No Regrets – 10 Ways to Make Time for Your Children

September 19, 2014 under Syllabus 2014-2015

Summary

Live every day if it were your last! How do you as a Father balance your faith, family and work in this hurried world, every day? Learn how Father’s just like you are living a daily life of no regrets: making more memories with their family, deepening their faith and coming home from work on time!

Objective

Help the Fathers to understand “How to Live a life of no regrets with your family” by learning how to spend more time with their children and family. It is suggested for the presenting small group, to focus the larger group time by sharing your team’s personal “live a life of no regrets” experiences/examples on how you each have made a “step change” in your life to spend more time with family and your children.

Bible Readings

1. Psalm 112

“His children will be mighty in the land”

2. Romans 8:28

“We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.”

Catechism Readings

1. Paragraph 2223

“Parents have the first responsibility for the education of their children. They bear witness to this responsibility first by creating a home where tenderness, forgiveness, respect, fidelity, and disinterested service are the rule. The home is well suited for education in the virtues. This requires an apprenticeship in self-denial, sound judgment, and self-mastery – the preconditions of all true freedom. Parents should teach their children to subordinate the “material and instinctual dimensions to interior and spiritual ones.” Parents have a grave responsibility to give good example to their children. By knowing how to acknowledge their own failings to their children, parents will be better able to guide and correct them.”

Small Group Questions

1. Do you regularly come home on time from work to your family and children?

2. Are your children’s birthdays, recitals, soccer games, plays, etc. on your work calendar?

3. Do you schedule breakfast dates with your daughter/son?

Recommended Resources

1. Robert Rogers – http://www.mightyintheland.com

2. Mary Beth Bonacci – Catholic Herald – Living Life with “no regrets” http://www.catholicherald.com/stories/Living-with-no-regrets,12859?content_source=&category_id=13&search_filter=&event_mode=&event_ts_from=&list_type=&order_by=&order_sort=&content_class=&sub_type=stories&town_id=

Accountability

1. This week would be a good time to define “what is quality time with your family?”

2. Have you allowed any person or circumstance at work to rob you of your joy? Why?

3. Have you done your 100% best with your family, faith and job this week?

Author(s)

Reid Rooney / Kevin McDonough

Included Resources

Robert Rogers: 10 ways to live a life with no regrets with your family.

1. Sign-up for some organized activity together-chess club, a sports league, church groups, and so on as your free time activity that way, you can use the structure of the activity to help you spend time with your child.

2. Put birthdays, a recital, soccer games, plays, etc. on your work calendar. Tell co-workers that you wouldn’t miss those events for the world, and ask them to help remind you.

3. Create regular rituals to connect with your kids with phone calls from the office, special “daddy” time when you walk in the door, or other weekly events that keep you in touch.

4. Discuss your priorities with your boss. Be candid with him or her about times when you need to flex your schedule for family events. Make it clear that you are dedicated to doing your best at work, but that family is also very important to you. Suggest your own “win-win” solutions or ask for his ideas to help reach a workable balance.

5. Create a “Next Year’s Vacation” planning session with your children by having them share with your pictures/places of where they want to go and how they want to spend time with Dad on vacation!

6. Create a family devotional time. This is a time set aside during a time where all members of the family are required to be there. Then you as a father take the lead in sharing important things with your family. Read passages in Holy Scripture and pray together; share thoughts on certain historical events (Memorial Day) and what they should mean to us; talk about current events; peer pressure the kids are facing or how to look forward to an uncertain future with confidence.

7. As the Father, make the weekend Saturday or Sunday breakfast and have your kids help out as appropriate. Talk as you all prepare the meal about what was their “favorite thing” that happened in their life during the week.

8. Car Time. When traveling to the next sporting or activity event, instead of listening to the radio, try spending time with your kids by discussing with them: 1) What was the best part of today?; 2) What was your favorite thing that happened to you this week; 3) Tell me about something really cool that you saw today/this week?

9. Have a Breakfast time with Daddy with your children individually. No agenda’s just go out to breakfast and spend time with your child 1 on 1. Do you know their favorite song, favorite teacher, who they think is the coolest kid @ school, who are the coolest parents, etc?

10. Support your company’s “Take your children to work day”. If your company does not have it, consider starting one. Many Cincinnati based companies like P&G, Kroger, and Macy’s have established “Take your children to work” programs.

