Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Two People

We read about two people today.

St Catherine of Siena, saint for today, Doctor of the Church.

William Shakespeare, who would have had a birthday last Friday.

As I was reading about St Catherine and her role in The Western Schism, Anthony regaled us with information about The Great Schism and the Byzantines. He went through a Byzantine-ish reading frenzy awhile ago.

Charity is the sweet and holy bond which links the soul with its Creator: it binds God with man and man with God. - Saint Catherine of Siena

And while we talked of Shakespeare and found our copy of the book Tales From Shakespeare by Charles and Mary Lamb, Anthony and I also discussed his personal reading. Bulldog Drummond ( an bit B grade, he says), poems by Tennyson and Inkheart by Cornelia Funke.

But, for my own part, it was Greek to me - Shakespeare, Julius Caesar

Words, like nature, half reveal and half conceal the soul within. Alfred Lord Tennyson

It [the book] was spinning a magic spell around her heart, sticky as a spider's web and enchantingly beautiful..Cornelia Funke, Inkheart
So, as usual, part of our day was spent in reading and talking. And with books. And people - past and present.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

This time last year.

This time last year, we were making anzac cookies and a dragon cake for the feast of St George, Anthony's Confirmation saint. Cooking risi et bisi for the feast of St Mark and bread to remember St Zita.

And we were preparing for a parish mission and surgery for me.

What have we done this year? Went to an Anzac Day ceremony ~ yes, we were late ~ yes, it was my fault ~ yes, I got into trouble for being late again and trying again to do-too-much-in-too-small-a-space-of-time ~ but, no, we didn't miss all the ceremony and we certainly enjoyed the sausage sizzle after, meeting new people.

We prayed for those who have died in war...we read about St George and St Mark and St Fidelus..we put together an Anzac Day bulletin board and a table centrepiece with our Easter candle, flowers from the autumn garden, an Australian flag for Anzac Day and the book Vendela in Venice for St Mark.

I made an Aussie, Anglo, dinner, as another way to celebrate Anzac day. After a house blessing by one of the friars. Hey, we even had our new lemon tree blessed! Thank you, Fr!

An Aussie-ish dinner? Pea soup, damper, steak, sausages, onions, meat pie and chips ( both home-made! Can you believe it??), a big salad, rolls, pavlova slice and anzac cookies and lamingtons that I made myself.

With fun..

Friday, April 24, 2009

Groove is in the Heart

That song by Deee-Lite.

By groove, though, I mean getting into a groove. A rhythm.

We have rhythm..routine... in our days and weeks..and months...And we have been finding our groove again, post Holy Week and the Octave of Easter.

Finding what works for us now. Some time together. Some time alone. Some work, some chores, some formal work, time with people , activities. Reading through the liturgical year. Books, movies, games. Oh, and did I say work and people?

Today at a Kumon coffee meeting, someone introduced me as that Shire Leader, that Supervisor, who has seven kids and homeschools and writes and does volunteer stuff at church and elsewhere. And who never misses a workout.

I cringed.

That's me. And, yet, it is not me.

I don't do it all. I do many things but in dribs and drabs. Some here. Some there. With the family.

Julie, from Bravewriter , describes how this dribbly, drabbly routine can work ~

Some weeks homeschool gets the lion’s share of my attention. Other weeks, my business does. Some days, I give in and make spring crafts for hours (like yesterday) and let the whole kitchen go to heck. On those days, we eat pizza for dinner. Other days, I make a wonderful chicken stew and set the table with candles, but don’t wash any clothes. Some months, a writing deadline (like my MA thesis last April) means the family has to pick up my slack in the meal-making, food-shopping, clothes-washing department so that I can write unfettered.

...All bets are off when your business and your kids’ education are both at home and both fall on you! That’s a situation few people in your life will know or understand. There really is no time when you are all alone and free from the competing pressures of dogs with vet visits, phone call polls, television drone in the background and the eternally hungry tummies of children, teens and home-working husbands.....

The bottom line is that more and more of us need to work to pay for life ....If you are at this place in your life, your family can handle it. You just need to be sure that you continue to give your heart and energy to your kids when you are with them. That’s the only way to balance it all out.

