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The 3 Pillars of Lent: Ideas for Your Family

Lent begins Wednesday! The 3 pillars of Lent are prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. While we (hopefully) practice these all year round, during Lent we pause and reflect on our relationship with God, and we intensify our devotion to these 3 pillars. Here are some fresh ideas for experiencing an intentional Lent in your domestic church. If your family is new to Lenten practices, just pick a few ideas to get started!

1. Prayer

Setting aside more time for family prayer during Lent draws us closer to one another as a family and to God. Through family prayer, we begin to recognize ourselves as a family rooted in Christ’s mission, set aside for good works.

Teaching children to pray. We can teach our children to deepen their prayer life during Lent, no matter their ages. Great tips from Catholic Digest.

Family altar. This is a post from my (neglected . . . ) homeschooling blog. I explain how we set up our family altar at Lent and the symbolism of the objects on our altar.

Stations of the Cross for Children. Love this beautiful free Stations of the Cross booklet  from Feast and Feria. They also offer ideas for creating a hands-on Stations of the Cross box. You place little objects in a box that your child can hold while your family prays the stations. My favorite book for praying the Stations with kids is Mary Joslin’s beautifully illustrated picture book. However, it’s currently $50 on Amazon! Yikes. I’ll treasure my copy. This similar (and cheaper) book by Angela Burrin looks lovely, too.

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The Launching Years Part 2: Raising Kids Who Launch Successfully from the Nest

In my last post, I laid out what I consider 3 fundamental developmental tasks of the late teen years:

1) moving toward interdependence

2) clarifying identity, and

3) grieving the loss of childhood.

Not all teens transition successfully into adulthood. Some fail to develop the capacity for true interdependence, which requires an ability to both give and receive loving aid and mercy. Some fail to achieve true autonomy: they remain tethered by what their peers or parents expect of them. They never figure out what it is they really want for themselves, so they drift from job to job without real focus, or they do what is expected of them but lack passion and satisfaction. Others never face their mixed feelings about growing up; they never grieve the loss of childhood so they are left with nagging sadness or dis-ease, or they do self-destructive things to keep themselves from leaving their parents.

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The Launching Years Part 1: The Developmental Tasks of the Late Teen Years

When I first started writing about parenting, my oldest child Aidan was about 11 or 12 and I had a baby. Now that oldest child is 18 and about to launch from the nest. He begins college in the fall. As I adjust to this reality, I find myself reflecting on the lessons I have learned about the late teen years. I’ve discovered that older teens have “developmental tasks” that are very unique to them. Older teens (17-19) are very different from young teens (13-15); what they need from their parents is different.

In this post (Part 1), I will lay out 3 of the more important developmental tasks of the late teen years, then in Part 2 I’ll talk about what parents of younger kids can do to lay the groundwork for a healthy, well-adjusted transition to early adulthood.

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Study: 4 Things Every Mom Needs to Thrive

moms-thriveMotherhood is a profound blessing. We moms know it. But motherhood can, at times, bring us to our knees. A mom regularly faces sleepless nights, strained schedules, and the competing needs of her kids, her spouse, her extended family, her community, and finally HERSELF!

What allows some moms to thrive and to find deep satisfaction in motherhood despite the inevitable challenges while others do not thrive emotionally?

One intriguing study identified 4 key factors that protect mom’s well-being and sense of satisfaction:

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