10 tips to make more time with your Children

Parents and their children are spending less time interacting with each other. As a result, many children are getting less personal love and attention than their parents did. American Demographics reported that parents today spend roughly 40 percent less time with their children than did parents a generation ago. To help families stay connected, below is a list of helpful family time tips. Keep in mind, quantity and quality time is important when choosing activities. So build memories around exciting events by keeping your family time creative and enjoyable. Print out the following tips as daily reminders.

1. Eat together & listen to each other

Most children today don’t know the meaning of a family dinnertime. Yet the communication and unity built during this set-ting is integral to a healthy family life. Sharing a meal together allows the opportunity to talk about each other’s lives. This is a time for parents to listen, as well as to give advice and encouragement. Attentive listening conveys a message that a person is really interested in another. It also imparts a sense of worth and helps develop trust. Therefore, listening is a critical link in successful parenting.

2. Read often

It’s important for parents to read to their children. The latest research indicates that reading to your children cultivates an interest for knowledge and stimulates language development. It also increases their attention spans and helps them become more curious. Look for books that your child would enjoy reading. After reading, ask questions about the content.

3. Do chores together

Part of what goes on in the home is the development of teamwork. Functional family life depends on the contribution of everyone. Assigning chores is the most productive way of teaching responsibility and accountability to your children. Doing chores with your child will help foster good communication skills.

4. Help with schoolwork

A great way to spend quality time with children and light a fire of learning is to help children with their schoolwork. A parent’s eagerness to help will cause a child to become more interested in school thus improving his or her grades. Regular trips to the library for school projects are an inexpensive and enjoyable way to spend time with children. Helping should begin with an understanding that children are responsible for homework. Parents are there to help their child get organized and to encourage them when they get stuck.

5. Start a hobby or project

Choose a fun activity that your child is interested in. Activities like cooking, crafts, fishing or biking will make great hobbies that can open the door to exciting family time. Once a child learns a new recipe or is able to cast a lure accurately, let him or her take the lead with your supervision.

6. Play games

New technology has made video games more prevalent. As a result, many children are spending long hours in front of the TV playing computer programs. Parents should find creative ways to spark an interest in family-oriented contests such as board games or card games. This will give parents additional time to talk and nurture their relationship.

7. Plan a family outing

Sometimes getting out of the house is important. Hop in the family car and go for a drive. Prepare a picnic lunch and visit a local park. Take time to play catch or ride a bike. A stroll in the woods will help parents interact with their children. Also, a visit to the zoo or museum will spark a child’s enthusiasm and lead to lengthy discussions.

8. Encourage athletic activities

It is vital for children to exercise. Sports not only strengthen the body, but also build character and determination. Whether it’s a father pitching a baseball to a son or a mother and daughter nature walking, finding time for athletic events is important for a child’s emotional and physical development. This is a great opportunity for a family to interact.

9. Create a Family Time calendar

Since many parents have hectic schedules, time with children often becomes a low priority whether intended or not. Post a calendar on the refrigerator and have parents and children pencil in special events. Knowing when you’re going to meet may also help you think of creative activities. Commit to keeping this schedule free from interruptions.

10. Pray together & attend a house of worship

Nothing is more special than taking a few minutes each day to pray with a child before bedtime. By explaining the purpose behind prayer, children will learn the importance of faith as the foundation for the family. Also, when parents go to religious services, they instill in their children a reverence for God.

comments: Comments tags:

Defending Marriage

September 14, 2014 under Syllabus 2014-2015

Summary

Charitably defending the definition of marriage can be challenging with the current trends in society, how do we do it?

Objective

The Catholic Church views marriage as not merely a necessary union in order to create more humans, but in fact as a holy covenant between a man and a woman which mirrors the relationship of Christ and His Church.

Marriage is the lifelong union of a husband and wife. It is timeless, universal, and unique, and benefits society – especially children – in ways no other relationship can. That’s why marriage policy is rooted in the reality that children need a mother and a father. While not every husband and wife will have children, every child still has, needs, and deserves a mom and a dad.

Bible Readings

1. Genesis 2:22-24

Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.  The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman, ‘ for she was taken out of man.”  For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.

2. Mark 10:6-9

“But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’  ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife,  and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one.  Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.”

