In today’s highly sexualized world, is it possible to raise chaste Catholic men? Leila Miller argues that it is. While nothing is guaranteed in parenting due to our children’s free will, Miller offers no-nonsense advice for moms in the second edition of Raising Chaste Catholic Men: Practical Advice, Mom to Mom.
In the foreword, Fr. Dwight Longenecker argues that young men need a firm foundation in catechesis, self-discipline, and chastity. This book helps “young men navigate the perils of popular culture, pornography, gender confusion, and the complicated adventure of becoming strong, vital, and dynamic men.”
Miller is the mother of six sons and two daughters. In these pages she shares what she has learned on the journey. She wants you to know that “God has adequately equipped you to be an effective and fruitful parent. He has given you all the tools you need, and, with His grace, you can help your boys to be who He created them to be.”
This book is designed for Catholic mothers who take their faith seriously, love God, are faithful to the teachings of the Magisterium, and accept the full Deposit of Faith. Miller maintains there are three keys to raising morally responsible kids: 1) Moral formation is the top priority; 2) What parents teach must make sense; and 3) Nothing is off limits for discussion.
Parents have a duty and obligation to teach their children about sex. If we don’t do it, the world will. We need to have strong relationships with our children so that they will feel comfortable discussing uncomfortable topics with us.
Miller offers good logically-based answers to questions our children might raise about sex, chastity, birth control, abortion, masturbation, same-sex relationships, and transgenderism. She emphasizes our need to raise our sons as boys. They should not be raised the same as their sisters. Boys and young men need battles to win. They need to “play the hero warrior, fight to protect the innocent, and defeat the bad guy.” We also need to encourage their God-given desire to marry and have children.
Miller’s take on pop culture is refreshing. So many Catholic parents work to protect their children from all aspects of popular culture. While Miller acknowledges that her approach may not resonate with all readers, she does allow her children access to popular music, movies, and video games. Instead of banning all these items, she has conversations about them and encourages their responsible use. She argues that we need to be “in the world, not of it,” and that popular culture is part of that world.
There is also a section in the book with advice from young men who are working to be chaste in our world and an afterward by Anthony Esolen, directed toward young men struggling with same-sex attraction.
And what if, despite your best efforts, your sons make poor choices? Miller advises that you “continue to show affection and love to your child, no matter what he has done” without “accepting, condoning, enabling, or encouraging his sins.” Your job is to pray for your children and work on your own holiness.
Raising Chaste Catholic Men should be on the reading list of every Catholic mom bringing up boys. It tackles some of parenting’s toughest topics with wisdom, understanding, and practical suggestions.
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Copyright 2019 Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur
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