Parenting with the Beatitudes: Eight Holy Habits for Daily Living by Jeannie and Ben Ewing is probably one of the best parenting books I’ve read in a long time. I feel like writing the authors a thank you note! I have finally found a book that gives great parental and spousal relationship advice with relatable examples and tangible ways to execute, and all of this is completely based around the Beatitudes.
This easy-to-read book has a systematic approach to exploring each Beatitude. Each chapter flows in the same way. It begins with Jeannie Ewing expounding on the Beatitude in terms of her personal motherhood. This can include an explanation of the Beatitude in general but also, she shares examples of how she encounters and lives out the Beatitude by sharing her personal parenting stories. In Blessed Are They Who Hunger and Thirst, she reminds us of the urgency to which a child tells us they’re hungry and how we can relate that to how Jesus tells us that He thirsts for souls. After her personal section, she begins dialoguing on Mary and her motherhood and she finds ways to relate and draw us closer to Mary. She discusses Mary’s virtues and makes Mary relatable and tangible to us.
In the next section, Jeannie’s husband Ben sharing his thoughts (as well as other sources) on the Beatitudes, followed with a reflection on St. Joseph and his fatherhood in a similar manner to how Jeannie introduced Our Lady to us. The sections are geared toward fathers and mothers specifically but I felt like I could learn from both, since they were just offering further insight to scripture and to The Holy Family. I could totally relate to Ben, when in “Blessed Are They Who Hunger and Thirst For Righteousness,” he says,
For our children, we need to distinguish between our sense of righteousness and the real truth of God’s righteousness. We should show our children that God’s will is what truly satisfies us, compared to the temporary satisfaction of our own hunger.”
After each spouse shares on their personal parenthood and The Holy Family, there is a section called “Bringing (Beatitude) Into Habit and Home.” They continue to shed light on the Beatitude while giving more of a glimpse into sharing the Beatitude with our children and those around us.
“Action Plan” follows habit and home, where the authors give specific examples for teaching and implementing practices to model the Beatitudes to our children. They give examples for three age ranges; toddlers and preschoolers, elementary age and adolescence. So many of the suggestions were simple and easy to implement but spot on as far as giving a tangible experience of the Beatitudes to our children. For example, in Blessed Are The Meek, after explaining about being kind, gentle and humble, they suggest teaching a toddler about sharing, but out of generosity instead of obligation.
Following the action plan, the couple shares with us, a saint, who exemplifies the specific Beatitude in their life. For example in Blessed Are They Who Mourn, they give us a summary of the life of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, who experienced the loss of mother at young age, struggled with her step-mother, and suffered through the death of her husband and her sons. The examples brought the saints to life and were presented in a fashion that would be easy for my children to understand as well.
Each chapter ends with a prayer, asking the Lord to help us to actively implement the specific Beatitude in our parenthood and to our children.
Each chapter, while short and easy to read, left me with an insight to the Beatitudes, tangible ways to teach my children about the Beatitudes and a new knowledge of a saint I can turn to and also give as an example to my children. It filled so many facets of my life. I was just continually impressed with how I was growing in my faith, my parenthood, as a spouse, and as a person, all at once!
This is the perfect book to give as a baby shower gift, to a new parent, and the perfect book to give to those seasoned parents who are looking for new approaches to parenthood. I would suggest one thing, and that would be that each week the reader would read one chapter. Start on Sunday, read the whole chapter, it’s about 20 pages. Then I would suggest spending the week contemplating on that specific Beatitude and working on implementing it with your children. Perhaps spending even more than a week on each chapter, would really solidify the Beatitude in our homes? The book is so engaging that I wanted to just keep reading it, but I feel like if I had read one week at a time, that it would have been better implemented into my motherhood. I will defiantly be recommending this book to Catholic moms!
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Copyright 2019 Courtney Vallejo