Part of finding a groove or a rhythm is learning how to balance things out. Remembering that not everything has to balance out all at once.

Post Easter Sunday, we are finding time for reading about the saint of the day. For trying to fit in more masses, for me, during the week. For doing kumon work. For paid work. To do some maths, some Latin, some French...Searching through Science books and texts for ideas...To mess around, and to see friends.

But not doing all these every day.

Many things but not all-at-once.

Even our seemingly disorganised or very busy days have a hidden and stable routine. Priorities are set according to family need and resources, time, energy, allocated accordingly.

Yesterday was a busy work day for me and, accordingly, a time for formal work for kids, for work at Kumon for all. Today, we had mass and meetings and hang out time for kids..time for me to see a friend..for youth group..for Anthony and dh to have time..for cooking..for Kumon..for blogging..for gaming.

The two days were very different. The skeleton of the days, however, remains the same. Chores,my personal prayer time or mass, workout, family prayers, saint of the day, reading, meals, remembering time for family and each other and friends. What we do in the larger blocks of time, is the flesh on the skeleton;these are what make the difference, the daily changes.

We don’t have a schedule, but a flow, a flow to our family’s daily routine. We don’t dictate bedtimes, chores or television times but we do talk about the day. I have a to do list; I live by my diary. We hang out and do stuff; we fit have-to stuff into want-to stuff and into appointments and regular classes and actvities and meetings and work and our parish life.

And every now and then I ignore stuff and just play.

Or I get tired and send myself to time out.

The groove is in the heart. But, then, listening to the heart is hard. Finding a groove, getting back a groove, can be hard. I often try One Thing for re-marking a groove.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Planting , er, potting, a mini lemon tree. Woo hoo!
And thank you to a friend, who bought us the pot..and potting mix..and fertiliser!
Our next gardening project?
Well, after trying not to kill the lemon tree, we want to pot and grow a pinkabelle apple tree...
A compact apple tree growing to only 2m high making it ideal for containers, courtyards, decks and balconies. It has delicious fruit that ripen two weeks earlier than the Pink Lady but are similar in flavour. Grows well in all temperate climates of Australia.

St Anselm and Child Discipline...and Our Unschooling...

The saint for April 21. Yesterday.

St Anselm was treated harshly by his father. He resolved to leave his home when a young man...As a monk and abbot, he pondered on how we treat children and wrote about the discipline of children, of the boys in the schools.

An abbot told Anselm, then Archbishop of Canterbury, of the difficulties he was having in bringing up boys in his care.

The abbot was a disciplinarian, beating the boys for each and every misdemeanour.

Anselm could not contain his disagreement:

"In God’s name", he burst out, "I would have you tell me why you are so incensed against them. Are they not human? Are they not flesh and blood like you?"

The boys, he said, need "the encouragement and help of fatherly sympathy and gentleness", not blows.
Don't you love that line about encouragement and sympathy..about remembering that children are people ( very Charlotte Mason-ish)?

So, Tuesday, I thought about St Anselm's words. While we worked through a French Reader together and I did Kumon work.

We read about Julie and her friend Marc, at school in Paris. How tout le monde parle francais ...Everyone, literally, all the world, speaks French!

We went to a birthday party..we went to Borders and I bought the book Inkheart for us to read, as French Class is going to the cinema next week to catch that movie - after our French lesson, of course! I admit to having a bit of a crush on Brendan Fraser ( he's so cute).

St Anselm...discipline of children..French..Inkheart..Brendan Fraser..we have such full and illogical unschooling days!

Monday, April 20, 2009

A thought for this week.

From "Secrets of a Former Fat Girl" by Lisa Delaney ~ Really getting in touch with why you eat can help you start shutting down your appetite when its had enough. For instance, I bet you would say you eat because you like food. It makes you feel good. It comforts you when you're sad, tired, stressed, or lonely. And I believe you. But thats not the whole story.

Have you ever thought that on some level maybe you're using food to punish yourself, too? Your Fat Girl programming drives you to eat anything and everything, overriding all commonsense, all vanity, all ego, all the qualities you might respect in yourself..

