A continuation of last week’s post.
1. Celebrate life. Make a big deal of birthdays, of anniversaries, of saints’ feastdays. Yes, saints’ feastdays usually fall on their death anniversaries, but we recall them for the lives they lived. Don’t get too hung up on dates, though. Celebrate life every single day. Each moment is precious.
2. Celebrate the living. Spend time with grandparents, aunts, uncles. Let them know they are loved, that you value their wisdom and their experience and their presence. Let children develop attachments to extended family — it’s a good thing.
3. Raise readers, and read great books; they usually contain lessons on life you and your children will want to learn — some of these lessons are best learned from the pages of a book. If you’re looking for pro-life, pro-family books, start out with these: Angel in the Waters, All the Places to Love, Baby Margaret Mary, Mama, Do You Love Me?, and from a good friend of mine, I Know I am Loved. There are many more (upcoming post, perhaps).
4. Have kids, or have more kids.
5. Adopt, or sponsor, a child.
6. Pray at Planned Parenthood abortuaries.
7. Help out at pregnancy centers.
8. Get to know women in Scripture: Sarah. Rachel. Hannah. Mary. Meditate on God’s gift of fertility/infertility.
9. Get involved in pro-life activities; there is no shortage of organizations you can support/join and events you can attend. e.g., Priests for Life, Right to Life, March for Life, Children of God for Life, One More Soul, Heritage House, the five non-negotiables.
12. Don’t be afraid to talk about natural death — it’s part of who we are.
13. Let them understand Roe v. Wade.
14. Cultivate a devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe, Protectress of the Unborn.
15. Read up on the Church’s social doctrine — great material for discussion at the dinner table.
16. Get your marriage right. Read Casti Connubii with your spouse. Consider also Covenanted Happiness.
17. Go to Mass regularly, daily if possible.
18. Partake in the Sacraments often.
19. Go to Eucharistic Adoration.
20. Watch pro-life movies. (Will cover this in upcoming post.)
21. Pray the Rosary daily. Consecrate the whole family, and/or encourage children to make the consecration.
22. Ask the intercession of the patron saints of the pro-life movement.
23. Study biology. Pay special attention to when life begins. Older children should read Fides et Ratio.
24. Study the encyclicals, particularlyEvangelium Vitae, Humanae Vitae.
25. Read and digest JPII’s original Theology of the Body. Bit by bit.
26. Help out at Kids Against Hunger, Matthew 25 Ministries, or Feeding America. Or find local charities the whole family can support, like soup kitchens. Involving them early helps develop that spirit of generosity so badly needed today.
27. Consider allowing them to get involved in the New Evangelization. Learn to navigate and make good use of social media.
28. Let them connect with other Catholics and pro-lifers, online and off. Encourage them to read Catholic and Christian pro-life blogs — add them to your reader.
29. Memorize the Prayer for the Unborn. Say it daily.
Jesus, Mary, Joseph,
I love you very much.
I beg you to spare the life
of the unborn child
that I have spiritually adopted,
who is in danger of abortion. Amen.
30. Let them hold and take care of babies and little children, especially siblings. Nurture relationships within the home. It’s beautiful to see siblings who love and appreciate each other.
31. Educate them about pornography. Warn them about it, because unless you plan to cocoon them, there are people out there who are more than willing to introduce them to the world of pornography. Remember, Once In, Never Out.
32. Teach your teen daughter to chart her cycles. She will be awed by God’s design. By charting her cycles she will also establish a valuable health record that would help tremendously should she ever run into problems. This is not something most OB-GYNs are equipped to promote. (Will discuss this more in a future post)
33. Discuss extreme feminism and the emasculation that’s happening today as a direct result of the sexual revolution.
34. Do #33, but at the same time steer them also to learn about submission and spiritual headship.
35. Get the family physically fit. We’re fighting the culture of death not only spiritually, but physically as well.
36. Homeschool if you can. Parents read Divini Illius Magistri.
37. Involve them in Scouts or AHG — better yet, get involved yourself. And don’t forget the religious emblems.
38. Get out. Take a walk, enjoy God’s creation. It does wonders for the spirit.
39. Hang around pro-life families; it helps to have kindred spirits who care about the same things you do.
40. Teach them about the spectrum of pro-life thought.
41. Limit exposure to traditional media. Remember that if you’re reading, watching, listening to what everyone else is reading, watching, and listening to — then you’re thinking like everyone else. Garbage in, garbage out.
42. Take time to journal the positive stuff. Because 5, 10 years from now, you may forget those little things, like the toddler’s first words. Take pictures.
43. Get them around good nuns and priests. Encourage a vocation to the religious life. Pray for it, and pray for the strength to be the supportive parent if and when a child should decide to become a priest or nun.
44. Pray for their future spouses. There are too many broken people out there who need our prayers — some of them may end up marrying our children.
