World Cup Diving Is A GREAT Kids Game

I, along with the rest of the world, have been glued to the World Cup.  Of course the diving is always a topic of discussion and I have to admit that these players make soccer look more painful than childbirth. However, there is a silver lining to this whole embarrassing diving theatrics. Kids LOVE acting it out.

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Being a PE teacher I am always looking for fun warm up games that convinces kids that they love running.  I actually got this idea from my sister (also a PE teacher). The game involves kids running around —in the same direction so that they don’t collide with each other— then when you blow the whistle the kids have to do their best impersonation of a World Cup dive.  I loved hearing about all the different antics that went on and it even made me miss teaching.  Kids are so creative and love to be silly, so often we don’t give them enough opportunities to do so!

There are also lessons to be taught here too.  If diving looks so silly why do grown men do it in front of millions? Where is the integrity of sport if you have to dive to win?  It even turns people off sports when you hear about the cheating that goes on. There are so many positives about sports that can actually help children grow to be better people, to be better Christians.  Things like community (teamwork), commitment (practice), perseverance, sportsmanship and hardwork. Even things like wins and losses help children to see that there will be good and bad times in life and to never give up no matter the odds.  However, the desire to win can also become so strong that you resort to taking enhancement drugs, intentionally hurting other players and yes diving.  The World Cup provides an opportunity to discuss these issues with your children and help them decipher the good from the bad.  There are also some players that don’t play that way and have success. Lionel Messi from Argentina is one such player you can point to, as being successful without diving.

Who knows maybe by the time my child is able to play this particular game she won’t know what I’m talking about, because diving has become a thing of the past.  I remain optimistic, but until then why not have a little fun with one of the silliest actions known to sport IMO.

 

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In Support of Government Funding Religious Schools

For the last couple weeks all I have been hearing on the radio, on the news and in my own family (3 of us are teachers) has been the ongoing labour dispute between the public school teachers and provincial government.  What has really irked me is the amount of misinformation that goes around whenever these two groups are fighting about British Columbia’s private schools. It truly is mind-boggling that there is so much ignorance in our society today. In this post I want to correct some of the most erroneous accusations I have heard thus far.

#1 – If we stopped funding Private schools we would have millions more to put into the public education system.

In BC, unlike other provinces which get full funding, private/independent schools are only supported 50% by the government.  That means that parents have to come up with the other half to educate their children.  But, Catholic schools also have to fund 100% of their building and maintenance costs.  Schools cost millions of dollars to build and maintain.  You only need a basic understanding of economics to figure out that this set up SAVES the government a tonne of money.  If private schools were not partially funded a lot of parents would have to send their kids to public schools. Not only would the government have to build more schools to handle the influx, but they would also have to fund these students fully instead of partially.

#2 – Public money should not be funding religious schools!

This one is an interesting one because it doesn’t make logical sense to me. Religious people are also tax payers and thus should have a say as to where their money is going.  If all our tax dollars went to organizations that were secular doesn’t that demonstrate an intolerant attitude? As if secularism is the only way to be? Securlaism screams the loudest from the pulpit about diversity and equality, and yet won’t grant this same curtesy to people of faith. How tolerant of them.

#3 – Private schools are for the rich

While I won’t disagree that there are private schools that have exuberant tuition costs, but this is not the case for the vast majority of private schools (or independent) where many families struggle to pay the tuition.  My parents sacrificed a lot to send their kids to Catholic school and in all my years of Catholic education I only knew a handful of kids who were well off.

#4 – Private schools have smaller class sizes and no special needs students, that’s why they do better.

Again, not going to argue about the high end private schools offering smaller class sizes, but I do know that the Catholic schools have similar class sizes to the public schools.  Some years I had classes with 33 students and our schools also have a lot of special needs and ESL students.

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Mom’s Can’t Be Stylish…or Can They?