Why else would you continue to eat when you know you're full, when you don't even like what you are putting into your mouth, when you know that what you're doing is unhealthy physically and emotionally?

I love food. I love reading about it, trying new dishes, and discovering new recipes and techniques. I have loved food since I was a kid. But for a long time I couldn't distinguish between a healthy passion for food and an unhealthy drive to eat. I used my love of food to justify abusing myself with it...

You need to start thinking about what you're putting into your mouth and what's in it for you...What matters more than how many fat grams it has or how many calories it paxks is why you're eating it.
Start asking; "What will (insert food here) do FOR me?"
You'll be surprised at how many times the answer is "Nothing."

Sunday, April 19, 2009

St Thomas Sunday

Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came.
So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord." But he said to them, "Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails, and place my finger in the mark of the nails, and place my hand in his side, I will not believe."
Eight days later, his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. The doors were shut, but Jesus came and stood among them, and said, "Peace be with you."
Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side; do not be faithless, but believing."
Thomas answered him, "My Lord and my God!"
John 20: 24-28

The Octave Day of Easter, sometimes known as Low Sunday (and also known historically as St. Thomas Sunday and Quasimodo Sunday), is the Sunday after Easter Sunday. Since 1970 Low Sunday has been officially known as the Second Sunday of Easter and on April 30, 2000, it has also been designated as Divine Mercy Sunday by Pope John Paul II.

St. Thomas Sunday? Because the Gospel reading relates the story of "Doubting Thomas," in which Thomas the Apostle comes to believe in the Resurrection of Jesus only after being told by the resurrected Christ to place his finger in the nail marks and his hand in His side. In the Gospel accounts, this event takes place on the eighth day after the Resurrection.

Divine Mercy Sunday is the culmination of the novena to the Divine Mercy of Jesus, a devotion given to St. Faustina .The devotion was actively promoted by Pope John Paul II, who officially set its commemoration on this Sunday in 2000.

Prior to the 1970 this day was called Low Sunday. It was sometimes said that the name comes from its relative unimportance compared to the solemnities of Easter Day, but I have also read that it is possible that "low" is a corruption of the Latin word Laudes, the first word of the Sequence of the day: "Laudes Salvatori voce modulemur supplici" (Let us sing praises to the Savior with humble voice).

The name Quasimodo came from the Latin text of the traditional Introit for this day, which begins "Quasi modo geniti infantes..." ("As newborn babes...", from I Peter 2:2. )

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Saturday in the Octave of Easter

But Peter and John answered them, "Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge; for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard." Acts 4: 19-20

Thinking about liturgy today, during the octave of Easter. I started Lent with liturgical ponderings and am still here during Eastertide. ... We went to two masses, yesterday and today, with two different priests ; including mass in a different parish.

Both masses reverent. Catholic. No abuses. And yet....

Dh calls me a mass nazi, a liturgical nazi. It is probably true! I really, truly believe that worship is not about us, about wasn't that lovely, those warm fuzzy feelings...It is about God, first and foremost.

It is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

Now, I tend to be a friendly talkative sort of person. I can gab with the best of 'em before and after mass. I try to welcome newcomers, to make others feel included, I look out for those who may be by themselves or look like they may need a smile or a listener.

But our mass, our worship, should be more, more than every day. It should lift us up.... to God.

I have been spoiled when it comes to liturgy, I know. I have participated in, prayed at masses that have been reverent, liturgically wonderful, no ad libbing, just the rubrics, the prayers, the faith. Masses in my parish church now, and when we lived in Western Australia.

I have a love for High Mass, too.

Why? This quote from Father Faber, priest of the Brompton Oratory in the 1800s, explains why...Fr. Faber described the Mass as the "most beautiful thing this side of heaven":

It came forth out of the grand mind of the Church, and lifted us out of earth and out of self, and wrapped us round in a cloud of mystical sweetness and the sublimities of a more than angelic liturgy, and purified us almost without ourselves, and charmed us with the celestial charming, so that our very senses seemed to find vision, hearing, fragrance, taste, and touch beyond what earth can give.

Emphasis (above) mine..

Friday, April 17, 2009

Friday in the Octave of Easter

This is the stone which was rejected by you builders, but which has become the head of the corner.And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. Acts 4: 11-12

Here are some pictures that I am sharing..From Easter Sunday.