45. Get serious about passing on the faith. If you’re not into apologetics, get into it!
46. Don’t believe the myths about adolescence. It doesn’t have to be the nightmare some people think it will be, if you’ve held on to your children’s hearts.
47. Teach modesty. Model it.
48. Teach chivalry. Model it.
49. Practice custody of the eyes. Your kids are watching you watch what you watch. They’re paying attention to what you’re reading, what you’re listening to. Your actions are louder than your words. Be a good example.
50. Have late night conversations, any-time conversations, whenever-they-need-it conversations. You won’t regret it.
51. Meet them where they are. Some of your kids will be voracious faith-wise. Don’t worry if they seem to outpace you, and run so far ahead that you can’t keep up. If they get passionate about the faith, that’s a good thing.
52. Let your children teach you as well. They have unbelievable insights about life from their eyes!
53. Be a parent first and foremost. Sometimes they’ll need you to be their friend, but more than anything they need you to be their parent — don’t forget that.
54. Let them have friends, but teach them to be picky. They need a few good friends; they don’t necessarily need a posse.
55. Be aware of culture, though you don’t have to immerse yourself or your children in it.
56. Cultivate good friendships — nothing like friends who are just as passionate about the life issues as you and your children are.
57. Cultivate good hobbies — reading, spending time in nature, building things. Let children be useful with their hands.
58. When you need help as a parent, default to Scripture, the Catechism, and your own experiences. There are also some great parenting books out there, but we almost always pull out the Bible and the Catechism when explaining to kids why we expect them to do or not do certain things.
59. Don’t be afraid to tell them about the mistakes you’ve made. It doesn’t hurt them to know you’re not perfect.
60. Don’t forget these, the most important things you can say to your children: I love you, Thank you, Sorry, Please. Say them often. Say them to each other. They echo perfectly the Lord’s prayer.
61. Set the bar high, but make it a different kind of bar — raise children for heaven, not Harvard.
62. Celebrate difference. Make them glad to be set apart from the crowd. Help them become proud of it. Relish swimming against the tide.
63. Emphasize FAMILY. We do THIS because this is what works for OUR family. They won’t understand it at first, but sooner or later, they’ll take it as a badge of honor.
64. They will make mistakes; they will disappoint you. That’s life. As parents we are called to forgive, and help them move forward.
65. Don’t forget to take them on dates. They need that one-on-one time with Mom or Dad.
66. Learn to talk about the difficult stuff: sex, drugs, alcohol, violence. These are ongoing topics in our home. The older the child, the more we can get into the nitty-gritty. They should know that they can come to you with ANY question, and that they will be treated with respect.
67. Teach them to value internals over externals. It’s your example that’s really important here. Learn the difference between internal control vs. external control, internal rewards vs. external rewards, internal values vs. external values.
68. Teach and model what self-sacrifice is.
69. Teach and model delayed gratification — material, spiritual, physical. It will build character like you wouldn’t believe.
70. Kindness begets kindness. Dare to transform the world, one deed at a time.
71. Detach, detach, detach. Abby Sasscer’s book helped me a lot.
72. Learn history, particularly salvation history, and things like where we got the Bible, and the history of the Church.
73. Learn the language of Catholicism, and don’t let it die.
74. Let your child have heroes. The ones found on the big screen can be good, but find good role models around you — fellow parents who are passionate about the faith and passing it on to their children, priests, nuns, other people your kids’ age and up who can inspire them.
75. Volunteer at your church, get to know fellow parishioners.
76. Tithe. I cannot say enough how much this changed our lives. As always, one cannot outgive God.
77. Don’t be afraid of your kids. Too many parents fear their children these days. Fear is not of the Lord. Our children were given to us so we can shepherd them, not the other way around.
78. Don’t be afraid of being idealistic, to a point. Way too many pessimists out there; the world doesn’t need more of them.
79. Learn your spouse and your children’s love languages. It will make a profound difference in your relationships at home.
80. Pro-life doesn’t mean getting stuck in one approach or one event or one organization all the time. All our efforts put together work towards the common good. But we need to find more reasons to unite than fall apart.
81. We are our kids’ first line of defense… against the culture of death, against predators, against pride, sin, indifference. Let’s not let them down.
82. Fear is of the devil. Face life with courage. God is with us.
83. Celebrate family. We’re supposed to work out our salvation within it. Familiaris Consortio
This is a list-in-progress. I’m having my children and hubby read it, we may add more, or delete some.
Alicia has also come up with a beautiful list that I hope you’ll take time to read.
Mine is more tailored to what I’ve personally seen and experienced the past couple of years fighting the Philippines’ RH Bill. I’ve also drawn on what has worked for us (so far) as parents.
Some other articles of interest:
Our families, our children, are called to change the world. Let’s do it!
Tomorrow, an examination of conscience