Death Trap

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We have these really cool cut outs in our walls between the kitchen and living room. The stairs to the basement are what lie between these two rooms. When we first looked at the house we really loved these cut outs because they opened up the whole living room area. Plus they are really neat. My mother in law was the first one to notice that we would have to do “something” about those cut outs once we had kids. I stood in silence as she said this because it had never crossed my mind when we were looking to buy the house. Clearly we didn’t have children at the time.

Before Claire was born we bought and installed a baby gate on the stairs and just a few days ago I installed plexi glass on the two bottom wall cut outs (see in above picture). I figured the house was baby-proofed…man was I wrong.

My house is a baby death trap.

We had our 9-month doctor visit a few days ago and the doctor asked us about baby proofing the house. I thought my wife and I were doing pretty well. “We’ve had a baby gate blocking the stairs since Claire was in utero doctor. We are doing well.” The doctor smiled and recommended getting down to Claire’s level and checking things out from her perspective to see what could be a hazard. I did.

Conclusion: EVERYTHING is a hazard!

After army crawling on the living room floor I realized our TV entertainment unit is filled with all kinds of heavy blunt objects ready to crack my daughters skull open: X-box, Blue Ray player, Roku, ipod stereo thingie. All of these objects from a 3 foot height could do damage. The lint roller doesn’t seem dangerous, but I had a vision of her somehow impaling herself on it.

Next we have the wall corners.

Maybe its because I haven’t army crawled in a while, or I haven’t stubbed my foot lately, but have you ever realized how sharp wall corners are? Why haven’t we rounded these out yet? I hear talk of rounded cell phone screens, which clearly is necessary. Why haven’t we invented rounded wall corners? Someone please get on this!

Tablecloths are deadly.

Claire in her little walker-thingy runs around in it and is constantly walking over to the dinner table and yanking at the tablecloth. We catch it most of the time, but it’s just a matter of time before she takes a Willow Tree figurine to the forehead.  I can see it now as Claire goes to her therapy sessions, “Can you explain your phobia of faceless figurines to me again?”

The dog bowls.

Apparently, our dog’s water bowl is Claire’s personal water playing station. In her walker-thingy she casually goes over and begins to bathe herself. As much as I appreciate her desire for cleanliness the fact that she could potentially fall head first into said water bowl is a little scary. Not to mention she will attempt to go for the remaining bits of dog food on the other bowl to see what that taste like. It’s a drowning and choking hazard all in one.

I haven’t had a chance to army crawl the entire house yet, but I’m sure I will find more hazards. It is amazing to see how much of what we have in our homes could be problematic for the little ones.

I welcome any thoughts on the manner. Please join the conversation. You could be saving a child from a Willow Tree phobia.

 

The New Year

2014

2013 was an amazing year for our family. Our daughter Claire was born which was the biggest blessing of all. It’s hard to remember life before her. 2013 was good and as I look forward to 2014 there are some things I’ve been thinking about that need to be worked out within me.  Here are my top 6 things that I need to work on as a father and husband:

  1. Do not add more to the plate – It seems that many people add things to do to their already, too full plates. I for one am not adding anything. I have barely done what was on the plate! I am going to improve on the things that I have failed or never really acted out on.
  2. Waste time – Pope Francis recently said in an interview that we should, “Waste time with our children”. When I first read this I wasn’t sure what it meant. For me, it means that instead of trying to do something “productive” with my daughter—whatever that means—I should simply hangout with her. The times when I am able to simply hang out and lay around with her are usually the best moments. I’ve written about this before but still haven’t gotten it down.
  3. Exercise & eat healthy– So cliché! I’m not a New Years resolution gym person. I’ve had a gym membership for a long time. The problem is I have not really used that membership. The “I just had a baby” excuse is so 9 months ago. I find myself tired, lazy and unenergetic and I know its because my body is a lump of squishy flesh. The other problem is I love Chinese Buffets. Heaven will have one of these I am sure of it! My food intake is ridiculous and is another reason I am so tired and lazy…and squishy.
  4. Romantic– My wife is a beautiful and sexy woman (she is turning bright red as she reads this). I am a very lucky man. I use to be very romantic. I don’t really know what’s happened. I think part of the issues is that I have gotten comfortable, meaning I am taking what I have for granted. It shames me to say this, but its true. I need to woo my wife everyday, let her know that I love and think of her often. The date night is a good start, but romance needs to be daily. I don’t mean bringing roses every night after work, but small little ways that show her how crazy I am about her.
  5. Be intentional – So much of our lives are spent half-assing things. Whether its working out (hence the squishiness), reading to the kids, etc, etc. I don’t know about you but I hate it. I want to be intentional! I want to give a 100% of myself to what I am doing all the time. It is what makes the difference in all we do.
  6. The ‘Me Monster’ – Brian Regan’s famous “Me Monster” act talks about a person who is constantly steering the conversation towards himself. I find that I am a sort of “Me Monster”. I want things my way all the time and my way isn’t really that great. 2014 has to be less about me, and more about spending time with friends and family. I need to do things that help others and are not so focused on me. I’ve written about this…but am so not there yet.

