Teaching the Way of Love (TWL) is a program for Catholic parents that encourages and empowers them to embrace their role as the primary educators of their children, especially in the areas of moral and personal development.

Establish a Great School Year

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Another school year is about to begin and families are quickly shifting gears from summer into school mode. In some ways, it is exciting to prepare for school (anticipating the new activities). But in other ways, going back to school is challenging (establishing earlier bedtimes and wake up routines). As the parent, you know how easy it is to become overwhelmed at this time of year.

Please Pray That

  • Parents will live according
    to the Ten Commandments,
    especially
    within the home.
  • Families will intentionally
    live the Ten Commandments
    this school year.
  • Parents will take extra
    time to pray with and for
    their children during this
    school year.
  • All students will work to
    live in harmony with
    their classmates.
  • Teachers will fill their
    classrooms with respect
    for human dignity.
  • Parents will witness a
    visible love for God and
    for others in a way that
    their children will desire
    to replicate.
  • Love and mercy will be
    abundantly shown within
    every family.
  • No child (or parent) will
    ever feel they are beyond
    God’s love and mercy.

 

Parenting websites have numerous suggestions for creating and managing order in your home as school starts. Ideas include resetting daily schedules a week in advance of the first school day, organizing workspaces in your house where homework will be done, and transferring the school calendar onto your personal calendar. These are all great ideas. But, my favorite one is establishing a consistent pattern of expectations and rules for the coming academic year.
Why should you take the time to intentionally set ground rules for your kids at the start of the school year? The answer is easy; you want your children to flourish during the next 10 months. You want them to enjoy school, advance their knowledge, get along with their classmates, and come home without anxiety or fear.

That is why you establish a consistent, unchanging pattern of instructions early in the academic year. Giving your children clear boundaries and rules makes your wishes known, explains the essential duties of each person and prepares everyone to live in harmony and calmness. A firm pattern helps everyone know what is expected and ensures the presence of a common good within the family.

Establishing a pattern of rules for your family is easy; following it is the difficult part. It is just a matter of time before someone tests your system and tries to disorder it with what we call a “behavioral event.” When a behavioral event happens, you have to make a choice. Do you change the pattern or do you stay the course and take measures to teach and encourage adherence to the pattern? Our collective wisdom says that if you want to keep peace in your home, you will stick to your established pattern rather than give in to the behavioral event. So be ready to double down on your resolve to maintain the pattern rather than give in.

Have you ever considered that setting up a pattern of rules for your family is similar to God’s commandments for us? Here are the parallels. God (like you) wants to bring a sense of order to life. Therefore, He (like you) established a consistent pattern of commands so that His will is known to us. God (like you) gives us commandments so that we flourish. God (like you) knows that it’s difficult to follow the commands. Despite our challenges, He (like you) won’t give in when you have a “behavioral event” (better known as a sin).

A well-designed pattern of rules like God’s commandments set us up to do our very best. In fact, parents who truly want their children to flourish build their family rules upon the Ten Commandments. They weave their family pattern into the truth found in God’s plan.

The ability to establish a pattern of rules for your family that are based on the Ten Commandments is so important that we—the authors of the Teaching the Way of Love program—are going to make the Decalogue our theme for the coming school year. Each of the coming Teaching the Way of Love newsletters will zero in on a commandment and present a practical way to live according to its wisdom within the family. We are thrilled to take on this mission for you. Keep reading to find out how you can establish a family pattern of rules that follow God’s commandments.

 Establish Your Pattern on His Commands

The first (and most important) step in establishing a family pattern of rules that follow God’s commands is to know the Ten Commandments and consider how they apply to your family’s current lifestyle. Are you ready? Here are the Ten Commandments with a reflection question for each that will help you do more than just read the rules.

  1. I am the Lord your God: you shall not have strange Gods before me. (Who’s first in your life? Is it God?)
  2. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain. ( Is ‘OMG’ a phrase used in your home?)
  3. Remember to keep Holy the Lord’s day. (Do you work hard to gather as a family on Sunday?)
  4. Honor your father and your mother. (Are your kids learning how to respect authority?)
  5. You shall not kill. (How well do you respect each other in your home?)
  6. You shall not commit adultery. (Are you teaching your family to respect God’s plan for sexuality?)
  7. You shall not steal. (Do you and your family respect the goods that others have? Do you value work?)
  8. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. (Does your family speak truthfully?)
  9. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife. (How concerned are you with purity in your family?)
  10. You shall not covet your neighbor’s goods. (Are you living a simple lifestyle that is unrestricted by
    material goods?)

This challenge is just a small part of good Catholic parenting. Visit www.twl4parents.com for more strategies that will help you become the best parent you can be. And for the best systematic approach to parenting, consider purchasing the Teaching the Way of Love program, which can be found at the same website.

This article series is brought to you by Alice Heinzen and Jeff Arrowood, authors of the Teaching the Way of Love home study series for parents. Find out more at www.twl4parents.com/teaching-the-way-of-love.

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