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Archive for Love

Of Course Your Kids Should Come First. Duh.

We have this great thirst for freedom because our fundamental aspiration is for happiness; and we sense that there is no happiness without love, and no love without freedom. This is perfectly true. Human beings were created for love, and they can only find happiness in loving and being loved. . . The problem is that our love often goes in the wrong direction: we love ourselves, selfishly, and we end up frustrated, because only genuine love can fulfill us. . . There is true love, and therefore happiness, only between people who freely yield possession of the self in order to give themselves to one another.

-Father Jacques Philippe, Interior Freedom

I came across this article recently which urges moms to put themselves first. The writer suggests unapologetically that moms should be selfish: Read More →

Raising Children Who Are Free

As we celebrate July 4 as a nation, I am thinking today about the meaning of “freedom.”  Most folks nowadays think that freedom means they get to do whatever they want without limits, without judgment, without boundaries, and without responsibility. In truth, this is not freedom; it’s a prison. Here is what real freedom means to me.

Freedom Is the Ability to Love

First, freedom is the ability to love generously. In fact, the more unselfishly you can love, the more free you are. Fr. Robert Spitzer explains 4 levels of human happiness in his extraordinary book Finding True Happiness:

  • First level: happiness derived from material objects and the pleasures they can provide. There’s nothing wrong with level 1 happiness, but if you spend most of your energy here, you’ll be pretty shallow. This kind of happiness is very short-lived.
  • Second level: happiness derived from achievement and comparing ourselves to others and finding we are better or more beautiful in some way. People who live mostly at this level tend to use people for their own gain, and they are not satisfied for very long because they worry that they might lose what they’ve gained.
  • Third level: happiness derived from doing good for others and making the world a better place. People who live mostly here are interested in the welfare of others. This is more robust level of happiness, but still people disappoint us at times and don’t do what we hope.
  • Fourth level: happiness derived from seeking the transcendent. They don’t want to just meet the immediate needs of other people; they see the deeper goodness in people and work for their salvation. People who live at this level have a desire for communion with God. Level four is the most perfect level of human happiness.

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Helping Kids Cope with “Failure”

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Every child faces the disappointment of not doing as well as they hoped on a test or not placing in a competition. Some kids bounce back from these “failures” and even seem to learn something from them, while other kids become so down on themselves that they want to give up. How can help our own kids build resilience in the face of life’s little setbacks?

Coping with Failure and Stress by Ray Williams. This article looks at the research on which coping strategies are the most effective for dealing with failure. What’s NOT effective: venting, self-distraction, self-blame, and denial. (I found this interesting as I tend to vent! I’ll remember that next time I experience a failure.) What is MOST effective:

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Tips for Parenting with Unconditional Love (Intentional Links)

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Loving our children unconditionally is a lot easier when our day is going smoothly, our child is happy, and our head is set firmly on our shoulders. But what about bad days? How do we love our child unconditionally then?

5 Secrets to Love Your Child Unconditionally from Dr. Laura Markham. “Unconditional love isn’t just what we feel. It’s what the object of our love feels: love without strings attached. That means our child doesn’t have to be, or do, anything in particular to earn our love. We love her exactly as she is. A tall order, since most of us have a little list of things we want ‘fixed’ in our child.” She makes several great points, including: 1) often our child’s weaknesses are just the underside of his strengths, 2) a child’s misbehavior is an SOS; we are more likely to feel compassion for her when we try to see things from her perspective, and 3) you can accept a child’s anger without endorsing the way he handles his anger.

Unconditional Love Is a Muscle from Aha Parenting. 6 practical tips for treating others with compassion even when it’s very hard, including putting yourself in the other person’s shoes. I would prayer as the 7th and most important tip!

Unconditional Parental Love from The Catholic Spirit. This article is concerned about the problem of parents rejecting imperfect children by aborting them, but the points he makes are very powerful and relevant for every parent. Because every child is imperfect, and those imperfections force us to confront our own assumptions about what we “deserve”. “For many [parents], it has become merely quaint to think of each child as a unique gift of God; children are more like planned acquisitions in our culture, acquisitions which should fit into our expectations about how our lives should go, about the ease and enjoyments that should characterize our lifestyle.”