While on the theme of parenting and raising a well-adjusted family, this article popped in my Facebook news feed. Traditional Catholic culture and manliness do intersect in a number of occasions, and this is one of them:
Once you read though this article, you can clearly see that the Catholic Traditional attitude and practice of raising a family, contains many of these principles and more, superseding material bounds and limitations. Still, even lukewarm Catholic parents to be and families could benefit from the advice in the article. It's not just a "trad" thing.
On a side note, Art of Manliness is an excellent site for learning about, and reclaiming, traditional men's culture, values, etc. Definitely look around.
On occasion, I do delve into things that are centered around Traditional Catholicism, but are not directly related to the Latin Mass, the culture if you will. Many posts ago I highlighted something on Catholic Parenting.
While I personally detest the hard line ``Mad Trad``/SSPX sympathies of this blog, Rorate Caeli does provide a source of online TLM news and often features Latin Masses that are done. In addition to when they are not allowing content that I detest, they produce a "diamond" on occasion. That "diamond" today, is in an account of a family who explains how they raised their kids Catholic, and how their kids KEPT the Catholic Faith. This is part of an ongoing request for large, Catholic, Traditional, homeschooling families to show it can be done in this messed up modern world.
The original link is here: http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2013/07/guidance-for-young-parents-how-to-raise.html
Still, I am going to repost this in full. I think it's entirely important to do so, because it's an all encompassing post, and there is much needed into TRULY having a Catholic Family, not just one or two main things. Important points will be in bold and my commentary in square brackets.
The only reason I'm writing you is because young families DO need inspiration.
I thought I could add a tidbit to the "inspiration" because thanks be to God, our children turned out well, with no heartaches and a great spiritual "togetherness". The hardest part is letting go, but they belong to God in the first place, anyway.
We are a very private family (NOT outgoing) and we are NOT a large family (as you requested) NOR EVEN a homeschooling family (as you requested), so we don't fit the mold but it takes all kind of families to raise good children in good Catholic environments.
We only had 5 children (we married late in life 30 and 33). 3 are priests with the FSSP, a married son with 7 children (they homeschool) and our daughter-in-law has 2 Catholic blogs and a married daughter with 6 children (they also homeschool). Son-in-law teaches at a Traditional Catholic Opus Dei boys school. They both graduated from TAC (Thomas Aquinas College in Ojai, Calif.) Some of these 13 grandchildren already talk of vocations. [As you can see, right of the bat, the parents were NOT of the traditional Catholic homeschooling, Latin Mass stereotype. There CAN be vocations even to the EF wings of the Catholic Church from ordinary Catholic families. continue on to see how they did it ...]
Since our engaged days my husband and I both agreed that only one thing mattered. Getting each other to heaven and getting our children (whatever children God sent us) to heaven.
The first outing for each of our children was going to Mass. They were baptized ASAP. [God and their souls first.]
They learned to kneel and bless themselves for nightly prayers before or at the same time that they learned to walk. They went to "Catholic" schools but we stressed that they were there for education and because they had more discipline than public schools. They were not there for catechism or to learn their Faith, this they would learn at home.
They learned their catechism at home from the Baltimore Catechism. They knew it better than the "Catholic" teachers and nuns, who more often than not only taught "social" messages. (Sandinistas, wishy-washy "Love", Church of "Nice"), while their orthodoxy was ridiculed or slighted before others, but they learned to endure and forgive though they suffered as the "odd man-out" in school. They learned "white martyrdom" at a very young age.
The boys quit serving Mass when girls were introduced as altar girls, and a few other boys followed their lead. The girls were then delegated to helping set up the altar linens and other tasks. Some of their mothers complained but the boys came back. Unfortunately in later years, when our boys were long gone, this policy got re-established.
At Mass when very young, though they could not read, we let them hold the missalettes and pointed to where we were at that point in Mass. They behaved better than a lot of adults who wanted to Kootchi-Koo them and we would turn their heads to the front reminding them that Mass is in front not in the back or the people around them. Though we only had Novus Ordo Masses we taught them to fight the distractions.
[Again. They did NOT have the TLM to help them. They did this all in the Novus Ordo Mass. The KEY difference is they taught even while young the emphasis of what was happening there, and not feeding them cheerios and toys and letting them run loose. They were disciplining them to worship our Lord in the Mass. They did NOT indulge their children's selfish whims.]