Catechism Readings

1. 1625  

The parties to a marriage covenant are a baptized man and woman, free to contract marriage, who freely express their consent; “to be free” means:

—not being under constraint;

—not impeded by any natural or ecclesiastical law.

2. 1604

God who created man out of love also calls him to love—the fundamental and innate vocation of every human being. For man is created in the image and likeness of God who is himself love.90 Since God created him man and woman, their mutual love becomes an image of the absolute and unfailing love with which God loves man. It is good, very good, in the Creator’s eyes. And this love which God blesses is intended to be fruitful and to be realized in the common work of watching over creation: “And God blessed them, and God said to them: ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it.’”

Small Group Questions

1. With the constant exposure to modern, politically correct media how do we teach our children that supporting traditional marriage is not being intolerant or mean?

2. How do we explain our position to our more liberal friends, and remain friends?

Author(s)

Jack Voet

comments: Comments tags:

Child-Centric Parenting (or is it Helicopter Parenting?)

September 5, 2014 under Syllabus 2014-2015

Summary

As a parent, you want what is best for your child. We may not be able to choose our children’s friends but if we make sure they are being surrounding by the “right” crowd, are we helicopter parents? And if so, is that a bad thing?

Objective

For nearly 150 years, the Church has unequivocally taught that parents have the right and responsibility

to serve as the primary educators of their children. In addition, parents are also the ultimate protectors of their children. Finally, the Church also teaches that parents are responsible for evangelizing their children.

Worrying and fretting about your children come with the job and can prompt needed action. Some parents, however, “over worry” and become “helicopter parents,” hovering over their children. As parents we are responsible for the process we use in raising our children- not the outcome. When all else fails (and hopefully before) turn it over to God. From their own experience, parents recognize that friends can have such a powerful influence over their kids – for good or for bad.  Because of that influence, some parents enter into the trap of trying to control who their kids can have as friends. 

Helicopter parenting refers to a style of parents who are over focused on their children. Often called over parenting, it is most often applied to parents of high school or college-aged students.

Some studies show that “helicopter parents” derived more happiness and meaning from parenthood that those who were less involved. A different term to describe these parents might be “child-centric”.

Even though parents may not effectively be able to control who their kids choose as friends, parents do have a lot of influence over building good relationships with their children’s friends (even the scary ones).  As parents show confidence in their children’s ability to make good choices in friends, and then bring their friends within the arms of the family, parents can have a great deal of influence over the relationships and situations in which their kids get involved.

Bible Readings

1. Luke Chapter 18, Verse 16

Jesus, however, called the children to himself and said, “Let the children come to me and do not prevent them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.

2. Colossians Chapter 3, verse 20

Children, obey your parents in everything, for this is pleasing to the Lord.

3. 1 John Chapter 5, Verse 21

Children, be on your guard against idols.

Catechism Readings

1. 2223

Parents have the first responsibility for the education of their children. They bear witness to this responsibility first by creating a home where tenderness, forgiveness, respect, fidelity, and disinterested service are the rule. The home is well suited for education in the virtues. This requires an apprenticeship in self-denial, sound judgment, and self-mastery – the preconditions of all true freedom. Parents should teach their children to subordinate the “material and instinctual dimensions to interior and spiritual ones.”31 Parents have a grave responsibility to give good example to their children. By knowing how to acknowledge their own failings to their children, parents will be better able to guide and correct them:

He who loves his son will not spare the rod. . . . He who disciplines his son will profit by him.32

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.33

2. 2224

The home is the natural environment for initiating a human being into solidarity and communal responsibilities. Parents should teach children to avoid the compromising and degrading influences which threaten human societies.

3. 2225

Through the grace of the sacrament of marriage, parents receive the responsibility and privilege of evangelizing their children. Parents should initiate their children at an early age into the mysteries of the faith of which they are the “first heralds” for their children. They should associate them from their tenderest years with the life of the Church.34 A wholesome family life can foster interior dispositions that are a genuine preparation for a living faith and remain a support for it throughout one’s life.

4. 2226

Education in the faith by the parents should begin in the child’s earliest years. This already happens when family members help one another to grow in faith by the witness of a Christian life in keeping with the Gospel. Family catechesis precedes, accompanies, and enriches other forms of instruction in the faith. Parents have the mission of teaching their children to pray and to discover their vocation as children of God.35 The parish is the Eucharistic community and the heart of the liturgical life of Christian families; it is a privileged place for the catechesis of children and parents.

