In October I put out a call for contemplative families and many of you responded that you’d like to join me in starting a movement of sorts. I am unfortunately not able to write on this topic more than once a month, because of the other subjects I cover on my blog. Today I want to share with you some resources that you can use in between. I am hoping that in the coming months many of the other bloggers and authors I am recommending will guest post here.
Share your links to our Pinterest board
First, I’ve created a new group Pinterest board called Contemplative Families. If you write about holiness for families, please request to become a pinner. All of us can benefit from the variety of resources shared from blogs and websites across the internet. I have already invited several others to join me. This is a great way to explore more posts on prayer and virtue without having to wade through Search results.
Inspiring and informative blogs
In this overview of resources that I have discovered recently, I must start with the blog of reader Jessica Fahy, At His Feet. On her homepage presently you’ll find posts on detachment, mental prayer, compassion, and the imagination–all written for parents of young kids. This is not your average Catholic mommy blog. Jessica’s writing is polished, her spirituality deep, her love for the faith prominent.
A few years ago I met Heidi Indahl at the Minnesota Catholic Home Education Conference. Some of you are familiar with Heidi from her blog, Work and Play Day by Day. There Heidi writes about her family and homeschool, including the two children lost shortly after birth. I was happy to see Heidi is now a blogger at a new site I want to recommend to you, Peanut Butter and Grace. This blog is the brainchild of Jerry Windley-Daoust, whom I met at last year’s conference. Jerry has written a book that I review briefly below.
Another writer at Peanut Butter and Grace has just published a children’s book about St. Therese. Becky Arganbright has also experienced difficulties with childbirth. I ran into Becky several months ago on Leila Miller’s blog in a discussion about trust. I believe Becky was reading Trusting God with St. Therese at the time. I have not read her book yet, but her blog posts are beautifully written and insightful. Peanut Butter and Grace is all about helping you pray, talk, celebrate, and serve with your kids.
Finally, I just read in the National Catholic Register about another initiative to strengthen Catholic Family life. Peter and Chantal Howard have started an apostolate called Heroic Families. They are currently traveling all across the US with their kids to minister to other families. (Dr.) Peter Howard is a fellow columnist with me at SpiritualDirection.com. Heroic Families focuses on encouraging families in Marian and Eucharistic devotion.
Books for raising prayerful kids
Another article in the latest issue of the Register was about Sr. John Dominic’s religious education program Disciple of Christ, Education in Virtue. Many schools and homeschools are using this program to teach the virtues in a meaningful way. Sr. John Dominic has just added a Disciple of Mercy Journal for this year of mercy. She also has a new Lectio Divina journal called Life of Christ. Sister’s approach is somewhat different from mine. I encourage you to give her journal a look if you have kids in middle school or older.
We each have different personalities, temperaments, family dynamics, et cetera. We don’t have to all do things the same way. But neither do we have to re-invent the wheel. We can share resources and all be the richer for it.
With that in mind, I’d like to recommend one of Jerry Windley-Daoust’s books, as I mentioned above. 77 Ways to Pray with Your Kids lives up to its name. There is truly something for every family in this book. Although each of the entries is (necessarily) brief, the ideas are concrete and easy to put into practice. You can try many different types of prayer with your kids to see what works for you. Then you might focus on other resources that will help you dig deeper.
Jerry explains how to practice Lectio Divina, do an Ignatian examen, pray the Rosary with kids, and even sit in silent prayer. Now the last of these you need to be cautious about. We don’t want to be afraid of silent prayer, for silence is a necessary component of prayer. But we do want to be careful that we don’t teach our kids to silence all their thoughts and feelings as in Centering Prayer. (And if you haven’t read any of my criticisms of Centering Prayer yet, you’re obviously new to my blog!) We use silence to prepare our hearts to engage with Christ, not as a substitute for that engagement. I’m not quite sure what Jerry’s thoughts in this are, since in the book he encourages just very brief moments of silence with your kids. That’s my only caveat.
I must also mention my book series A Spiritual Growth Plan for Your Children, which gives parenting advice for raising virtuous kids. I am writing one book for each of the four classic temperaments. Earlier this month I published A Spiritual Growth Plan for Your Phlegmatic Child, which joins the earlier Choleric volume. Both are available in paperback and digital formats. In these books I show you the method of mental prayer I taught my two oldest sons. They are praying about three mornings a week at school, besides the prayers they have chosen to do on their own.
How my family dealt with tragedy
In case you haven’t see it yet, I released a video last week for Trusting God with St. Therese. I talk about my struggles with trust and how Therese helped me overcome them. My parents and brother share about the family car accident in which my sister died. You can watch the video on my homepage or on YouTube. I’d appreciate your sharing it with friends and family. Every family experiences tragedy or death. Everyone needs to learn how to trust God more fully.
Now, in the comments, please share any other resources you have found helpful for you and your family as you journey closer to Christ.
Note: This post contains affiliate links. That means I earn a small commission if you buy any of the books I recommend. You are helping support my contemplative family. Thank you!