It wasn't until they were grown that they had the opportunity to attend the TLM Masses and they learned to really appreciate them.
We looked upon them not so much as OUR children, but GOD'S children that had been confided to our care and we raised them as God's children. Its like they were a blank cassette (nowadays it would be CD or DVD) and they would pick up from us whatever they heard and saw.
We just raised them as Catholics are supposed to be raised. Nothing out of the ordinary.
Saying the Rosary, making visits to the Blessed Sacrament, dressing properly for Mass Sundays and occasional weekdays, regular confessions, morning and evening prayers.
But we were an ordinary family, Boys Scouts, Girl Scouts, Piano, Guitar, various summer sports (swimming, baseball, tennis, soccer etc city-sponsored stuff) and picnics with trips to zoos etc., just our family with an occasional friend. Almost no TV: mostly "Mr. Rogers".
They learned to discern at an early age and if I had the radio on because I could not hear the words only the tune, they themselves would turn it off and tell me "that's a bad song, mom".
If we got angry with them when they misbehaved or went off the track, we would explain why we were angry and apologize but explain that it was our duty to teach them, their duty to learn and that only one thing mattered : "doing God's Will".
[So Important!!!!! See my commentary in the bullet points below]
People at our Parish ask us "What did you do?" We can't really tell them except we're an ordinary family bringing up God's children the way God would expect us to.
We saw our children as a grave responsibility and we only get one shot at bringing them up. Start guiding them from the day of their birth for as the sapling grows so grows the tree.
I was frightened at the grave responsibility and when each was born I placed them in Mary's hands and asked her to help me bring them up. So it really is more her doing than my husband's or mine.
In summary, marriage is between 3 people, not 2, God being the head of the other 2.
In my evaluation, were I to give a bullet point list of what this family did right to raise their kids Catholic and KEEP THEM CATHOLIC, Here it is:
- They did not treat marriage as an everlasting bliss. They committed to their Marriage as a SACRAMENT, not a special occasion or milestone. "... marriage is between 3 people, not 2, God being the head of the other 2."
- They were open to life, as is supposed to be agreed to by the couple upon marriage in the Catholic Church. What is NOT SAID openly but implied, they did not abort, contracept with pills, condoms, etc., and had as many children as their biology allowed them to.
- They both AGREED in full, that their obligation to their children was to instill in them the virtues and habits necessary to get to Heaven. This was their number one priority with their children, NOT making them future doctors, lawyers, etc. with large money-making jobs, or seeing them as the next professional athlete, or whatever the kids want to their hearts content. "We saw our children as a grave responsibility and we only get one shot at bringing them up. Start guiding them from the day of their birth for as the sapling grows so grows the tree. "
- The majority of Catholic school education must NOT be trusted due to lukewarm Catholics being your teachers, warped by the same "Jesus loves everybody" garbage they were taught and most parents of today were fed in their schools. What must be taught to the kids is: "... they [are] there for education and because they had more discipline than public schools. They [are] not there for catechism or to learn their Faith, ..." If you are blessed with more money and possibly, private Catholic schools in your area or homeschool groups, then you could have your child in those if they are orthodox.
- Furthermore, your spouse MUST be 100% committed with you, in teaching the true, unaltered Catholic Faith to your kids as parents, at home. This is EVERYTHING from gestures of prayer (e.g. genuflection to the tabernacle entering and leaving the main body of the church) ... to the Major doctrines and dogmas of the faith (e.g. Scripture, abortion, contraception ...). If your husband/wife to be is NOT 100% committed to this, you will either have major problems with her/him or your kids. It would be highly best to NOT marry them, and let them have their way with a lukewarm Catholic partner or someone not Catholic. This does NOT mean your future partner in marriage needs to be a stereotypical "trad" who will homeschool, but they must be 100% committed to the Catholic Faith with you.
- You MUST prepare your children, and yourselves to undergo "white" martyrdom against your family, lukewarm friends, even their teachers, "role-models" and even certain CLERGY AND RELIGIOUS!!! You will be harassed, insulted, taunted, etc. by those who do not want to truly practice their Catholic faith or find your methods ``archaic`` for lack of a better word and have embraced the modern world and its parenting ideologies, and modern theologies.