2014 has to be better in the above areas. All of the above mentioned things affect my family. To be the father and husband I am called to be requires that these 6 things be done well in my life. You may have a similar list and you need to do those things to be the man or woman your family needs you to be.

I pray 2014 may be the year we do these things a little better. Happy New Year everyone!

Telling the Story

IMG_0603I love telling stories. I’m going to be that old grandfather who tells stories over and over again, while the grandkids say, “Grandpa! You just told us that one!”

There is something about a good story that really can work a person’s imagination, help process through difficulty, or just leave us with a smile on our face. Stories are powerful.

I am very thankful for the “Little People” that Fisher Price puts out—especially the biblical ones. My father-in-law recently got my daughter Claire the Little People Nativity Set and she loves it. I can tell because they all are covered in baby slobber half the time. Baby Jesus is currently in a cocoon of solidified saliva.

Fisher Price has done a good job of creating these cute, little people. The facial features, outfits, and color design—they all do a great job at setting the scene. Yet, the toys in and of themselves don’t communicate the story. They are the cast of characters, the set, and scene. There still needs to be a storyteller.

Since we got this Nativity set, my wife and I sit with Claire and tell her the story of Christmas. We grab the camel, 3 Wise Men, and have them talk to one another. We pick up the Wise Men and have them give Claire kisses so that she can see that they journey to share love to the Christ child. We take Joseph and Mary and have her stare at them and tell her (with made up voices) “Jesus is our precious child and we love Him this much…” This line is followed by Mary and Joseph kissing Claire all over and we don’t stop until she smiles. Next, comes baby Jesus with His painted golden halo and saliva cocoon. “I came into the world, Claire, for you! I love you so much…” More kisses, more smiles from Claire.

As a Youth Worker I am saddened to see how many of our young people either don’t care or are bored by the story of the God who became man. In the last 13 years, I’ve realized that our young people don’t care or are bored by the story because we have stopped telling the story well. There is a lack of excitement, joy, and wonder in the telling of this story.

The storytelling has become dull. Think about it. How many times have you heard people talk about the Christmas story as if it were just another of BuzzFeed’s top 25 list, a matter of fact type thing that just is. “God became man. Can you pass the potato salad?”

Claire smiles and laughs when baby Jesus kisses her—she is introduced and becomes a part of the story. My wife and I change our voices, we place Jesus on top of the couch, sometimes He is on the Christmas Tree, or on the dog’s head. The story must be told with new ardor, new methods and new expressions so that it captures her attention. It is and will always be the same story, but the listener needs to hear it in fresh new ways. The ardor, enthusiasm, passion, etc. must be palpable. We are talking about the GOD who BECAME a MAN!! This story and the time uncle Willie used poison ivy at camp to clean his backside should not stand toe-to-toe with each other. The method and expression in which we share the story has to be fresh, especially for those of us who have heard the story so many times that it really doesn’t do anything for us. This doesn’t mean we change the story—we cannot—but, the way in which we tell it should be new. Paint/art, music, film, food, etc. are ways to tell the story. Humanity is so creative (click on the blue text)! We can come up with new methods easily; we just need to use our imagination and talents.

Claire will outgrow the baby Jesus kissing method and expression. My wife and I will need to come up with other creative ways to tell the story. Let’s face it, reading it from Scripture to her at the age of 1 or 2 isn’t going to capture it for her. The story must be told over and over again. When our children begin to show that they do not care or are bored with the story of God becoming man, it means we are not telling the story well.

May this story never seize to capture the imagination of our children. May you and I never seize to tell it well, because it is the greatest story ever told.

Merry Christmas to all of you and your loved ones.