5. 2227

Children in turn contribute to the growth in holiness of their parents.36 Each and everyone should be generous and tireless in forgiving one another for offenses, quarrels, injustices, and neglect. Mutual affection suggests this. The charity of Christ demands it.37

6. 2228

Parents’ respect and affection are expressed by the care and attention they devote to bringing up their young children and providing for their physical and spiritual needs. As the children grow up, the same respect and devotion lead parents to educate them in the right use of their reason and freedom.

7. 2229

As those first responsible for the education of their children, parents have the right to choose a school for them which corresponds to their own convictions. This right is fundamental. As far as possible parents have the duty of choosing schools that will best help them in their task as Christian educators.38 Public authorities have the duty of guaranteeing this parental right and of ensuring the concrete conditions for its exercise.

Small Group Questions

1. Define a Helicopter Parent

2. Define an effective parent

3. Is one better than the other?

4. When do you cross over from being a responsible parent to a helicopter parent

5. Do you think this is good for the child or the parent?

6. Do you know a helicopter parent?

Recommended Resources

1. “What is Helicopter Parenting?” www.parents.com/parents

2. “ ‘Helicopter parents’ have more meaningful lives, study finds” www.telegraph.co.uk/health

3. www.virtus.org

Accountability

1. Have a discussion with your wife about being a helicopter parent

2. Challenge whether you are being child-centric or a helicopter parent

Author(s)

Chris Bergman

Additional Resources

Helicopter parenting refers to a style of parents who are over focused on their children. Often called over parenting, it is most often applied to parents of high school or college-aged students.

Some studies show that “helicopter parents” derived more happiness and meaning from parenthood that those who were less involved. A different term to describe these parents might be “child-centric”.

Here are some tips that parents can consider if they feel their kids are starting to make “the wrong kind of friends”:

Parents can refrain from calling their kids’ friends “bad.”  Since most people are not all bad, parents tend to lose credibility with their kids by calling their child’s friend “bad,” especially if that friend has ever done anything good for their kid.

Parents can ask their kids what they like about that specific friend.  Not only will this show their child that they are interested in him or her and in their friends, but it will also give the parent information about what need the relationship with that friend is fulfilling for their child.  Then parents might do things in order to help see that that need gets met in positive ways.  Open, and non-judgmental, communication with kids about their friends can strengthen parent-child relationships and provide support for their kids as their kids learn to take responsibility for their own choices.

Parents can send messages to their kids that show confidence and leadership by saying things like, “That kid looks like he could use some good friends.  I hope a lot of you rubs off on him.  He is lucky to have a friend like you.  I think it would be helpful if I got to know him; why don’t you bring him around the house more.”

Finally, parents can wrap their arms around the concerning kid and help that kid feel included and a sense of belonging.  Many of the kids who concern parents may not come from stable homes or feel a sense of belonging or connectedness.  Healthy adults have a great opportunity to reach out to these kids and help them feel that they do matter and they do belong.  They can do so by inviting these kids to participate in family events or by simply inviting them to eat with the family.  Good food can have a powerful and comforting effect on kids who lack stability.

comments: Comments tags: ,

Holiness

August 29, 2014 under Syllabus 2014-2015

Summary:

Holiness: by doing ordinary things with extraordinary love.

Objective

1Thess 4:3 “This is the will of God: your sanctification.” Our purpose in life should be to make it to heaven. To be with God. Forever. With all others who make it to heaven.

There are practical means by which we can strive for holiness in our everyday life. We don’t have to become a deacon or a missionary. By practicing virtues at work, at home, and at play we can become more holy. In fact, this is what God is calling most of to do – to become more holy in our everyday lives whether we are in client meetings, changing diapers, driving to work, or mowing the lawn.

Bible Readings

1. 1 Peter 1:14-16

As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

2. 2 Corinthians 7:1

Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.

3. 1 Thessalonians 4:7

For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness.

4. Leviticus 20:26

You shall be holy to me, for I the Lord am holy and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be mine.

5. Isaiah 35:8

And a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Way of Holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it. It shall belong to those who walk on the way; even if they are fools, they shall not go astray.

