Do It Again (and Again and Again)
Human beings are creatures of habit. We tend to eat the same foods, listen to the same music, and hang out with the same people. I am willing to bet you have a morning routine.
Is it any wonder that our Catholic families gravitate toward habits and routines? Today I make two points. One is about repetition, and the other is about doing things over and over again. Ha ha!
When your kid likes something you do (little ones especially) you are expected to repeat until they (not you) are tired of it. I just finished a 20 minute game of “Hide your little kid head inside this fez I bought because of Doctor Who”. My one year old loved it and made sure I said the same thing each time I found her under the hat. I knew she was done when she threw the hat and said “spider”, which was my cue to sing itsy bitsy spider.
The game gets old for parents long before it does for our children, but we do it anyway because we love our kids and we love making them happy. The added benefit is our child learning and cultivating memories of playing with dad. Guys, we need this at every level. Peek a boo, playing catch, go fish, monopoly, paint daddy’s toes. Whatever. I had to learn the hard way how important this is. Catholic guys, spend time being present and engaged with your kids at every age. I am nearly 40 and I talk to my dad at least 3x each week. My dad (and mom) made it a priority to spend time with me and my kid brother when we were growing up and now I understand why.
Something else Catholic parents need to do is establish good patterns and habits in our families, otherwise known as domestic churches. This is true with or without kids. In fact, single guys need to establish good patterns now whether they are called to marriage or holy orders. Here are some examples of daily and weekly habits to build character and grow.
- Personal prayer
- Scripture reading
- Edifying reading
- Family prayer
- Meals together
- Game night
- Saying grace at mealtimes
- Advent traditions
- Lenten traditions
- Telling family history
You get the idea. The more we cultivate these things, the deeper they penetrate our lives. Men, parenting and husbanding is all about growth. There is no cruise control or coasting. It will wear you out and you will grow weary of giving before they weary of receiving. Give anyway. Sacrifice, even when there is no thanks or when there is resistance. Break down the bad habits (isolation and escapism) by displacing them with community and self-giving.
If you have failed at this to date, it is not to late to start. Don’t waste another day. Sure, your fight will face greater difficulty than some newbie, but the end result is worth the struggle. Fight fight fight fight fight.
Posted on May 20, 2014, in Catholic Family, Catholic Husbands, Catholic Manliness, Parenting, Personal Witness, Spiritual Warfare and tagged be a better dad, Cartholic dads, catholic husbands, endurance, parenting, st joseph, total self giving love. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.