Sunday, February 26, 2017

Do Not Worry

In the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 6, Jesus delivers teaching on worry.

To reach millennials today, would He post it to YouTube this way?

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your social media accounts, what you will post, tweet, or snap, or about your Netflix list, what you will add. Is not life more than "Stranger Things" and the body more than for selfies?
Look at the birds in the sky; they do not tweet or . . . (Okay, they do that. You know what I mean.) . . . or instagram, they gather nothing into memes, yet your heavenly Father knows them. Are not you more important than they?
Can any of you by worrying about how #YOLO add a single moment to your life-span? Why are you anxious about your #OOTD? Learn from the way the wild flowers grow. They do not Pinterest or shop Amazon. But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was clothed like one of them. If God so clothes the grass of the field, which grows today and is replaced by drought-tolerant landscaping tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith?
So do not worry and say, 'Should I post my lunch to Instagram?' or 'Why did she unfollow me?' or 'What picture should I post for #TBT?' All these things the social media addicts seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all #IRL. 
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides. Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil."
Hmmm . . . probably not. But, as we approach the season of Lent, it's a great reminder of the things we can live without. Hopefully it helps you decide what you're giving up!

God Bless.

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Saturday, February 4, 2017


It has been almost two and a half years since I have posted a blog, but it feels like only a blink of the eye. To all of my dedicated readers (OK . . . reader. Thanks Mom, I knew I could count on you!) it might seem like changing schools and positions  caused the drought in blog posts here. After all, work took (and still takes) an inordinate amount of my time. 

That's not the reason for my absence, though. The reality has more to do with the fact that I had nothing to say. Well, not only did I have nothing to say, I had come face to face with the fact that I was a complete and total fraud. That's right, a fraud. Here I am, writing a blog about raising kids to be faithful, and I had come to the realization that I had absolutely no idea what I was talking about.

What brought about this revelation? 

My daughter. My sweet, loving, and obedient little girl. She turned three years old, and she proceeded to molt her angelic outer skin, to reveal the dangerous creature within. Her feisty personality leveled my stern expectations. Her emotional outbreaks cracked my controlled temper. Her endless questioning eroded my will to answer.

Taking it a step further, she confounded every technique I'd honed to perfection while my son was in his toddler and preschool years. 

Yes, that's right. I learned the truth. I discovered that I wasn't a capable parent with something to share about raising faith-filled kids. I learned that my first child-- God bless him-- was . . . easy. 

God read my ramblings here on Blogger, saw that I needed humbling, and sent me a daughter.

In all seriousness, both my own children and the many thousands of children I've had the pleasure of working with over the last 19 years have taught me that no one knows it all. I have had the great blessing of being able to get advice and wisdom from my own parents/in-laws and the parents of my schools. We share many things in common-- we love our children, we want them to know that God loves them, and we don't always get the parenting thing right.

So I'm back, occasionally, to share with you the tidbits of wisdom I've been able to glean from my own experience and that of the many folks I have the pleasure of talking with on a daily basis in my work as a school principal. 

In the time between, know that I'm praying for our country and our world to put God at the forefront, enabling our children to grow to be faith-filled, responsible, and active believers!

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Time to Raise Our Kids
What are we parents doing to ensure our children grow up with faith and morals? I know it's tough-- there's a lot out there that teaches our students values and lessons contrary to what we're trying to teach them. If we take a moment to consider the influences on them, we might find that we're still allowing bad media into their eyes and ears.

Consider the issue of time. How much time are our children spending with any kind of media that reinforces negative views, violent behaviors, or anti-faith attitudes? This would include apps where this media can be found (Instagram, Snapchat,, games (either on iPads, smartphones, or game systems), on the Internet (YouTube), television (including movies and "teen/tween" shows), and music.

Surprised by any of this? Sit down with your child the next time he or she is watching a teen/tween show, like those on the Disney channel, and observe the show's attitude towards and portrayal of parents and adults. Or, watch and listen the next time your child is playing Call of Duty or Counter Strike over the Internet on their Playstation or XBox. Sometimes we don't even realize what our children are being exposed to. As the old saying goes, "You reap what you sow." I might amend that to say, "You reap what you sow and allow to be sown unknowingly." It may be time to make some changes in the media that our children are exposed to.

However, we can take this a step further and ask, of the time we spend with our children each day, how much of it builds up their faith, their sense of right and wrong, or their sense of service to others? Gratefully, Sunday Mass makes for a weekly reminder to our children, and seeing us worship with them builds up its importance in their minds. Daily prayer is another way to sow good seeds in our students' faith lives. This can be done on the way to school by turning off the radio, mentioning intentions to pray for, and praying together during the drive. Each night, we parents can bless our children as we're putting them to bed. We can trace the sign of the cross on their foreheads or place a hand on their heads and pray aloud for their health and well-being. 

Ready to step it up to the next level? Try praying the Rosary together as a family once a week, or add an extra day per week if you're already doing so. We can get a children's bible story book and occasionally read a bible story to our children, especially young children, and talk about how each story shows God's love for us. One great way we can really show our children how practical the Catholic faith is would be to take the family to Confession once a month. 

Raising Faithful Kids
One of my favorite radio programs is Catholic Answers Live which airs on Immaculate Heart Radio (AM930) each day from 3:00-5:00p.m. I recently heard an old episode via podcast called "Raising Faithful Kids" with guests Greg and Lisa Popcak. Greg Popcak is a psychotherapist and Catholic author, and he wrote a book with his wife Lisa that focuses on what Catholic parents can do to raise faithful children. They mention four things Catholic parents must do in order to increase the chances that our children will own their faith personally and carry it into adulthood:
  1. Children need to experience and understand the faith as the source of the warmth in the home.
  2. Dads need to take the lead in faith and character formation.
  3. Parents need to facilitate their children's personal and meaningful prayer relationship with Christ.
  4. [Parents must spend time] Creating relationships with other families and giving kids the opportunities to create relationships with peers who value their faith as well.
During the course of the show, they talk about each in greater detail, and they cite data, personal experience, and common sense to support these claims.

Hearing this really convicted me. Were all of these requirements in place, my children's spiritual "soil" would be effectively tilled so that the Holy Spirit could work in their lives. They'd understand the faith is not something we do only on Sundays, but something we live out in each moment, each interaction, and each decision.