6. Romans 12:1

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.

Catechism Readings

1. 2013   

“All Christians in any state or walk of life are called to the fullness of Christian life and to the perfection of charity.”65 All are called to holiness: “Be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”66 (915, 2545, 825)

2. 2015   

The way of perfection passes by way of the Cross. There is no holiness without renunciation and spiritual battle.68 Spiritual progress entails the ascesis and mortification that gradually lead to living in the peace and joy of the Beatitudes: (407, 2725, 1438)

3. 2024   

Sanctifying grace makes us “pleasing to God.” Charisms, special graces of the Holy Spirit, are oriented to sanctifying grace and are intended for the common good of the Church. God also acts through many actual graces, to be distinguished from habitual grace which is permanent in us.

Small Group Questions

1. What things about your job or family life do find the most mundane?

2. What things at home or at work (or at church) the most frustrating?

3. How can you turn those mundane and frustrating times into the most sanctifying acts of love?

Recommended Resources

1. “Introduction to the Devout Life” by St. Francis deSales

2. Littleflower.org

3. “Holiness for Everyone” by St Josemaria Escriva

4. “Do Ordinary things with extraordinary love.” Saint Therese of Lisieux

Author(s)

Bob Walton

comments: Comments tags:

2014-2015 Syllabus

August 19, 2014 under Syllabus 2014-2015

 

2014-2015 Syllabus in PDF form

comments: Comments

Live for a Bigger Purpose – It should exist for God

August 25, 2013 under Syllabus 2013-2014

Summary

Do you have a bigger purpose for your life?  Life is better when you have a purpose that goes beyond your own material needs. Living for a higher purpose goes beyond a relationship or a career. It is a reason to be passionate about life, a reason to get up in the morning. It is something to contribute to the world and something that gives you immense satisfaction. It is the kind of thing you want to be remembered for when you die. This does not have to be something massive or earth changing or even particularly charitable. It just has to be something that you are living for beyond your immediate circumstances.

Objective

Anybody can live for a greater cause. We are all great in our own way. It makes you passionate and inspiring.  It makes you interesting. Most of all it makes life more fun and worth living. Living a purpose driven and goal driven life is more exciting that sleep walking through life. You can shape the direction and shape the purpose rather than living on someone else’s whim.

 

How do you discover your real purpose?  I’m not talking about your job, your daily responsibilities, or even your long-term goals. I mean the real reason why you’re here at all — the very reason you exist. If you want to discover your true purpose in life, you must first empty your mind of all the false purposes you’ve been taught (including the idea that you may have no purpose at all).

So how to discover your purpose in life?

While there are many ways to do this, some of them fairly involved, here is one of the simplest that anyone can do. The more open you are to this process and the more you expect it to work, the faster it will work for you. But not being open to it or having doubts about it or thinking it’s an entirely idiotic and meaningless waste of time won’t prevent it from working as long as you stick with it — again, it will just take longer to converge.

 

Here’s what to do:

1.       Take out a blank sheet of paper or open up a word processor where you can type.

2.       Write at the top, “What is my true purpose in life?”

3.       Write an answer (any answer) that pops into your head. It doesn’t have to be a complete sentence. A short phrase is fine.

4.       Repeat step 3 until you write the answer that makes you cry. This is your purpose.

For those who are very entrenched in low-awareness living, it will take a lot longer to get all the false answers out, possibly more than an hour. But if you persist, after 100 or 200 or maybe even 500 answers, you’ll be struck by the answer that causes you to surge with emotion, the answer that breaks you. If you’ve never done this, it may very well sound silly to you. So let it seem silly, and do it anyway.

At some point during the process (typically after about 50-100 answers), you may want to quit and just can’t see it converging. You may feel the urge to get up and make an excuse to do something else. That’s normal. Push past this resistance, and just keep writing. The feeling of resistance will eventually pass.

When the author did this exercise, it took about 25 minutes; and reached his final answer at step 106. Partial pieces of the answer (mini-surges) appeared at steps 17, 39, and 53, and then the bulk of it fell into place and was refined through steps 100-106. I felt the feeling of resistance (wanting to get up and do something else, expecting the process to fail, feeling very impatient and even irritated) around steps 55-60. At step 80 I took a 2-minute break to close my eyes, relax, clear my mind, and to focus on the intention for the answer to come to me — this was helpful as the answers I received after this break began to have greater clarity.  Here was the author’s final answer: to live consciously and courageously, to resonate with love and compassion, to awaken the great spirits within others, and to leave this world in peace.