Are you lying to your children about Santa?

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This is a post from a blog I follow called The Radical Life by Matthew Warner. Matthew gave me permission to post on my blog. It is one of the best responses I have seen to the whole do we tell kids about Santa or not.

Enjoy!

LEO

Disclaimer: Just so everyone’s clear…if you choose not to “do Santa,” I don’t think you’re a grinch out to ruin the magic of your kids’ childhood. In fact, in my experience, you’re most likely an outstanding parent whose thoughtfulness should be commended. Every child should be so blessed. I just think many parents struggle with aspects of Santa that really shouldn’t be struggles at all. In fact, I think they’re big opportunities. Here are some thoughts…

My wife and I play a game with our two year old son. It involves catching a fish. You never know if it’s gonna be a little, tiny fish – or a great, big whale of a fish. You can play this game on the bed, on the floor, pretty much anywhere.

To begin, you have to look very carefully all around you to try and find a fish just under the surface of the water. Once you spot one, you try to snatch it out of the water with your bare hands! But you have to be quick – because fish are very quick.

Once you’ve caught a fish, it’s a bit of a juggling act. The fish is usually squirming and flopping around – as a fish out of water does. So it’s usually quite a struggle and a workout to keep the fish from getting away, especially if it’s a big one! The fish is very hard to hold on to – as fish are very slippery. Once you start getting tired of trying to hold on to this jumping, squirming fish, you pass him off to another person so they can wrestle with it for awhile. Eventually, the fish gets away and you start over again. It’s hilarious, just ask my son!

Now, is the existence of the fish in this goofy game a part of an elaborate lie? Of course not. We were just using our imagination and teaching our son to do the same. We also showed him how using our imagination lets us have a lot of fun with very little. More importantly, we used our imagination to learn about something that is very, very real. Just because we imagine something doesn’t mean it’s not real. We imagine real things all the time.

Does my two year old fully understand the difference between our fishing game and real fishing yet? Not quite. But one day he will. And in the process he’s learning a lot of real things about real fish…even if we exaggerate and have some fun with it in the process. (Note: this is not supposed to be an analogy for Santa, it’s to point out that what is “real” in the mind of a child is established in a very abstract way over years of their life…and that the distinction of precisely which parts and in which ways those parts are “real” or “not real” is, first, not a simple black and white answer and, second, something clarified over time…and that’s okay. Our insistence on immediately and forcefully classifying every thing neatly as either factually true or a lie is “an impoverished understanding of the nature of language, of thought, and of truth.”)

So what about Santa Claus?

We live in a culture that has taken Christ out of Christmas. Our appetite for material goods is insatiable. Our religion, a cult of consumerism. Our dogma, the marketing maxims of slick sales execs that have redefined for us what it means to be “prepared” for Christmas. Rather than prayer, fasting and repentance, we prepare by just buying lots of stuff. And they’ve made Santa Claus the spokesperson.

So it’s no surprise that, as a reaction to all that, some have been tempted to throw Santa Claus right out and get back to the “reason for the season.” And besides, why do we tell such “lies” to our kids about some imaginary man in a sleigh anyway?

Well, I’ll tell you.

First, the story of Santa Claus is a Christian story. Hello! When told properly, it points to and emphasizes Jesus Christ. So, it’s actually one of the (fun) ways to “get back to the reason for the season.” And kids like fun.

Second, therefore, Santa Claus is not the problem. The commercialization of Christmas has victimized him as much as any of us. In fact, I’m pretty sure the real Santa Claus isn’t taking all of this too lightly, either.

Which brings me to my next point, Santa Claus is a real person. So it’s not a lie to say that Santa Claus is real. He has died, yes. But he’s not really dead. He’s alive in heaven, which means he’s more fully alive than any of us.

Santa Claus = Sinter Klaas = Sint Nikolaas = Saint Nicholas. Make it a lesson in linguistics for your kids. Santa means Saint. A Saint is someone who has lived a life of heroic virtue. A life worth mimicking. A life worth observing. A life worth learning from. A life that points to Christ.

Saint Nicholas was a 4th century bishop in the Church. And his spirit of giving and serving the poor is worth remembering by re-enacting (and imagining) his life and then learning from it. More importantly, the reason he served the poor and gave of himself so much is because he served Christ at the center of his life. And he did so with heroic enough virtue that we remember it thousands of years later. We are all called to live lives like that. That’s the radical call of being a Christian (not necessarily to dramatically cast out all the fun in our lives!).