Outside my window. . The night. Dark. Cool. Quiet.

I am thinking. . . About the friends I have seen today. Really enjoyed our conversations. It is these little social interactions that make life pleasant.

I am thankful for. . .Friends!

From the learning rooms. . .Alexander worked on an Italian assignment and helped a friend with her Italian..Thomas did Kumon Maths, read about moral law, the old law and the new, from the Catechism and wrote a report...Anthony updated the Journey North project, read the St Joseph Catechism, discussed confession and typed up a report..Why is it we find more time to undertake formal work in official school holidays, in the octave of Easter, than we do in normal school terms?

From the kitchen. . . Well, I made pikelets for a late breakfast/morning tea with a visitor this morning after mass.. and a quiche to take to a friend's house for a birthday tea...and a salad to accompany Greg's spaghetti bolognaise .

I am wearing. . . A short dress, purple tights and a big black boofy jumper..I am cold! Autumnal cold.

I am creating. . .How I hate these creating links..I am so not creative..well, I am creating texts to friends and carrying on a texting conversation as I type..

I am going. . .To watch another episode of the Numbers TV series, with dh and the kids..I gave dh series five as part of his anniversary gift.

I am reading. . .The Acts of the Apostles, in Eastertide...The Power and the Glory by Grahame Greene, a book re-visit..also re-visiting Secrets of a Former Fat Girl by Lisa Delaney.

I am hoping. . .For discipline and several areas of my life..I think the two can go together, don't you?

I am hearing. . The drone of the dishwasher..the rhythm of the dryer..the kids talking in the garage about their military simulation game.

Around the house. . .Am caught up with laundry..bedrooms and clutter could do with an overhaul ...but I'll do a Scarlett O'Hara.

One of my favourite things. . .Coffee with friends...can you see a friends theme this Easter?

A few plans for the rest of the week. . . . Catching up with Kumon folders..planning for Teen Group..catching the movie Escape to Witch Mountain.

I am praying for...Vocations..

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Thursday in the Octave of Easter

Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord Acts 3:19

Well, this photo (below) is actually a photo from Wednesday. We helped out in the parish office for a little bit in the afternoon, helping with a mail out. Don't these guys look industrious?

And cute!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Wednesday in the Octave of Easter

But Peter said, "I have no silver and gold, but I give you what I have; in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk." Acts 3:6, from today's missal.

Look at what dh repaired and painted - for the friary. Looks great!

And look at the earrings I received in the mail today, a birthday present from Maria in California (thank you!) - check out her etsy store!
Well, you can barely see the earrings but they are orange and white and dangle - my sort of earrings!

Tuesday in the Octave of Easter

Let all the house of Israel therefore know assuredly that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified. Acts 2:36, from Tuesday's missal...

Yesterday, Tuesday in the Octave of Easter. And what did we do?

I got up early to work out with two sons, others were woken up around 7.30 or 8.00 am as we were going out.

Kids tidied bedrooms ( kinda), got their own breakfast, played computer games, played guitar and piano, I briefly checked email and Facebook and blogs, did some computer work for my Kumon centre, prepared food for a shared lunch at Catholic Homeschoolers group. One son made me some porridge to make sure I'd eat breakfast! Gotta love these kids!

Eventually, I changed from workout clothes, too and we looked at the saint of the day, missal readings and plans for the day. Started laundry. Left to pick up a priest who was visiting our homeschool group, then off to Catholic homeschoolers, kids reading novels in the car along the way. And chatting to Fr.

At Catholic homeschoolers, my kids were disappointed to find no other teens turning up. But they listened to the talk about St Gemma Galgani and mysticism while I did crafts with the little ones. We prayed the chaplet of divine mercy, shared lunch, drove home, dropped Fr off at the friary – with listening to music and a discussion on relationship and covenant on the way!

Home to find two other sons had two friends over – so a big game developed with nerf guns in and out of the house. I washed up, cleaned the oven from the morning cooking, did laundry – then took one son to part time work at another Kumon centre. I stayed there for two hours, doing volunteer work for the other Supervisor, kids at home continued games and playing guitar and computer/video games.