One alternative thought associated with purpose was even simpler:

In response to the question, What should I do with my life?  There might be only one thing you can do with it, since you came into this life with nothing and you’ll leave with nothing: You can give it away. You’ll feel most on purpose when you’re giving your life away by serving others. When you’re giving to others, to your planet, and to your God, you’re being purposeful. Whatever it is that you choose to do, if you’re motivated to be of service to others while being authentically detached from the outcome, you’ll feel on purpose, regardless of how much abundance flows back to you.

Bible Readings

1.       1 Corinthians 10:31

Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.

2.       Matthew 6:25-33

 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?  “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

 

Catechism Readings

1.       Paragraph 303

The witness of Scripture is unanimous that the solicitude of divine providence is concrete and immediate; God cares for all, from the least things to the great events of the world and its history. The sacred books powerfully affirm God’s absolute sovereignty over the course of events: “Our God is in the heavens; he does whatever he pleases.”162 And so it is with Christ, “who opens and no one shall shut, who shuts and no one opens.”163 As the book of Proverbs states: “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will be established.”164 

Small Group Questions

1.       Have you thought about your ‘Bigger Purpose’ in life?

2.       Where does God and the Church fit into your Purpose?

3.       Have you talked about this with your wife?

4.       How are you being ‘of service’ to others?

Recommended Resources

1.       How to Discover Your Life Purpose in About 20 Minutes
http://www.stevepavlina.com/blog/2005/01/how-to-discover-your-life-purpose-in-about-20-minutes/

2.       Live For A Purpose Bigger Than Yourself
http://www.thechangeblog.com/live-for-a-purpose-bigger-than-yourself/

3.       5 Steps That Reveal Your Life’s Purpose
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/douglas-labier/life-purpose_b_1830154.html

4.       How to find your life’s purpose
http://www.wikihow.com/Find-Your-Life’s-Purpose

Accountability

1.       Can you consider doing this purpose exercise this week?

2.       Can you partner up with a member of your small group to share the results of the exercise?

 

Author

Rich DelCore Aug – 2013

comments: Comments tags: ,

2013-2014 Syllabus

August 25, 2013 under Syllabus 2013-2014

Syllabus is available in 2 formats:

comments: Comments

Dads and Daughters

August 25, 2013 under Syllabus 2013-2014

Summary

Between the day you hold her in your arms on her birth-day and the day you share a dance at her wedding reception, your experiences with your daughter are sure to offer emotional peaks and valleys.  The unique relationships of dads and daughters are a gift to be sure.  How are you handling this “gift?”

Objective

We all want to have beautiful young daughters that blossom into capable and confident young women.  Studies have shown that females grow from winsome little girls into vulnerable adolescents and to competent adults most consistently when there is the stability that a father’s love provides.  Fathers must understand that daughters test boundaries just like sons and dads need to keep emotions in balance and offer tough love at times.  Fathers need to bring consistent behavior demonstrating love, faith, and fairness that a daughter can rely on.  Though there will be times that you will find yourself “talking to the hand” or getting the “quiet treatment” know that daughters go through phases of development and you thankfully have your wife as an invaluable and influential teammate in this nurturing journey.  So it is usually best to hold the volume in check when discussions get heated, understand that sometimes you just have to accept that you are “not cool,” and be the dad that is always there when she needs you, as ultimately she will.  In all likelihood the other man that your daughter will be dancing with at her wedding will have many of the characteristics you possess….and will also be crazy about her! 

Bible Readings

1.       Ephesians 6 : 4

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up with the training and instruction of the Lord.

2.       Timothy 1 Chapter 4 : 12

Let no one have contempt for your youth, but set an example for those who believe, in speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity.

Catechism Readings

1.       Paragraph 2199

The fourth commandment is addressed expressly to children in their relationship to their father and mother, because this relationship is the most universal. It likewise concerns the ties of kinship between members of the extended family. It requires honor, affection, and gratitude toward elders and ancestors. Finally, it extends to the duties of pupils to teachers, employees to employers, subordinates to leaders, citizens to their country, and to those who administer or govern it.

