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Header-Parenting in Harmony

 

The father is the father; the mother is the mother.

Each one’s role is different; together they must harmonize. This is particularly essential when there is a question of the exercise of authority over the children.

The principal authority is centered in the father; the mother who is associated with him, shares this authority. Both have therefore, according to their respective roles, the mission to command; the father in a way that is not more harsh but more virile; the mother in a way that is not more easygoing—she ought to demand the same things the father requires and with the same firmness—but more gently expressed. Parental action must be common, harmonious, coordinated, directed to the same end.

Extremely unpleasant conditions are created if the mother, for example, tolerates an infraction of an order given by the father.

The father on his part should avoid too great sternness, an uncalled-for severity of tone or what is worse, cruelty.

The mother should guard against weakness and insufficient resistance to the tears of the child or the cute little ways he has discovered for avoiding punishment or side-tracking a command. She ought to be particularly cautious not to undermine paternal authority either by permitting the children to disobey his injunctions or, under pretext of tempering the father’s severity, by countermanding his orders.

It is from the father himself that she should secure the necessary relaxation of requirements if she feels he is being too rigid; never should she on her own change a decision that the father has given. Otherwise the children will soon play the father and mother against each other; they will know that they can have recourse to mamma when papa commands something and they will be able to disregard the order.

Painting-disciplining a childFather and mother both lose their authority in this way to their own great detriment. The wife discredits her husband in the eyes of the children and herself as well.

Never should the children sense the least discord between their parents, either in regard to their principles or their methods of training. Quick to exploit the rift, they will also be quick to get the upper hand. It is the ruination of obedience.

The mother can blame herself for working forcefully for its destruction. She is perfectly justified in trying to make the execution of the father’s orders more agreeable; that is quite another thing. But in this case she must justify the conduct of the father and not seem to blame him by softening the verdict.

Husband and wife are but one: he, the strength; she, the gentleness. The result is not an opposition of forces but a conjoining of forces; the formation of a single collective being, the couple.

Another point in this matter of obedience: Never let the children command the parents. How many parents, mothers especially, betray their mission!

Parents are not supposed to give orders indiscriminately but wisely; when they have done this, they should not go back on a command. To command little is the mark of a firm authority.

There should be no fussiness, no irritation, only calm firmness. The child, who becomes unnerved, and certainly not without cause, before a multiplicity of disconnected orders that fall upon him from all sides, submits before a gentle and unbending authority. Calmness steadies him and unyielding firmness unfailingly leads him to obey. 

 


Adapted from Raoul Plus, S.J.’s Christ in the Home (Colorado Springs, CO: Gardener Brothers, 1951). This book is a treasure chest of advice for Catholics on the practical and spiritual concerns of raising a family. 

 

 

Quote of the day

DAILY QUOTE for April 17, 2021

The heart of man is, so to speak, the paradise of God. Since...

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April 17

 

The heart of man is, so to speak,
the paradise of God.
Since His delights are to be with you,
let yours be found in Him.

St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori

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Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Stephen Harding

God answered him dramatically when thirty noblemen knocked a...

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St. Stephen Harding

Stephen Harding was an Englishman of an honorable family, and heir to a large estate. Born in Dorset, he was educated at the monastery of Sherborne and spoke English, Norman, French and Latin.

Desirous of seeking a more perfect way of Christian perfection, he, with a devout companion, traveled into Scotland and afterwards to Paris and to Rome. On their return journey, the two travelers chanced upon a collection of huts in the forest of Molesme in Burgundy, where monks lived in great austerity. Struck by their way of life and finding kindred spirits in Robert the Abbot, and Alberic the Prior, he bid his friend goodbye and threw in his lot with the monks.

After some years, finding that religious fervor had waned considerably, Stephen, Robert, Alberic and others went to Lyons and with the support of Bishop Hugh struck a new foundation in the forest of Citeaux sponsored by Rainald, Lord of Beaune, and Odo, Duke of Burgundy.