The point is that Santa can’t just be somebody we get stuff from.

He’s a kind of model for our life – just like every “Saint.” He’s somebody we can teach our kids to look at and say, “do you see how generous and giving he is? That’s what God calls us to be every day, and especially during this important religious season when we celebrate the greatest gift mankind has ever received, Jesus.”

The giving must be emphasized, not the receiving. But you can’t have one without the other! So the question for our family is, simply, which are we focused on? and therefore, what are our kids learning is most important? The giving…or the receiving?

And it’s okay if your 4 year old gets more excited about Santa than she does about baby Jesus. That probably means you have a healthy 4-year-old who can’t grasp the magnitude and deep theological significance of redemption, eternal salvation and God becoming a man. Even most adults struggle with it. Let’s not strip the fun out of our kids’ lives because they realize a jolly fat man in a red suit who flies around in a sleigh with magical reindeer giving gifts is more exciting than a baby in a manger. Any religion that wants to last longer than a single generation must acknowledge this simple childhood truth.

We just have to make sure that as kids get older they continue to learn the depth of the Santa story as they are able. And how that jolly fat man who gives presents is not there to give us presents, but to show us how to give. And he’s not doing so because you’ve been good, he’s doing so because giving is what life is all about. And the most radical way that old Saint Nick lived this out was not with the gift of presents, but with the giving of his entire life to Jesus Christ and the way he lived it in service to Him.

Personally, I think we should tell the Santa story to our children the same way we tell any great story. Let them pretend along with you. Let them learn in time what is true about the story and what isn’t. What is important about the story and what isn’t. And more importantly, help them learn the deeper (and very real) truths contained within it. And along with that, of course, use it to help them understand the infinitely more significant and completely true story of Jesus.

Does that mean your kids might not buy the whole story – hook, line and sinker? Maybe. Let them question. But also let them wonder. A child’s wonder should be kindled to flame, not stamped out with the cold hard facts as quickly as possible.

Let them wonder.

But to be clear, it is not the goal here at all to deceive our kids, it’s to tell the great story. Too many parents get this backwards. They get too caught up on trying to make their kids literally believe every bit of it. That’s not the point. And, for me, that can easily become lying, which is never good. Be honest with them, but don’t let the wrong details distract them.

Just look at the book of Genesis. If you read the story of creation and get caught up on whether everything was made in 6 literal days or not, you’re missing the whole point of the story. The writer didn’t feel the need to clarify certain obvious questions of *fact* when telling that story. Does that mean they were intending to deceive? Not at all. They were telling a better story and teaching a more important truth in the process.

I get it.

It’s a legitimate criticism that the story of Santa too often overshadows the story of Jesus. It’s so true. And that must be corrected. Yes, the feast of St. Nicholas on Dec. 6 should be the main time we celebrate Saint Nick. But the fact is that a feature of our culture, whether we like it or not, is that Santa helps us celebrate Christmas. We can co-opt and run with that, or we can opt out and waste a big opportunity. I think the former is what the Church has done repeatedly throughout history with much success.

Let the malls and the advertisements and the chatter and pictures of Santa be like the pages of a great story book come to life and we’re all characters! I think we’ll have more success reminding people of the reason for the season if we join in the drama rather than opt out.

Do we need more Jesus inserted into the mix? Absolutely. At every turn. And He must remain central to the overall narrative we teach our children during this time of year. But don’t bail on Santa. If you look close enough, his jolly red suit is a giant red arrow pointing straight to Jesus. We just have to make sure and follow the arrow when it shows up.

We’ve become boring story tellers.

Our modern scientific minds have turned us into impotent story tellers. Telling stories is an art performance, not a repeating of scientifically verifiable facts. There are lots of ways to tell this story without lying to our kids. If your conscience is bothering you about it, then it probably means you should be telling the story a little differently.

I like to think of it this way. When we read a good bed time story, we read it like it’s real because it’s more fun and impactful that way. You learn more and it exercises the imagination. But at the end when your kid asks, “is that really real, Daddy?” the answer is rarely as simple as a yes or no.

