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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 January 24, 2021

Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, not ev...

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January 24

 

Do not lose your inner peace
for anything whatsoever,
not even if your whole world seems upset.
If you find that you have wandered away from
the shelter of God,
lead your heart back to Him quietly and simply.

St. Francis de Sales


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Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Francis de Sales

Francis suffered a terrible temptation to despair of being s...

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St. Francis de Sales

Francis de Sales was born in the Duchy of Savoy, in present-day France, in the Château de Sales. His father was Francis, Lord of Boisy, Sales and Novel and his mother Frances de Sionnz, the daughter of a prominent magistrate.

Born prematurely, Francis was delicate but slowly strengthened, though his health was never robust.

Being the oldest son of six, his father destined him for a secular career, despite Francis’ early leanings to the religious life. He attended the Jesuit college of Clermont in Paris where he excelled in rhetoric, philosophy and theology. During this period, Francis suffered a terrible temptation to despair of being saved. He was miraculously delivered before an image of Our Lady and there and then made a vow of chastity.

At twenty-four he received his law degree in Padua. With a brilliant career ahead of him, and a noble prospect of marriage, Francis declared his intention of following an ecclesiastical career. A sharp struggle ensued between him and his father who only relented in his opposition when Bishop Granier of Geneva offered Francis the post of Provost of the Chapter of Geneva in the patronage of the Pope.

Francis was ordained in 1593. The next year he volunteered to evangelize the region of Le Chablais, recently returned to the Duchy of Savoy from Calvinist Geneva and on which the Genevans had imposed their creed. With enormous tact, charity and zeal the young provost confuted the preachers sent to debate him, converted several prominent Calvinists and at great personal risk and traveling extensively brought back to the Church tens of thousands of the people of Chablais.

He was consecrated Bishop of Geneva in 1602, ruling his diocese from Annecy in France where he immediately established regular catechetical lessons for young and old. He himself taught the children of  whom he was beloved. He visited the parishes throughout his rugged diocese, made provisions for the clergy, reformed religious orders, and preached incessantly, everywhere known for his kindness and patient zeal. Those who flocked to hear the holy bishop said, “Never have such holy, apostolic sermons been preached.”

With St. Jeanne Frances de Chantal he founded the Order of the Visitation for girls and widows who had not the health or inclination for the austerities of the great orders.

In the midst of all his activities he found time to write numerous letters and works, among the most famous being his Introduction to the Devout Life.

Francis de Sales died in 1622 at age fifty-six and crowds thronged to venerate him. He was canonized in 1665 and proclaimed a Doctor of the Church by Blessed Pope Pius IX in 1877.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

Many centuries ago, three young nuns lived together in a con...

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Our Lady and the Three Dresses

Many centuries ago, three young nuns lived together in a convent. Day after day, they took their meals together, they went to chapel together, and they prayed and sang together.

One day, their priest-confessor advised them that, as a preparation for the feast of the purification of Mary, they should recite the whole Rosary every day for forty days. The three nuns obediently complied.

On the night before that holy feast day, the Heavenly Mother appeared to the three nuns as they gathered in the choir. To the first of these three sisters she handed a rich garment, embroidered with gold. Holy Mary thanked her and blessed her.

She then handed to the second nun a much simpler garment, and also thanked her. Noticing the difference in the two garments, the second sister asked, "Oh Lady, why have you brought my sister a richer garment?" Mary Most Holy lovingly replied, "Because she has clothed me more richly with her prayers than you have done."

Mary then approached the third nun with a canvas garment. Being an observant young lady, this sister at once asked pardon for the half-hearted way in which she had prayed her rosaries.

A full year had passed when all three fervently prepared for the same feast, each saying her Rosary with great devotion. On the evening preceding the festival, Mary appeared to them in glory, and said to them: "Be prepared, for tomorrow you shall come to paradise."

The following morning dawned, full of promise. Each nun wondered if this would be her last day in this vale of tears. When evening came, would they retire to their modest cells once more, or did Holy Mary have something else in store for them?

The sisters related to their confessor what had occurred, and received communion in the morning. At the hour of compline (evening prayers) they saw again the most holy Virgin, who came to take them with her. Amid the songs of angels, one after the other sweetly expired.

From the Glories of Mary, by St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori.

Many centuries ago, three young nuns lived together in a convent. Day after day, they took their meals together, they went to chapel together, and they prayed and sang together.

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