From Plain Talks on Marriage by Rev. Fulgence Meyer, 1927
Nature’s Sexual Mysteries
At the age of puberty, when the girls are about thirteen and the boys about fourteen years old, certain physical developments take place in the human organism, with the nature and purposes of which it is wholesome for the children to become acquainted gradually and circumspectly.
It is the part of the father to instruct his sons, and the duty of the mother to instruct her daughters regarding the origin, the meaning and the reproduction of life. It is far better that the children obtain, this valuable and necessary information from wise parents in a decent and sacred manner, than that they get it in a vicious and objectionable way from tainted and corrupt companions.
This instruction properly given will serve the children as a safeguard and protection in the dangerous years of adolescence.
When the angel informed our Blessed Mother that she was to be the Mother of God, she replied: “How shall this be done, because I know not man?” (Luke, 1, 34). Evidently, though she was but about sixteen years old at the time, she had a knowledge of the sacred process of human generation; and yet she was the purest of the pure, and more innocent than any angel of God.
Little Crosses: Big Crosses
Little children are said to be little crosses, while big children are said to be big crosses. Formerly it used to be said, that little children step on the mother’s dress, while big children step on their mother’s heart. Woman’s dress today renders this proverb out of date, but the nature of children is the same as ever.
Whatever those sayings may mean and be backed up by, parents make a big mistake in believing that their growing or adolescent children need their attention and correction less than before. They often need them more, although perhaps in a different way.
To achieve the best results in educating their children in the fear of the Lord, it is above all necessary that father and mother work harmoniously and mutually supplementarily.
In other words they work together hand in hand, upholding and endorsing one another, and the one supplies what the other lacks.
The mother will usually abound in grace, tenderness, sympathy, gentleness and kindness: the father will represent dignity, power, firmness, authority and discipline.
As marriage in general, the burden of education will be carried like a yoke. If both go into the same direction, aim at the same goal, and keep about the same tempo, the burden becomes easy, light and agreeable: whereas if one insists on going one way, and the other is stubborn about going into the opposite direction, there will be nothing but confusion, failure, disappointment and ruin.
For the sake of harmony, then, in this very important department of family life, wise concessions from both parties are much in order, and worth all they cost.
The Deadly Lake Ride
A story is told about the evil consequences of division or disharmony of parents in the upbringing of their children.
A girl had asked permission of her father to take a ride in a launch on the lake. It was Sunday afternoon. The father refused permission. He would not accede to the request, no matter how much his daughter pleaded.
When he left the house for a walk, the girl entreated her mother to allow her to take the ride. The mother yielded, but cautioned the child not to let her father suspect that she granted her the permission.
Several hours later a storm suddenly swept over the lake and surrounding territory. The father, who had returned home, was just telling his wife how much he was congratulating himself for not allowing his daughter to go on the lake, when a messenger knocked at the door to bring the sad news that the launch containing the girl and her companions was upset in the storm, and that all its passengers were drowned.
He added, that the corpse of the girl had been recovered, and was ready to be brought in by the men who were waiting outside. Imagine the consternation of the father, and the guilty and crushed feeling of the mother.
Such a catastrophe may not happen often in the physical order, but morally it is, alas, but too frequent.
The Shipwreck of the Soul
Many Catholic children suffer moral and religious shipwreck due to a lack of union and cooperation of father and mother in their education. And what has been said regarding the parents in their relation to one another in this matter, ought to comprise the teachers and pastors of their children also, in the sense that parents should cooperate all they can with them, too, in promoting the welfare of their children.
They will consequently defend and support the authority of pastors and teachers in all things, and never permit the children to make faultfinding or otherwise derogatory remarks about them; much less will they ever openly take a child’s part against the teacher or pastor.
No one is faultless. Teachers and pastors make mistakes as do other human agents. But it damages rather than benefits the children, if their parents tolerate, or even endorse a critical, carping, disparaging and rebellious attitude on their part towards teachers and priests.
The Power of Love
The best, the most agreeable and effective way for parents to achieve fine results in rearing their children is by harboring for them, and plainly exhibiting towards them genuine, consistent, impartial, generous, sympathetic and unselfish love.
Love begets and elicits counter-love. It is easy for you to guide and train a child that sincerely and fondly loves you.
Enter into their interests, take part in their games and pastimes, as much as possible, and help them with their studies and other laudable efforts towards success. You will thus win their trust and confidence.
They will tell you their secrets, acquaint you with their ambitions, and inform you of their friendships and their loves. They will appreciate your counsels, and welcome your guidance.
It will be easy for you then to know the company they keep, the amusements they frequent, and the acquaintances they make. In other words, parental watchfulness, instead of being an irksome task, will be for you an agreeable duty.
Fortunate the child whose mother stands by its cradle like a Guardian Angel to inspire and lead it in the path of goodness! – Pope Pius XII
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To the modern mind, the concept of poverty is often confused with destitution. But destitution emphatically is not the Gospel ideal. A love-filled sharing frugality is the message, and Happy Are You Poor explains the meaning of this beatitude lived and taught by Jesus himself. But isn’t simplicity in lifestyle meant only for nuns and priests? Are not all of us to enjoy the goodness and beauties of our magnificent creation? Are parents to be frugal with the children they love so much?
For over half a century, Catholic families have treasured the practical piety and homespun wisdom of Mary Reed Newland’s classic of domestic spirituality, The Year and Our Children. With this new edition, no longer will you have to search for worn, dusty copies to enjoy Newland’s faithful insights, gentle lessons, and delightful stories. They’re all here, and ready to be shared with your family or homeschooling group. Here, too, you’ll find all the prayers, crafts, family activities, litanies, and recipes that will help make your children ever-mindful of the beautiful rhythm of the Church calendar.