Do princesses and castles exist? Yes, honey. Does princess Jasmine? well, no. Or maybe she did exist, but this story is only partially true about her. Or maybe she never existed, but the situations in the story are real. Maybe the scene is made up but the lesson is not. Does magic exist? No, not really. But do some moments in life feel magical? Absolutely. Are super heroes real? Yes, although they may look differently than you think. Dad, does anyone really have special powers? Yes, but not like you are thinking…better ones, that you’ll only think are better when you’re older and wiser.

You have to be the judge on how much you answer now or allow to be answered in time. When your child asks “Is Santa really real?” a simple yes or no is not sufficient. If they are ready, maybe you tell them which parts are real and which aren’t and explain right then at a level they can understand. Or, maybe you ask them what they think and you let them think about it for awhile. Maybe you let them think about it for years. But it’s still a story worth telling.

A child’s mind is such a dynamic place – and forming it doesn’t happen in a single moment. With Santa, instead of finding out the full story immediately in one sentence, maybe they find it in good time as they are ready (like every good story you’ll ever tell them).

It makes for a fun story when we let Santa eat the cookies and deliver the presents. But kids soon learn that Santa had a few partners along the way to get the job done.

Good myths are the ones we grow in to – not out of.

And if that’s not enough, read why G.K. Chesterton still believes in Santaand this now-classic wondrous response to Virginia.

Switching Car Seats

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Claire had her first Thanksgiving this year and she got to meet some family members she hadn’t met before. Claire had some other firsts besides Thanksgiving and family:

  • She started waving her hands to say hi and bye and if you listen carefully enough you can hear her say, “hi”.
  • She is able to sit up in the grocery store cart without any support.
  • She is sounding off what sounds like “mama” and “papa.”

A couple of days ago we had to switch out Claire’s car seats from our vehicles. Claire is getting bigger and bigger every day. I remember putting her into her infant car seat when we left the hospital and I can’t believe she is too big for it now. Parents, friends and acquaintances all say the same thing, “they grow up so fast.” It really is true.

I don’t know if it is her learning to wave, sort-of-talking or changing out the car seat that has saddened me (or a the combination of the three), but the reality that my baby will not be a baby much longer is hard to accept. Claire isn’t going to college anytime soon, but it feels like she has taken a step closer towards that end of the spectrum.

I’m trying to maximize my time with her at this stage of life because it’s going to fly by. I guess that sounds weird since I should be maximizing my time with her in all her stages of life. However, this baby stage is so unique and it stinks that it is flying by so fast.

One of the benefits of this nostalgia is realizing how privileged I am to have this precious time with my daughter. Tomorrow is not promised to me, or to you, and so I must seize the moments or lose them forever. The last two weeks I have found myself playing with Claire and spending more quality time with her. I’m not going to lie, there are days when I cant wait for her to go to bed so I can get things done or just have a break. Somehow, switching car seats has changed that mind set. I’m finding myself waking up in the morning with a desire to be with my daughter and on returning home wanting nothing more than to have her in my arms.

Man…what a crazy, emotional ride! I can’t imagine how I’m going to feel when we switch out her current seat for the booster seat.

Live, Fight, Die

skyrim-fighting-the-dragon

We have a serious problem with manhood in our society.

I recently gave a talk to 8th grade boys on this topic and when I asked them to raise their hand and tell me if they understood what it meant to be a man, most of them didn’t. When I asked them to raise their hand if they have 1-2 adult men in their lives that they think would be considered good examples of men, most of them again kept their hands down.

What’s the deal with this? Why is it that we know how to do manly things like chopping wood, fixing cars and homes, shooting guns, etc. but we don’t know what it means to be a man? Obviously, those things listed above are not enough to make someone a man. So, why is it that a wood chopping, car fixing, gun shooting male can look the part of manhood and yet not be one?

I know plenty of men who outwardly do manly things but are really boys playing the part. I also know men who do none of the traditional manly-type activities and yet are the shining example of what being a man is.

I think discovering what it means to be a man comes down to how men do 3 things:

How we live, how we fight and how we die.

Video games like Skyrim, Modern Warfare and Assassins Creed are really popular. Most guys that play these games do so because these stories speak to the very heart of a man. The desire for purpose, battle and sacrifice are essential to a man. We are wired for that stuff and the video game industry knows it and spends a pretty penny on researching it so that we get hooked on their games.

Take the game Skyrim for instance. The game is about a guy who is in the wrong place at the wrong time and is about to be killed. Nobody knows who he is or cares. You end up escaping and find yourself battling a dragon that, after you defeat it, reveals your incredible power.