Evelyn and Me

One of the most startling realizations I have had, since becoming a mom,  is how hard it is to look put together.  I mean, having a shower or doing my hair never took a colossal amount of planning before. I am so very thankful that the ponytail is in vogue right now. And while many of my friends, who are moms,  have opted to live in their lululemons forever —granted I’m from Vancouver where yoga pants can be worn 24/7—  I’ve been really trying to put in an effort to make myself look better all the time at least in public. But it’s no small task.

My inspiration, has been seeing the moms of several little ones at church.  To me they truly reflect the beauty of motherhood.  Not just by their outward appearance (that helps), but they genuinely seem happy, barely tired and their families look like they’re fun to be a part of. Everyone is familiar with the cliche “if you look good then you feel good” and it’s true.  I think these moms who look so rested are proof of that cliche.  I know the odd time when I have felt put together, I was amazed at my increased energy levels. I tackled way more chores, and felt like I had more fun with my family than I normally do.  Although I consider myself a romantic at heart I am not naive enough to think that just because these women “look” put together doesn’t mean that their lives always reflect that.  The point is I really appreciate their effort to make motherhood look good.

The secular world hasn’t always made motherhood look so appealing (although times seem to be changing —or maybe I’m at that age where everyone on my Facebook is having babies so it just “appears” like the times are changing).  Motherhood is hard, but it’s the most amazing and awesome thing in the world. We need to reflect that image of awesomeness more to our secular culture, so that we inspire women who may be on the fence about motherhood.  To demonstrate that moms can still be stylish, fit and strong women, instead of women wearing last weeks soiled laundry and looking like extras from the latest zombie apocalypse movie.

I know it won’t be easy, but I am going to try and spice up my ponytail this Sunday and try really, really hard to get to Mass on time.  If the moms of 4-6 little kids can do it than surely I, with one three month old baby can. If I have to channel my inner competitiveness to succeed then so be it.

***Also if anyone has any tips for being more organized with kids, so that I can give my self that time to get ready, I am all ears!***

 

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Book Review: Something Other Than God

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I have been following Jennifer Fulwiler’s blog: Conversion Diary for some time now and like many others waited extremely patiently for her book, Something Other Than God to come out. It was worth the wait.

Not only did I finish this book in a couple nights, I also went out and bought a second copy so that I could be sharing two of these gems at once with family and friends. This book will appeal to Truth seekers and those who enjoy a good story at the same time. I also felt that Fulwiler’s journey to the Catholic Faith very relatable because a great many people today, myself included, came to love the Church through social media and the internet. It is truly amazing to see the evangelization that is taking place in the internet age and this book is a testament to that.

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If you know of someone who has left the Church or has an open heart to God, this book is for them.  Fulwiler uses both science, logic and reason to arrive at the Truth and quotes from many great intellectual authors, but does so in a way that is easy for anyone to understand and is in no way boring. A must read for sure.

 

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Infant Baptism

Bautizo

When I told an acquaintance recently that we had our baby baptized she asked us why we did it. I knew she was of another Christian denomination and believed in Baptizing older children & adults only.  When Catholics get asked this it leaves many of us tongue tied. Are we forcing our beliefs onto our offspring? Are we denying them choice and thus their free will? Is infant baptism even Biblical?

The short answer to those questions posed above is no, no and yes.

In the same way that babies need food and care to survive, Catholics also believe that the soul needs nourishment. A baby can’t get his own food or put himself to sleep at night and needs his parents to help him. Catholics believe that the purpose of life is to become a saint and ultimately reach Heaven.  Being a good parent means that we not only feed and nurture our children physically, but spiritually as well.  Catholics also have the Sacrament of Confirmation where that same baptized child can make their own decision about receiving the Holy Spirit and choosing to be a follower of Jesus, when they are older. So, it is not as if, we are forcing our children to be Catholic.

Baptism is the moment a person loses Original sin and joins the family of God. In Scripture, we read often that Baptism is necessary for salvation and we see it also as a continuation of the Jewish tradition of circumcision —and all babies rejoice that only water and oil is used! But, not only does the Sacrament have ties in the Old Testament, but the New Testament tells us to include our babies and children.

“Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children and to all that are far off, every one whom the Lord our God calls to him” (Acts 2:38-39).