Came home, chatted to boys and friends who were still playing, paid bills online, did some Kumon work on the computer, did the minutes of a parish meeting, cleaned up the house. One son made me some tea, friends were picked up, one son went to pick up another from work, we got ready for Mass.

Our Tuesday night mass and novena to St Anthony with veneration of the relic and blessed bread, was beautiful. Youngest son served at mass. We are very lucky to have solemn reverent masses in our parish.

Talked outside church to a few people, then went to friends, for pizza and to meet visitors from interstate and play games, talk, watch Robin Hood. Prayed the rosary in the car and discussed relationships yet again.

In school terms we did oral language, group work, religion, society and environment, life skills, work education, computer education, social and personal development, physical education, reading and writing, music. Not bad!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Monday in the Octave of Easter

Working on...

Currently working on...a number of things. A routine for our homeschool. Working on my Kumon centre. And working on my weight.

A person close to me thinks I should lose weight. They are probably right. I have been thinking about their comment the last two weeks or so, and hating my recent pics.

Yes, I am happy that I lost 38kg over a four/five year period. Yes, I am happy that I am average BMI, I am no longer obese, I have been maintaining my weight for a year.

But, as this person pointed out, and as pics show, I am still not slim. I am resting on my laurels, just because I am so glad to be having a pretty normal relationship with food.

Says she, eating a chocolate Easter Bunny while planning a diet!

So, do I want to lose weight?

Yes and No.

Yes, who wouldn't want to be slimmer, to cringe less at photos?

No, because I have a history of eating disorders ( overeating or making myself throw up as a way of dealing with emotions). I don 't want to go there again. To be obsessed.

And I am scared that I won't be able to lose the weight. I'll feel like a failure.

So, where has my thinking taken me?

I will aim to watch portions, I already have the workout part down pat. Now, for me, weight loss will be primarily about my eating.

I'd like to lose another 10 kg. For now.

I am a slow loser. So no time goal.

Just deciding to plod along, allow for small victories and small defeats and work on eventually losing those 10 kg. On being healthier, fitter, slimmer.

I have started a diet journal again, an occasional journal to help with thoughts and ideas and motivation.

Food is like sex: when you abstain, even the worst stuff begins to look good. ~Beth McCollister
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst, for they are sticking to their diets. ~Author Unknown
Dieters live life in the fasting lane. ~Author Unknown

In the Middle Ages, they had guillotines, stretch racks, whips and cahins. Nowadays, we have a much more effective torture device called the bathroom scale. ~Stephen Phillips

Not very inspiring quotes, but funny anyway!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Regina Coeli

Happy Easter!

Regina coeli laetare,
Quia quem meruisti portare.
Sicut dixit,
Ora pro nobis Deum.

O QUEEN of heaven rejoice! alleluia
For He whom thou didst merit to bear,alleluia,
Hath arisen as he said, alleluia.
Pray for us to God, alleluia.
Let us pray
O God, who gave joy to the world through the resurrection of Thy Son, our Lord Jesus Christ; grant, we beseech Thee, that through His Mother, the Virgin Mary, we may obtain the joys of everlasting life. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Altar of Repose

On Maundy Thursday. Yesterday. Mass in commemoration of the Lord's Supper.
Maundy Thursday is devoted to the institution of the Eucharist and the priesthood. During the Mass we had the ceremony of the washing of the feet, known as the Maundy or Mandatum, a very moving reminder of that humble gesture of love and charity, when Jesus washed the feet of the disciples and thus emphasized a new commandment of brotherly love.
Today we had live Stations of the Cross in our parish. And the Passion at three pm ~ as my missal says the liturgical solemnity in commemoration of the passion and death of our Lord.
The liturgy is more than just an inspiring, moving rite. It fills our souls, fills them with prayer and thanksgiving, we acknowledge in God's presence and in the presence of others in our community exactly what the mystery of the Cross means to us.
Someone asked me today why it seemed, to her, that converts often appear to be fervent. My answer, as a convert? Well, in part, the answer lies in the solemn liturgies, like the liturgy today. I realise how much I missed out on, how little I understood, all those years of attending mass with my dh and kids but not really knowing God, knowing the Faith, feeling and understanding the Real Presence. The faith, the mysteries of the Faith, are like a special gift and I tend to feel like there is a lot to catch up, to experience, to know about, to pray for, to contemplate.
My mass attendance and talking to people after mass is a bit of a sore point with some. Especially last night and today. But I can't stop. Well, perhaps I should but not over the Easter Tridium! I am fed by the liturgy, by the prayers. I like helping in the parish community, talking to others, getting to know others in my parish, helping my kids to live their Faith. And some of these people are lonely, are needy, are hurting. Like I used to be. I try to give to them what I try to give to my family - some friendliness, some love, some understanding.
Tomorrow begins Eastertide. Eastertide is the time of new life. It is the festival of the Resurrection, continued for forty days.
It is my prayer that I can be an Easter person, to quote Pope John Paul II, bringing joy and Christ to my family ( I fail there, many times..) and to others ...
Strewing my faith, in true unschooling fashion.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