Later Robert returned to his monks of Molesme who reclaimed him as their abbot, and upon the death of Alberic, in 1109, Stephen succeeded him as Abbot of Citeaux.

He immediately instituted such austere measures to keep the spirit of the world out that he alienated the support of many who had helped to establish the abbey. Novices ceased applying, and to make matters worse, a mysterious disease decimated his monks to the point that even Stephen’s stout heart began to quiver wondering if he were really doing God’s will.

God answered him dramatically when thirty noblemen knocked at the abbey’s door seeking admittance. They were headed by young St. Bernard who in his zeal had convinced his brothers, uncles and a number of his acquaintances to give up the world with him.

Increasing numbers called for additional foundations and the first two were made at Morimond and Clairvaux. To the general surprise, Stephen appointed twenty-four-year-old Bernard as Abbot of Clairvaux. When nine abbeys had sprung from Citeaux, Stephen drew up the statutes of his Charter of Charity which officially organized the Cistercians into an order.

Stephen Harding died in 1134, advanced in age and nearly blind, and having served as Abbot of Cîteaux for twenty-five years.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

I turned to God, but God seems to remain deaf to me. Why is...

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Why Doesn't God Answer My Prayer?

Question:  I pray and pray, but I feel as if God is not listening. We always had a good, peaceful family life, but these last years have been tough. We don’t seem to be getting along and our finances have taken a turn for the worse.

I am so anxious about this situation that, not having anyone to turn to, I turned to God.

But God seems to remain deaf to me. Why is that? In addition, what do I say to certain people, agnostics and atheists, who laugh at prayer, saying it is nonsensical and only a figment of the imagination with no real value?

Answer:  God is faithful to His promises, and God promised to answer our prayers. “And I tell you, ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened” (Luke 11:9–10).

If God promises to answer our prayers, He will do so infallibly. But in prayer there are two sides: he who asks and He Who gives.

Our part is to ask. How must we ask?

Saint Alphonsus Liguori, a Doctor of the Church, teaches in his book Prayer, the Great Means of Salvation that prayer must be persevering and humble.

So many times we hear people saying: “Oh, I used to ask God for this and that and the other, but He never gave it to me. Now, ten years later, how glad I am that He didn’t!”

One thing is certain: God will not fail to answer a humble and perseverance prayer. Whether He chooses to grant what we ask immediately or make us wait, we must trust that He, regardless of appearances, is doing us good. What we think is good and what He thinks is good may be two different things: “My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor your ways My ways” (Isa. 55:8), but here is where we must abandon ourselves to His beneficent will. Our part is to be patient, calm and, above all, faithful, because this is the time for testing and later will come the time for full enjoyment.


Answering Atheists and Agnostics
As for atheists and agnostics, their skepticism proceeds from the fact that they, respectively, deny God’s existence or deny men’s capacity to know God.

In this case, we can only express our regret over their ignorance of this Supreme Being, our omnipotent Creator and loving Savior.

We may direct them to a few sources that may help in their search for the truth of His existence. Atheism and agnosticism can only be sustained in ignorance or ill will because the evidence of God’s existence is overwhelming.

Moreover, God will not hide Himself from those who seek Him sincerely and unconditionally.

Another consideration pertaining to non-believers is this: If God were to grant us absolutely everything we ask at a moment’s notice, such people might start believing purely out of self-interest.

They would look at God as a wand-wielding wizard. And God Our Lord is infinitely more than that. He wants us to know, love, and serve Him for Himself so that He can treat us as children and heirs and grant us unending happiness in Heaven.

"My impression is that the Rosary is of the greatest value not only according to the words of Our Lady of Fatima, but according to the effects of the Rosary one sees throughout history. My impression is that Our Lady wanted to give ordinary people, who might not know how to pray, this simple method of getting closer to God."  Sister Lucia, one of the seers of Fatima.

 

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I turned to God, but God seems to remain deaf to me. Why is that? In addition, what do I say to certain people, agnostics and atheists,

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