“The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul. And after she was baptized, and her household as well…” (Acts 16:14-15)

When we Baptize our babies we are following Jesus’ clear instructions and not risking our children’t salvation by not having them baptized. Do you remember that Scripture where the children were rebuked for coming to see Jesus?

“Now they were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them; and when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. But Jesus called them to him, saying, ‘Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of God’” (Luke 18:15–16).

Nowhere in the Bible does it say that only adults can be baptized, so while the Bible never explicitly says “baptize infants”, there are enough Scripture verses, like the ones above, that imply quite strongly that infants are to be included.

To me this disagreement about Baptism among Christians is one of the saddest ones. I mean, are we really arguing about whether to include innocent children? If Scripture supports it, and the earliest Christians included children and infants in the rite, then let us all concede that the Catholics got this one right and move on.

 

 

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Screaming at the Font

Well, God didn’t waste anytime letting me know how hard it is going to be to raise your kids Catholic. I thought I had at least till the age of thirteen. Nope. It has already started and our daughter hasn’t even turned 3 months.

A few weekends ago we did the dutiful Catholic thing and got our baby baptized. We had the white gown  —that I wore for my baptism and my mom had to use every method under the sun to get the stains of five baptisms out— we had the family and friends and a reception planned for afterwards.  It didn’t matter though, because I will forever remember the screams that prevented me from feeling the peace and serenity of this important first Sacrament.

Just before she started to wail..at least we got one good picture

Just before she started to wail..at least we got one good picture

We already knew babies can be unpredictable and we tried to plan her feedings/naps for her Baptismal day to ensure a smooth sailing.   We didn’t expect her to sleep the entire mass, to all of a sudden wake up and be STARVING —usually she is a happy bubbly baby for the first twenty minutes she wakes up— two minutes into her Baptism she starts screaming.  I knew she was hungry, but I couldn’t feed her in that situation, and we just had to try and district her for those 15 minutes of which I heard nothing of.

Contemplating about the day afterwards made me realize that this is something I am going to see throughout my child’s life.  I can read her bible stories and say her prayers with her. We can take her to mass on Sundays and put her in Catholic schools, but this is no guarantee that the ride to faith will be a smooth one.  She probably wont want to go to mass some days, she may stop praying or believing all together.  All we can do, as her parents, is to teach, model and pray for her, in the end trusting that God will help her reach Heaven.

 

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God Meets Us in Unexpected Ways & Places

After reflecting on this Sunday’s Gospel and the story of the Three Wise Men, I wondered if the Kings were surprised by what they found. Did the expect to find a great prince born in a palace? Did they contemplate turning around when they saw that the result of their search was a baby born in a dirty cave among animals? How did this boring uneventful story without heroes, without epic battles, get past along through history?

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It really brought to mind how strange and odd Christianity really is and how because of this oddness it cannot be a man made religion.  After all, what man would invent a religion where the god of their religion was born in a cave, was raised by a poor family and trained as a carpenter, instead of a strong and courageous warrior? What man would invent a religion where this same god would enlist the help of some of the worst sinners, and the least educated of all people? What person  would have their god die on a Roman cross?

This is precisely why I think we can trust Christianity to be true because it is something we would never have expected.  It is a story that really doesn’t make sense, it is not even close to resembling those works of fiction, we call fairytales, that are so exciting and interesting to us.  As a religion, Christianity should have been laughed off the face of the planet, and yet it became the most dominant force in western civilization, outlasting great empire after great empire and today boasting one third of the world’s population as members.

Not only does this story remind us that God is the author and not us but, The Three Wise Men also show us what to do with this strange story.  They remind  us to  respond to God in the way he chooses to encounter us and not the way we would have chosen. We would expect to see God in a beautiful sunrise or in a beautiful church, and we often find ourselves disappointed when we feel nothing in the precise place we were sure to find him.  Instead, we should look to the Magi, who like us, probably expected to encounter God in a different way, and yet chose to go into the cave to worship the new baby king, rather than turning away thinking they had made a mistake.

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