My oldest child just turned nine. Excuse me while I take a deep breath. I’m still getting used to it!
While my husband and I have pretty well established how we handle baby, toddler, and little-kid stages of development (our other kids are aged 6, 4, and 1), we’re both aware that the rules are changing and we need to step up our game.
John and I frequently read spiritual books, though we tend to veer in different directions. I love learning more about my husband through what he’s reading and how he’s reacting to it. The book I’m going to talk about today, however, is one that we both need to read. And because it’s written by a husband and wife team, you better believe it’s headed straight for John’s TBR pile once I post this blog.
Raising Catholic Kids for Their Vocations by John and Claire Grabowski is just what our family needs right now, though we could have used it any time in the last ten years, really! In these pages, I’ve found affirmation that we’re thus far leading our children well (high five for praying the Rosary in the car on long trips), and thank goodness, because I doubt myself at some point just about every day. I’m also finding a new-to-me perspective on what it really means to raise our children for their vocations, before we — or they — have even discerned what those vocations are.
My husband and I have long been operating with the mindset that we are guiding our children toward their own decisions to love and follow Christ, and ultimately, to get to Heaven. This book engages deeply in the intermediate stage between baptism and eternal life. How is what we’re doing now as parents going to help our children live for God when they are adults?
Pursuing any vocation requires a certain amount of trust, discipline, and generosity. To live any vocation well, a person needs perseverance, a strong interior life, and a focus on a goal bigger them him or herself. It is these things and more that the Grabowskis discuss in both theory and practice, and it’s this balance that makes this book so valuable.
The Grabowskis are well versed in Church teaching, and the references they point to had me underlining and dog-earing frequently. I’ve not read many Church documents, but I recognized a few, and their relevance to family life (my daily life; my vocation!) is encouraging me to look into them more.
I respond best to narrative works, and so I appreciated the thread of how they raised their children, which was informative, but never prescriptive. My favorite part was the section where their grown children discussed their upbringing and what had the most powerful impact on them. Isn’t that what we all want to know — what really works? I guess this book was really written by a family, not just a couple!
I’m grateful to have this book in our home now, but I could see a parent with a single newborn or a gaggle of teenagers finding value in it as well. In order to raise children who discern and commit to their vocations, we need to be well formed as their parents and to create a home environment that is peaceful, joyful, and fruitful. The Grabowskis’ book is a welcome aid to making that a reality. I expect this book will have a powerful impact on many generations to come.
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Copyright 2019 Lindsay Schlegel