in the development and formation of men. The ideal man was also an educated man, and an educated man knew something about, and appreciated, good art, good music, good literature, and good taste (and perhaps also good wine). The [...]

Who Will Rescue the Lost Sheep of the Lonely Revolution?

Forgive me, Lord, if I use your words for an admonitory parable. You said to the Pharisees, “What man among you, having a hundred sheep, and learning that one of them has wandered into the wilderness, will not leave the ninety nine and go after the lost sheep? And when he has found it, will [...]

Misbehaving Children Need Punishment

There seems to be a lot of overlap between people who don’t believe in spanking, and people who don’t believe in sin. This is a long-standing theory of mine, but it was especially confirmed in recent weeks following the kerfuffle over NFL superstar Adrian Peterson’s severe spanking of his 4-year-old son. To be clear, I [...]

…But Should They Live Together?

The two upcoming synods of bishops on “The Pastoral Care of the Family in the Context of the New Evangelization” needs to discuss many serious topics other than communion for the divorced and remarried.  I hope they revisit the standard recommendation that couples in invalid second “marriages” should “live as brother and sister.” This is [...]

Promoting Gender Confusion in the Young

November is a month for counting our blessings. When I want to appreciate how fortunate I have been in my life, I sometimes play a little game. I go to a mainstream media site such as the Huffington Post, and imagine what my life might have been like if I had been raised by people [...]

Catholic Fears of the Dreaded Religious Calling

The other day I walked into our bathroom to encounter a small stack of towels, folded on the floor—the same stack my wife had earlier asked our eighth grade son to put away. She hadn’t told him to put the towels on the shelf rather than the floor. Hence the stack on the floor. This [...]

Dewey or Don’t We? Why Our Kids are Messed Up

In the first part of this essay, I suggested that an educational system dominated by the philosophical baggage of logical positivism and reductivist materialism, animated by fear of “falling behind” others in math, science, and technology, and focused primarily on training students for a job, had left America’s children bereft of the knowledge and skills [...]

Dewey or Don’t We? Why Our Kids are Messed Up

“Personally, I’d prefer a kinder, gentler set of relationships: more like the give-and-take of an elegant dance than the rough-and-tumble of the full-contact sport that is the modern hook-up culture.  For that to happen, however, parents would have to remember that teaching their children how to dance, how to date, and how to court and [...]

Our Frantic Pace and the Choices We Make

All parents feel overburdened at times; for many, the job of raising kids today is (literally) not a Sunday stroll in the park. Popular memes like the following are not likely to help matters, however. In her New York Times Sunday Review piece, “The Non-Joie of Parenting”, Jennifer Conlin, recently returned to the United States, [...]

NFP: The Myth of the “Contraceptive Mentality”

A recent Sunday was designated by the bishops of the United States as “Respect Life Sunday.” As we pray and work for an end to abortion, it is well to remember that there is a profound connection between the prominent use of birth control in a nation and the legalization of abortion: As Pope Paul [...]

Parenting by the Book

“Woe to the mother who speaks of child-rearing, For lo, her children will misbehave. They will wail and scream in the ­market, They will poke eyes and pull hair. Even strangers will reprimand them, and Their cuteness will shield them not.” If that’s not received wisdom, it should be. While I’m not a superstitious person [...]

In the Dough

I was going through some old pictures on the computer the other day. Organizing family photos is a project I assign myself on occasion in order to avoid doing real work. Nothing makes sorting through decades’ worth of jumbled digital images seem like quite so enticing a task as having real work with a real [...]

More of You

A mom recently emailed me a complaint. “You never share stories anymore! I always loved your stories.” It’s true that I regularly used to share stories from my real-life experience as a Catholic mom of many children. It turns out that misery really does love company, and the woes of nighttime teething and tantruming toddlers [...]

The Family’s Not-So-Secret Strength

Coming in the wake of last month’s looting and burning riots in British cities, a UN report pinpointing materialism as a particularly British blight was bound to make the country sit up and take notice. The youths who rampaged through the streets of London and Birmingham seemed to both covet material goods and despise them [...]

The Pro-Life Attitude toward Unplanned Pregnancy

"My parents will kill me if I get pregnant." This offhand comment is uttered by young women of every socioeconomic class, race, and religion. A girl is usually taught by the time she reaches puberty that an unplanned baby is one of the worst things she can bring upon herself. That kind of pressure from [...]

Air Your Grievances Here

“When is our next meeting?” eleven-year-old Juliette harrumphed as she slouched on the couch beside me. "Because I have a grievance to air.” This isn’t just a melodramatic pre-teen talking; this is our family’s latest lingo. In our house, the “grievances” are real. And we air them at family meetings. A few months ago, it [...]

MENU