Sunday, October 30, 2011

Battling for the saints...

            Some days of my life feel like nothing but a battle.  It is a battle to get my 2 year old to eat anything healthy.  It is a battle to get my 13 year old out of bed in the morning.  It is a battle to get my 6 year old to focus on his school work.  And my 8 year old daughter and 10 year old son seem to constantly be in battle over something.  Ever hear the phrase “pick your battles”?  That has sort of become my motto.  The 2 year old and her picky eating habits are a battle I do choose to fight.  The 6 year old and his desire to play Lego’s instead of work on math is another battle that I fight.  I’m not fighting with the 13 year old about sleeping in, (she is responsible enough to decide if she wants to get up with enough time to eat breakfast and get herself dressed or if she wants to go to math co-op in her p.j.’s).  My ten year old son’s sloppy hair is another battle I just am not going to fight. 

            So, what else is important enough to fight for around here?  Well, Mass attendance is tops.  And not only attending Mass, but doing so appropriately dressed and as a family.   I used to let it slide if the boys came out of their room Sunday morning in a pair of nice clean shorts, or a neat, spotless t-shirt but lately they have been required to wear long pants and collared shirts.  The girls, including me, wear dresses or skirts.  I have a friend who shared her battle to get her kids to sing the songs and audibly pray the prayers during Mass.  I have to admit that is one battle I have never worried about.  I guess I have been too concerned with whether or not they were sitting still and being quiet to worry about the singing.  So, that is one I really have to think about….  

     When I was a teenager, I often skipped Mass.  I just didn’t want to get up early so I stayed in bed and missed Mass.  (yes,  I, like my daughter, am more of a night owl than an early bird)  I got away with it.  In Tim’s family, Mass attendance was expected but he would often go on his own to a Saturday Vigil Mass or a later Sunday morning one.  While that is very admirable of him, I want to do things differently for our family.  We will go to Mass together.  Our faith is something we share.  Our Church is more than a building. It is a community, it is the Body of Christ.  We will share the experience of worship as a family.

            Which brings me to another battle I have recently had to fight…. in our Catholic home schooling group we celebrate All Saint’s Day with a family party each year.  The year we started home schooling it was one of the first events we attended.  I was immediately impressed with the group.  The atmosphere of that wonderful family party full of strong Catholic moms, dads, and kids celebrating and enjoying the beauty of our faith together really hit me.  This was where we belonged, this was where I wanted to raise my children, amongst families who valued their faith, valued their families, and valued their time together.  Unfortunately, as my children have gotten older, they have decided they no longer love the All Saint’s party like they used to.  They used to get excited in October as we planned for the upcoming party by choosing which saint they would learn about and dress up as on (or around) November 1st.  Apparently, they are not alone in their new opposition to saint costumes and presentations.  It seems it is the age.  Saint costumes are for little kids, the older kids would rather just come to see their friends, and eat the yummy snacks and desserts, or not come at all.  
        I have really thought about it. Is this a battle worth fighting, really? Much to my children’s disappointment, I have decided it is.  

Here is why….   This is one of the only events throughout the school year specifically planned for families that celebrates our faith.  Our home school group has a ton of fun activities each year.  We have an opening school year Mass and picnic.  We have a May Crowning Mass and picnic.  We have park days every week where we have, in the past, prayed a Rosary or Chaplet of Divine Mercy. We have a St. Valentine’s party and more, but none of those events are planned at a time that many dads can come.  So, though we have fun and share our faith at them, we do not do it as families.  We do have some fun family events each year.  We have annual family hoedowns that are a ton of fun, and family Christmas caroling parties.  These are wonderful too, but they are not particularly spiritual in nature.  The All Saint’s party is really the one event each year where we come together as families and share the joy of being Catholic.  The reason Tim and I decided to home school was to share the beauty of our faith and to make our life and family Christ-centered.  So, we will attend the All Saint’s party every year we can.  We will be there as a family and each of my children will learn about a saint, and present their saint to the group.  If they balk at the idea that is okay, it is a battle I am willing to take on….


  1. One idea for the older kiddos and picking saints might be to pick a saint no one has heard much about, there are a ton! We know some families who do this. You could also pick parts of the saints lives that maybe most don't dress up as, I saw one teen kid dress as John the Baptist, holding his head in a cage, on a plate. Things like that might make it more interesting.

    My kids are still interested in dressing up as Saints, thank goodness, but the littles are always Mary. This is reminding me I have to paint a shirt with stripes for ST Maxamilan Kolbe....

    Yes, I think after we have this many kiddos we do learn which battles are worth fighting and which ones are not. You are picking the right ones!!

  2. The Epiphany party will be the other...It is new but I think it will blossom.


  3. Jamie Jo- My son would LOVE to dress up as a headless martyr! My three youngest still enjoy dressing up but the older two are always the oldest ones and feel too big for it. :( It makes me a little sad but once the party starts they have a great time anyway. Hope your kids have fun a their party too!

  4. Katie- I hope you are right about the Epiphany party taking off. It would be wonderful to have more than one family Catholic celebration. Of course, it has been suggested that the kids dress up and act out a Christmas play so we will have to wait and see how that idea is received......



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