You are the chosen one. No longer a nobody. You have gifts and talents, but more importantly, a mission and a reason to live. From there, your character goes on a journey, a battle where you are fighting to save the world of Skyrim. This battle requires incredible strength, mastery of skills and courage. It may even cost you your life. There is another dragon you must battle and it is no ordinary dragon. He is the “world eater”. He is the one that you have been chosen to fight against and it’s very possible you may die in the process.

Men are hardwired for this type of adventure and even though you and I may not find ourselves picking up an axe and shield to go fight a dragon, we are meant to do battle. It is something that we are made for and I would even say that the man who doesn’t do this is finding himself empty and questioning his place in the world.

What do you live for? What are you fighting for? What are you willing to die for?

These are three questions at the heart of what it means to be a man. These are three questions that every man must ask himself and answer. If we have nothing to live for, we have nothing to fight or die for. And if we have nothing to die for, we may find that our lives are not worth fighting for.

As husband and father I recognize that I live to serve God by serving my family. I recognize that the battle I am fighting is primarily against myself—my selfishness (the dragon within). Overcoming myself so that I can serve my family is key to this process. I cannot die (sacrifice, surrender, etc.) for my family if I am not willing to fight, and give all of myself for them. As in the game of Skyrim, I must master the skills needed for this battle. I must master patience, fortitude, temperance, sacrifice, selflessness, and willingness to serve and not expect to be served in return.

My wife is studying to get her masters degree and so it requires a huge amount of time and energy. My job is to make sure that she has the time and energy to work on her studies. I live for her, and my fight is to make sure the house is clean, laundry is done, dinner is ready and our daughter is being taken care of. I don’t necessarily want to do all these things, but I live for my family and I will do whatever it takes for them—even doing most of the chores around the house. It requires a sort of death to self to win this battle, because the dragon within wants to be selfish and inconsiderate and egotistical.

What do you live for? What are you fighting for? What are you willing to die for?

I think that the more men ponder and search the answer to these three questions the more they will find themselves in the path of manhood. The more our children, friends and family see us striving to answer these three questions, the more they will recognize what a man looks like. Our boys and girls need to see this more than ever because what movies, TV and the media reveal about manhood is pathetic, watered down—cheap at best.

So, pick up your battle-ax men. You are the chosen one. You have been given a mission to live out. You have a family to defend. There is a fight before you and it will cost you everything. But it will be the greatest battle of your life.

Live well, fight well and die well.

 

Now: the duty of the moment.

now_watchRight now you are reading this blog that I wrote a few days ago. Right now you are processing this sentence. That moment has passed and you are now left with this moment. Have you ever realized that ‘now’ is all we really have? The past is gone; the future is ahead of us. All we have is this moment. Now.

I don’t know about you but I find myself thinking a lot about the things I did in the past. “I shouldn’t have said that”, “I wish I had done that differently”, “I really should have…” I also tend to think about all that I have to do, the things to come. “I have to get that talk put together by next Saturday”, “I really need to clean the gutters”, etc. Yet the past is gone and I can’t go back to it, and the future is ahead of me and I can’t get to it. Once the future is here—now—will I be looking ahead to other future events or will I contemplate on it as a past event?

Catherine de Hueck Doherty was a very wise and holy woman who had a phrase that has always stuck with me: The duty of the moment. Catherine referred to the duty of the moment as the now that we must focus on and give 100% of ourselves to. The now that is our duty and all that we have in that moment.

This is a quote from a talk she gave to a Catholic group on the matter,

“The duty of the moment is what you should be doing at any given time, in whatever place God has put you. If you have a child, your duty of the moment may be to change a dirty diaper. So you do it. But you don’t just change that diaper, you change it to the best of your ability, with great love for both God and that child…There are all kinds of good Catholic things you can do, but whatever they are, you have to realize that there is always the duty of the moment to be done. And it must be done, because the duty of the moment is the duty of God.”

We cannot forget the past because it is ours, but we cannot live in it. We cannot ignore the future because it potentially will be ours to live in, but it isn’t here yet. Now is all that we have. This moment. What ever lies before you right now is your “duty of the moment”.  It is the thing that you should give all of your energy, love and focus to. It is the thing that you have been tasked with and should be your priority.

The now that I have with my family is more important than the past or the future because the now is real, is here, it is tangible and in front of me.

May we all focus on the “duty of the moment.” May we all be present to our families, today, now.