 

This commandment includes and presupposes the duties of parents, instructors, teachers, leaders, magistrates, those who govern, all who exercise authority over others or over a community of persons.

 

2.       Paragraph 2200

Observing the fourth commandment brings its reward: “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land which the LORD your God gives you.”   Respecting this commandment provides, along with spiritual fruits, temporal fruits of peace and prosperity. Conversely, failure to observe it brings great harm to communities and to individuals.

Small Group Questions

1.       Where are you on the dad and daughter relationship journey?

2.       What actions are you taking to nurture the relationship that you have with your daughter?

3.       If you have a grown daughter, what do you wish you had done differently?

 

Accountability

1.       What are you doing this week to spend time with your daughter?

2.       Have you written your daughter a letter lately?

3.       Tell your daughter ……what it felt like when you broke-up with a girlfriend.

……what attracted you to your wife.

……what your hopes are for her.

 

Recommended Resources

Dealing with …

1.        http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/activities/view.cfm?id=128

2.        http://catholicmom.com/2011/06/11/a-fathers-joy/

3.        http://www.catholicmatch.com/institute/2008/06/fathers-and-daughters-why-dads-need-to-be-heroes/

4.        http://www.catholicdadsonline.org/posts/5446/strong-fathers-strong-daughters-meg-meeker/

5.        http://catholicism.about.com/u/sty/catholicliving/Returning_to_Catholicism/The-Most-Beautiful-Treasure-a-Father-Can-Bestow-Upon-His-Daughter.htm

Author(s)

David Connors / Reid Rooney

comments: Comments tags: ,

Man and His Wife-What Kind of Marriage Do You Have?

August 25, 2013 under Syllabus 2013-2014

Summary

If a stranger were to ask you, “What kind of marriage do you have?” would the question catch you off guard? How would you respond on such short notice? Would it sound like any of the following?

 

·         “We are doing great because everything is 50/50”

·         “We’re living the dream. I make all the decisions and plans and my wife likes it that way”

·         “I think we have a good marriage because we have a shared vision and we check in with each other to make sure we remain on the same page”

 

St. John Chrysostom suggests that we say to our wives,” I have taken you in my arms, and I love you, and I prefer you to my life itself.  For the present life is nothing, and my most ardent dream is to spend it with you in such a way that we may be assured of not being separated in the life reserved for us…. I place your love above all things, and nothing would be more bitter or painful to me than to be of a different mind than you”

Objective

Engage the large group in a discussion to explore different types of marriage styles. The intention is not to judge one better than the other but rather gain insight into why certain styles work for varying couples. Keeping in mind that God’s call for our marriages is to move toward agape love.

 

·         Top down

o   You or your wife commands the ship and the other may just be living in the others reality

§  Is this healthy and sustainable?

§  What makes it work?

§  Have you or she checked in with each other to see if you are happy living in this style?

·         The “Equal” marriage

o   Tasks and effort are divided equally and scores are kept

§  Divide and conquer

§  Is this a business arrangement?

§  What happens when perception of who is carrying the load is other than 50/50?

·         Coexist

o   Living day to day

§  Just keeping it together

§  Lack of intention in the relationship

§  Is the marriage at risk?

·         Side by Side

o   Shared vision and shared goals

§  Intentional about how you both want the relationship to grow

§  Mutual respect

·         Agape

o   St. John Chrysostom’s quote

§  I live for you and you live for me

o   Definition of Catholic marriage

§  My role is to get my wife into heaven and her role is to get me into heaven

·         Are you and your wife intentional about this?

 

Bible Readings

1.       Ephesians 5:31

“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”

Catechism Readings

1.       Paragraph 2364

The married couple forms “the intimate partnership of life and love established by the Creator and governed by his laws; it is rooted in the conjugal covenant, that is, in their irrevocable personal consent.” Both give themselves definitively and totally to one another. They are no longer two; from now on they form one flesh. The covenant they freely contracted imposes on the spouses the obligation to preserve it as unique and indissoluble.

Small Group Questions

1.       Has your marriage morphed in or out of any of the types discussed this morning?

2.       Have you had the guts to check in with your wife lately to ask her what she likes about your marriage and what she doesn’t?

