Book Notes - Books for Parents for the New Year

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Every day that goes by as a parent, it seems to get harder. This is not because my son is a “handful” or because we are expecting our second child in six weeks. Instead, it is because of the world and everything going on in it. Some people claim that the world is getting worse, and I don’t necessarily believe that. One only needs to look at Sodom and Gomorrah and how depraved those cities were to see that, man has been in a sinful state since the fall. Instead, I believe that the world is getting smaller. Technology, social media, and other factors have given us all the ability to have the world at our fingerprints. And with that power we now wield, we have been given more and easier opportunities to sin and stray further from Christ.

With Christmas looming and the new year right behind it, I’d like to take the time to tell you about two books for Catholic parents.

Made This Way is plain and simple a parental guide on the moral issues your child will encounter as they grow. The book begins with two chapters to set the stage — one explains what natural law is and other talks about the most important thing with a child is to get them to Heaven. The remainder of the book is composed of ten chapters on subjects such as same-sex marriage, divorce, contraception, abortion, and so on. Each chapter is then divided into three parts: 1. What the Church Teaches, 2. Advice for Little Kids, and 3. Advice for Big Kids. (Note: The terms “little” and “big” generally distinguish between a child who has been through puberty and a child who hasn’t.) At the end of every chapter, is a a summary of sorts entitled “Remember …” that gives you some bullet points to drive home from each chapter.

Reading through the book, especially the parts for little kids, we are reminded that some of these conversations are generally unnecessary. This means that you don’t need to find a time to bring it up with them and teach them, because they are not mature enough for it. However, some kids will be exposed to certain issues early, particularly homosexuality or “gay marriage,” and in that case you need to be ready with answers. This is where natural law comes in, because it just makes sense. Men can only marry women, and only this union can naturally create a child, which is what marriage is intended for. You can also explain to your children that adults make mistakes, but just because they make mistakes, it doesn’t change God’s laws for us. Continuing with the “gay marriage” example for older children, you can ask them questions to help them see why it is a flawed issue. These questions can focus on “feelings of love,” and how it takes more than a feeling to make a marriage. We also will have to encourage our children, as they will now be going against societal norms by choosing not to accept gay marriage. Lastly, remind them that a successful Catholic (or Christian) marriage is the best defense against “gay marriage.”

This is an essential book that every Catholic parent needs in their library. It not only is instructive for your children, but it is also instructive for you and can help provide you with arguments for your friends who might see things differently or just not understand why the Church teaches what it teaches. Can’t recommend enough!

Around the Year with the Von Trapp Family begins with a foreword by the editor in which she explains how she used to dislike December 26, because she thought Christmas was over. It was years before she discovered that Christmas lasts until January 6, and that the whole year is arranged liturgically with a purpose. She also explains how Maria von Trapp (yes, the one from The Sound of Music) both knew this and lived this.

This book, written by Maria von Trapp, lays out the Church year for us, season by season, and how to live it day by day. The book is divided into the following sections: Advent, Christmas, Carnival, Lent, Passiontide, Paschaltide, The Green Meadow, The Land Without a Sunday, As The Evenings Grow Longer, and Our Life – A Feast. One can see from the contents that this was based on the older calendar, but it is still of great use with the newer calendar.

The Advent section, for example, explains what an Advent wreath is, how to make one, and the tradition of the lighting of the candles. Also within this section, we learn about Saints Barbara and Nicholas, the origin of the Christmas crib (St. Francis), the Octave of Christmas, and a Christmas Eve fast. Mixed within this section are recipes, hymns, and other songs for the appropriate season. This is how each section/season is, and it serves as an excellent guideline to live out the season every day and not just on Sundays or special days.

There is also a section in the book for various days throughout the year which won’t be celebrated by the Church as a whole, but can be celebrated as a family, such as birthdays and anniversaries. This was a great book that is beautiful in its words and presentations. It is one all Catholic families should look into buying, if they are committed to living out the calendar of the Church on a daily basis!

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Copyright 2018 Stuart Dunn
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About Author

Stuart Dunn was born and raised in Mobile, AL and received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Master of Business Administration from the University of South Alabama. Stuart primarily does accounting and logistics at the Port of Mobile. He married his wife, Mary Katherine, in 2011 and welcomed their first child into the world in 2013. Stuart reviews all things Catholic including adult books, children’s books, Bible Study series, Catholic Courses, CDs, and DVDs in addition to board games at his blog Stuart’s Study at StuartsStudy.blogspot.com.

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