The Chrism Mass

Pic from Mass last night, receiving a blessing during Mass on our wedding anniversary...

Chrism (Greek word literally meaning "an anointing"), also called "Myrrh" , Holy Anointing Oli or "Consecrated Oil," is a consecrated oil used in the church in the administration of certain sacraments.

Tonight we attended the Chrism Mass in our Diocese. A great way to start our Easter. Something important in Holy Week.

Doing a little research, to answer a friend's question, I found the following ~ Multiple early Christian documents discuss the "ordinance" or "several ceremonies...explained in the Apostolical Constitutions" of "chrism," including documents by Theophilus and Tertullian. The most detailed version of the practice is by Cyril of Jerusalem who details how ointment or oil was "symbolically applied to thy forehead, and thy other organs of sense" and that the "ears, nostrils, and breast were each to be anointed."Cyril states that the "ointment is the seal of the covenants" of baptism and God’s promises to the Christian who is anointed. Cyril taught that being "anointed with the Holy anointing oil [Chrism] of God" was the sign of a Christian (Christos means "anointed"), and a physical representation of having the Gift of the Holy Spirit , and it retains this meaning in Catholicism today.

He says; "Having been counted worthy of this Holy Chrism, ye are called Christians, verifying the name also by your new birth. For before you were deemed worthy of this grace, ye had properly no right to this title, but were advancing on your way towards being Christians.
Cyril of Jerusalem - On Chrism

Under normal circumstances, chrism is consecrated by the bishop of the particular church in the presence of the presbyterium at the Mass of the Chrism. The oil of catechumens and the oil of the sick are also blessed at this Mass.

Tonight, in fact.

A great experience for the kids. And so we try to attend each year.

You know...

You know, maybe you can beat some of your childhood fears.

Our thirtieth wedding anniversary. My (fiftieth) birthday. Great friends spent time with us, shared gifts, came to our party, our dinner, Mass. A Mass with a special blessing. (Thank you, Fr!).

I didn't want to do anything special to celebrate these milestones. I remembered my past, being told by those I love, those in my family, that I am shallow, superficial, no one really likes me or would want to be friends with me.

Rationally, logically, you know it can't all be true. Rationally, logically, you put these comments away and just live. But these little comments,these fears, bubble up during milestone events.

So, this is what I have been working through lately. I didn't want a party one would come! Chatting online with an old friend on Facebook, I was encouraged to have a party. She told me she would come from interstate, from Perth, so at least I'd have her here, her daughters, and my dh and my kids.

And so we celebrated. My friend from Perth came. Some friars, special friends, came. And so did many , many of my super Sydney friends.

So, maybe you ( I) can overcome childhood issues.

Thank you, guys!

Thursday, April 02, 2009

On Discipline

Those who know me, know I am a pretty self disciplined person. I am not sure when and where and how I learned this self discipline; I do know my childhood was formed by books, good books, with good characters, and that these provided me with examples to follow.

Those who know me also know that I believe strongly in providing children with good examples to follow.

My trouble is that when I lose my self discipline, when I lose it with one of the kids, then I lose it badly. I become a very good example of what-not-to-do and what-not-to say. I don't hit. I'm not violent. But I do swear. Ack!

