Do You Want to be a Better Catholic Parent?

This post is sponsored by Evango.


I’m not a pro at parenting.

I would propose that none of us are.

There’s always something new to learn about our kids, and our kids always have something new to teach us about ourselves.

Any time I think I have it all figured out, a new situation comes up which challenges my preconceived notions. Any time I think our family is rocking it – in behavior, in manners, in the faith, I discover something we could be doing to improve ourselves.

I’m always excited to learn and try new things.

Our family history is full of education:

  • My grandfather founded a high school.
  • Many of his 13 children (including my dad) worked at the school.
  • I have a college degree in mathematics and taught in high school.
  • My husband has a doctorate in math and teaches at the university level.
  • My mom and I homeschooled my youngest brothers together,
  • and we continue to homeschool our own kids now that we live further apart.

The belief that learning is important runs through the generations in our family.

God has blessed us with an intellect.

It makes him happy when we use our intellect to learn about the world he created for us, and to apply our knowledge to live better lives on our journey toward heaven.

Our quest for knowledge doesn’t end with formal education. We are called to a life of discovery.

Especially when it comes to parenting, I believe there is always room to learn and grow.

Continuing Education

This spring, I had the opportunity to do some continuing education in the field of parenting.

Evango reached out to me, asking if I’d like to review their new Catholic parenting course, Me and My House.

They offered me a few sample videos to check out and I asked for the whole thing because #overachiever lol.

But mostly because I loved what I saw on their site and jumped at the opportunity to grow in knowledge of Catholic parenting best practices.

I’m excited to share my full product review and recommendation – including my favorite things I learned from this course!

Overview of Me and My House

Me and My House is a parenting course for Catholic moms and dads.

The instructor, Patrick Sullivan, shares his insights and lessons he and his wife Kyla have learned in their journey parenting nine children.

The course has a strong emphasis on living out the Catholic Faith as a family and building your Domestic Church. And it has received the Imprimatur (I always look for that) from Archbishop Thomas Collins of Toronto!

Each lesson is taught through short video presentation ranging from roughly 5 to 15 minutes, for a total of almost 6 hours of instruction time.

I thought that the format was great as it provided frequent stopping points to reflect and discuss the lesson and how to implement it in your own family.

The course is broken up into 4 modules.

  1. Parenting in God’s Plan
  2. The Habits of Parenting
  3. The Do’s and Don’ts of Parenting
  4. Parenting Them in the Faith

My favorite modules were the first and last!

Also, I heard there’s a workbook coming which makes my teacher heart flutter. Want!

In my opinion, this course is an ideal resource for:

  • new parents
  • parents who want to start living the Faith more intentionally at home
  • small parenting/mom groups looking to grow together
  • parish faith formation for adults.

While ideal for new and growing parents, I think this course is a great refresher for all – and will help increase support and build a stronger, more vibrant community among Catholic families.

Me and My House is available in both DVD and digital formats.

Use coupon code: CLOWNS to get $15 off this wonderful program!

(The code made me chuckle, but hey! whatever it takes to help you save a few bucks!)

Want to get a more in-depth look at Me and My House? Let’s talk about what you can expect from each module, and my biggest takeaways.

Module 1: Parenting in God’s Plan

This module lays the foundation for the Catholic view of parenting.

One of the things I loved about this module is how it focused on God’s plan for the family, and how we can function as an image and reflection of God.

I want to share some of my favorite things I learned in this module:

– Strengthen your marriage through parenting

So often, I get caught up in parenting as a relationship between me and the kids, and my spouse and the kids.

But in Lesson 3: The Mystery of Your Spouse as Mom or Dad, Patrick stressed the fact that parenting is a journey of the spouses together. He talked about how parenting reveals the heart of spouses to each other.

I needed this reminder!

After watching these videos, I decided I needed to be more intentional about viewing parenting as a journey with my husband. A way to know and love him more, through guiding our children together.

– Use silence to hear the Holy Spirit

Lesson 5: Fighting for Silence was huge for me.

It was all about the need for silence in the midst of this noisy, busy, digital age.

After watching this lesson, my husband and I began practicing Patrick’s recommended time of silent prayer.

We’re starting with just one minute in our family filled with small kids.

We began praying, “Come Holy Spirit,” and sitting for a minute of silent prayer together, then sharing what the Holy Spirit spoke in our hearts.

I have to say, the fruits of this one small change in our day have been an amazing gift for our family!

The children have grown so much in their prayer through this one practice, as well as in communicating their hearts and dreams with us.

And my husband and I have enjoyed the gift of reconnecting with the Holy Spirit and his movement in our family!

