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.

Providing the Best

"Parents should always strive to give example and witness with their own lives to fidelity to God and one another in the marriage covenant. Their example is especially decisive in adolescence, the phase when young people are looking for lived and attractive behavior models"
Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality #102.

Whether you are a fan of football or not, it is likely that you recognize the name of Vince Lombardi. Lombardi, who was the head coach of the Green Bay Packers in the 1960s, transformed a rag tag team of men into one of the finest football teams in history. In fact, his legendary style of coaching is memorialized in the Super Bowl trophy that bears his name. Why did Vince Lombardi receive so much recognition in the world of football? The answer lies in the fact that he focused on what he knew to be best and used his leadership skills to focus his players on the same.

Lombardi often credited his ability to seek what was best to his parents. His father, Harry, was a butcher who worked as hard as he played. And his mother, Matilda, surrounded Vince with unavoidable family affection, commotion, and Catholic tradition. Both Harry and Matilda witnessed a fidelity to God, the necessity of hard work and family structure to Vince through their marriage and principled living.

Harry and Matilda considered the practice of faith to be foundational to their family which meant that daily mass and prayer framed each day. In addition, they created a daily routine that provided order – a rhythm and flow – to their family life. They ascribed to a “division of labor” within the home which meant that Vince was assigned his own set of chores and responsibilities. And, they agreed that work done well should be celebrated with the freedom to play and enjoy activities.

The Lombardi family story presents us with a wonderful example of what it means to provide the best for one’s children. If you analyze their family dynamic, four main elements emerge; faith, order, responsibility, and celebration. Let’s take a closer look at each of these factors.

Faith is trust that what God has revealed to us about himself is true, and it leads us to the awareness of God’s almighty power. Families who are centered on faith are more likely to hear God’s word, act with moral discretion and rejoice in the dignity of humanity. Families who frequently receive the sacraments, recite family prayers, and dedicate themselves to Catholic education, establish a focus for their children on what is right and good.

Order refers to the arrangement of our lives to produce a sense of peace and security. Order is in contrast to chaos and strife in the family. When parents want to provide what is best they have to concentrate on developing an order in the family that reflects the reasonableness and faithfulness of God. What would a well-ordered family look like? It begins with clearly defined roles for the chores and tasks that need to be done. There is clear but not overbearing parental authority. (If you can, go back to the Embrace Parenthood program and review the first segment entitled, Authority). An orderly family has open lines of communication that allow for problem solving without shouting and fighting. Finally, in a well ordered home, the physical appearance of the home is clean and organized. All of these items lead to a ‘right’ order that sequences events, routines and relationships so that the family can flourish.

Responsibilities bring the best out of a family – albeit through work and sacrifice. There are two different ways to look at a family’s ability to “respond ably.” The first is to identify what a person should do for the betterment of the family and the second is to be clear about how a person should do what they do. Both are necessary in achieving what is best. As a family, being aware of the moral obligations and the social obligations due to society help us live in peace and harmony.

The final element of celebration brings joy to a family. Celebration is the confirmation of love within the family. It is the expression of delight in both the small and grand accomplishments that happen within the family. Celebrations remind everyone that they are a community of persons and share a common purpose. They strengthen the bond between family members and promote goodwill.

Providing the best for a family includes faith, order, responsibility and celebration. These four ingredients are universally important to any parents who want their children to be happy, healthy and holy. Let’s take a practical look at how each of these elements can help you provide what is best for your family.

Workbook

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