April 17, 2015

2015 Indiana Catholic Women's Conference: ‘How to culture-proof your family’

Excerpts from a talk by Danielle Bean, Catholic magazine publisher, women’s talk show host, author and mother of eight.

Danielle Bean“I’m speaking not just to mothers of young children, but grandmothers, and neighbors and parish members and religious sisters—we’re all responsible for raising up the next generation for God, for how these kids turn out, for helping these kids face a culture that’s hostile to our Church and the truth.

“Vocation isn’t what you do, it’s who you are. It’s who God made you to be, and every one of us has a vocation.

“Point out to children what their gifts are, and nudge them a little. Say, ‘I noticed you’re really good with children. I wonder how God wants you to use that in your life?’ Or ‘I noticed you really have a gift for writing. I wonder what God wants you to do with that?’

“Part of the way in which we respond to our vocation is in our sexual identity. In her wisdom, the Church tells us that men and women are different, and we’re meant to express our gifts in service to our families and our communities in ways in which it matters if you’re a man or a woman.

“Women are meant for so much more than [motherhood]—that’s what our culture tells us. How degrading is that to every woman who knows in her heart that she’s called to motherhood?

“And I don’t mean to say that every woman is called to biologically bear children. Many of us are. Some of us are called to adopted motherhood. And some of us are called to spiritual motherhood, which is played out beautifully in the lives of religious sisters.

“ ‘Culture-proof’ means to prepare [children] to be exposed to the culture. Let children ask questions. Our Church has the answers. Our Church has the truth. And if you’re not a scholar, that’s OK—there are so many great resources out there. Our culture isn’t going to accept a rule just because we say it’s a rule. We need to know the why behind it, and to teach that to our children.

“It’s so important to instill the value of making time for one another, and to do that while they’re young. You can be creative in how you do this. You need to run errands, go to the grocery store, drop kids off—make that your time when you bring one child along.

“Media is how our culture seeps into the culture of our families. I always try to empower parents: ‘You are in charge of the screens in your household. You are in charge of whether your teenager has a phone or not. You are in charge of whether they have a Twitter account or Facebook.’

“The truth is a great gift that’s liberating and empowering. The Church doesn’t give us rules that contradict the culture because it wants to ruin our fun. These rules are based on timeless truths, the truths that are universally known, based on natural law, and it’s by knowing these truths that we can know what we’re made for.”


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