Breaking Through the Wall

“I hate Lent!” was the exclamation that came from our almost-six-year-old’s mouth the other night. He was overcome with sudden despair because we denied his plea for dessert. It’s funny that he was being so dramatic; it’s not like this was the first day without sweets. We were three weeks into Lent; but perhaps three weeks was his breaking point.

“I hate Lent!” Ty whimpered. “That’s kind of the point,” my husband replied humorously. I chuckled. Ty didn’t find either of our responses comforting.

I started thinking about the exchange. Ty was “feeling the burn,” so to speak. The spiritual exercise of self-denial wasn’t very novel anymore, and his self-discipline and self-control were waning. For a child, it’s probably equivalent to a weight-lifter at the gym after multiple sets. At the beginning there’s a lot of enthusiasum. The first few reps aren’t bad; they might even feel good. Then fatique sets in…then mental exhaustion, and the thought of one more rep is terrible. Continue reading “Breaking Through the Wall”

“Family Time” for Every Domestic Church

We started homeschooling this year, as our oldest began Kindergarten. In creating our approach to education in the home, I quickly became aware of a phenomenon on the homeschool blogosphere and podcast circut called Morning Time. I immediately implemented it, and it has been the most wonderful part of our daily routine, even (especially) on far-from-perfect days. Experiencing the fruit in my young family, and hearing from countless parents who have practiced Morning Time for decades, I believe that this communal activity is essential for every family, regardless of your school/work lifestyle.

What is Morning Time? Well, contrary to it’s name, it doesn’t have to happen in the morning. For some families it happens in the afternoon or in the evening. In short, it is a communal gathering of the whole family–across ages and across various subjects–to seek after truth, beauty and goodness. Cindy Rollins, the woman who bascially birthed the concept of Morning Time over 30 years ago, describes it this way: “…as a liturgy, Morning Time reminds us what we should love.” Continue reading ““Family Time” for Every Domestic Church”

While You Still Have Time

It’s the feast of St. John of God today. This is such a great saint to venerate during Lent, because he was full of compassion for the poor, homeless, and sick; and most of the people he served and physically cared for were all three. Essentially, he sought out all of the people that most of us spend our lives avoiding (consciously or unconsciously).

We roll up our windows as we come to the stop light next to the scruffy man with the cardboard sign. When the elderly get to the point that they need help caring for themselves, we move them to “a facility” and rarely visit them. When we encounter people who are ill, our first thought is often whether or not they are contagious, not whether they need help caring for their basic needs or those of their families.

In truth, we live in an individualistic culture that holds self-sufficiency as an ultimate good and ideal state of the human person. Not only do we not run to help those in need (offering many excuses for how they should help themselves), but we keep others at arm’s length when we are going through hard times, have fallen ill, or have reached the point of needing care and assistance ourselves. Continue reading “While You Still Have Time”