My recent post on My Cup of Tea reminded me of a recent conversation with my sister on the subject of Catholic parenting. She had told me about a friend who is discerning a vocation to marriage. With a specific young man. She’s a recent convert and they are both pretty sure that marriage is where they are headed, but they both have one big concern: how do we raise good Catholic kids when neither of us had a good Catholic upbringing and both of us want to avoid recreating the environment in which we grew up (at least that’s what I got out of what my sister told me).
Let’s face it parenting is a daunting proposition. But even more so when you are conscious that you don’t have any good models of good family life to emulate. Then it really seems like an uphill battle.
So my sister asks what kind of advice can she give them.
My first thought was that they should seek out Catholic families, join a parish and make friends, though I know from experience that’s easier said than done. Still, there are good families out there and being part of a parish in which you see plenty of families would be a good idea.
I know that I have been very blessed by the many wonderful families I know, especially Dom’s brothers and sister and their families. After my own parents, they have been the greatest influence providing inspirational role models. I felt so much more confident going into my pregnancy having my sisters-in-law there to support, encourage and advise me. I’ve also been encouraged and supported by my married friends who have ventured down the road to parenthood before me.
My second though of course was that there must be some good books out there. And it struck me that many of the Catholic homeschooling books I’ve been reading would also serve for this purpose. Even if she isn’t interested in homeschooling, most of them go far beyond academics and address the more fundamental questions about faith and family. At the root of Catholic homeschooling philosophy is the conviction that the goal of homeschooling, in fact the goal of parenting in general, is to get one’s kids to heaven. Homeschooling is merely a means to that end. Thus these books contain much advice that is not specifically about schooling and more about Catholic parenting.
So I recommended that her friend peruse some of the books that I’ve highlighted in my blog, looking at those with a specifically Catholic focus. I would add now Danielle Bean’s book. And I would also add that there are some great Catholic blogs out there.
And now that I think about it I skipped right over the first thing I should have said, which is that the model for a Catholic family should always be the Holy Family. That’s fundamental.
So what other books are out there on Catholic parenting? If you know of any good titles, please share.
Update: I just realized I hadn’t actually posted this! oops.