raising children

The Tyranny of Tolerance

When the Supreme Court re-defined marriage in the Obergefell v. Hodges decision to include same-sex relationships, it was immediately clear that this sea change would create a conflict between this newly-discovered constitutional right, and the first freedom listed in the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights: the right of religious liberty. Everyone from pundits [...]

Talk to Your Father

In a recent article for Crisis, I took to task Fr. James Martin, S.J., for calling it a cause for celebration, when a teenage boy declared to his father, on Thanksgiving, that he was a homosexual. I said that it would be the worst day of the father's life, because he would know that he and his [...]

Open Your Eyes Father Martin

Father James G. Martin, S.J., is either a cruel or a foolish man. It does not seem to be the first. But if it is not that, it must be the second, because that alone can explain how a Catholic priest can live in the midst of massive and unprecedented family breakdown, and the chaos, [...]

Why Catholic Schools Should Scrap Scholastic Book Fairs

This fall, parents may notice something missing from the piles of paper their children bring home from school each day. Book fair flyers from the Scholastic company, the world’s largest publisher and distributer of children’s books as well as the leading operator of school-based book clubs and fairs in the United States, are no longer [...]

Are Our Schools Overdosing on Self-Esteem?

I was recently in a Catholic school assembly of about 6oo elementary students watching various children receive awards and recognition. After the various awards were given, a music video was shown on the screen and all the children began to sing the lyrics. It was here, watching this music video about how “I am great, [...]

On Prioritizing the Values Taught to Children

“You can’t die in every ditch.” It was a favorite saying of Fr. Ed Madden, my pastor and boss, when I was a greenhorn DRE back in Boulder. So many problems, so many complaints, so many challenges crop up in the course of ordinary parish work, and I was motivated (at first) to tackle them [...]

“Family-Friendly” Islam Comes to Europe

“If you want to see the face of Europe in 100 years, barring a miracle, look to the faces of young Muslim immigrants.” Thus said Philadelphia archbishop Charles Chaput at a recent Napa Institute conference. “Islam has a future because Islam believes in children,” he said. “Without a transcendent faith that makes life worth living, [...]

The Children of Divorce Speak Out

“As a kid I was always sad and always trying to keep everyone else happy. I felt like I had to be one person when I was with my dad and another when I was with my mom.” So says an anonymous child of divorce, describing how her parents’ divorce impacted her childhood. She is [...]

You Are Gods

God created the world not out of necessity but out of generosity. Eternally blessed and perfect in himself, God had no need to create and no need of creation. Instead, in freedom he created in wisdom and in love. Each creature God endowed with gifts proportionate to its role, but he crowned man with a [...]

They Asked Him to Leave

“The entire population of the region of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them because they were seized with great fear. So he got into a boat and returned.”  (Luke 8:37) It is amazing. Our Lord has just freed a man from a legion of demons, a man that presumably these folks had, at one [...]

What To Do About Honey Baby Dolly?

In 7th grade, I started acting up. My father died suddenly near the end of 6th grade and when he was gone, my behavior changed. One fine day in 7th grade, Mr. Mac, my language arts teacher, whose first name was Harry, came into my social studies class to convey something to our teacher, Mrs. Gooding. [...]

Note to Pollsters: What “Practicing Catholic” Really Means

First consideration is due to the offspring, which many have the boldness to call the disagreeable burden of matrimony.  ~ Pope Pius XI, Casti Connubii If someone says “practicing Catholic,” what do you think of? If your first thought it involved Mass attendance, you’d be in good company. Pollsters and pundits tend to clump Catholics into [...]

The Transgender Movement Targets Autistic Children

Last May, Dr. Kathleen Levinstein, a professor of social work at the University of Michigan, wrote a heartbreaking piece about her autistic daughter, a teenaged girl who became convinced that she was really a man trapped inside a woman’s body. With encouragement from transgender activists at the local organization of PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends [...]

Finding Freedom in Reading Aloud with Children

"Children should be encouraged to read for the pure delight of it.”  ∼ Annie Sullivan, teacher of Helen Keller Most parents have heard that reading aloud to a child at home is one of the most helpful practices in a child’s education. It sounds simple; yet it can be intimidating for parents who want to read [...]

Three Doctors’ Common Antidote to Social Media

The noted psychologist and author Dr. Leonard Sax recently visited our youngest daughter’s school for a talk with parents, focused on his recent book, The Collapse of Parenting. Sax is a leading proponent of treating boys and girls differently, and educating them separately; previous titles of his are Girls on the Edge (2005), Boys Adrift [...]

A Family-Friendly Guide to Sex Education

“How do I answer my children’s questions about what they hear on the news?” “How do I parent in a post-Obergefell world?” “My childhood was far from innocent. How do I raise my children?” Parents want answers: I’m writing here to propose a few thoughts on human nature and to suggest some reading that puts [...]

How to Discourage Socialism Among the Young

When business is based on selfishness everybody is busy becoming more selfish.  ~ Peter Maurin You gotta’ love socialists. At least I do. I love their passionate idealism, their desire for economic parity, their disdain for rapacious laissez-faire capitalism—and their mod outfits. Thanks to Bernie Sanders and his quixotic campaign for the presidency, there’s plenty of [...]

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 [...]

The West’s War on the Family

For decades, now, Christians have worried about the progressive push to strip naked the public square by forcing religion into the shadows of a private sphere. Recent events have made clear that this is not the case. Everything is public and political to the secular left. All aspects of our lives are fair game in [...]

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 [...]

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