- NRSV Matt 10:34-36: "Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; 36 and one’s foes will be members of one’s own household.
- The last of the Beatitudes in NRSV Matt 5:11-12: 11 “Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you."
- Basically, your family will be harassed and insulted for the Faith. If they are not prepared for the insults and harassment, you, collectively, will be too weak to withstand the teasing and will falter in your attempts, and maybe give up. This can be especially hurtful to the kids growing up, so they must be made strong while they are young.
- You MUST teach your children that the Mass is NOT an obligation to just attend and go. IT IS THE HIGHEST FORM OF PRAYER TO THE LORD, AND DEMANDS YOU AND YOUR CHILDREN's FULLEST ATTENTION! In addition, you must not let your kids be distracted from it by toys and cheerios and teach them that their whims are not important ... JESUS ON THE ALTAR IS IMPORTANT!!!
- "We looked upon them not so much as OUR children, but GOD'S children that had been confided to our care and we raised them as God's children. Its like they were a blank cassette (nowadays it would be CD or DVD) and they would pick up from us whatever they heard and saw." You must understand YOUR actions will affect your child's faith life and their conduct in the world. You are their primary educators and teachers of morals, the Catholic faith, etc. You cannot just leave others to teach your kids. YOU ARE THEIR BEST TEACHER AND ROLE MODEL and must have this idea of the "Tabula Rusa" in mind. You are the one with the stylus writing on their "tablets".
- In terms of the parenting and their children's exposure/interests:
- They did NOT allow their children to be exposed to the multitude of sinful, immoral programming and entertainment on the TV, Movies, etc.
- They only went out with other trusted families or friends. Not mentioned: clearly, those who did not have similar ideas with regards to parenting, the faith, etc. or children with bad influences. They ensured that positive peers/role models with the utmost attentiveness to the Catholic Faith were allowed to be with their kids.
- They allowed their children to pursue interests that would help them mature and develop their natural, God-given/Holy Spirit-given talents and abilities. They were not allowed to pursue those that would not do so.
- They were allowed to pursue other interests in their spare time, period. They were not always having a constant infusion of Religion and faith 24/7 to the point of denying them even basic interests/friends/outings, etc. In other words, the parents were not extremely authoritarian.
- "If we got angry with them when they misbehaved or went off the track, we would explain why we were angry and apologize but explain that it was our duty to teach them, their duty to learn and that only one thing mattered : "doing God's Will". This is important:
- Parents are the earthly expression of God/Jesus' love for us. We get our understanding and our reflection of God through them. If the parents in general are not doing such, we will have a poor understanding of the Lord.
- Children do need discipline to be able to not become selfish miscreants. The world doesn't 100% work that way. It has many a vice and means for being selfish and sinful/serving the devil while being a part of it, but it will not allow extremes such as wanton crime and murder, or anarchy. Without discipline, a person will have to learn the "ways of the world" the hard way, or "sink or swim". Not a good prospect.
- On the opposite hand, if the child does not understand the discipline of the parents, or find it just to be for their selfish desires, they will rebel against the parents who did not discipline out of love, but out of cruelty or their selfish emotions.
- I can personally attest to this. Growing up, I was made to dress up for Mass, was made to sit up straight in the pew, be quiet, etc. I was also disciplined through yelling and sharp comments upon immediate violation of rules or something that my parent's didn't like. I received no explanation for the actions (until recently as an adult). I only viewed what they wanted of me as following orders. I did not understand why to do all that for Mass, and they did not tell me what the Mass was truly all about. Their focus was also more on materialism in terms of jobs, success, etc. Is it no wonder when I went away partially to university (home on weekends) I didn't care as much about my studies and rebelled against my Faith? And if they do ever see this someday. I am 100% unapologetic for writing this. I came back and reverted to my faith, understood what the Mass was all about, dress up more and attend Mass willingly on my own, by doing this all myself, with support from youth ministries. My reversion was not of my parent's hands. And as for "well we gave you the basics so of course you came back", it sure didn't keep me there. I had to re-discover the Faith and choose this all on my own. The "training" failed.
And there you go. Enjoy the post and the bullet points.
Pax Tibi Christi, Julian Barkin.