So, there is my dilemma. I am not always a good example. I apologise and pray and move on but that doesn't erase the bad example, does it?

And because I am aware of my own failings, because I want my children to make their own choices, to make good choices, to have a childhood of good memories, I tend to rely on example, on prayer, on our sacramental and liturgical life, on discussion, on good books and movies to teach self discipline . Not consequences.

The wisdom of the Church in this matter is expressed with precision and clearness in the Codex of Canon Law, can. 1113: "Parents are under a grave obligation to see to the religious and moral education of their children, as well as to their physical and civic training, as far as they can, and moreover to provide for their temporal well-being."[23] DIVINI ILLIUS MAGISTRI ENCYCLICAL OF POPE PIUS XI ON CHRISTIAN EDUCATION

So, in my failure to provide consequences, am I also failing to fulfil my grave obligation to see to the religious and moral education of my children ?

On Monday, one child had a meltdown over some writing I asked him to do. When I say melt down, I mean MAJOR melt down. I didn't get cross or angry. I encouraged. I provided examples of writing. Eventually, however, his actions and words seemed intolerable, so intolerable that I told him he would have to forgo his gaming sessions. I did this without anger but with a desire to end the behaviour, to teach something.

This did, however, make me feel bad. So bad that the next day, I relented and allowed gaming. I thought he knew, deep inside, how rude and over the top his behaviour had been. Thought we could move on.

Wednesday, the same child had another meltdown, over having to do his paper round, the round several others of us help with because we are family, but for which only he and one other brother get paid. He didn't feel like working.

Oh dear. This was like a red flag to a bull. We'd had lunch out at a Chinese resaurant with friends, we'd had fun and friends over all day, and I felt like he hadn't learned from Monday. I felt abused when he threw things and stomped around.

I lost it. I swore.

It is okay. I hope. I've apologised. I'll go to Reconciliation. But I am wondering if consequences may help. I felt bad because I felt I had been nice, that my niceness was taken advantage of - and, yet maybe a little bit of penance, for me and for the child, would be good.

Would it be better for me to talk and not require things like writing? I very rarely require anything from my kids... At least there would be no upset because he wouldn't be doing what he doesn't want..And example and our prayer life and the sacraments are there, to guide...Or is it better to talk and sometimes realise that we all need to do things we don't like , that there are consequences in life...and, again, our sacramental life can help here, as we learn, and, yes, suffer a little..

How did I learn self discipline? How do I continue to learn this, how can I be a better example, how can I share this with my kids?

In fact it must never be forgotten that the subject of Christian education is man whole and entire, soul united to body in unity of nature, with all his faculties natural and supernatural, such as right reason and revelation show him to be; man, therefore, fallen from his original estate, but redeemed by Christ and restored to the supernatural condition of adopted son of God, though without the preternatural privileges of bodily immortality or perfect control of appetite. There remain therefore, in human nature the effects of original sin, the chief of which are weakness of will and disorderly inclinations. (my emphasis)
"Folly is bound up in the heart of a child and the rod of correction shall drive it away."Disorderly inclinations then must be corrected, good tendencies encouraged and regulated from tender childhood, and above all the mind must be enlightened and the will strengthened by supernatural truth and by the means of grace, without which it is impossible to control evil impulses, impossible to attain to the full and complete perfection of education intended by the Church, which Christ has endowed so richly with divine doctrine and with the Sacraments, the efficacious means of grace. Ibid.

Now, the rod of correction does not refer to corporal punishment. I am anti hitting, anti violence! But I think it does refer to natural consequences, to discipline, in love.

God loves us. His love is unconditional. Can I, do I, love this son in the same way, as much as I am imperfectly able?

You can do nothing with children unless you win their confidence and love by bringing them into touch with yourself, by breaking through all the hindrances that keep them at a distance. We must accommodate ourselves to their tastes, we must make ourselves like them. St. John Bosco

Maybe consequences, natural discipline, can exist without hurting relationship, if surrounded by love?

One must have a strong foundation so as to stand firm at this time against the shock-waves of youth. St Theophan, on raising teenagers

Of all holy works, the education of children in the most holy. - more from St. Theophan the Recluse