I am so grateful for this lesson, and the good it has done in our family.

– Module 1 Contents

The content of the rest of the module was excellent as well, and I took lots and lots of notes. There were so many great takeaways that my husband and I want to start putting into practice (or practice better) in our family.

Even though we’re not new parents, this module helped us pinpoint things we could work on in our family.

The videos in this module each began and ended with prayer – and were filmed in a church. I found this fitting, as the topic was about building our Domestic Church, and parenting in God’s Divine plan.

Here is the complete list of topics covered in Module 1:

  1. Salvation Begins in the Home
  2. The Order of Things
  3. The Mystery of Your Spouse as Mom or Dad
  4. Cultivating Your Sanctuary
  5. Fighting for Silence
  6. Evangelizing in and with the Family
  7. Building Your Family Culture
  8. Whose Child Are You?

Module 2: The Habits of Parenting

Module 2 covered a lot of practical, daily aspects of parenting.

The videos in this section were short and sweet, and each provided one nugget of information to reflect on and implement in your family.

The videography in this module was my favorite. The lessons were taken outside of the church building, and placed into real-life settings featuring Patrick’s entire family.

Fun background music gave the lessons a lighthearted, encouraging feel.

I enjoyed the accessibility of these videos.

– Table manners for kids

Honestly, we needed this lesson badly.

Table manners is something we don’t do very well around here. And it makes dinner time quite unbearable for us.

Lately, my husband and I have been eating date-night dinners in the kitchen, while the kids all eat out at the dining room.

This strangely makes the kids have better behavior. But is that because they’re no longer trying to get our attention (in obnoxious ways – resulting in our negative attention) or because we can’t see their poor table manners any more?

I tuned right in when Patrick brought this topic up.

He talked about the table rules and “table checks” in his family – quick verbal reminders to help the kids remember and practice the proper behavior required of them.

When we’re brave enough to go back to eating dinner together, we’re definitely going to try out this idea!

See, even though we’ve been parenting for almost 8 years now, there’s always something new we can learn.

– The cure for boredom

While some lessons in this module had me drawing stars and exclamation points in the margin of my notebook – like the one about changing the way we do apologies, and tall the ones helping us understand what our kids really need – there were a few that weren’t the right fit for our family.

And I think it’s okay that we disagree on parenting strategies and philosophies at times.

In fact, I think it’s inevitable that we will disagree with pretty much every parenting philosophy at some point or other because we all, as parents, build our own unique philosophy based on our family’s needs.

In my margins for lesson 9, I wrote “how can we tweak this for our family?” Lesson 9 was about boredom.

Patrick’s family combats boredom through the use of individual hobbies. Many families encourage hobbies for their kids, and I think that’s a good thing! I think it’s a great way to keep kids busy, out of trouble, and invested in bettering themselves and learning new things.

But at this point in our life, our family is not a hobby family.

So while I agree with Patrick that the “I’m bored” attitude is dangerous for children, we personally choose a different way to tackle it.

In fact, we believe in allowing and creating space for our kids to encounter the feeling of boredom, and then battle it – not by complaining about it, and not by filling it with external hobbies – but by choosing to be engaged in the normalness of family life we live every moment.

As I will mention again later, I think that even though we may never 100% agree with any given parenting philosophy, that doesn’t mean that we don’t have something helpful to take away from it.

This particular lesson was a good point to revisit our policy on boredom, and how we address it in our unique way – whether or not it’s the same way presented in the video.

– Module 2 Contents:

This module, though perfect for new parents, was a great reminder for us to buckle down on some things we had been letting slide.

Here is the complete list of topics covered in Module 2:

  1. What Children Need: Affection
  2. What Children Need: Understanding
  3. Quality or Quantity Time?
  4. Special Time
  5. House Rules
  6. Character Rules
  7. Some Things Are Not Okay
  8. Media Consumption
  9. Boredom
  10. Joyful Hearts
  11. Table Manners
  12. You Have Been Redeemed
  13. Communication
  14. Taking Your Family Culture with you
  15. Mastering the Outing Dance

Module 3: The Do’s and Don’ts of Parenting

For these videos, Patrick was back in the comfort of his home, sharing some of the tenets of his family’s parenting and discipline philosophies.

As I mentioned before, our family doesn’t necessarily adhere to all the same discipline philosophies presented by Patrick in this course, I think that these lessons opened up great topics for discussion.

Upon viewing each video, whether we agreed with Patrick’s approach or not, my husband and I were able to have discussion on the discipline situations at hand, and how we would like to handle them.

The great thing about this program is that it recognizes this truth: that parenting looks different in each family, and for each child.

– How to be the best parent for your kids

My favorite lesson in this module was Lesson 5: God Given Authority. In this lesson, Patrick affirmed that parents know what’s best for our families, and have the God-given right to parent how we discern is best.

While he encouraged learning from the experts, he also said that we parents know our children better than any experts.

So, while Patrick’s other lessons presented strategies which our family chooses not to utilize – such as the timeout, the countdown, and using a points rewards system – I didn’t feel like these strategies were the be-all-end-all of parenting.

Patrick’s lesson empowering parents to exercise their God given authority helped me understand that, while he’s sharing what works best for his family, we must discern what works best for our own family.

This lesson affirms that you can be the best parent for your kids by discerning God’s path for your family.

– Module 3 Contents

This module is ideal for brand new parents who need an introduction to basic discipline strategies.

But the fact is, the situations warranting disciplinary action are common to parents both new and old. And this module serves as a good reminder to be intentional about how we wish to address these situations, and what strategies our families will and won’t use.

Here is the complete list of topics covered in Module 3:

  1. That’s Just Embarrassing
  2. Be Pro-Active, Don’t React
  3. The 5 Second Rule
  4. Don’t Overreact
  5. God Given Authority
  6. Poor Associations
  7. The Timeout
  8. The Redo
  9. The Removal
  10. The Choice
  11. The Time Change
  12. The Countdown

Module 4: Parenting Them in the Faith

This module was my absolute favorite in the program.

It focuses on meeting the individual faith needs of each of our children, and helping each of them to discover the beautiful faith-filled person God’s calling them to be.

I had never quite looked at passing on the faith in the way that Patrick presents it here, by fostering the spirituality of each child depending on their faith languages and inborn virtues.

There was a lot for me to learn and put into practice in this module.

– Theological and cardinal virtues for kids

One of the things that I think parenting advice often misses out on, is the opportunity to see the good in our children, and use that good to guide the way we parent them.

In Lesson 3: Natural Born Virtues, Patrick encourages us to look at the four cardinal virtues: prudence, justice, temperance, and fortitude, and reflect on which of these come most naturally to our children.

He then moves on to discuss the theological virtues: faith, hope, and love, and how important it is to recognize when and how our children act in godly ways.

You know me, I love any discussion of virtue!

It’s encouraging to look at our kids, not always through the lens of what they do wrong, or what they struggle with, but also through the lens of fostering the strengths God has given them.

(I’m going to be honest here, and admit that this video made me teary-eyed, as I thought about discipling my children this way.)

What a beautiful way to build our children up, and help them feel encouraged as they learn and grow!

– Module 4 Contents

This module combines the best of content and videography in the course. It’s filmed back in the setting of daily family life.

I could watch these videos over and over, and reflect for hours on how to practice guiding my children in the faith.

This module is the golden heart of this course.

Here is the complete list of topics covered in Module 4:

  1. A Piety of Their Own
  2. Their Language of Evangelization
  3. Natural Born Virtues
  4. The Christian Imagination
  5. Root Out That Vice
  6. It’s Time to Get Comfortable
  7. It’s Time to Celebrate
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Me and My House Fills a Gap in Catholic Parenting Resources

While there are seemingly infinitely many resources for teaching parents the practical aspects of parenting and discipline, there are woefully few that help parents learn how to raise their kids in the faith.

And I don’t mean liturgical living – because there are many, many resources that help parents do this as well.

What drew me to Me and My House, and what I love most about the program, is that it gives tangible, practical advice in parenting in the Catholic faith.

It provides recommendations you can implement in your home, for how to build a faith-filled family, and what that looks like, within the home and without.

Our Catholic families need this reminder of who we are.

We need to be encouraged to make the faith a central part of our parenting and family.

And Me and My House fills the gap when it provides this instruction and support for parents who are serious about building the Domestic Church in their homes.

I would recommend it for parents, parenting/mom groups, and parishes who want to build the Domestic Church, stronger Catholic families, and more vibrant faith communities.

Remember to use coupon code: CLOWNS to get $15 off when you purchase Me and My House!

2 thoughts on “Do You Want to be a Better Catholic Parent?

  1. First off– I just LOVE that you checked for an imprimatur. Sometimes I feel like I’m the only one who does that, lol. This sounds like a wonderful resource. My husband and I are navigating the transition to parenting now–we have a beautiful four-month-old. We definitely could use the insight of this program, at least in preparation for the future. Thank you for you in-depth review!

    Like

  2. I really enjoyed the Me and My House series! Thanks so much for sharing about it! I totally agree about what you said about how it fills the gaps that most of us have when it comes to learning how to raise our children in the faith.

    Like

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