"God made us for joy. God is joy, and the joy of living reflects the original joy that God felt in creating us." (St. John Paul the Great)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

the true. the good. the beautiful. week 1.

“That his creatures should share
in his truth, goodness, and beauty --
this is the glory for which God created them.”
Catechism of the Catholic Church
, n. 319

Ours has been called a culture of death.


As a parent, especially, I have become increasingly aware of this. Because I have to choose daily to combat it. I have to correct the lies our culture feeds my children. I have to explain the bad choices people make and the consequences of those choices. I have to shield what is ugly from their eyes and ears. We are inundated with what is false and what is bad and what is ugly.

And I ask myself: How do I teach my children Truth in a world that values relativism? How do I teach them Good in a world that delights in personal happiness, individual freedom and license? How do I teach them Beauty when every time we leave our home or turn on our television or radio some billboard or commercial or news headline bombards them with what is ugly?

Before my husband and I ever had children, we discussed what we wanted our home to be like for them. We talked of filling our home with the true, the good, and the beautiful. And we talked about how we would do this: how we would stimulate their intellects with Truth, how we would provide opportunities for their wills to choose the Good, how we would inspire their affections with Beauty.

Lately I have felt an increasing need to be more intentional about cultivating truth, goodness, and beauty in our home. To that end, I want to share with you what we are doing to bring that about, in the hopes that you might share with me the same. In teaching our children what is True, what is Good, and what is Beautiful, we can build a culture of life. one family at a time.

I'll start.

The True: Feeding the Intellect
Reading the Lives of the Saints

This past week we have been using a great study series to learn about the life of Blessed Imelda Lambertini, patron saint of first communicants. As part of our study, we've also had opportunity to talk about two other child saints: Saint Tarsicius and Saint Agnes. Better than fairy tales, these true stories have captured my childrens' hearts and imaginations and inspired in them a feeling that even they can do great things for God.

Patron Saint of First Communicants: The Story of Blessed Imelda Lambertini (Stories of the Saints for Young People Ages 10 to 100)

The Good: Forming the Will
Table Manners

Inspired by our studies of the Little House series, and frustrated by the noise level in our home, especially at meal time, we have begun to focus on having one conversation at a time at the dinner table. This means, practically speaking, that the children will not speak unless spoken to, at least to begin with. It sounds drastic, I know, but training in restraint in speech and learning to listen to others is already beginning to bear fruit. In addition, we are practicing our table manners. To this end, I purchased a cloth napkin for each person in the family -- each person has his or her own color, so I only have to wash the napkins when they get REALLY dirty.

The Beautiful: Inspiring the Affections

With the cold winter air howling outside (it's six BELOW zero with the wind chill as I write this!) and the stale closed up house, we brought beauty to our schoolroom this past week with a candle. It was a simple way to create a cozy atmosphere. The kids enjoyed both the smell (Cabin Scents is my favorite) and the flickering flame and asked to light it every morning as school began and in the afternoon when classes resumed.

(Link up in the comments if you'd like to join me.)


  1. Hey, Michelle: Great idea! I'd love to join in but I can't post mine tonight. I'll try to do it tomorrow.:) I'm so happy that it's 9:30PM, the kitchen's clean, the kids are all asleep, and the house is picked up! I'm going to give myself the gift of sleep. Again, love it...will try to post something on my blog tomorrow.

  2. Great idea! I love it. Environmental changes have such an impact on children. Setting examples - even better. One family at a time we can do this!

    I find being in the country with nature helps us fight that battle. That and keeping the tv off. We livestream Veggie Tales on Netflix as a treat for the kids. Adeline loves playing piano and singing, so we encourage that. Collin loves asking for a tree and dirt from Santa. We encourage his love for nature. Raymond just loves to be with people and socialize, so we focus on that. As parents it's a great responsibility, but one step at a time makes such a difference. Then give that light to the world to grow!

    May you enjoy this coming Advent season with your family in ND. I am sure God will send you somewhere for an awesome tree to cut down!!!

    Lora :-)


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