3.       If your marriage is in trouble are you willing to seek counseling?

4.       What role does God play in your marriage?

 

Recommended Resources

1.       Catechism of the Catholic Church

 

Accountability:

1.       Give thought to and report back as to what your marriage looks like

2.       Discuss with your wife her vision for the marriage

Author(s)

Mitch West

comments: Comments tags: ,

Becoming a Better Listener

August 18, 2013 under Syllabus 2013-2014

Summary

Often when someone else is talking, we are either thinking of the next thing we want to say, or we are thinking of something else entirely. How can husbands be more present to our wives and our kids? Come learn techniques for really hearing others.

Objective

As the old saying goes, God gave us two ears and one mouth because we should listen twice as much as we talk. And yet, we tend to talk more than we listen. “Active listening” is not passive but helps us to focus on what the other person is saying. This makes the other person feel valued and helps strengthen our relationships with a spouse, child, co-worker, etc. Using methods of reflecting back the other’s feelings and statements, receiving and giving verbal and non-verbal cues, and waiting to respond are among the ways to improve your listening skills and creating stronger bonds with those who are important in your life.

Bible Readings

1. Proverbs 18:13

If one gives answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame.

2. Matthew 13:43

He who has ears, let him hear.

Catechism Readings

1. Paragraph 2604

The second prayer, before the raising of Lazarus, is recorded by St. John.50 Thanksgiving precedes the event: “Father, I thank you for having heard me,” which implies that the Father always hears his petitions. Jesus immediately adds: “I know that you always hear me,” which implies that Jesus, on his part, constantly made such petitions. Jesus’ prayer, characterized by thanksgiving, reveals to us how to ask: before the gift is given, Jesus commits himself to the One who in giving gives himself. The Giver is more precious than the gift; he is the “treasure”; in him abides his Son’s heart; the gift is given “as well.”

2. Paragraph 2716

Contemplative prayer is hearing the Word of God. Far from being passive, such attentiveness is the obedience of faith, the unconditional acceptance of a servant, and the loving commitment of a child. It participates in the “Yes” of the Son become servant and the Fiat of God’s lowly handmaid.

Small Group Questions

1. Do you think you are a good listener? Would your wife and children agree?

2. Think of a specific situation from this week where you were in a conversation. How well did you listen?

3. Who do you know is an example of a great listener? What makes that person a great listener?

Recommended Resources

1. It’s Not About the Nail (video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4EDhdAHrOg

2. Active Listening is Not a Spectator Sport (Archdiocese of Detroit): http://www.aod.org/being-catholic/marriage-and-family/marriage-support/enrichment-articles/active-listening-is-not-a-spectator-sport/

3. LISTEN techniques (video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ENkwUBPhMJw&list=PLB429DDA7B7DC2E70

4. Reflective Listening (Archdiocese of Indianapolis): http://www.archindy.org/family/documents/Reflective%20Listening.pdf

Accountability

1. In your next conversation this week with your wife or children, use one or more aspects of active or reflective listening.

2. This week ask your wife or children how you can be a better listener.

3. One of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit is understanding. Pray to the Holy Spirit this week to help you listen better in your daily conversations so as to gain greater understanding about the other person.

Author(s)

Pete Caccavari

Included Resources

Three qualities essential to deep listening
The Sacred Art of Listening by Kay Lindahl, p. 16

Silence creates the space for listening to God. It provides time to explore our relationship to Source. The practice of being in this silence nurtures our capacity to listen to others.

Reflection gives us access to listening for our inner voice. The practice of taking a few breaths before responding to a situation, question, or comment gives time for your true wisdom to reveal itself. It’s a slowing down, waiting, practicing patience.

Presence is the awareness of listening to another, of connecting at the heart level. The practice of taking a mundane, ordinary activity and giving it your full attention, for example, washing your hands or brushing your teeth, trains your concentration and your ability to be in the present moment with another.

Listening and being assertive
Speak Up! Christian Assertiveness by Randolph K. Sanders and H. Newton Malony, p. 109

Again, knowing when to shut up is helpful because it means we believe other people’s ideas are just as important as our own. Notice we did not say that others’ ideas are necessarily more correct than ours. We said that others’ opinions are as important as our own. Listening to what they have to say does not mean we have to agree with them, only that we have to respect them. This is an important part of being assertive.

comments: Comments tags: