You are on page 1of 32

The Family Altar: Establishing a Place of Prayer by Michael Hyatt As a young junior high school student, I wasn t fast

enough to run most trac! and field e"ents# $ut one e"ent I could %artici%ate in was the relay race# A large %art of our training was concerned with handing off the baton# The idea was to s%rint as fast as you could to the ne&t runner on your team# His job was to meet you about fifteen yards before the hand'off and run with you, being careful to match your %ace e&actly# In this way, you didn t ha"e to sto% to hand him the baton( you could continue the race without losing momentum# If e"erything went smoothly, the baton was %assed from one hand to the ne&t and the race %rogressed# The hand'off was the single most im%ortant %art of the race# )ot that it was that difficult, mind you( it just led to the worst of conse*uences if it wasn t managed %ro%erly# The running %art was easy# +ou sim%ly did your best and that was that# $ut the hand'off had to be conducted with care lest ' horror of horrors ' you dro%%ed the baton and thereby cost your team %recious time and %robably the race as well# ,unning too slowly was e&cusable( all you could do was your best# $ut dro%%ing the baton was totally unforgi"able# -uch a tragedy would lead to the immediate scorn of your teammates and the derision of your o%%onents# It was something that most all of us dreaded and wor!ed to a"oid# ,ecently, I as!ed a grou% of young %arents in our %arish what their chief %riority was with their children# )ot sur%risingly, each of them s%o!e of %assing on their faith to their children# .i!e a runner in a relay race, no one wanted to stumble# The conse*uences of doing so were more than any of us wanted to consider# $ut as a %ractical matter, how do we %ass on our faith to our children/ How do we successfully hand off our faith to the ne&t generation so that they can continue the race and do their %art to ad"ance the 0hristian mission/ )o doubt, there are a "ariety of ways# $ut I would suggest that one of the main ones is the %ractice of family %rayer# The Home: Icon of the 0hurch As an 1rthodo& 0hristian I "e come to belie"e that the 2ingdom of 3od is the central reality of life# It ta!es %recedence o"er e"ery other allegiance, o"er e"ery other %riority# $ut that 2ingdom is not some ethereal, far away %lace# )o, it is concretely manifested in the life of the 0hurch, es%ecially in the 4i"ine .iturgy# In other words, if you want to e&%erience the reality of the 2ingdom, loo! at the 0hurch which is the %rinci%al icon of that 2ingdom# $ut if this is true, of what significance is the 0hristian home/ 4oes it ha"e a role in 0hrist s 2ingdom/ As a Protestant, I belie"ed 5though I would ha"e ne"er said it in *uite this way6 that the 0hurch was an icon of the home# I was con"inced that the 0hristian home was the central institution of society and e"erything else ' e"en the 0hurch ' was secondary# $ut now, as an 1rthodo& 0hristian, I "e come to belie"e that I had it all bac!wards: the home is an icon of the 0hurch# This is far more than some esoteric, theological %oint# It has im%ortant ramifications for our family life and es%ecially for how we raise our children# Ama7ingly, this idea actually ma!es the home more im%ortant, not less# .et me elaborate# In the 0hurch, 0hrist has established a go"ernment made u% of bisho%s, %riests, and deacons# And in li!e manner, He has also established a go"ernment in the home: the %arents who are, in a "ery real sense, domestic %riests# 0onsider the fact that the hymns sung at an 1rthodo& wedding as the bride and groom are led around the table are the "ery same ones sung at an ordination of a %riest when he is led around the altar# Parents, li!e %riests in the 0hurch, ha"e a res%onsibility to she%herd the floc! allotted to their charge 5see I Peter 8:9':6# And as %arents, we must redisco"er our roles as domestic %riests and our corres%onding res%onsibility to %ass on our faith to our children# There are, of course, many more %arallels between the 0hurch and the home, but s%ace %ermits me to mention just one: the centrality of the altar# The %rimary res%onsibility of a %riest is to officiate at the altar# It is there that, re%resenting the %eo%le, he brings their gifts of bread and wine before 3od s throne as an offering of %raise and than!sgi"ing# And, it is also there that, re%resenting the .ord Himself, the %riest returns to the %eo%le the holy food of 0hrist s flesh and blood# -imilarly, the family altar should be the central features of e"ery 0hristian home and %rayer its most im%ortant acti"ity# The family altar is the %rimary %lace where we %ass on to our children the ;baton; of our faith# $ut if this is true, what are some %ractical ways in which we can focus our family s acti"ities on %rayer/ The Family Altar: A Place of Prayer If you are to ta!e your role as %riest seriously, you must first of all construct an altar for your family# In order to do something well, you need a %lace to do it# 4ad needs a %lace where he can fi& bro!en bi!es and build bird feeders# Mom needs a %lace where she can sew and mend clothing# The children need a %lace where they can %lay and ma!e crafts# The family also needs a %lace to %ray ' the family altar# This s%ecial %lace of %rayer does not ha"e to be fancy, but it does ha"e to be s%ecial# ,emember, it is a %lace where the family carries out its most "ital acti"ities: %rayer, the reading of the sacred -cri%tures, and the announcing of im%ortant e"ents in the life of the family# <hile each family s altar will be uni*uely theirs, most altars share certain common characteristics# =sually the altar faces the East# From ancient times 0hristians ha"e seen in the rising of the sun a symbolic re%resentation of the coming of 0hrist, the -un of >ustice 5see Malachi ::?6# The altar can be a sim%le shelf mounted on a wall, a small table co"ered with a tablecloth or, as in my family s case, a s%ecial dresser with a glass to%# ,egardless of the form it ta!es, most family altars

include certain basic com%onents: a few icons on the wall or on the altar itself, candles, a $ible, and %rayer boo!s# 1%tional items include a small incense burner, candle snuffer, and a bottle of Holy <ater# <hen is the right time to gather at the family altar/ Anytime, of course# $ut through the centuries, 0hristians ha"e es%ecially gathered twice a day for cor%orate %rayer: morning and e"ening# Morning %rayer gi"es us an o%%ortunity to bring our needs and concerns to 3od before we embar! on the day s acti"ities# It also hel%s each %erson ;set his mind on the things abo"e; 50olossians @:96 where he can address the bustle and demands of the day from a s%iritual frame of reference# E"ening %rayer, on the other hand, is an o%%ortunity for use to re"iew the day, to confess where we ha"e failed, and to gi"e than!s where we ha"e succeeded# Prayer during these two times doesn t ha"e to be long( ten to fifteen minutes is generally sufficient# The im%ortant thing is to be consistent# It s far better to s%end fi"e minutes a day e"ery day %raying together than to s%end fifteen or twenty minutes %raying a cou%le of times of wee!# The general %rinci%le is to become faithful in little before we stretch oursel"es ' and our familyA ' to become faithful in much 5see .u!e 9B:9C6# There are, of course, other times to %ray# <hene"er there is a s%ecial need in the family it s a good %ractice to sto% what we re doing and gather for a few moments at the family altar# In li!e manner, whene"er something es%ecially good ha%%ens, it s a good idea to sto% and gi"e than!s# These times of s%ontaneous %rayer are wonderful tools for communicating to our children the reality of 3od s %resence and His in"ol"ement in our li"es# 1nce you "e selected the a%%ro%riate time and %lace, you still ha"e one im%ortant decision left to ma!e: what to %ray at the family altar# For many %eo%le this is the most difficult# Fortunately, there are a "ariety of resources a"ailable to hel% us# 3ood %rayer boo!s can be obtained from a "ariety of 1rthodo& %ublishing houses# ,egardless of which one you use, try to get a co%y for each member of your family# This will encourage e"eryone s %artici%ation and gi"e you, as the leader, the o%tion of calling on "arious members of the family to lead in certain %rayers 5something my children lo"e to do6# <hen using a %rayer boo!, it is not necessary to say e"ery %rayer nor is it necessary to ;stic! to the scri%t#; If you re just starting out or if your children are small 5and their attention s%ans short6, you might want to %ray only the Trisagion Prayers, ha"e a short time for e&tem%oraneous %ersonal %etitions, and then go immediately to the dismissal# In my home, we often use the %rayers as a s%ringboard for our own %rayers# This is es%ecially true when we re %raying what is referred to as the 3eneral Intercessions# For e&am%le, if we re %raying for the whole 0hurch, we might %ause after the written %rayer and %ray s%ontaneously for the s%ecific needs of our local %arish# -imilarly, if we re %raying for the ci"il authorities, we might %ause and %ray for s%ecific needs in our own community# In this way, %rayer becomes a li"ing, dynamic acti"ity rather than a dull, re%etiti"e one# To me, this is liturgical %rayer at its best# 1ne final note: %rayer was ne"er intended to be a monologue# In genuine %rayer 3od s%ea!s to us, and we s%ea! to Him# $oth are necessary for dialogue# $ut how does 3od s%ea! to us/ Are we to e&%ect an audible "oice/ 3enerally, 3od s%ea!s to us through the reading of the Holy -cri%tures# Thus, $ible reading should be an integral %art of our family worshi%# 3od s%ecifically charges %arents to ha"e His <ord u%on their hearts and then to %ass it on to their children 5see 4euteronomy B::'D6# <hat better conte&t for $ible reading than as we are gathered together as a family for the %ur%ose of %rayer# A Few Miscellaneous Ti%s In conclusion, let me gi"e you three brief ti%s, items that will go a long way toward ma!ing your family s e&%erience at the family altar a meaningful one# -tart small# +ou can t run a marathon without training and neither can you engage in long %rayers without training yourself in the short ones# $e sensiti"e to your children s attention s%ans# +es, it s good to stretch them, but don t brea! themA The last thing you want is for %rayer to be something your children dread# Again, it s far better to !ee% it brief and meaningful than to frustrate your children ' and ultimately yourself ' by reading long drawn'out %rayers# ,emember, the Publican was justified with a "ery short %rayer: ;3od be merciful to me a sinner#; And the thief on the cross entered Paradise with one sentence: ;,emember me, 1 .ord, when +ou come into +our 2ingdom#; .et e"eryone %artici%ate# Although you will be tem%ted, don t insist on doing e"erything yourself# Ma!e sure e"eryone has a boo! 5e"en the little ones that can t read6, and let your children lead some of the %rayers# If they can read, let them read the -cri%ture lessons# If you follow this %rinci%le, you ll find that they loo! forward to %rayer and, little by little, begin to own it as their %rayer# ,e%rinted from EAgain, Fol# 9?, )o# 9, %ages G'D# H 9DDB by 1rthodo& Family .ife and the original author5s6# =,.: htt%:IIwww#theologic#comIoflweb# This web site is donated and maintained by Theo.ogic -ystems, which %ro"ides software and information tools for 1rthodo& 0hristians and %arishes world wide# '''''''''''''''''' ,einforcing ,eligious Education in Family .ife by Michelle >anna!os J .eslee Abud Education and the Family It is a commonly acce%ted %rinci%le that education, be it secular or religious, will be much more effecti"e when there is acti"e %artici%ation and reinforcement within the family# For religious education, the res%onsibility for this reinforcement

should be e&%anded to e"eryone in the %arish family# Es%ecially in the case where %arents are only marginally in"ol"ed in the life of the 0hurch, grand%arents, other relati"es and friends, and most im%ortantly, god%arents, can %ro"ide this essential influence in bringing children to 3od# In addition, we must remit oursel"es to the 1rthodo& teaching that our children are fully'%artici%ating members in the life of the 0hurch# From our ba%tism and chrismation, 1rthodo& children are not seen as ;second class; or as ;disru%tions; in 0hurch, but seen rather as 0hrist saw them: ;Assuredly I say to you, whoe"er does not recei"e the 2ingdom of 3od as a little child will by no means enter it#; 5Mar! 9C:986 For anyone concerned with hel%ing our children learn the 1rthodo& Faith and remaining family within the 0hurch, the *uestion usually is: ;<e understand the im%ortance of this all, but what can we do/; =nfortunately, there is no easy, fool' %roof reci%e that can be followed to guarantee results# Howe"er, by e&amining Holy Tradition, we can gain some insight into the role of the family# In the $ible From the $ible, we learn that >ewish family heritage and traditions were e&tremely im%ortant, and the ultimate e&am%le of this is the heritage and lineage of >esus 0hrist Himself# The entire 1ld Testament is the story of the %re%aration of the family into which 0hrist was born# Their faithfulness and trust in 3od are "irtues that our families must imitate and encourage# A good e&am%le of this legacy of the ;family dynamic; is in the 1ld Testament boo! of Pro"erbs# Pro"erbs, though unfortunately o"erloo!ed as a ;resource guide; by most modern families, is a highly "aluable collection of sayings that ha"e been used by %arents in order to ;train u% the child in the way that he should goE; 5Pro"# ??:B6 A close loo! at Pro"erbs shows that the whole idea of religious instruction as a %rocess in and of itself was foreign to the 1ld Testament mind# religious instruction was not something understood as an o%tional addition to a secular education ' as it is today in our society# ,ather the entire %rocess of education itself was seen as something intrinsically di"ine because it dealt with all dimensions of life in an integral way: ;The fear of the .ord is the beginning of !nowledge, but fools des%ise wisdom and instruction#; 5Pro"# 9:G6 Moreo"er, Pro"erbs deals not only with the subjects of faith and morality, it also embraces the %ractical as%ects of life: marriage, business, and e"en %olitics# 5-ee Pro"# 99:9( ?C:?K6 The Fathers -t# >ohn 0hrysostom was %robably the greatest family ad"ocate within out %atristic tradition# He em%hasi7ed the central role of the family in religious instruction and the establishment of correct %riorities# ;.et e"erything ta!e second %lace to the care of our children, our bringing them u% in the disci%line and instruction of the .ord#; 5Hom# ?9 on E%hesians6 1ur entire way of life should reflect our beliefs and ho%efully be molded into our children s li"es also# ;3enerally, the children ac*uire the character of the %arents, are formed in the mold of their %arents tem%eraments, lo"e the same things that %arents lo"e, tal! in the same fashion, and wor! for the same ends#; 5Hom# ?C on E%hesians6 The Holy Trinity: Model of the Family .iturgically, the marriage ser"ice, which is the foundation of the family in the 1rthodo& 0hurch, shows us that the family is truly a little church, and an icon of the Holy Trinity# The crowns, as those of the martyrs, con"ey the ty%e of lo"e that must be found in the family# It is not the lo"e that is %ortrayed in the media, but the self'sacrificial, unifying lo"e that e&ists between the Father, -on and Holy -%irit# There is hierarchy and order, but without o%%ression, since all is accom%lished through one s free will# Prayer is a necessary element of family life since it is ;the %rayer Lof %arentsM which ma!es firm the foundations of houses#; Here our goal should not be *uantity, but *uality and consistency# mealtimes and bedtime seem to be the most natural times for %rayer as a family# There is no substitute for %artici%ation in the 0hurch s liturgical life for our children# It is e&tremely im%ortant that 0hurch is not a ;-unday only; acti"ity# The liturgical cycle should be e&%anded to include Fes%ers and Feast 4ays# )ot only should the Feast be remembered, but also the %re%aration leading u% to it, which often includes a fast# 1f course, the ages of children will determine the degree of %ossible %artici%ation in 0hurch ser"ices, but all ages will res%ond to the enthusiasm and interest of the adults around them# <ith these things in mind, we ha"e com%iled a list 5by no means e&hausti"e6 of things to do as a family to reinforce what we do in 0hurch# <e need to remember that our children lo"e to be challenged and learn by doing# Also bear in mind that we as adults ha"e an awful lot to learn from our children# -ome Things to 4o Nreled9a#htmO %ro"ides @G acti"ities your family may li!e to try, to hel% reinforce your home s ;small 0hurch;# This article is a summary of two %resentations gi"en at the Eastern 1rthodo& 0atechetical 0onference, August 9DDC# H 9DDB by 1rthodo& Family .ife and the original author5s6# =,.: htt%:IIwww#theologic#comIoflweb# This web site is donated and maintained by Theo.ogic -ystems, which %ro"ides software and information tools for 1rthodo& 0hristians and %arishes world wide# ''''' I wish I had as!ed my mother to tell me more stories about her life growing u% on the isle of 0rete# )ow that she is gone I want to %ut down on %a%er the ones she did tell me so I can %ass them onto my daughters and, some day, to my grandchildren# Many of our %arents and grand%arents li"ed in difficult times, sometimes ha"ing only their faith in 3od to which to cling# They endured the 3reat 4e%ression and <orld <ars, came to a new land, grew u% as a first generation ethnic'American, and sought to gi"e us the material things they did not ha"e and %reser"e the 0hurch that was gi"en to them# I ho%e they

shared how 3od and the 0hurch affected their li"es, for these are the best stories of all# Albert ,ossi s article gi"es us insight to the %ower of %ersonal stories and how to go about beginning the %rocess# Perha%s this holiday season is a good time to begin sharing %ersonal stories with our family, es%ecially our children# The s%iritual legacy we %ass on is one that will effect the generations to come# ' Phyllis Meshel 1nest The Power 1f Personal -tories by Albert -# ,ossi, Ph#4# Personal stories from childhood which %ertain to the 0hurch ha"e uni*ue %ower# 3i"en the right o%%ortunity sharing these stories with others can be a gratifying e&%erience for oursel"es and for others# Faith can be shared# -eeds can be %lanted# .i"es can be touched# And, I dare say, 3od can be greatly glorified# In Parishes 1ne %arish I !now had an interesting e&ercise in story tellingIstory sharing after Pre'-anctified .iturgy# Following a light meal in the 0hurch hall, the %riest led a grou% discussion by telling a %ersonal story of his own# He o%ened u%# He then in"ited others to follow with stories of their own# The grou% slowly o%ened u% to share stories about themsel"es with the others# The common element in the stories was the %resence of the 0hurch in their li"es# The scene was sim%le and dignified# I ha"e no doubt that something "ery im%ortant ha%%ened that e"ening# They did o%en and share their li"es# They did e&%ress their faith# They did touch each other# And, I am sure, they did magnify 3od# In the Home -imilar sharings can be organi7ed or sim%ly suggested on the s%ot, in one s home# 1nce, following a .ay Ministries meeting in my li"ing room, I as!ed the committee members to join me in a sharing of %ersonal childhood stories about faith and 0hurch# As I recall, I led with a story about my grandfather and 0hurch# The story was sim%le and direct# My grandfather ti%%ed his hat as he %assed any, and e"ery 0hurch# He said that he belie"ed 3od didn t discriminate and was, indeed %resent in e"ery 0hurch# <e discussed the im%act of this story for a little while# 1thers then "olunteered stories of their own# 1ne woman cried as she s%o!e her story# My life, our li"es, were dee%ly mo"ed by the sharing# In the Family <hen my mother "isited our home during my children s early years, I had a regular re*uest for her# I as!ed her to tell a bedtime story about her childhood, or my childhood, to my children# My mother was flattered that I would as! her such a clear, deli"erable re*uest# -he felt needed and included# -he also understood almost instincti"ely that she had something "ery, "ery "aluable to contribute to the li"es of my children, a %art of her "ery fiber, her "ery soul# The story telling time %ro"ed to be a rela&ed, easy, lo"ing time for my mother and her grandchildren# >udging by the eyes and attention of the children, something almost magical was ha%%ening# The children were tem%orarily trans%orted to the world of their )anny s youth# In subse*uent "isits, the children themsel"es began to as! for )anny s stories# The children lo"ed them# They felt close to their grandmother and to her treasures, told in the form of her stories# As a %arent, I ha"e often %ut my children to slee% with stories from my childhood# Those moments were moments of s%ecial bonding# The children came to !now their daddy as he was as a child# After awhile, I ran dry of stories from my childhood# The children would beg for reruns of the oft'told, well worn stories# -oon the children could tell the same stories with as much detail as I could# -easons for -tory Telling -%ecial seasons %ro"ide s%ecial o%%ortunities for stories# .ent, Ad"ent, "acations, Than!sgi"ing, Pascha, 0hristmas, and other feasts all %ro"ide a uni*ue time to tell and retell stories about 0hurch, childhood and 3od# The tas! is to understand the %ower of story telling and to loo! for chances to share# These chances can be %lanned for family settings, in home meetings and %arish affairs# As with all efforts to see! 3od, we as! to be led by and be o%en to the %rom%ting and leading of the Holy -%irit# <e as! for the right time and setting for a story telling scene, and for the right stories to share# <ithin the stories is a faith sharing# Inside of the heart of the "ery story is an im%ulse gi"en and recei"ed from the "ery heart of 3od# -tory telling in this form is the %assing along of oral history# This is the way 3od %assed along his re"elation of Himself to his chosen %eo%le, the nation Israel# 3od mo"es within the heart of the story teller, and the story recei"er, to re"eal His own heart# In a way, telling and hearing stories of our e&%erience of 0hurch is a way of entering into the "ery heartbeat of 3od# <e might say we co're"eal 3od by %artici%ating in His re"elation of Himself through our memory and our e&%erience of Him# 4r# Albert ,ossi is a Professor of Psychology at Pace =ni"ersity, Pleasant"ille, )+, and has a %ri"ate %ractice in family counseling# 4r# ,ossi is a member of the 10A =nit on Education and 0ommunity .ife Ministries, co'directing the %rogram on Family .ife Ministries# This article has been re%rinted with %ermission from the ,esource Handboo! 5Fol# II, 9DD:6# H 9DDB by 1rthodo& Family .ife and the original author5s6#

=,.: htt%:IIwww#theologic#comIoflweb# This web site is donated and maintained by Theo.ogic -ystems, which %ro"ides software and information tools for 1rthodo& 0hristians and %arishes world wide# ''''''''''''''' ,emember <hen/ 0hildren lo"e to hear about family ' and themsel"es# ;E&%erts say that ha%%y stories surrounding the birth of a child or his early days con"ey the uns%o!en message that the child is lo"ed,; says writer .aura -te%% in <or!ing Mother maga7ine# -tart s%inning tales with these ti%s: Eliminate storytelling shyness# Pretend you re telling a friend about a good mo"ie scene# L-tart telling stories to your children when they re "ery young if you suffer from ;stage fright;, or tell stories in the car while you re dri"ing# ' )T2M Plan stories you ll tell# ,eflect on the tales and sayings you heard as a child that made you feel good or made your life better# And thin! of stories about when your child was younger# LMy mother s best stories were about her childhood hunting dog, a collie named Tuffie# I !now by heart the tale of Tuffie sa"ing my mom from being bitten by a rattlesna!e when they were wal!ing in the woods, and of Tuffie cutting his %aw on the ice only to be carried home wra%%ed in mom s %laid hac!ing jac!et# <oods safety and loyalty were recurrent themes in my mom s stories, and Tuffie was smarter than .assie and $enji %ut togetherA I "e already started telling my 2atie about ;3rammy s Tuffie;#M As! grand%arents to share their stories, too# .oo!ing at a family %hoto album or scra% boo! may jog their memories for interesting tidbits about you or your s%ouse that your children will really enjoyA LMy 3randmother tells stories of the difficult but ha%%y life she and her family shared in ,ussia and the little Pennsyl"ania coal mining town where they settled# From her I learned that: 3reat'grandma >uliana s hair turned white o"ernight when she was 9K, so worried was she that her new husband had been hurt in a mine accident# <hen the ;old church; burned down in the 9D:C s, -ts# Peter and Paul s %arish met for .iturgy in the bar of the local miners club until a new church building could be built and consecrated# My own mother used to slide down 9CC'foot coal chutes, and e"en got stuc! once#M .oo! for o%%ortunities to tell stories# Holiday coo!ing sessions, a birthday %arty, a child s *uestion, and a "isit from a relati"e can all be story o%eners# Tell %ositi"e stories# E"en if you don t li!e all the members of your family, tell %ositi"e stories about both sides of your family# LIf the stories ha"e a ;moral;, all the betterA If %art of a story in"ol"es ma!ing a choice between right and wrong, em%hasi7e the choice that was made and its conse*uences or benefits# 0hildren de"our real'life e&am%les they can a%%ly to their own li"es#M For more storytelling ideas, chec! out 4id I E"er Tell +ou About <hen +ou <ere .ittle/ by 4eborah -haw .ewis and 3regg .ewis, Ponder"an Publishing House# Ada%ted from 0hildren s Ministry Maga7ine, -e%temberI1ctober 9DDB, %age 8G# H 9DDB by 1rthodo& Family .ife and the original author5s6# =,.: htt%:IIwww#theologic#comIoflweb# This web site is donated and maintained by Theo.ogic -ystems, which %ro"ides software and information tools for 1rthodo& 0hristians and %arishes world wide# ''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''' ,emember <hen/ 0hildren lo"e to hear about family ' and themsel"es# ;E&%erts say that ha%%y stories surrounding the birth of a child or his early days con"ey the uns%o!en message that the child is lo"ed,; says writer .aura -te%% in <or!ing Mother maga7ine# -tart s%inning tales with these ti%s: Eliminate storytelling shyness# Pretend you re telling a friend about a good mo"ie scene# L-tart telling stories to your children when they re "ery young if you suffer from ;stage fright;, or tell stories in the car while you re dri"ing# ' )T2M Plan stories you ll tell# ,eflect on the tales and sayings you heard as a child that made you feel good or made your life better# And thin! of stories about when your child was younger# LMy mother s best stories were about her childhood hunting dog, a collie named Tuffie# I !now by heart the tale of Tuffie sa"ing my mom from being bitten by a rattlesna!e when they were wal!ing in the woods, and of Tuffie cutting his %aw on the ice only to be carried home wra%%ed in mom s %laid hac!ing jac!et# <oods safety and loyalty were recurrent themes in my mom s stories, and Tuffie was smarter than .assie and $enji %ut togetherA I "e already started telling my 2atie about ;3rammy s Tuffie;#M As! grand%arents to share their stories, too# .oo!ing at a family %hoto album or scra% boo! may jog their memories for interesting tidbits about you or your s%ouse that your children will really enjoyA LMy 3randmother tells stories of the difficult but ha%%y life she and her family shared in ,ussia and the little Pennsyl"ania coal mining town where they settled# From her I learned that: 3reat'grandma >uliana s hair turned white o"ernight when she was 9K, so worried was she that her new husband had been hurt in a mine accident# <hen the ;old church; burned down in the 9D:C s, -ts# Peter and Paul s %arish met for .iturgy in the bar of the local miners club until a new church building could be built and consecrated# My own mother used to slide down 9CC'foot coal chutes, and e"en got

stuc! once#M .oo! for o%%ortunities to tell stories# Holiday coo!ing sessions, a birthday %arty, a child s *uestion, and a "isit from a relati"e can all be story o%eners# Tell %ositi"e stories# E"en if you don t li!e all the members of your family, tell %ositi"e stories about both sides of your family# LIf the stories ha"e a ;moral;, all the betterA If %art of a story in"ol"es ma!ing a choice between right and wrong, em%hasi7e the choice that was made and its conse*uences or benefits# 0hildren de"our real'life e&am%les they can a%%ly to their own li"es#M For more storytelling ideas, chec! out 4id I E"er Tell +ou About <hen +ou <ere .ittle/ by 4eborah -haw .ewis and 3regg .ewis, Ponder"an Publishing House# Ada%ted from 0hildren s Ministry Maga7ine, -e%temberI1ctober 9DDB, %age 8G# H 9DDB by 1rthodo& Family .ife and the original author5s6# =,.: htt%:IIwww#theologic#comIoflweb# This web site is donated and maintained by Theo.ogic -ystems, which %ro"ides software and information tools for 1rthodo& 0hristians and %arishes world wide# '''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''' Professional Hel% for the 1rgani7ationally Im%aired If you re intimidated by the stac!s of school %a%ers, drawings and certificates in the bro!en'down cardboard bo& at the bac! of your closet, or that des! drawer full of undated %hotos, don t worryA +ou, too, can begin and finish a family archi"e with a bit of ;%rofessional hel%;# Here are some a"enues to e&%lore before you begin, if only for ideas: 0om%uter software# If you ha"e a home P0 or Mac, there is a huge "ariety of software a"ailable in all %rice ranges to hel% you com%ile your family genealogy andIor assemble an electronic family album# At a recent tri% to our local discount electronics J entertainment em%orium, I found four goodies that would wor! on my <indowsD8 machine: Family Ties 5Indi"idual -oftware 0om%any, Q986 Family 3athering 04',1M 5Palladium Interacti"e, Q:C6 Family Tree Ma!er 5$roderbund, QGK, the to%'seller in genealogy %rograms6 Family Album 0reator 50reati"e <ondersIA$0 Electronic Arts, Q:86 ,emember: Ta!e some time to read any software %ac!aging carefully before you buy, or you re li!ely to be disa%%ointed# Ma!e sure your home P0 meets the minimum system re*uirements listed, and ta!e into consideration that a %rogram with all the bells and whistles for using sound, 2oda! Photo04 images, "ideo cli%s, etc#, may sound great, but is useless if you don t ha"e a 04',1M dri"e, soundblaster, "ideo ca%ture board andIor digital camera# These goodies cost hundreds, e"en thousands of dollarsA A leather'bound album with acid'free %a%er %ages costs less than Q8C, so thin! carefully before you go all electronic# Memory 0onsultants# For a reasonable %rice, a %rofessional ;memory consultant; will come to your home and teach you, your family, and your friends how to organi7e your %ersonal archi"es, and show you creati"e, %rofessionally'%re%ared e&am%les 5sort of li!e a Tu%%erware %arty with %ictures6# These consultants also offer conser"ation'*uality su%%lies which won t degrade o"er time, which is definitely worth the in"estment for a family heirloom# At this year s )ational Home J 3arden -how, I counted si& different memory consultant booths, so they re definitely out there# .oo! in your local %hone boo!# 5For the truly busy andIor intimidated, one consultant I tal!ed to would actually inter"iew the whole family, then ta!e away bo&es of ;stuff; and return a month later with gorgeous, fully'labeled albumsIscra%boo!s# 1y "ay, was she e&%ensi"e, thoughA6 Fideo -er"ices# 4uring ;off'season; many %rofessional wedding "ideogra%hers and studios will ta!e your FH- J $eta "ideo, home mo"ies, still %ictures, and slides, and ;ca%ture; them in order onto a new "ideo ta%e with ca%tions# This ser"ice is often called a ;"ideo %icture album#; In our area, the going rate is Q@ %er %hoto, Q8 %er electronic source, with a 9CC'%hoto minimum# This is a great way to share your family memories with e"eryone, because du%licates of the "ideo ta%e are "ery ine&%ensi"e# $ut "ideo ta%e is not an archi"e medium( it has a ?C'year life s%an, to%s, so you ll ha"e to ;archi"e; your memories again later using a different technology# by )ichola Toda 2rause H 9DDG by 1rthodo& Family .ife and the original author5s6# =,.: htt%:IIwww#theologic#comIoflweb# This web site is donated and maintained by Theo.ogic -ystems, which %ro"ides software and information tools for 1rthodo& 0hristians and %arishes world wide# ''''''''''''' 0reate a Tradition In a world filled with changes, children feel secure when they can count on regular family times together# 2nowing they belong to a s%ecial grou% of %eo%le that cares about them ' their family ' strengthens this sense of security# Thin! about some of the traditions your family has ' things you do together regularly, such as bedtime stories e"ery night or Lma!ingM %anca!es on -aturday mornings# <hy did your family start those traditions/ <hat do you li!e about them/

-ome of our fa"orite memories are of holidays# They re coming u% fast, and now s a good time to %lan for some annual family acti"ities that your children will loo! bac! on fondly someday# <ith your children, thin! of another tradition you could add ' something your family can %lan on and loo! forward to# How often could you do it/ How will you ma!e time for it/ Here are a few ideas to consider: -unday afternoon wal!s wee!ly "isits to a %ar! or %layground ma!ingEcoo!ies ma!ingEseasonal decorations library "isits one night a wee! listening to a wee!ly family radio %rogram teaching each other a new song e"ery wee! s%ecial meals for birthdays Try out your new tradition with your family# If it doesn t catch on, try new ones until you find some that e"eryone enjoys# ,e%rinted with %ermission from The 1nes to 3row 1n: LP$-M 0hannels :8I:D s ,eady to .earn )ewsletter, Fol# ?, Iss# 9, 1ctober 9DDG, %% @# H 9DDG by 1rthodo& Family .ife and the original author5s6# =,.: htt%:IIwww#theologic#comIoflweb# This web site is donated and maintained by Theo.ogic -ystems, which %ro"ides software and information tools for 1rthodo& 0hristians and %arishes world wide# ''''''''''''''''''''''''''''' <ant to be able to reflect on your family s summer acti"ities later in the fall and winter/ Than!s for the Memories Try the following idea we found in Healthy 2ids maga7ine, August'-e%tember 9DDG, %#G:: <hene"er %eo%le as!ed by daughter what she did o"er the summer, her answer was always the same ' ;nothing#; -o I decided to start a ;funtime; boo! for her# Together we glued mo"ie'tic!et stubs, %arty in"itations, drawings of "acation s%ots, and other memorabilia onto the %ages of an album# )ow when %eo%le as! her about her summer, they get an earful ' and an eyeful# LEd# )ote: If you ma!e it to a monastery, be sure to ta!e %ictures of the cha%el and the grounds and add them to your ;funtime; boo!#M $uilding Family Memories Another idea comes from 0hildren s Ministry Maga7ine, >ulyIAugust 9DD@: Ha"e your children ma!e an e"er'growing tra"el journal# Ha"e the children choose and %urchase a %icture %ostcard of each %lace you "isit during your "acation# Ha"e the !ids record 5hel% younger children write6 a few !ey facts about the %lace on each %ostcard# Punch the left side of each card with two holes and add fastener rings to ma!e the ;growing; boo!# 5+ou could also cut card stoc! the same si7e as the %ostcards L@ & 8 or : & BM as filler %ages for journal notes or to which the !ids could attach other items#6 H 9DDK by 1rthodo& Family .ife and the original author5s6# =,.: htt%:IIwww#theologic#comIoflweb# This web site is donated and maintained by Theo.ogic -ystems, which %ro"ides software and information tools for 1rthodo& 0hristians and %arishes world wide# '''''''''''''''''''''''''' Table Tal! Food isn t the only ingredient that ma!es a %leasant family meal# The mealtime ritual is im%ortant for both its social and nutritional "alue# ;<hen e"eryone is a%art during the day, it s fre*uently the only time to connect as a family# It s a time just to be together and to share with one another,; says >anine ,oberts, co'author of ,ituals for 1ur Times 5Har%er0ollins6# <hate"er time you eat together, the same *uestions a%%ly: How can we ma!e the most of that time/ How can we fill the time with laughter and o%en communication/ -tart with these silence'busters# Ha"e family members each: Tell one thing that ha%%ened to them that day that is both new and good# Tell how they saw 3od at wor! that day# Tell about their ideal "acation# Tell about a family tradition they enjoy# Tal! about a mista!e they made recently# 0om%lete the sentence, ;I ho%e###; 4iscuss the difference between natural talent and s%iritual gifts# Tell about their ideal meal and where they would eat it# Answer the *uestion: If you had a chance to s%end all day with a famous %erson, who would it be/

Tell about the %erson they admire most and why# For more family mealtime ideas chec! out Focus on the Family s Table Tal! by Mimi <ilson and Mary $eth .agerborg# 0ost is QD#DD from <ord, Inc#, KKCC'?@?'B:8D, 5BC:6 BK:'K@@@ 50anada6# ,e%rinted with %ermission from 0hildren s Ministry Maga7ine, MarchIA%ril 9DD8, %#8:# H 9DDK by 1rthodo& Family .ife and the original author5s6# =,.: htt%:IIwww#theologic#comIoflweb# This web site is donated and maintained by Theo.ogic -ystems, which %ro"ides software and information tools for 1rthodo& 0hristians and %arishes world wide# ''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''' Ten $asic Ti%s for Family 0ommunication by Fr# 3regory <ingenbach ;+ou ne"er e"er understand meA; and ;There s no use trying to tal! with youA; are the most familiar e&%ressions heard by %arents# =sually, there is some truth to it because %arents are adults of one generation and the children of another, and because our fast'%aced society sim%ly doesn t foster %arentIchild communication# <hen there s no communication or attention at home, some children will ta!e u% with the ;wrong crowd;, act u% at school, wind u% e&%erimenting with drugs, or run away from home# Parents, in turn, as!: ;<hy didn t they come to us about it/; <e ha"e to as! oursel"es, as %arents, ;4o we create the climate for communication in our home/; From the ;0ollege of Hard 2noc!s; e&%erience, here are ten basic ti%s: Ta!e time out to listen and discuss 4on t be too busy to listen to what your child has to say# <hat may be minor or inconse*uential to you could be "itally im%ortant right now to your child# <hen your boy or girl is enthusiastic about something, share it, tal! about it# $uild u%, don t undermine his or her enthusiasm, creati"ity and curiosity# -how you re interested# Also let them !now that interest and discussion is a ;two'way; street# 4on t always disa%%ro"e J a"oid sarcasm If a child finds out that what he or she says, or does, or li!es is going to be ;%ut down,; soon he ll not communicate at all# After all, who wants to feel inferior e"ery time he says something/ A young %erson wants to be acce%ted, not rejected# 2ee% your %romises Try your best not to ma!e %romises you doubt you can really !ee%# <ant to lose your child s 5or anyone s6 res%ect fast/ -ay you ll do something, and then for your own con"enience or less'than'im%ortant reason, fail to come through after the other %erson has built u% his or her ho%es# This is a really serious ;let'down; and the other %erson, child or adult, begins to lose faith in you# It s e&tremely im%ortant that your child res%ect you and see you as trustworthy# 4isagreeing J *uestioning is healthyA Allow your child to disagree with you on a subject# 4on t be afraid or ashamed to admit that you don t ha"e all the answers to e"erything# As children enter their teen years, they begin to e&%lore other "alue systems( they *uestion ;%at; answers and they usually try testing them first on their %arents# )o matter how distasteful it may stem to you, let them e&%ress the way they feel# Em%hasi7e mutual res%ect, tone of "oice, and they ll feel they can come bac! to you ;in a crunch;# 4on t be *uic! to reject your child s friends or associations -eldom are youthful %eers ' or their ways ' totally acce%table to the %arents or other adults# Again, youth are searching, e&%loring, learning# ,e*uiring certain ;basic,; standards, yet acce%ting their differences with adult culture, will usually assure that your child will, a6 ha"e some genuine and normal %eer associations and yet, b6 listen to you when you re really forced to object to aberrant beha"ior and acti"ities on the %art of your children andIor their associates# 4on t be afraid to say, )oA +our child e&%ects standards and guidance, both %ositi"ely and negati"ely# He needs to !now ;the limits; that society realistically will set for him# $ut choose carefully the times when ;)o; is the answer( bend and balance ;the rule; to meet your child s legitimate human needs and e&%ectations# -how children that adults can be human, consistent, understanding, and reasonable in the ;+es; and the ;)o; of e"eryday life# $uild u% self'esteem ,egularly com%liment, %raise, hug, show affection for both your children and your s%ouse# This will reinforce both your child s sense of belonging and self esteem, and your L%osition asM ;role model#; A good self'image, !nowing that he or she is ;someone of "alue,; allows the child to feel good about himself and stand on his own two feet# <hen the child feels that way, he or she can ' on their own ' say ;)o,; when necessary, to %eer %ressure# 4on t %reach or nag The surest way to stifle %arent'child communication and the learning of solid life'"alues is to %reach at, nag or constantly morali7e o"er our child s beha"ior# 4on t hesitate ' at a%%ro%riate times ' to share religious, moral, and ethical "alues# $ut it isn t necessary ' or hel%ful ' to %ontificate e"ery time they do something you disa%%ro"e of# Ta!e time out to %lay Family acti"ities, sharing in the child s interests and %lay are "ery im%ortant Always being %reoccu%ied or too busy ;formali7es; the %arent'child relationshi% and ma!es family life ;no fun at all#;

Pray together Ha"e a ;family altar; in the home# As! 3od s blessing at meal'time, wor!, studies and acti"ities# Encourage your children( show the way, as %arents, in %raying# ,ecei"e the .ord s sacraments together fre*uently# Fr# 3regory <ingenbach is the former 4irector of 0hurch and Family .ife for the 3ree! 1rthodo& Archdiocese# ,e' %rinted with %ermission from The ,esource Handboo!, 59DKG, Fol# I, )o# ?6, %ublished by the 4e%artment of .ay Ministry of the 1rthodo& 0hurch in America# H 9DDK by 1rthodo& Family .ife and the original author5s6# =,.: htt%:IIwww#theologic#comIoflweb# This web site is donated and maintained by Theo.ogic -ystems, which %ro"ides software and information tools for 1rthodo& 0hristians and %arishes world wide# ''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''' ,eflectionsE The Ten 0ommandments on How to 3et Along with 1ther Peo%le This timely list of ti%s first a%%eared in the -t# -%yridon )ewsletter 5<orcester, Mass#6, and was later re%rinted in The Hellenic 0hronicle# It s a great re"iew for %arents and children %re%aring to face a new school year in a 0hrist'li!e wayA 2ee% s!id chains on your tongue( always say less than you thin!# 0ulti"ate a low, %ersuasi"e "oice# How you say it often counts more than what you say# Ma!e %romises s%aringly, and !ee% them faithfully, no matter what it costs# )e"er let an o%%ortunity %ass to say a !ind and encouraging word to or about somebody# Praise good wor!, regardless of who did it# If criticism is needed, critici7e hel%fully, ne"er s%itefully# $e interested in others, their %ursuits, their wor!, their homes, and families# Ma!e merry with those who rejoice( with those who wee%, mourn# .et e"eryone you meet, howe"er humble, feel that you regard him as a %erson of im%ortance# $e cheerful# 4on t burden or de%ress those around you by dwelling on your minor aches and %ains and small disa%%ointments# ,emember, e"eryone is carrying baggage# 2ee% an o%en mind# 4iscuss ' but don t argue# It is a mar! of a su%erior mind to be able to disagree without being disagreeable# .et your "irtues s%ea! for themsel"es# ,efuse to tal! of another s "ices# 4iscourage gossi%# It is a waste of "aluable time and can be e&tremely destructi"e# $e careful of another s feelings# <it and humor at the other %erson s e&%ense are rarely worth it and may hurt when least e&%ected# Pay no attention to ill'natured remar!s about you# ,emember, the %erson who carried the message may not be the most accurate re%orter in the world# -im%ly li"e so that nobody will belie"e them# 4isordered ner"es and bad digestion are a common cause of bac!'biting# 4on t be an&ious about the credit due you# 4o your best, and be %atient# Forget about yourself, and let others remember# -uccess is much sweeter that way# H 9DDK by 1rthodo& Family .ife and the original author5s6# =,.: htt%:IIwww#theologic#comIoflweb# This web site is donated and maintained by Theo.ogic -ystems, which %ro"ides software and information tools for 1rthodo& 0hristians and %arishes world wide# ''''''''''''''''''''''''''' Holy -cri%ture in 1rthodo& 0hristian .ife -t# Thomas -unday was my first ;solo; lesson with the 9st and ?nd grade class at 0hurch -chool, and we were discussing the $ody of 0hrist in terms of 0hurch and %arish# <hat did we do in 0hurch/ Praise 3od, than! Him, and come closer to Him by listening to the Holy 3os%el and recei"ing Holy 0ommunion# 1ne of the girls told about her "isit to a non'1rthodo& relati"e s church, and how it was "ery different: ;They read from the $ible, and sang fun songs, not li!e us# They had a drawing at the end, and e"eryone got a tractorA; A tractor/ I as!ed her mother about it after .iturgy, and she laughed about what !ids remembered, but e&%ressed her chagrin that we don t ;actually use the $ible; more in the 0hurch -chool and during ser"ices# Her daughter didn t reali7e that we read the $ible all the timeA A ;ty%ical; scri%ture e&%erience/ As I was growing u%, my best friend Melinda and I were inse%arable from first grade through high school# <e did e"erything together: school, chorus and dance, family "acations 5she came along with our family, and I went with hers6, wee!end slee%o"ers, e"erythingA Many of our wee!ends included going with the other family to church: my family was 5and still is6 1rthodo&, hers was full'3os%el E"angelical# <hen she came to .iturgy with my family, she went to 0hurch -chool, sang in the choir, and hel%ed ma!e fried bread dough for the Teen'-1+1 sales at coffee hour# <hen I went with her family, she and I sat in a small auditorium with a lot of other %re'teens and listened to youth %astors tal! about the e"ils of roc! music and dangers of teen se&# There was no -unday school, because almost e"eryone attended a wee!night ;$ible study; session#

I was fascinated by Melinda s family s $ible# It was big, bound in leather, with a 7i%%er to !ee% it shut ' necessary to a"oid loosing all the boo!mar!s and %ieces of %a%er with "erses and notes# This $ible was highlighted, beaten u%, ob"iously well'used# This was the $ible her father used to read from at dinner, and ;%ac!ed u%; for church on -unday mornings# 5I was en"ious# I wanted one of my own, with a 7i%%er#6At her church and home, ;cha%ter and "erse; combinations were thrown around in casual con"ersation, as a justification for this decision, or encouragement for that tas!: ;Acts ?@:8;, ;.u!e D:8;# And these disembodied references made sense to themA I felt aw!ward, because that was not the way I, as an 1rthodo& 0hristian, was used to referring to Holy -cri%ture# I !new the storiesE whole e%isodes: the greeting of 0hrist and the Theoto!os by -t# -imeon, the %arables He told, the %rogression from 0hrist s rece%tion into >erusalem through to the announcement of the Angels that He was not in the tomb, the con"ersion of -aul# As a fre*uent reader at 0hurch, I could accurately %ara%hrase large tracts and !new from which boo! they were ta!en# $ut to identify a single "erse, out of conte&t out on a baseball field: im%ossibleA After twenty years of reading and studying first my old 1&ford s The )ew English $ible with A%ocry%ha, and now my 1rthodo& -tudy $ible, I still can t *uote ;cha%ter and "erse;# And that s o!ay for me, now# 5I "e gotten o"er my 7i%%er obsession, too, and %lastered my $ible with stic!y'notes: no 7i%%er neededA6 In its wisdom, the 1rthodo& 0hurch allows us to e&%erience o"er the course of a year s Fes%ers, Matins and .iturgies e&actly the right mi& of 1ld Testament, Psalms, the story of 0hrist 53os%els6, and history of the early 0hurch 5Acts and ;.etters; of the A%ostles6 at e&actly the right times to bolster our joy at the feasts, and strengthen and ins%ire us as we %re%are for and li"e out the fasts# This ;%erfect %lanning; set me in awe, until I reali7ed that the )ew Testament, ins%ired by 3od, was com%iled by the 0hurch ' the Holy 1rthodo& 0hurch ' to %reser"e its witness to the Truth o"er any time or distance# The Holy -cri%tures actually belong to the 0hurch, who is their only accurate inter%reter and teacher# In the 1rthodo& Tradition, -cri%ture ne"er stands alone, but is always read and discussed in conte&t with the 0hurch s festal cycle, the .iturgy, the -acraments, and our whole 1rthodo& lifestyle# -cri%ture is wo"en into e"ery %rayer, e"ery ser"ice# <here are we today/ Twenty years a%art, that little girl and I had "ery similar e&%eriences in disco"ering the role of Holy -cri%ture in the 1rthodo& 0hurch# Fr# Peter 3ill*uist, 4irector of 1rthodo& E"angelism for the Antiochian Archdiocese, in discussing the effort which %roduced the 1rthodo& -tudy $ible, obser"ed that 1rthodo& 0hristians ;ha"e ne"er been !nown as great readers of -cri%ture;, but that is changing as 1rthodo& interact with Protestant and E"angelical co'wor!ers, schoolmates, and neighbors who !now ;cha%ter and "erse; but struggle to find the conte&t which will enable them to understand# How can we hel% our children to ;grow u%; with Holy -cri%tures, while !ee%ing e"erything in conte&t/ Here are some ideas: Purchase an age'a%%ro%riate $ible or $ible story boo! for your child, and !ee% u%dating it as your child grows# 50onsult your %arish %riest if you ha"e any doubts about the ;1rthodo&y; of its content or %resentation#6 =se the $ible story boo! for younger children s first bedtime story each night, and mo"e the fairy tales to the second %osition# 1ur 2atie usually enjoys three stories: a $ible story, an Arthur boo!, and something else# 1n -aturday night, read the 3os%el story that will be read in 0hurch at .iturgy the ne&t morning from your child s $ible storyboo!, then mar! the %lace and ta!e the storyboo! with you to .iturgy# If the child doesn t read yet, ha"e him loo! at the %ictures that go with the story# $e sure to %oint out 5often6 that the beautiful boo! that Father or Father 4eacon reads, blesses us with during .iturgy, and 5in the -la"ic custom6 %laces on the tetra%od for us to !iss at Matins, is the 3os%el ' the first four boo!s of the )ew Testament# After ser"ices one day, as! Father if you can loo! at the Altar 3os%el( %oint out that the words are big so Father can see them easily, so he can read to us "ery clearly# 4iscuss the E%istle and 3os%el with your children on the way home from 0hurch, reinforcing 5or ;translating for little ears;6 any %oints made about them during the homily# It doesn t ha"e to be a dee% %hiloso%hical discussion, just a few words on the meaning of the story and how it a%%lies to us today# 0hildren ha"e ;fa"orite; $ible stories that they as! to ha"e read o"er and o"er# Introduce the ;big !id s $ible; to your child by reading his fa"orite story from the 1rthodo& -tudy $ible, and %ointing out how the ;big !id s $ible; tells the same story with more detail than his $ible storyboo!# As children get older, you can begin to read more from it and to %oint out cha%ter and "erse numbers# As children get older, begin to read the ;daily readings; from the E%istle and 3os%el together at the dinner table# Fr# Peter relates that, in his own house he read the E%istle and 3os%els at the table only for feast days and during fasting seasons, to %re"ent his children from ;dreading another reading;# They enjoyed the dinner'table readings so much, they actually as!ed when the ne&t fasting season began, and loo!ed forward to themA Encourage older children 5es%ecially those in chorus or the 0hurch choir6 to s%ea! with the choir director or cantor and learn to read the E%istle during .iturgy# .et your children ' at e"ery age ' see you reading the $ible at home or attending a study grou% at 0hurch# More than anything else, our children learn from our e&am%le# by )ichola Toda 2rause H 9DDK by 1rthodo& Family .ife and the original author5s6# =,.: htt%:IIwww#theologic#comIoflweb# This web site is donated and maintained by Theo.ogic -ystems, which %ro"ides

software and information tools for 1rthodo& 0hristians and %arishes world wide# ''''''''''''''''''''''''''''' 98 ,eally 3ood ,easons to ,ead Aloud with +our 2ids Here are 98 really good reasons to read to your children e"ery day: It e&%ands a child s !nowledge of the world 3od created and its inhabitants# It s a "ery ine&%ensi"e form of entertainment# It %ro"ides a family'centered acti"ity that can be enjoyed by all ages, any where, any time# It %ro"ides interesting to%ics for your family s con"ersation, hobbies, and other acti"ities# It o%ens the door to the disco"ery of heroes and role models much more e&citing 5and ;%ositi"e;6 than those shown on TF# It jum%'starts the imagination# It increases a child s ability to concentrate and builds attention s%an# It de"elo%s a child s listening s!ills# It gi"es a child needed %ractice in %redicting outcomes and thin!ing critically# It enhances a child s ability to thin! symbolically and "isuali7e abstract conce%ts 5as needed in the study of higher mathematics, science and 1rthodo& theologyA6# It reinforces a child s understanding of language, and highlights the differences between ;con"ersational; and ;formal; communication# It e&%ands a child s "ocabulary, without the ;colorful in"ecti"es;# It stimulates and encourages creati"e writing, journal !ee%ing, etc# It s the single most im%ortant thing a %arent can do to hel% a child be %re%ared to learn from other sourcesA It s %lain funA H 9DDK by 1rthodo& Family .ife and the original author5s6# =,.: htt%:IIwww#theologic#comIoflweb# This web site is donated and maintained by Theo.ogic -ystems, which %ro"ides software and information tools for 1rthodo& 0hristians and %arishes world wide# '''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''' Pre%aring for the Feast Family'Friendly Ad"ice on Fasting, Prayer, and 3i"ing In our modern, secular society, %re%aring to celebrate the great feasts of the 1rthodo& 0hurch re*uires great effort# -%iritual efforts must co'e&ist with the necessities of wor! and school, lessons and s%orts %ractices# <orldly commitments are written in the s*uares of the month'ly calendars we !ee% in our %oc!ets or %osted on the fridge, while acti"ities that feed our souls are left for another day, when we might ha"e some ;free time; or a cancellation in our hectic schedules# =nless we ma!e a conscious effort, our focus remains in the world rather than on 3od# And e"en if we decide to ma!e the effort, we re often at a loss as to where to begin# The 1rthodo& 0hurch has always %rescribed three acti"ities to ac*uire that elusi"e ;s%iritual focus; we need to %re%are oursel"es to %artici%ate in the joy of the feasts: fasting, %rayer, and gi"ing# Fasting: 4o without to ma!e room for 3od# Fasting allows us to ;em%ty; our bodies and minds of worldly things, so that we are better able to fill oursel"es with the <ord and the -%irit, and come closer to the Father# The ;em%tying; starts with diet ' food is both a necessity and an indulgence, and so is the %erfect ;starting %oint; ' but includes other things as well# The way each of us fasts de%ends hea"ily on what we saw our grand%arents, %arents, aunts, and uncles doing when we were children# For e&am%le, my mother s family li"ed in a coal mining town in central Pennsyl"ania, where the rule of abstaining from meat, fish, and dairy for the duration of the fasts was followed almost e&clusi"ely by women# The men 5%redominantly 1rthodo& and $y7antine 0atholic6 who wor!ed the mines did not abstain from meat or dairy during the traditional fasting seasons because of the strenuous %hysical labor re*uired of them# They reduced the amount of food they ate and abstained from smo!ing and drin!ing alcohol instead# 5The ;com%any clubhouse; where the men gathered after wor! actually shut down during the fasts#6 1n Holy Thursday and Holy Friday, the miners too! un%aid lea"e so they could fast and %ray# They did not follow the dietary rule %rescribed by the 0hurch, but they made an effort to do something# As a child, I saw my mother abstaining from meat, fish and most dairy, and from all food on Holy Friday 5as she had done to !ee% her father com%any while he fasted6# My own father, a school teacher, fasted according to my mother s lead: whate"er she %ac!ed for lunch or coo!ed for dinner, he ate# <e seldom ate at restaurants or at friends homes during fasting seasons when I was a child, though I don t !now if this was for %iety or con"enience#I thin! that many %eo%le who were born and reared in 1rthodo& households ha"e similar e&%eriences, where fasting is %racticed, but not analy7ed# Those who ha"e embraced 1rthodo&y or seriously started to %ractice their 1rthodo& Faith as adults, I thin!, more consciously use the rule of the 0hurch as their %ersonal guide in fasting#Either way, discuss well before the fast begins how you %lan to ;!ee% the fast; as a family, and then stic! to your %lan# Parents should always see! the ad"ice of their %arish %riestI-%iritual Father and recei"e a blessing for any de"iation from the %rescribed rule of the 0hurch#

Here are some ways to ;em%ty; yourself: Abstain from eating meats and dairy each day of the fast, and a"oid fish, oli"e oil, and wine e&ce%t on the days when they are %ermitted ' the 0hurch s rule of fasting# ,educe the amount of food you do eat# 0ut out ;seconds; and snac!s# 4uring the fast, you should ne"er be ;full; or ;stuffed;# 2ee% your food %re%aration sim%le# 4on t s%end any more time %lanning menus, coo!ing and ser"ing, or eating than is absolutely necessary# 0ut out non'essential acti"ities 5e#g#, ta!e a brea! from gymnastics class6, and minimi7e the time s%ent on non' 0hurch'related commitments# Turn off 5or at least cut bac! on6 the tele"ision and radio, and sto% the bombardment of noise that ser"es as a bac!dro% for our daily li"es# If you must listen to something to concentrate or rela&, %lay recorded liturgical music# 0urtail your entertainment# 0ut out mo"ies, theater "isits, "ideo games, surfing the internet, and ;jun! reading; 5no"els, maga7ines, hobby newsletters, etc#6, and use the time for more s%iritually'enriching acti"ities# Prayer: In"ite 3od into your life# <hat ta!es the %lace of the worldly food and %ursuits during a %re%aration %eriod/ 0hristA And the ;s%iritual food; he bringsA Try some of the following ways to e&%and your family s s%iritual efforts: Add to your daily %rayer routine# If you normally as! 3od s blessing only before meals, add a %rayer of than!sgi"ing after meals, too# If you normally say ;bedtime; %rayers, add the morning %rayers# Pray more# =se your ;family altar; as the %lace for %rayer, and %ut an icon on the !itchen table# Ta!e the time to read the ;daily; E%istle and 3os%el selections each day at the dinner table# 5These are %ublished on the 1rthodo& 0hristian calendars gi"en out by many 0hurches at the secular )ew +ear, and in many wee!ly bulletins# If you don t ha"e access to these sources, as! your %arish %riest for a list or chec! out one of the 0hurch calendars a"ailable on the internet#6 If you don t already ha"e one, ma!e it a family %roject to com%ile a ;%rayer list; of those you will remember each day# =se two columns, one for the li"ing and one for the de%arted, and include relati"es, god'family, teachers and co' wor!ers, friends, and those you "e heard are currently suffering# Families with younger children may want to ma!e a ;%icture; list, so little ones can actually see the %eo%le for whom they are %raying# Ma!e a co%y for each family member, and !ee% the lists in your icon corner# ,e%lace the no"els, maga7ines, and hobby newsletters you read at bed'time with the writings of the 0hurch Fathers or the li"es of the saints# 0hildren might enjoy reading about the life of -t# Innocent, the first resident $isho% and A%ostle to America ' who was a teacher, linguist, ethnologist, architect, car%enter, cloc!'ma!er, world tra"eler, and outdoor ad"enturer 5though not by intention6# Ma!e an e&tra effort to get to 0hurch for Fes%ers and Matins, and during 3reat .ent the s%ecial wee!day ser"ices: the 0anon of -t# Andrew, Presanctified .iturgy, A!athist# The readings 5from the 1ld Testament, Psalms, E%istles, and 3os%els6 of these ser"ices were selected to %ro"ide abundant ;s%iritual food; to !ee% us strong during the fast, and direct our thoughts toward the meaningIsignificance of the feast to come# Ta!e ad"antage of the any s%ecial tal!s and seminars scheduled during the %re%aration %eriods# 1ur local 10A 4eanery hosts se"eral series each year, usually cou%led with Fes%ers, as does our greater'A!ron'area 1rthodo& clergy association# 5Each session in a series is hosted by a different %arish, so we ha"e the o%%ortunity to meet and sociali7e with brothers and sisters in 0hrist we don t see often, tooA6 3i"ing: 0are for 3od s creation and creatures# Traditionally, the ;gi"ing; has been inter%reted as ;almsgi"ing;# <hen I was in 0hurch -chool, I remember ta!ing home a little cardboard canister each Ad"ent and .ent, and dro%%ing in a dime or *uarter e"ery day# I returned the canisters to 0hurch -chool at the end of each %re%aration %eriod, and had no idea what was done with the money# My friends in ,oman 0atholic %arochial school had the same canisters, which sometimes ended u% being used to hold marbles, jac!s, or $arbie shoes# If you thin! of ;gi"ing; in a larger conte&t ' that is, gi"ing bac! to 3od according to His commandment that we ;lo"e one another; ' the e&%erience becomes one of great s%iritual enrichment and growth that lasts well beyond the fasting season# Here are some ideas for %arish and family ;gi"ing;: As a %arish 5or 0hurch -chool class, or family6, ado%t a s%ecific charity or mission %roject for your increased monetary gi"ing# Then learn all about the %roject, why it s needed, and how your contributions will be used# Ruantify and set a goal for your gi"ing# For e&am%le, a house built by Project Me&ico costs Q?CCC, so you can gi"e a house instead of KCCC *uarters# .oo! for %rojects that coincide with the theme of the fast and feast, so the effort becomes a teaching tool# 1ur 0hurch -chool ma!es a %ractice of ado%ting a ;local; mission that deals with infants and children during Ad"ent, the )ati"ity Fast# In the %ast, it has su%%orted a crisis'%regnancy care center 5which %ro"ides counseling and layette items to %regnant women who decide to !ee% their babies des%ite great hardshi%6 and %ro"ided new clothing, boo!s, bedding, and toiletries# 5,emember the inn that was full when Mary and >ose%h sto%%ed by/6 $egin or renew a family or %ersonal commitment to a long'term ;gi"ing; %roject that uses you talents and time as 0hrist directs us ' to hel% feed the hungry, clothe the na!ed, shelter the homeless, or comfort those in des%air 5see Matthew ?8:@:':B6 ' such as: ser"ing at a sou% !itchen or ;hot meal; %rogram ma!ing re'heatable meals or

cleaningIdoing chores for an elderly or ill %erson in your %arish or neighborhood sewing 5if you re blessed with that talent6, buying, or collecting and ;s%iffing u%; clothing for distribution to the needy "olunteering at a local mission centerIhos%itality house, doing anything from cleaning and %re%aring beds to training and becoming a job or s!ills counselor getting in"ol"ed with your local Habitat for Humanity or refugee'relocation %rogram 5In greater'A!ron, for e&am%le, the local I100 cha%ter is outfitting a%artments for refugee families from $osnia, and needs lots of hel% collecting and organi7ing furniture and household items#6 "isiting %arish shut'ins or those in the hos%ital just to tal! and %ray together "olunteering for a neighborhood youth'mentoring or literacy %rogram donating blood 5if you are able6, and hel%ing with local ,ed 0ross blood dri"es 1rgani7e a youth %rogram for your %arish to teach about the 0reation story and the basics of en"ironmental stewardshi% 5i#e#, we must ta!e care of the earth that 3od made and ga"e to us to use for His glory6, or focus on these ideas for a time in your e&isting -1+1, 31+A, or -couting grou%s# 2ids of all ages lo"e to recycle 5my 2atie lo"es to s*uash and sort soft drin! cans, and fishes things out of the trash that should go in ;the bin;6, and can ma!e a big difference with a %ar! or highway clean'u% %roject# This a%%roach %laces the %olitically'correct ;green'ness; and en"ironmentalism we hear about in its %ro%er conte&t: as the stewardshi% of 3od s creation# ,emember, when you ;gi"e; during a %re%aration %eriod, it should be o"er and abo"e what you as a %arish, family or indi"idual already do throughout the year: it is an additional sacrifice of money, talent, and time# 4on t ;%re'celebrate; the FeastA The hardest %art of any %re%aration %eriod is !ee%ing the focus on the s%iritual as%ects of the season, then !nowing when to ;wind down; to celebrate# Here are some ti%s for staying out of trouble: 2ee% any religious commemorations that occur during a %re%aration %eriod sim%le and a%%ro%riate# This includes %arish ban*uets and family dinners commemorating %atron saint s days, $a%tisms, etc# A"oid secular celebrations and %arties# If you absolutely must attend, %ut in just a brief a%%earance# 5=se your common sense regarding the mealIrefreshments ser"ed, but lea"e before the dancing or other ;li"ely; entertainment begins#6 If your family s celebration of a certain feast includes decorating your home 5e#g#, %utting u% a 0hristmas tree and lights for the )ati"ity, or dis%laying s%ring flowers and decorated eggs for Pascha6, don t %ut out the decorations early# <ait until the e"e of the feast, when the 0hurch is also antici%ating its celebration# As a child, I remember %utting u% our family s artificial 0hristmas tree with my father while my mother %re%ared Holy -u%%er 5a s%ecial .enten meal eaten before the )ati"ity Figil, a -la"ic custom6# In our %arish today, Fr# -te%hen insists that the tree in the "estibule not be decorated until the -unday before the )ati"ity, for just this reason# by )ichola Toda 2rause H 9DDD by 1rthodo& Family .ife and the original author5s6# =,.: htt%:IIwww#theologic#comIoflweb# This web site is donated and maintained by Theo.ogic -ystems, which %ro"ides software and information tools for 1rthodo& 0hristians and %arishes world wide# '''''''''''''''''''''''' A ,eci%e for 2oli"a 9 0 hulled wheat 5 lb#6 : 0 water 9I? ' @I: 0 cho%%ed nuts 5walnuts, almonds, %istachios, etc#6 9I? ' @I: 0 raisins, golden or regular 9I: 0 cho%%ed fresh %arsley or mint 5o%tional6 9 ts%# cinnamon For the to%%ing: 9 0 fine crumbs of 7wiebac! or graham crac!ers 9 0 sifted %owdered sugar 9I: ' 9I? lb# white >ordan Almonds 5sugar'coated almonds6 The day before the Memorial -er"ice: ,inse and drain the wheat# 0oo! it as you would rice, for about 9 to 9 hours# 4o not o"ercoo! so that the grains e&%lode# -ince there is more water in the coo!ing than there would be for rice, chec! the wheat as it s coo!ing for doneness# Pour the hot wheat into a large or two smaller colanders# <hen drained, %ut the wheat into a large bowl# 0o"er the wheat with "ery cold water to sto% the coo!ing# Allow the wheat to drain o"ernight# The morning of the Memorial -er"ice: In a large bowl mi& the wheat with the cinnamon, nuts, raisins, and %arsley or mint# Transfer the mi&ture to the bowl to be ta!en to 0hurch# Place a %iece of wa&ed %a%er on to% of the mi&ture and flatten the to% so that it is e"enly distributed# -%rin!le the 7wiebac! or graham crac!er crumbs e"enly o"er the wheat mi&ture# This !ee%s the moisture from the %owdered sugar layer# -ift the %owdered sugar ato% the crumb layer#

=se the >ordan almonds to form a cross ato% the %owdered sugar# The edge of the bowl can be lined with >ordan almonds if desired# 0o"er the bowl with %lastic wra%# Plan to be at 0hurch before .iturgy begins so that you can gi"e the bowl and your list of names of your deceased family and friends to the %riest# A candle is often %laced in the bowl and lit during the memorial ser"ice# H 9DDD by 1rthodo& Family .ife and the original author5s6# =,.: htt%:IIwww#theologic#comIoflweb# This web site is donated and maintained by Theo.ogic -ystems, which %ro"ides software and information tools for 1rthodo& 0hristians and %arishes world wide# '''''''''''''''''''''''''''''' Editor s )ote: -ince one goal of the .enten season is to increase our %ersonal %rayer life, we share the following article to hel% us do just that# Fr# Thomas Ho%!o, 4ean of -t# Fladimir s -eminary, is a noted author and often sought s%ea!er# Please use his article as a tool to teach your children about %rayer# This is the %erfect time to wor! on %rayers with the children in the morning, before and after meals, and before bedtime# Prayer Primer by Father Thomas Ho%!o Prayer is a s%ecific acti"ity that must be a %art of a %erson s life# It is, as the catechism says, ;a lifting of the mind and heart to 3od#; It is a tal!ing with 3od, and a listening to Him# It is communion with 3od in the most direct, e&%eriential way# 0hristians must %ray# <e cannot substitute anything in the %lace of %rayer# <e cannot thin! that %rayer is ;anything good that we do; in the sense of re%lacing the actual act of %rayer about which 0hrist s%o!e when He said: ;<hen you %ray, go into your room and close the door, and %ray in secretE; Although e"erything good done by man glorifies 3od, the s%ecific acti"ity of %rayer must be retained and %erfected# ;If you are not successful in your %rayer, do not e&%ect success in anything# Prayer is the root of all#; 5$isho% Theo%han6 <hen we 0hristians %ray, we must be consciously aware of the fact that our %rayer goes on ;within 3od;( that in %rayer we are already somehow ;inside of 3od;# <e are not lonely, isolated creatures attem%ting by our %rayer to call out in solitude across and un%assable abyss to a 3od ;way out there;# <e are in 3od# The Holy -%irit is in us, ma!ing us 0hildren of 3od in 0hrist, enabling us to call the Transcendent, All'Holy 3od, ;our Father;# ;For you are in the -%irit, if the -%irit of 3od really dwells in youE for all who are led by the -%irit are sons of 3odE when we cry, AbbaA FatherA it is the -%irit Himself bearing witness with our s%irit that we are children of 3odE for we do not !now how to %ray as we ought, but the -%irit Himself intercedes for us with sighs too dee% for wordsE; 5,omans K6# Prayer is not merely the recitation of words# Prayer may begin by reading or saying the words of %rayers# $ut a mere reading or saying of words, without feeling or attention, is not %rayer# It is not e"en %oor %rayer# It is not %rayer at all# Prayer is learned only by %raying# )o one can teach another to %ray# $ut a good way to begin to %ray is to use the %rayers of the %rayer boo!# This is so because, since ;we do not !now how to %ray;, the Holy -%irit re"eals in the %rayers of Lthe -on andM the saints the %ro%er form and content of %rayer# In the %rayers of the boo!s ' es%ecially the .ord s Prayer ' we not only %ray truly by %utting oursel"es into the words of the %rayers, but we also learn what we must %ray# The catechism classifies %rayer in three ty%es: as!ing Lfor oursel"es in %etition and for others in intercessionM, than!ing, and %raising# A fourth category can LalsoM be added: the %rayer of *uestioning or com%laining to 3od# To learn to come to 3od in e"ery situation, and with each of the four categories o%erating all the time, is a "ery im%ortant achie"ement: the achie"ement of a %rayerful life# <hat may we as! for in %rayer/ For e"erything good( and nothing good is too small# For what should we than! LHimM/ For e"erything# For what should we %raise LHimM/ For e"erything# About what may we *uestion/ About all things not understood# About what may we lament and com%lain/ About all that is frustrating, confusing, and tragic in our li"es# $ut in all things: than!sgi"ing and %raise, for this is the essence of faith# And in all things: ;Thy will be done#; Prayer must be %ri"ate, %ersonal, and secret# It cannot be limited just to the liturgy L;common wor! or ser"icesM of the 0hurch# -trictly s%ea!ing, the liturgy of the 0hurch is not merely a form of %ersonal %rayer, a form done cor%orately and o%enly, together with others# .iturgy is more than a %rayer# It is gathering, being together, singing, celebrating, %rocessing, announcing, teaching, listening, interceding, remembering, offering, recei"ing, ha"ing communion with 3od and each other, being sent into the world with an e&%erience of something to be witnessed toE Its efficacy de%ends u%on our %ersonal %rayer done alone in secret# the liturgy cannot be our only %rayer# If it is, we should seriously *uestion its meaning and %ower for us# How can we begin to %ray/ >ust by beginning# $ut how to begin, with what sort of methods/ E"eryone s way will be different, but the saints gi"e two absolute rules: be brief, and be regular# These are the %illars of %rayer# $re"ity to ensure humility, to discourage des%air, and to enable us to do what can reasonable be done# And regularity to build the rhythm of %rayer into the rhythm of life as an unchanging element of our e&istence# It is a million times more effecti"e and %leasing to 3od to ha"e a short rule of %rayer rigidly !e%t at regular times than to ;do a lot; just any old time, whene"er we ha%%en to do it# -u%%ose we cannot ' or will not ' be regular in %rayer, not e"en with the shortest of rules/ Is e"erything lost/ )ot at all# In

this case we are told by our saints to ta!e a small %rayer or just a few words 5li!e the >esus Prayer, or ;.ord, ha"e mercy;, or a line from a Psalm6 and to say it as often as we can, whene"er or where"er we ha%%en to be# Anyone can do this, as it re*uires nothing but to do it, and it can lead us to union with 3od# ;,emembrance of 3od; is the %ur%ose of %rayer ' to ;wal! in His %resence;, to ;stand before His Face;, to be conscious of His -%irit in us ma!ing us His children# ,emembrance of 3od is the way to !ee%ing His commandments, and doing His commandments is our sal"ation and life# <hat about sweet feelings, consolations, comforts, "isions, images, sentiments, emotions, graces of s%ecial sortE/ Forget them allA They are not the %ur%ose of %rayer, not the %ur%ose of 0hristian faith# If 3od wants to gi"e them to us, we will get them# $ut we must not see! them or loo! for them# <e must reject and doubt them if we thin! that we ha"e them# This is the doctrine of the 1rthodo& saints# For faithful %rayer has one singular goal: to allow us to accom%lish 3od s will# Prayer is in no way se%arated from good wor!s and social action# <hen %rayer is %erfect and we see the Face of 3od in communion with Him in the de%ths of the Trinity, He shows us two things: He shows us 0hrist s 0ross and our brother# True %rayer teaches us, as the Elder -ilouan of Mount Athos has said, that ;our brother is our life#; There is no touching 3od, no genuine %rayer, which does not directly result for the one who %rays in the sufferings of 0hrist for the lo"e of creation# If we are not willing to do the commandments of 0hrist and to ta!e radical decisions and actions toward 3od, oursel"es, others, and the "ery world we li"e in, then we had better not e"en begin to %ray# For in %rayer, 3od will %ush us to do things, things our natural man might not want to do# To dare %ray 5as one 0hurch father %ut it6 and not to do what %rayer will demand of us is to court insanity# If we are not ready to ;%ut u%; in out life, we had better ;shut u%; in our %rayer# ;It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the li"ing 3od; 5Hebrews 9C:@96# ;+oung man, do not forget to say your %rayers# If your %rayer is sincere, there will be e"ery time you %ray a new feeling containing an idea in it, an idea that you did not !now before, which will gi"e you courage# Then you will understand that %rayer is an educationE; 54ostoe"s!y6# Prayer is a teacher# $y %raying, we are taught of 3od by 3od Himself# And one of the things that we learn is itself how to %ray# ;1 .ord, teach me to %ray: %ray Thou Thyself in meE; 5Metro%olitan Philaret of Moscow6# ;Prayer Primer; is re%rinted with %ermission from The 1rthodo& Educator, -%ring 9DK?, %%#??'?:# This article was originally titled, ;98 )otes on Prayer;# H 9DDD by 1rthodo& Family .ife and the original author5s6# =,.: htt%:IIwww#theologic#comIoflweb# This web site is donated and maintained by Theo.ogic -ystems, which %ro"ides software and information tools for 1rthodo& 0hristians and %arishes world wide# ''''''''''''''''''''''''''''' -ome 1rthodo& Prayers The following are some good basic ;training %rayers; for children, but can t re%lace a good 1rthodo& %rayer boo!# 53et an age'a%%ro%riate %rayer boo! for your children as soon as they can hold oneA They may also recei"e a %rayer boo! from their god%arents as a %resent, or from the 0hurch when they ha"e made their first Holy 0onfession#6 And remember, that the Tro%aria and 2onta!ia for the feasts 5usually listed in the bac! of your .iturgy boo!6 may also be used in %ersonal %rayersA The .ord s Prayer This is the %rayer 0hrist taught to the 4isci%les when they as!ed Him how to %ray: 1ur Father, <ho is in hea"en, hallowed be +our )ame# +our 2ingdom come, +our <ill be done, on Earth as it is in Hea"en# 3i"e us this day our daily bread, and forgi"e us our tres%asses, as we forgi"e those who tres%ass against us# And lead us not into tem%tation, but deli"er us from the e"il one# $lessing for Food 5;3race;6 $less, 1 .ord, the food and drin! of +our ser"ants, for +ou are holy, now and fore"er# Amen# The >esus Prayer This %rayer is the fulfillment of -t# Paul s admonition, ;Pray without ceasing#; The >esus Prayer is not, howe"er, a mantra# Its im%ortance deri"es from its doctrinal and ethical content and from the fact that we are addressingE 0hrist# Through constant in"ocation of the name of >esus, the heart is %urified and recei"es di"ine grace# 5The Faith, %%# ??96 1 .ord, >esus 0hrist, -on of 3od, ha"e mercy on me, a sinner# The Prayer of -t# -imeon This %rayer is sung at each Fes%er ser"ice# It is found in .u!e ?:@K# .ord, now let +our ser"ant de%art in %eace,

according to +our <ord( for my eyes ha"e seen +our sal"ation which +ou ha"e %re%ared before the face of all %eo%le, a light to enlighten the 3entiles, and for the glory of +our %eo%le Israel# Prayer of -t# E%hraim the -yrian This %rayer is used throughout 3reat .ent, and is e&cellent for e&%ressing re%entance# 1 .ord and Master of my life, cast away from me the s%irit of la7iness, idle curiosity, lo"e of %ower and "ain tal!# 5%rostration6 $ut grant me, +our ser"ant, the s%irit of moderation, humility, %atience and lo"e# 5%rostration6 +es, .ord and 2ing, grant me to see my own faults and not to judge my brothers and sisters# 5%rostration6 For +ou are blessed fore"er# Amen# H 9DDD by 1rthodo& Family .ife and the original author5s6# =,.: htt%:IIwww#theologic#comIoflweb# This web site is donated and maintained by Theo.ogic -ystems, which %ro"ides software and information tools for 1rthodo& 0hristians and %arishes world wide# ''''''''''''''''''''''''' A Prayer for 1ur 0hildren Prayer is the way we come to !now 3od %ersonally ' as the Hea"enly Father to <hom our .ord >esus 0hrist cried ;Abba; 5that is, ;4addy;6 ' and it is a "ital %art of our journey toward sal"ation# Parents and god%arents es%ecially %ray for their children ' both than!ing 3od for them, and begging that He gi"e them %rotection and guidance as they grow# The %rayer below, based on one by Archbisho% .u!e 5Foino'+esenets!iy6, ;hits the nail on the head; in identifying the %hysical and s%iritual battles our children face today, all those things of which we %arents are reminded when a new school year begins# 1 3od and Father, 0reator and Preser"er of all creationA 3i"e to our %oor children the grace of +our Holy -%irit, that He may light within them that true fear of 3od which is the beginning of wisdom, and common sense, the following of which is a source of eternal %raise# $less them with true !nowledge of +ou, !ee% them from all idolatry and false teaching# Enable them to grow in true sa"ing faith and in all %iety, and let those be with them to the end# 3rant to them a faithful, obedient, humble heart and intellect, that they might grow in years and in grace before 3od and before men# Plant in their hearts lo"e for +our 4i"ine <ord, so that they might be %ious during %rayers and during di"ine ser"ices, that they might show res%ect for the ser"ants of +our <ord, and be sincere in their actions, modest in body, chaste in morals, honest in word, faithful in action, diligent in studies, ha%%y to com%lete their tas!s, and wise and just toward e"eryone# Preser"e them from all tem%tations of this world, and grant that they not be %er"erted by bad com%any# 4o not allow them to fall into uncleanness and unchastity, to cut short their own li"es or to bring sorrow to others# In time of any danger, be their Protector# Ensure that we see in them not dishonor and disgrace, but honor and joy, so that the number of faithful might increase, and that they might be in hea"en at +our $an*uet, li!e hea"enly oli"e shoots# May they, with all of the chosen, gi"e +ou honor, %raise, and glory through >esus 0hrist, our .ord# Amen# Ada%ted from ;Parents Prayers for Their 0hildren,; htt%:IIwww#orthodo&#netItrebnic H 9DDD by 1rthodo& Family .ife and the original author5s6# =,.: htt%:IIwww#theologic#comIoflweb# This web site is donated and maintained by Theo.ogic -ystems, which %ro"ides software and information tools for 1rthodo& 0hristians and %arishes world wide# '''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''' The )icene 0reed I belie"e in one 3od, the Father almighty, Ma!er of hea"en and earth, and of all things "isible and in"isible# And in one .ord >esus 0hrist, the -on of 3od, the only'begotten, begotten of the Father before all ages# .ight of light( true 3od of true 3od( begotten, not made( of one essence with the Father, by <hom all things were made( <ho for us men and for our sal"ation came down from hea"en, and was incarnate of the Holy -%irit and the Firgin Mary, and became man# And He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered, and was buried# And the third day He rose again, according to the -cri%tures, and ascended into hea"en, and sits at the right hand of the Father( and He shall come again with glory to judge the li"ing and the dead( <hose 2ingdom shall ha"e no end# And in the Holy -%irit, the .ord, the 3i"er of .ife, <ho %roceeds from the Father( <ho with the Father and the -on together is worshi%%ed and glorified(

<ho s%o!e by the %ro%hets# And in one holy, catholic, and a%ostolic 0hurch# I ac!nowledge one $a%tism for the remission of sins# I loo! for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the worldS to come# S .iterally, TageU# =,.: htt%:IIwww#theologic#comIoflweb# This web site is donated and maintained by Theo.ogic -ystems, which %ro"ides software and information tools for 1rthodo& 0hristians and %arishes world wide# ''''''''''''''''''''''''' Editor s )ote: <e are %leased to offer the first in a series of articles on %arenting by 4r# Albert -# ,ossi# They originally a%%eared in .iguorian maga7ine for the =nited )ations 9DD: +ear of the Family celebration# As a %rofessor at Pace =ni"ersity, a clinical %sychologist, author, and the father of two children, 4r# ,ossi brings us a wealth of e&%erience and !nowledge# He attends Three Hierarchs 0ha%el at -t# Fladimir s -eminary# <e than! .iguorian for granting us %ermission to re%rint the series# Parent to Parent: Tal!ing with 0hildren about -e& by Albert -# ,ossi, Ph#4# Fery une&%ectedly, when my daughter $eth was si&, she said, ;4addy, $ec!y belie"es the baby comes out of the mother s mouth# E"en I !now better than that# The baby is too big to come out of the mother s mouth#; At si&, she had a "ery rudimentary notion of baby'ma!ing and se&ual acti"ity# That was not the time to e&%lain to her the intricacies and intimacies of se&# <hat she needed was an awareness that her daddy was rece%ti"e to this !ind of con"ersation and that he could res%ond# The circumstances didn t %ermit me to res%ond then, but an a%%ro%riate res%onse could ha"e been, ;-weet'heart, little $ec!y belie"es that because she s not as grown u% as you# )ow you !now more# 0an we tal! a little bit about how the baby does come out/; Tal!ing with children about se& means starting a dialogue and gaining the child s %ermission to continue# The basic message we want to e&%ress to our children is that se& is "ery good and mysterious# It has dee% meaning, and it is a natural %art of life as 3od made it# .engthy one'way lectures by the %arent about se& 5or anything else6 ma!e both the %arent and the child uncomfortable and %robably don t communicate much# Instead, tal!ing with children about se& ha%%ens more easily and %roducti"ely in a *uestion'and'answer con"ersation# Ideally the first *uestion comes from the child# -ome children ne"er do as!, so the %arent might discreetly try different statements for o%eners# The %arent says something general, then as!s a *uestion# -tatements and *uestions change based u%on the age, so%histication, and o%enness of the child# For e&am%le, ;>ohnny s mother just had a baby girl, so >ohnny now has a little sister# 4o you e"er wonder how a mother feels when she is ha"ing a baby/; or ;4o you e"er thin! about how a baby comes into the world/; Healthy tal! about se& deals with more than baby'ma!ing# The discussion includes a%%reciating the beautiful "alue of the human body as a tem%le of 3od, thin!ing enough about oursel"es to be willing to wait for marriage, and res%ecting oursel"es and others because we are good# The accent must be u%on the good, true, and beautiful, not the bad and horrid conse*uences of illicit se&# My belief is that the mother 5or mother'substitute in a s%lit family6 should discuss the menstrual cycle and the mystery of se&ual intercourse with her daughter before the age of ten or so# The role of the father in the discussion is to not be %resent# Following the discussion, 4ad should let his daughter !now that he is aware that the tal! too! %lace# He can tell her that he is %roud that his sweetheart is about to become a young woman, that he thin!s she is %retty, and that she always will be beautiful in his eyes# I also belie"e that the father or father'substitute should ha"e a con"ersation with his son about the facts of life, without the boy s mother being %resent# After the discussion, the mother can show that she !nows the con"ersation too! %lace and is %roud of her son s de"elo%ment into a young man# <hen the boy as!s his mother *uestions about se&, she can answer directly and honestly, without unnecessary detail# To be candid, the discussions with my own two children did not occur in such a te&tboo! and %erfect fashion# .ife rarely re%licates the ideal# <e %arents do the best we can with what we "e got# In his boo! 4are to 4isci%line, 4r# >ames 4obson says that gi"ing a child information about se&, adult to child, begins when the child is in the crib and ends at %uberty# 1nce a child reaches %uberty, the %arent ta!es on a new role# )ow con"ersations about se& deal with issues and "alues# And they ta!e on a "ery different tone, more adult to adult# I ha"e found this "ery freeing, to !now this is my new role# 1nce while watching TF, my thirteen'year'old son and I saw the teen boy in the mo"ie clearly %ut his hand on the breast of his teenage girlfriend# .ater I said to my son, ;Tim, how did you feel when the boy %ut his hand on her breast/; Tim said, ;Embarrassed#; I said, ;Me too#; )ot much of a con"ersation, but sufficient to ma!e the %oint, and something we can always come bac! to# Tal!ing with children about se& is much more than mere words# 0hildren ;hear; the beha"ior of adults# The way %arents caress and nurture each other tenderly in front of the children ma!es an elo*uent statement about marital lo"e and, by im%lication, about marital se&uality#

<e %arents %ray ardently for wisdom and timing# 1ur ho%e is in 3od, who will both fortify us and com%ensate for our wea!nesses and failures# <e rely fully on 3od, for we ha"e no other ho%e# 1riginally %ublished in .iguorian, -e%tember 9DD:, re%rinted with %ermission from .iguorian, 1ne .iguori 4ri"e, .iguori, M1 B@C8G# H 9DDD by 1rthodo& Family .ife and the original author5s6# =,.: htt%:IIwww#theologic#comIoflweb# This web site is donated and maintained by Theo.ogic -ystems, which %ro"ides software and information tools for 1rthodo& 0hristians and %arishes world wide# ''''''''''''''''''''''''''''' .aying the 3roundwor! for the Teenage +ears by Ann Marie 3idus'Mecera If your children are young and you thin! you ha"e %lenty of time before worrying about the teenage years, thin! againA Pre%aring our child 5and us6 for the rigorous teenage years isn t something to address when they re teens, but years earlier# $oth %arent and child will need an arsenal to face the critical stages that lead to adulthood# There is a great deal %arents can do to minimi7e the challenges, maintain a healthy relationshi%, and %roduce young adults who ha"e a true lo"e for their Faith# An e&%erienced gardener !nows that if she attem%ts to grow %lants in %oor soil, she will ha"e minimal luc! %roducing beautiful %lants# The %lants will grow slowly and usually yield small blossoms or fruit# The e&%erienced gardener !nows she must %ro%erly %re%are the soil with %eat moss and other nutrients to enrich the soil and ready it for %lanting# The results are worth the e&tra effort at the start# The same goes for our children# Parents begin laying the foundation for their family as soon as the children are born# 0hildren must be ;%re%ared; just li!e soil is %rimed, with an ;enriching; lifestyle# <aiting until they are actually teens to %ut a %lan into effect can be too late# The groundwor! must be laid years before# Here are some ideas for ;%re%aring; for the teenage years so they might be as fruitful as %ossible# Parenting 9C9 E"ery %arent should understand the need for disci%line and how to disci%line# Parenthood is one of the few %rofessions where training is not mandatory# $ut it should be# 4isci%line is a must for raising healthy children and !ee%ing %arents sane# Parents need to be in charge and children need %arents to be in charge# Effecti"e %arenting techni*ues are formed early on when children are toddlers# 3ood %arenting s!ills are easy to learn and can su%%ly %arents with effecti"e communication and disci%line s!ills they can use at e"ery stage of their child s life# Many %ar!s and recreation centers offer %arenting classes# The local 0hamber of 0ommerce is another good source# 0ommunity and daily %a%ers also list e"ents and classes# $oth s%ouses should ideally attend for the most effecti"e results# There are also many good boo!s a"ailable on %arenting# ,eading some of these boo!s would be a good way to enhance a %arenting class# Parents should !ee% in mind that they may be e&%osed to a "ariety of %hiloso%hies and ideas, and will need to discern which ones are a%%ro%riate not only for themsel"es, but are in sync with the teachings of the Faith# -cri%ture tells us that our role as %arents is to disci%line and ;train; our children in the way of the .ord# ;Train children in the right way, and when old, they will not stray#; Pro"erbs ??:B;1 my Peo%le, hear my teaching( listen to the words of my mouth# I will o%en my mouth in %arables, I will utter things hidden from of old'things we ha"e heard and !nown, things our fathers told us# <e will not hide them from their children( we will tell the ne&t generation the %raiseworthy deeds of the .ord, His %ower, and the wonders He has done# He decreed statutes for >acob and established the law in Israel, which He commanded our forefathers to teach their children so that the ne&t generation would !now them'e"en the children yet to be born'and they, in turn, would tell their children# Then they would %ut their trust in 3od and would not forget His deeds, but would !ee% His commands#; Psalms GK: 9'G In a recent mailing from Fr# Ted $obosh, 4irector of the ,eligious Education 4e%artment of the 4iocese of the Midwest, Fr# Ted *uotes from the boo! $ecause I -aid -o by 2en Myer L2ansas 0ity: Andrews and McMeel, 9DDB, Q9:#D8M:;$ecause these %arents don t !now how to command their children s attention, they wind u% constantly demanding it# Their children com%ly subser"iently in order to a"oid %unishment, but are ne"er genuinely obedient in the sense of wanting, out of lo"e, to %lease# This is nothing short of tragic, for a child who is not %ro%erly guided by his %arents toward wanting to %lease them arri"es at adulthood without %recedent for wanting to %lease 3od# It s not that he will ne"er be able to ma!e that choice, but the decision, difficult to begin with, will be considerably more arduous# ;)o matter how much training we ha"e as %arents, an im%ortant %oint to remember is that 3od has the ultimate authority o"er the children He has %ut in our care# As %arents, we cannot thin! our role is an end in itself or that we ha"e ultimate influence o"er our children# This shows a lac! of faith in 3od and demonstrates an unrealistic %erce%tion of our role as %arents# Teaching our children to lo"e and obey us not only ma!es for an orderly life, but %re%ares our children to li"e a life %leasing to 3od when they are adults# ,egular 0hurch <orshi% 1ne of the first ste%s in successfully dealing with the teenage years is regular 0hurch worshi%# A family grounded in the commitment to their Faith attends 0hurch regularly# This sends a clear message to our children of where our %riorities lie# 1ur attendance is a gift to our children'the gift of the Holy -%irit# ,ecei"ing the Holy Eucharist on a regular basis is a gift to our children# <hen they become used to this -unday after -unday, they also become accustomed to the accom%anying 3eneral 0onfession LEditor s )ote: a %ractice in some 1rthodo& churchesM and Pri"ate 0onfession# This disci%line is not

something just for our children, but necessary for all of us# In a recent article on raising successful teens a%%earing in the $etter Homes and 3ardens maga7ine 5;-i& -ecrets to ,aising a -uccessful Teen,; 1ctober 9DDK6, the author noted that the teens inter"iewed mentioned religion as one of the greatest influences in their li"es, second only to the influence their %arents# Establishing a rule for worshi% when children are young can %ro"ide the stability and disci%line they need in all as%ects of their li"es# If children reali7e that attending church is something the family does together on a regular basis, and it is not a negotiable issue, they will be more a%t to acce%t it as they become older# If our children don t attend 0hurch regularly when they are young, they will surely resist going to 0hurch when they are teenagersA If we ha"e %laced 0hurch worshi% as a to% %riority in our household, then when they do resist attending 0hurch with e&cuses 5;I stayed out too late last night#; or ;I don t e"er get to slee% inA;6, we ha"e a stronger case because of the e&am%les we set throughout their childhood# ,aising our children with a consistent rule of worshi% doesn t mean they will ne"er com%lain about going to 0hurch# Their job as children is to challenge us( our job as %arents is to meet that challengeA 3od is a Parent s $oss A truth children should learn early on is that as %arents we are accountable to 3od# 3od has gi"en us the job of raising our children in a way that is %leasing to Him# If we fall short of His e&%ectations, He will not be %leased with us as %arents# 0hildren need to hear this message many times in their childhood, and es%ecially during the challenging teenage years# The %erfect time for this lesson is when they resist a rule or decision# If there is any crutch we can use in defending our %arental actions, it is this oneA 1ur Home as a .ittle 0hurch 1ur faith is not com%artmentali7ed# <e don t lea"e it at the door when we lea"e the 0hurch# As husband and wife, we were crowned !ing and *ueen of our !ingdom# 1ur home is where we li"e out that !ingdom# 1ur children should ha"e a clear understanding that the home they li"e in is an e&tension of the 0hurch in which they worshi%# Here are some ways we can de"elo% this ;little church; and ultimately create the unconditional sense of security and stability our children need: 4aily family %rayer ' 0reating a stable en"ironment for our children is one of the first re*uirements for raising healthy, well'adjusted teenagers# 1ne of the most im%ortant tools for creating that en"ironment is a regular rule of %rayer for the family as well as a %ersonal %rayer rule for oursel"es# Praying together is an e&tension of the larger 0hurch as well as a critical function of our ;little 0hurch; at home# The family should choose a time that is most con"enient to %ray together# That time may be before e"eryone goes on his or her way in the morning, or it may be in the e"ening when the schedule is more rela&ing# $efore the family lea"es for school or wor!: A sim%le selection of %rayers can ta!e as little as a cou%le of minutes and is an ideal way of starting the day and sending our children on their way# If it is not %ractical to gather the entire family, then at least one %arent can %ray with the children before they begin the day# -ometimes %rayers may e"en ha"e to be said in the car on the way to wor! or school# ;4o <hat I 4o; ' %arents need to set good e&am%les for their children to follow# ,egardless of what our children say about us, it is what they are thin!ing about our lifestyle that really matters <hat do we welcome into our ;little church;/ The TF shows, friends, music, and language we allow in our ;little church; greatly influence our children s growth and %ersonality# 4aily Prayer for our 0hildren'As %arents, there is only so much we can do for the good of our children# 1nce we "e done all we %ossibly can, we must %ro"e our faith in 3od by %utting our children s li"es into His hands# Praying daily for our children is the most %owerful thing we can do for our children# It should be a regular %art of our %ersonal %rayer rule# Perha%s our children will be the reason we actually establish a %rayer rule for oursel"esA 4aily -cri%ture ,eading ' Another tool for %re%aring our children for li"ing ;in the world; is reading scri%ture together# Particularly during the years %rior to adolescence, daily scri%ture reading offers a %owerful o%%ortunity to discuss the e&%ectations 3od has for us as 0hristians# <hat better way to teach our children the "aluable lessons of 0hristianity than by following the daily scri%ture readings# The church calendar a"ailable from nearly e"ery %arish at the beginning of the year can be tuc!ed into the family $ible so that readings can ta!e %lace along with daily %rayers# E"ening can be a good time to gather# The family can offer u% %rayer, read the scri%tures, and briefly discuss them# This needn t ta!e more than a total of 98 minutes, but can be indis%ensable in %re%aring our children for daily life as 0hristians who are %leasing to 3od# The amount of time s%ent discussing the readings should be adjusted to the %ersonalities and ages of the children in"ol"ed# For younger children it may be a%%ro%riate to read the -cri%ture selections and concentrate on one message from the %assage# For older children, it can be a%%ro%riate to discuss the %assages more fully# This may need to ha%%en %ri"ately, so as not to frustrate the younger children# $y reading -cri%ture together, %arents can teach their children im%ortant lessons such as that our bodies are tem%les of the Holy -%irit 59 0orinthians B:9D6# This reading can be in"aluable in e&%laining the 0hurch s stance on drug and alcohol abuse, abortion, eating disorders and the o"erall sanctity of our bodies# 1ther readings can hel% us teach "aluable lessons about issues of morality, character, adultery and integrity# The %ractice of daily -cri%ture reading from an early age also hel%s get our message across at a time when our children tend to be more o%en to what we ha"e to say# 4uring the %re'adolescent years our children still "alue our ideas and thoughts, as o%%osed to the teen years when they become more inde%endent of us, and more de%endent on the attitudes of their %eers, eager to establish their own identity# The %re'adolescent years gi"e us a bloc! of time to ingrain the teachings of the 0hurch# Imagine bringing these issues u% for the first time when they are teenagers# 1ur efforts at that %oint could "ery easily be futileA

A 4aily 4ose of Affection As our children grow, there is less of a need to nurture them in a %hysical way# $ut this %hysical dis%lay of affection is necessary %articularly in the %re'adolescent and teen years# Parents should ma!e a habit of ma!ing some %hysical contact with their children e"ery day: a hug, %at on the bac!, or bac! rub# If we aren t gi"ing them affection, where do you thin! they will turn for it/ A -afe Place 0alled Home $esides needing %hysical affection, our children need a safe, %eaceful ha"en to call home# This should be a refuge they can retreat to and be themsel"es# It should be safe, %eaceful, fun and full of lo"e# Home, regardless of its %hysical characteristics, should encourage our children s %resence# <e, as their %arents, should gi"e them a reason to want to be home as much as %ossible# -u%%ort from 1ur -%ouse Finally, %arents should dialogue regularly with each other regarding their children and disci%line'related issues# This is %aramount to the success of our relationshi% with our teenagers and their success in sur"i"ing the teenage years# Planning ahead is also im%ortant# Parents should be %re%ared for resol"ing %roblems and conflicts with their teenage children, as well as hel%ing them resol"e %roblems among %eers and adults# Parents may also want to discuss between themsel"es how they %lan to handle im%ortant issues such as jobs, dating, dri"ing and unsu%er"ised time# $ecause %arents are ;training u% their child; to successfully go ;into the world; it would be wise to include teenagers in %roblem sol"ing and %olicy'ma!ing %rocedures# Ma!ing them a %art of the dialogues suggests that their in%ut is "alued and res%ected# This also hel%s train them to ma!e wise decisions on their own# .i!e the gardener who carefully %re%ares the soil before %lanting a single %lant, %arents must %re%are their children to handle the teenage years# $y relying on the 0hurch to guide us in her wisdom, we can do a great deal to minimi7e the challenges of the teenage years and raise children who ha"e res%ect and lo"e for their Faith# Ann Marie 3idus'Mecera, an ad"ertising consultant and writer, is married to 3ust Mercera and mother of >uliana, age 9:, and >ustina, age K# Her family attends -t# 3regory of )yssa 0hurch 510A6 in 0olumbus, 1hio# Ann Marie has authored A <ay of .ife: Introducing +our 0hild to the 1rthodo& Faith, a teaching manual for %re'schoolers designed for use by %arents and 0hurch -chool educators, I 3o to 0hurch, a boo! about .iturgy for %reschoolers, and The -torm and the -ea, on the life of -t# )icholas# -he has also been in"ol"ed in %arish administration, has ser"ed on the 4iocesan 0ouncil for the Midwest 4iocese of the 1rthodo& 0hurch in America, and has offered %resentations on family life and %arish renewal# H 9DDD by 1rthodo& Family .ife and the original author5s6# =,.: htt%:IIwww#theologic#comIoflweb# This web site is donated and maintained by Theo.ogic -ystems, which %ro"ides software and information tools for 1rthodo& 0hristians and %arishes world wide# '''''''''''''''''''''' This wonderful article stirs u% ama7ing images of s%iritual ;home im%ro"ement#; 0an you see it/ A well'!nown )ew England woodwor!er and builder ' ha"ing embraced 1rthodo&y, and e&changed his trademar! %laid shirt for a cassoc! ' stands in a tidy, well'e*ui%%ed wor!sho%, re"iewing the %roject %lans with an attenti"e audienceE ;)o %roject is too com%le& or intimidating if you study the %lans and follow the safety instructions %ro"ided by the Manufacturer#; EnjoyA $lue%rint for a Family by Fr# >ohn 4res!o 1ur %roject for today is to build a family# In a minute, I will gi"e you the a%%roach which we in the 0hristian field li!e to thin! is a good %lan for this ty%e of %roject# First, I must tell you that a ;family; begins with husband and wife# That is the %rimary relationshi% in a family, and anything that turns the focus from that %rimary relationshi% 5e"en childrenA6 is a danger# The most difficult time of life for many %eo%le is when the last child goes off to college and the husband and wife are faced with each other, often as total strangers# <hy/ $ecause they neglected their own relationshi% while they focused on the !ids# That s bac!wardsA The most im%ortant image your children will e"er see is the image of your marriage# If you lo"e one another, cuddle, res%ect each other, treat each other with lo"e ' then your !ids are going to do all rightA ,emember thatA Howe"er, as with all building %rojects, there are a few %itfalls that you must a"oid before building# There are ten of these# .et s ma!e you aware of some of the %roblems in building a family before you actually %ic! u% the tools# <e all ha"e e&%eriences of ;family#; <hen we begin to build our own families, we bring baggage with us# -ome of that baggage is good, but some is also bad# <e shouldn t try to ;shoe'horn; our %articular family into an image that we ha"e of family# -ome of us would li!e things to be e&actly as they were when we were little# -ome of us would li!e things to be e&actly o%%osite of when we were little# Most of us settle for a blend# Fery few families are the 0lea"ers L5from .ea"e it to $ea"er6M and "ery few families are the -im%sons or the $undys 5from Married with 0hildren6# Most of us lim% along doing our best# All families are uni*ue# My family does not ha"e the same ty%e of relations as the one ne&t door# Perce%tions are "ery im%ortant ' remember, the first child %ercei"es things "ery differently from the second, etc# The family, es%ecially today, is stressed# They cannot do e"erything that needs to be done, so stress is released in different ways ' some of them abusi"e#

The family is the focus of the %roblems we deal with today# Many times, a man can t yell at his boss, so he yells at his wife, who then yells at the !ids, who then yell at each other and the dogA And on and on and on### <hen the family life is bad, it is really bad ' in fact, it s hell# <hen the family life is good ' it is ne"er as good as e&%ected# The family is the most intensi"e and e&tensi"e relationshi% most of us will !now# The ;nuclear; family is a title that is only a little out of %lace# <hen e&%losions ha%%en, they are incredibly intense# $y nature, the family is a relationshi% of ;de%endents; ' and since no one li!es to be de%endent u%on someone else, it breeds hostility# The family is ;community; %ar e&cellence, but with that ;commune; also comes inde%endent feelings, selfish feelings, etc#, which destroys the ideal of community# The ideal analogy to re%resent the family is the Holy Trinity ' but that icon leads us to also belie"e that we are doomed from the beginning, because no one li"es u% to the ideal# )ow we are familiar with the ;%itfalls; of family life, so I would li!e to share with you the different building materials used in ma!ing a healthy family# These are listed in order of %riority: The healthy family communicates and listens# <hen someone wants to show you the ultimate disres%ect, they tune you outA In a healthy family, we recogni7e that e"eryone has a basic need to be heard# That doesn t necessarily mean agreed withA Families don t communicate e&%ectations ' !ids don t !now what their %arents really e&%ect, %arents don t !now what their !ids really want, husbands and wi"es fail to communicate about their most basic desires and needs# The most taboo subject: se&A The healthy family affirms and su%%orts# ,es%onsibility brings freedom, achie"ement brings su%%ort, loyalty brings commitment# If we gi"e our !ids res%onsibility and they meet it, we ha"e to trust them with more freedom to decide things# <hen they achie"e something, e"en if it is not ;our; interest, they ha"e a right to our su%%ort# They must be loyal to their decisions ' if someone wants to %lay the French horn, they ha"e to do it right for three months, e"en if they *uit after that# The healthy family teaches res%ect for others# $eginning at home, if we can t res%ect and lo"e each other, what !ind of %eo%le are we/ A study shows that 0hristians who come from ;ha%%y; 5their definition6 homes also ha"e a social conscience Land engage in charitable actsM ' they lo"e their neighbors# The healthy family de"elo%s a sense of trust# Protection, safety, security for !ids# The crisis comes when that trust is shattered, for it ta!es years to rebuild# The healthy family has a sense of %lay and humor# If you can t laugh at yourself and among yoursel"es, this world will crush you# Many times laughter is the only thing that !ee%s us from crying# The healthy family shares res%onsibility# That de"elo%s character, and res%onsible %eo%le at home are res%onsible %eo%le e"erywhere# And "ice "ersa# The healthy family teaches right and wrong# To function as human beings, we need to ha"e clearly defined limits# <e are most ha%%y when we !now e&actly what our limits are ' e"en if we occasionally brea! those limits# At least we !now them# The healthy family has a strong sense of !inshi% with many traditions# 1f course, we 1rthodo& are great at thisA $ut the ha%%iest memories a %erson has are of family traditions from growing u%# Many s%end years trying to reca%ture those days# The healthy family has a balance of interaction# It is good for the family to function as the sum of many %arts, but in no case should the child be allowed to become the head# That is dad or momA The healthy family has a strong, shared religious core# -tudies ha"e shown the tension in families of mi&ed religions, but it is more im%ortant to share a common set of beliefs# ,ight and wrong# 3ood and bad# Ideally, it would be shared by the whole family in the same structure of the 0hurch# The healthy family res%ects the %ri"acy of one another# This is es%ecially im%ortant as the !ids get older# <e do need our %ri"acy# Many times there is not a lot to be said between a :C'year old and his 98'year old child# That s 12# The healthy family "alues ser"ice to others# <hen we are selfish, our family is dysfunctional# -ee no# @# The healthy family fosters family table time and con"ersation# A s%ecial %o& on tele"ision# It ma!es 7ombies who sim%ly eat, slee%, %rocreate, and watch TF# 0ommunication 5no# 9 abo"e6 is im%ossible if the TF is on# At the "ery least, try to ha"e some time together at the table once in a while# It has to be a %riority to brea! into our busy li"esA The healthy family shares leisure time# <hat is more healthy than a family that enjoys each other s com%any, e"en when they don t ;ha"e; to/ The healthy family admits to %roblems and see!s hel%# <e are not %erfect, so at least, as 0hristians, let s gi"e each other the %ro%er e&am%le of humility, re%entance and guidance# My !ids need to be forgi"en, but so do IA If we follow all these ste%s, we should ha"e a %retty good family# $ut there are no guarantees# E"en with all these, our family could be the most messed'u% grou% this side of the -im%sons# <ithout them all, we could be better than the 0lea"ers# <ith %rayer, lo"e and the grace of 3od, we made it to today# <ith the same things, maybe our !ids will ma!e it to tomorrow# 5<ith than!s to 4r# >ohn $oojamra of -t# Fladimir s -eminary for the lists Las used in his family ministry wor!sho%sM#6 Fr# >ohn 4res!o is the editor of 1rthodo& )ew England, 4ean of the 0onnecticut 4eanery, and ,ector of Holy Trinity 0hurch 54iocese of )ew England, 10A6, )ew $ritain, 0T# He resides in -outhington, 0T, with his wife, Eli7abeth, and

their four children# ,e%rinted from 1rthodo& )ew England, )o"# 9DD@, with Fr# >ohn s gracious %ermission# .oo! for more great 1)E articles on the <eb at htt%:IImembers#aol#comIjohnd@I1)E N##Iinde&#htmOV N##Iinde&#htmO N##Iarchi"e#htmOV N##Iarchi"e#htmO Nhtt%:IIwww#theologic#comOV Nhtt%:IIwww#theologic#comO H 9DDD by 1rthodo& Family .ife and the original author5s6# =,.: htt%:IIwww#theologic#comIoflweb# This web site is donated and maintained by Theo.ogic -ystems, which %ro"ides software and information tools for 1rthodo& 0hristians and %arishes world wide# '''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''' Enriching +our .ife in the 1rthodo& Faith by Matush!a Photini Henderson First, let me %reamble the following comments with the obser"ation that the 0hurch is both a large, su%%orti"e family with our .ord as the Paterfamilias 5the all'%owerful Father6, and a s%iritual hos%ital# In our %rimary culture, this is an abusi"e meta%hor: we re trying to feel good about oursel"es, but the 0hurch teaches that creation has not been right since the Fall in Paradise, and indeed, we ha"e the sense that something is unnatural and bro!en each time we go to a funeral# The natural world is fallen, so our %ur%ose is to return to Paradise# <e lost Paradise through the ancestral sin of disobedience of eating of the fruit of the Tree, but we can regain Paradise through the obedience of eating of the Fruit of the Tree 50hrist6# <e gather together at 4i"ine .iturgy to do so# $ut many of us are affected by the %rimary culture, which sees 0hurch as merely a nice, moral brea! from the %rimary life of economic and %leasurable %ursuits# -o in a way, we re e&%ected to be minimalists ' but our faith teaches that our whole life must be in 0hrist# How do we do this, in a world that is inclined otherwise/ The healing is both in the Mystery of Holy 0ommunion and in the increasing of the family and "illage ministries# The family and "illage ministries both test and guide, encourage and e&hort us to a change in lifestyle# In our modern world, we re tragically disassociated from many of our most talented ministers ' there is nothing more %rofoundly s%iritual, and more teaching to a child than the old babas and dedes: they ha"e the soft, refined edge and acute em%athic s!ills that age and e&%erience has earned them, and mother and father alone still ha"en t ac*uired, and couldn t e"en fa!e# As much as %ossible, we need to increase our ado%tions of one another as family members ' for the de"il which see!s to di"ide us has successfully taught the %rimary culture that the isolated, nuclear family is the ideal# -%iritually, it is death# To combat that, we need to begin, little by little to a%%reciate and bond with our %arish families# ;1ne 0hristian is no 0hristian,; is a s%iritual %ro%hecy# I ho%e that these random words may hel% your family discuss ways in which you can include more and more of the richer e&tensions of family life# And %lease do share your ideas with me ' I m learning, too# In truth, I can only ho%e to offer some basic guidance, and e"en that is written from a heart full of an admi&ture of grief, en"y, and ho%e ' for I li"e in the modern age, in a non'1rthodo& culture, and am too loosely joined to a %arish that consists %rimarily of commuters or families with e&cessi"e worldly burdens, and we are all missing the traditional enrichment s%irit guides of 1rthodo&y ' e&tended family members, fellow %arishioners, and a whole 1rthodo& culture# +esterday, someone shared a homesic!ness for her time in the 1rthodo& old country where 1rthodo&y was li"ed and breathed# I identified strongly with her, ha"ing s%ent a few short months in an 1rthodo& country# The "ery language, when one said hello, good'bye, than! you, %lease, was imbued with 1rthodo&y# ,eactions to joy and grief were 1rthodo&# ,oadside icon stands mar!ed the s%ot where belo"ed died, icons met you in e"ery store# .o"ing endearments for the saints and the Theoto!os were on the li%s of e"eryone# .i!ewise, no one was isolated# For Americans used to inde%endence and autonomy, and not understanding the relational *ualities of being 0hristian, this could be intrusi"e and meddlesome# $ut this was embrace, lo"ing relationshi%sE concerned, e&horti"e, encouraging, interested, andE family# If you were 1rthodo&, you were family# And as family, they too! you in as theirs ' what you did right or wrong, what you needed, how you could hel%# +ou belonged# It was li!e li"ing in the icon of the $ody of 0hrist, the 0hurch ' nothing is cut off or dying or isolated in thatA It was life, and it is life'su%%orting# Enrichment That is what the old'world culture %ro"ides, that is the ministry of the "illagers and the e&tended family members# That is what we miss in growing u% in a non'1rthodo& country# That is what we need to add to the life in our churches# That is the %ur%ose of enrichment# And I state that it is not at all o%tional, if we re to really li"e# <hat we ha"e in our modern times, in non'1rthodo& cultures, is an anti'icon of 0hurch# <e re encouraged to be isolated, inde%endent, and autonomous# As 1rthodo& there is an added hardshi% to going from glory to glory# =sually we li"e far from the church# Any 0hurch ser"ices we can attend are limited to the wee!end, some e"en only one ser"ice on a wee!end# The central focus of our life, the church is so far away we can t hear the bells# How, in this tension, can we grow from glory to glory/ Enrichment# <hat 4o +ou Mean by ;Enrichment;/ It does sound "ery much li!e yet another gimmic!, an e&tra, or an embellishment ' li!e something fancy or o%tional, but I "e come to an awareness that this is none of that, but "ital, life'im%ortant nutrients# The ser"ices and %rayers uni"ersal to e"ery tradition and e"ery country, 1rthodo& or not, can go a long way to raising 0hristians# $ut what if the language of

the ser"ice is incom%rehensible to the 0hristian/ 4oes it fail/ )o# In ,ussia and 3reece, the language of the ser"ices are often not com%rehensible to the faithful 5in ,ussian, 3ree!, and )orth African "illages, no one s%ea!s and rarely do they understand -la"onic, 0hurch 3ree!, or 3ee76, so how could it %ossibly ha"e raised 0hristians at all/ $ecause the culture was imbued with 1rthodo&y# The mothers blessed their bellies and then their infants with the sign of the 0ross, the saints were in"o!ed at e"ery joy and e"ery grief, and e"ery s%iritual struggle ' be it for %atience or for lonelinessE # In our modern times, we are more and more able to hear the ser"ices in our own language, but this has not yet touched our li"es and therefore our hearts ' we ha"e intellectual !nowledge of the faith, but to ta!e it to the ne&t ste% ' the heart 5the cardia6, it needs those enriching details that ma!e it so# How 0an This Ha%%en/ <e ha"e the dogma, the rituals, and the accouterments of the faith, and yet we li"e in a fallen world that %laces %ressures and e&ertions on the 0hurch and 0hristians in "arious ways ' whether it be the holocausts of %olitical or economic terrorists, or the assaults of demons# <e become s%iritually de%leted and lose s%iritual health# <e are at ris! for des%air or loss of faith# Enrichment is a !ind of fortification that restores health and strengthens our s%iritual immune system against further .ife'threatening assaults# For a crude historical and %robably not com%letely a%%ro%riate %arallel, beriberi was a de"astating %hysical condition that was nearly wi%ed out o"ernight by the enrichment of the flour that was made into the bread 5adding just a tiny amount of "itamins6, which fed the wea!ened %o%ulace# It did not change the bread, just added enrichment# In the case of beriberi, the grain itself was stressed by o"er'%rocessing ' not unli!e life in our modern times ' which made it im%robable if not im%ossible for many %eo%le, sa"e those of good stoc!, to sustain good %hysical health# This made for a tragic de"astation of many children and adults# <hen that which was missing or needed was added to the food, nearly o"ernight there was a %hysical miracle of healing# It seems li!ewise to our s%iritually'de%leted and immature conditions as 1rthodo&# 1r%haned as we are from 1rthodo& countries, highly %rocessed in a strenuous and non'1rthodo& lifestyle, we are suffering from the acute strains and assaults of life under s%iritual suffocation# As young babes in 0hrist, unaccustomed to the whole grain of tradition, we are missing that something not e&tra, but "ital# Enrichment is li!e that magic, small and timely addition of the ingredients missing or o"erloo!ed, which will initiate the miracle of healing in our daily li"es# Enrichment begins by %ermitting ' as we are able and become accustomed ' 1rthodo&y more and more into the rest of our days# This is a "ery difficult tas!, because we ha"e a tension in many of our %arishes# Either the immigrants who came here from the old country demurred to the %rimary culture in humility or assimilation, and little is left of the treasures they remembered( or there is an o"er'aggression to assert a !ind of s%iritual boot'cam% that contri"es a whole lot of o"erlay that can become not 1rthodo& culture, but cultic ' as if the "ery language of the ser"ice was as incom%rehensible and out of conte&t# Most of us e&%erience "ariations of these attem%ts to li"e 1rthodo&y# The wor! in our %arishes and dioceses is the wor! of the %astors and bisho%s who address the larger body# $ut in our homes, and from our homes, we can do a lot to gi"e and recei"e enrichment that will "i"ify and effect healing# It $egins with .o"e There is an ama7ing alchemy in the combination of dirt, worms, bacteria, water, air, and sunlight, that will e"entually grow a flower, a bush, or a tree# -eemingly, totally unrelated materials wor! synergistically together to s%rout a li"ing %lant# The !ey ingredient seems a li"able balance of all these materialsE and the bene"olent sun# In our families, children !now lo"e by our own lo"e for them# A child is born into a family with %arents, at the "ery least# .i!ewise a new belie"er is ba%ti7ed into the 0hristian family, and blessed with god%arents# 1ne 0hristian is truly no 0hristian, and the 0hurch does not lea"e us alone# $ut too often we ta!e too little res%onsibility for our brothers and sisters in 0hrist# Intend to lo"e one another# $eing 1rthodo& in a non'1rthodo& country, we ha"e missed the family as%ect of community life# $e li!e real brothers and sisters, grandmas and grand%as, in faith ' the ministers of those other days between .iturgies# <hen we acce%t our %lace as real brothers and sisters by <ater 5$a%tism6 and $lood and $ody 5Holy 0ommunion6, we cannot esca%e our res%onsibility to and for one another# And out of the intentional lo"e and relationshi% with one another, the family s%iritual sense, allows us to hel% enrich what is needed ' be it a scolding, a tear, a festi"al gathering, a little *uiet, or a bit of sweet# The .ittle Things Mean a .otE In our homes, lo"ing gestures, thoughtful e"ents, and serious intentions can be a%%lied as needed# .i!ewise, s%iritual enrichment cannot really be codified, because we are all different, but is an art form that comes out of lo"e for one another ' far different from the effect of force moti"ated by a fear for one another# .i!e I confessed at the beginning, this article is not a coo!boo! or how'to guide( I would not ha"e the audacity to write one# It can only suggest a tone for guidance# $egin with the $asics J 3row from There ,eali7ing that we are %art of the 0hurch and a %arish family, the ;e&tended family; relationshi% ta!es time and contact to culti"ate# <e must be e*ually as discerning and deliberate in increasing this as%ect of s%iritual life# Here is a basic ;ado%t a %arish; %rogram: Attend 0hurch worshi% ser"ices# Attend fellowshi% e"ents# Attend religious education %rograms: lectures, $ible study, retreats, etc#

Attend Feast 4ay celebrations# If you ha"en t already done so, introduce yourself and your family to the %arish %riest# Ta!e your relationshi% beyond ac*uaintance or the %erfunctory ;basic res%ect; le"el, o"er time to a trusting s%iritual'father le"el# Form friendshi%s among the faithful, ado%t them as family# -ee! to ma!e friends of newcomers in the %arish# Ta!e an acti"e role in fellowshi%, 0hurch school, and other as%ects of %arish life and ser"ice# Increase your %artici%ation in the wee!ly ser"ices offered at your %arish, in gradual ste%s: 3o to 4i"ine .iturgy, from the beginning of the ser"ice# 3o to 4i"ine .iturgy and recei"e Holy 0ommunion# 5This is often not the case, so this could be "ery enrichingA Too often, we disregard the im%ortance of the .ord s commandment to ;Ta!e, eat,; and this nourishment is absolutely necessary to aid those in des%air, those with lu!ewarm faith, and those of us suffering from the bewildering, ;I don t get it at allA;6 Parta!ing of the $ody and $lood of 0hrist will hel% in increasing your life in 0hrist# Tal! to your s%iritual father about a%%ro%riate %re%aration for this neo%hyte status ' at the "ery least, do not eat or drin! before 4i"ine .iturgy, and confess according to the schedule recommended by your %riest# Arri"e for any ser"ices offered before 4i"ine .iturgy, usually 1rthrosIMatins or @rd Hour# Attend 3reat Fes%ers on -aturday e"ening# 5,emember, Fes%ers is considered a %art of the 4i"ine .iturgy, so consider the time between Fes%ers and the .iturgy an intermission: de"ote it to *uiet, and no self'indulgence to anger or %leasure# Try not to watch tele"ision or schedule secular or social e"ents after Fes%ers#6 If your %arish offers All')ight Figil Lthat is, combined Fes%ers and Matins on -aturday nightM, increase your attendance to the whole of Figil ' accustoming yourself and your children to as much of it as %ossible# It is not unusual to ha"e slee%y 5or slee%ing6 children ' do not consider this a reason to lea"e# Many blissful memories of young children come from do7ing in a beautifully scented room, with the songs of the saints and 0hurch history subliminally im%rinting in their soft minds ' being warmed by the coats of %arents and lo"ing %arishioners, censed e&tra by the %riest in %assing, to be %ic!ed u% and ta!en home under this en"elo%ing ambiance# The children do not suffer from this, nor is anyone incon"enienced# The 0hurch is %rayer, not theater, so a slee%ing child is not a "iolation of eti*uette, but a testimony to our faith commitment# If your %arish celebrates the 1rthrosIMatins in the morning, li!ewise try to attend from the beginning# Enrich your family s daily %rayer life, again in ste%s: )eo%hyte: -ay the Morning J E"ening Prayers, and %rayers before and after meals( this teaches that the day is gi"en and granted by 3od# -ource: 1rthodo& %rayer boo!s# $eginners: -ay short %rayers before and after wor!( this adds the sense of a life in 0hrist# -ource: usually also in %rayer boo!s, but if not, a short form is the Tro%arion to the Holy -%irit 5;1 Hea"enly 2ingE;6 before, and one of the -ongs to the Theoto!os 5e#g#, ;It is truly meetE;6 after# Intermediate: Ac!nowledge the Hours# Either commit to memory the Prayer of the Hours, or just ac!nowledge the times of day mar!ing of the hours with a ;.ord, ha"e mercy,; and ma!ing the sign of the 0ross at the times a%%ointed# This is doable at home, at wor!, or at school: B AM ' First Hour( D AM ' Third Hour( )oon ' -i&th Hour( @ PM ' )inth Hour# Many of us are not awa!e for 9? AM ' Midnight Hour, but we try# Progressing: -im%le daily ,eader s Fes%ers in the home 5or in the %arish6, andIor sim%le daily ,eader s Matins# Ad"anced: Add 0om%line to the e"ening %rayers, occasionally with the Paraclesis 5in %rayer boo!s6# =ltimately, and only after ha"ing grown under your family s s%iritual father s guidance, it may be %ossible for you to little by little increase the ;enriching diet; to include the following: Those able to sustain the abo"e may then %rofit s%iritually by adding the full %re%aration for Holy 0ommunion, the 0anon to the 3uardian Angel 5-unday6( The .ord 5Monday6( the Theoto!os 5Tuesday6( the A!athist to the .ord 5<ednesday6( A!athist to the Theoto!os 5Thursday6( 0anon of ,e%entance 5Friday6( 0onfession 5most %arishes schedule them after Fes%ers on -aturday6, so on -aturday e"ening, add to the 0om%line Prayers, the 0anon for Holy 0ommunion 5the abbre"iated form of one of the %rayers is often times said in %arishes before recei"ing Holy 0ommunion6# There are some 0hurch communities that do the entire %re%aration, which has been se%arated into dailies abo"e, in one e"ening# My e&%erience is that if they are all done on -aturday, along with Figil, it is "ery long 599 PM'ish6# $ut if read in the home 5shorter if not sung6, on a daily basis, they are infinitely doable ' :C minutes a night, at the "ery most ' which is less than one soul'slee%ing tele"ision show# +ou re beginning well, ma!ing 0hurch life central, increasing your relationshi% with the faithful, adding to the %ersonal s%iritual life on days between liturgies, magnifying the fasting and festal seasons and reasons# As you begin in your own self, and in your family, and e&tend your family to truly include your s%iritual father, your god%arents, and more and more of t '''''''''''''''''''''''' Ma!ing the Most of +our 0hildren s Public -chool Education by Ann Marie 3idus'Mecera <hile the trend of many 0hristians today, including a growing number of 1rthodo& 0hristians, is to home school their children, many ha"e chosen 5or do so out of necessity6 to educate their children through the %ublic school systems# Any concerned 1rthodo& %arent is aware of the negati"es attached to a %ublic school education, and "ery often struggle with this on an on'going basis# <hile the %ur%ose of this article is not to defend the benefits of a %ublic school education, it will attem%t to hel% 1rthodo& %arents turn those negati"e factors into %ositi"e learning e&%eriences#

.et me site one e&am%le that %rom%ted me to write this article# My oldest daughter is in fifth grade and was assigned to read the boo! 4ear Mr# Henshaw by $e"erly 0leary# -he was gi"en a boo!let of *uestions to answer as a way of testing o"erall com%rehension# To gi"e a brief syno%sis of the boo!, the main character, .eigh, writes letters to a fictitious Mr# Henshaw# The boo! is com%rised of these letters, and illustrates how much letters can re"eal about a %erson# In the letters, .eigh describes his %arents who are se%arated# His father is a truc! dri"er who was gone from home a lot and didn t call home fre*uently# This worried and u%set his mother# As a result, the cou%le se%arated# In the letters, .eigh e&%resses his ho%e that his %arents not get a di"orce but get bac! together again, which they don t# Following are some of the *uestions testing the students com%rehension: ;4id you %redict that .eigh s %arents would get bac! together again or that they would remain a%art/ 4o you acce%t the actual ending of the story, or do you thin! it would ha"e been better if .eigh s %arents reconciled# E&%lain your answer# <hen I read the set of *uestions, I !now my heart rate increased dramatically and my first inclination was to yell to her, ;This isn t rightA; after which I would get on the %hone to the %rinci%al and then to the teacher and yell the same thing 5with much more to follow6# I didn t do any of the abo"e# The %articular issue of di"orce has been handled by society in the %ast few years in a totally anti'0hristian way# 4i"orce is "iewed as an acce%table way to ;fall out of lo"e; with someone and start all o"er again# <hat s more, families are defined in the local school health class 5and I sus%ect many others6 as the unit in which you ha%%en to li"e, whether it means mom and !ids, grandma and !ids'e"en the traditional mom, dad and !idsA There is e"en a $arney song that sings of the different !inds of families there are# In society s attem%t to build u% a child s self'esteem 5so they don t feel bad they aren t %art of a ;traditional; family unit6, the sanctity of marriage has been grossly redefined# <hat s more, children are also getting the message that di"orce is o!ay# To get bac! to the list of *uestions: they hadn t been answered yet, so I too! a dee% breath, tried to sound as casual as %ossible and as!ed my daughter to tell me a little bit about the boo!# <hy had the boy s %arents di"orced/ $ecause his mom didn t li!e worrying about his father being on the road, she re%lied# He didn t call home much, either, she added# My heart san!# <as this acce%table to her, I wondered/ I as!ed her what she thought# After I listened to her 5biting my tongue so I wouldn t jum% in with my two cents6 I told her that 1rthodo& 0hristians didn t belie"e that di"orce was right# -ometimes there are %roblems in a marriage and they can ma!e us unha%%y, but we don t get di"orced just because we are unha%%y or don t li!e the situation, I e&%lained# There might be a lot of things we don t li!e that will ha%%en to us, and sometimes we ha"e to ma!e sacrifices, I added# <ould my daughter acce%t what A told her/ <ould she ignore me, !nowing that %lenty of the children in her fifth grade came from s%lit homes/ I !new what the answer was: There are no guarantees# +et one thing s for sure: 3od e&%ects us to lo"ingly teach our children our Faith# <hile I could ha"e chosen to "iew this e%isode in a negati"e way, I chose to turn it around and use it to teach my daughter about se"eral im%ortant issues: life, lo"e and marriage# As 0hristian educators 5and that s what we %arents are6, I belie"e we must use e"ery o%%ortunity to show our children how e"erything relates bac! to 3od and His one true Faith# The %ublic school can be one of those o%%ortunities# .earning to e&ist %eacefully among those with different bac!grounds can be %racticed in the classroom# .earning to *uestion e"erything against what s %leasing to 3od can be %racticed in the classroom# Ha"ing com%assion for others can be %racticed in the classroom# This is all %ossible because as good 1rthodo& %arents, we ha"e already greatly sha%ed our children in the first few years of life# <hat, then, can we do as 1rthodo& %arents to ma!e the most of our children s %ublic school education and hel% them grow in the .ord/ 3et in"ol"ed# .et the teachers and administrati"e staff !now you are willing to "olunteer in any ca%acity# If you ha"e young ones at home and can t "olunteer in the school itself, offer to wor! on %rojects at home# This shows the school and your children that you are interested in their education# $e "isible# Plan to eat lunch with your children# -end snac!s or coo!ies in occasionally# 4ro% them off at their classroom or meet them at their classroom after school# All of these things hel% ma!e you "isible, which hel%s you ha"e a feel for what s going on in school# Education e&%erts say that being "isible shows your children and their teachers that you care# ,e"iew school wor! daily# Ha"e a set time when you sit down and loo! o"er your children s school wor! and assignments# Education e&%erts say that ta!ing an interest in your children s education hel%s boost their enthusiasm about school and hel% them get better grades# ,e"iewing school wor! ta!es only a few minutes and can de"elo% into a s%ecial times for you and your children# .isten# +our children ha"e a lot to say and you ll not only learn a lot, but foster good communication habits# As you %ut your children to bed at night, as! them to tell you something good that ha%%ened that day( then as! if something not'so'good ha%%ened# +ou ll get a better idea of how their day went, what might be bothering them, and also s%ar! some s%ecial con"ersations# -et a good e&am%le# This may be easier 5or harder6 than you thin!A 1ur children learn from our e&am%les# )o matter how much they teach about drugs, "alues, or ;fair fighting; in school, in the end, children usually ado%t their %arents "alues# =se bad beha"ior and situations as teaching o%%ortunities# <hen you hear of or see something that is ina%%ro%riate, use it as a way to reinforce %ro%er beha"ior# -im%ly state the beha"ior or situation as it ha%%ened, say that it

was wrong, then state what the a%%ro%riate beha"ior is# For e&am%le, if you see a grou% of children %ur%osely ma!ing fun of a mentally retarded child, you can say, ;Those !ids are ma!ing fun of that boy# He was born mentally retarded and can t tal! or thin! as clearly as we can# Ma!ing fun of him is not right# It %robably hurts his feelings# Ma!ing fun of someone isn t %leasing to 3od because 3od lo"es e"eryone#; 2ee%ing your statements sim%le and short will ma!e it easier for your child to understand your %osition and seem less li!e a sermon# +ou can e"en end by saying ;As 1rthodo& 0hristians we belie"eE; which may seem less threatening 5es%ecially when children are older6# Trust in the .ord# Probably the two most im%ortant factors to remember when raising our children are 96 we do not ha"e the %ower to mold them into %erfect %eo%le and ?6 there are no guarantees# E"en if we do e"erything ;right;, our children may choose a different %ath to follow than what we had in mind# That s because they were born with their own free will# =ltimately, they must choose to li"e as 1rthodo& 0hristians# 1ur tas! is to do all we %ossibly can to train them u% in the .ord# After that, we must %ractice our faith by ha"ing faith that 0hrist will bless and guide His 5yes, HisA6 children along the right %ath# 3i"e them credit# 1nce they reach school age, our children s character has already been greatly sha%ed# They will be ca%able of discerning basic rights and wrongs, although they will still need lo"ing guidance when they steer off the right %ath# <e must still gi"e our children credit for being able to ma!e many right decisions, lo"ingly correcting them when they ma!e the wrong ones# -end them off to school with a %rayer# As you send them out the door or dro% them off at school, %ray that 3od bless them and be with them 5e"en if you "e already said morning %rayers together6 during the coming day# +ou may e"en want to tell them directly, ;3od bless you and be with you,; to remind them that 3od is watching o"er them# -ending your child to %ublic school can be a rewarding e&%erience# The situations that arise and the interaction your child has with other children can %ro"ide o%%ortunities for teaching and reinforcing sound 1rthodo& "alues# Most im%ortantly, we must %ut our faith in 0hrist, belie"ing that He will hel% us raise His children as true 1rthodo& 0hristians# Ann Marie 3idus'Mecera is the author of 1rthodo& boo!s for children including I 3o To 0hurch and The -torm and The -ea'the .ife of -t# )icholas# -he also wrote the religious education manual A <ay of .ife# -he is currently a member of -t# 3regory of )yssa 1rthodo& 0hurch in 0olumbus, 1hio, where she ser"e on %arish council and is a member of the 4iocesan 0ouncil for the Midwest 4iocese# -he has %resented wor!sho%s on %arish renewal, acted as a facilitator during the Administrati"e -ummit, and was a consultant to the Administrati"e Tas! Force# H 9DDB by 1rthodo& Family .ife and the original author5s6# =,.: htt%:IIwww#theologic#comIoflweb# This web site is donated and maintained by Theo.ogic -ystems, which %ro"ides software and information tools for 1rthodo& 0hristians and %arishes world wide# '''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''' Ta!ing 3od to -chool $efore school starts this year, ta!e some time to "isit your child s school, and tal! about the following: +our school is full of %eo%le who are there to hel% you learn and grow: Teachers, the %rinci%al, coo!s, and janitors# How can you hel% each other/ Pray together, as!ing 3od to hel% students and school em%loyees to wor! together in the u%coming year in a 0hrist'li!e way# 3od lo"es each of us, and acce%ts us all if we try to follow his teachings# He wants all of us to li"e together in %eace, according to those teachings# How will you treat classmates or teachers you don t care for at school/ How would 0hrist treat them/ Pray together for 3od to hel% you a%%reciate and acce%t all those you will meet at school# +ou can glorify 3od through your friendshi%s as school, and the schoolwor! you doE and you can ha"e fun, tooA Pray together for a successful school year, filled with all three: friendshi%, learning, and funA -tarting a new school year can be a scarey thing, but you are ne"er alone in class: 3od is with youA Pro"ide your child with a small icon of 0hrist or -t# Ignatius of Antioch ' who 0hrist called to His side as a child ' for his des! or loc!er# In your child s homewor! area to home, %ro"ide: an icon of 0hrist, or his or her %atron saint( a $ible 5for ;studying; the daily scri%tures6 in addition to the normal des! reference boo!s( a co%y of the %rayers for before and after studying# Prayer before -tudying Most $lessed .ord, send down u%on us the grace of +our Holy -%irit( shar%en our insight, so that, gi"ing attention to our teachers, we may grow in +our glory and be a source of joy to our %arents, and a blessing to +our 0hurch# Prayer after -tudying <e than! +ou, 1 0reator, that +ou ha"e gi"en us a chance to learn# $less our %arents and teachers who bring us this !nowledge, and gi"e us strength to %erse"ere in our studies# Prayers ta!en from the 0ome to Me %rayer boo!, 0hrist the -a"ior -eminary Press# H 9DDB by 1rthodo& Family .ife and the original author5s6# =,.: htt%:IIwww#theologic#comIoflweb# This web site is donated and maintained by Theo.ogic -ystems, which %ro"ides

software and information tools for 1rthodo& 0hristians and %arishes world wide# '''''''''''''''''''''''''''''' A $ac!'to'-chool 0hec!list for Families The first day of school can bring jitters to students and families ali!e# There are many things that can be done to hel% ma!e the bac!'to'school transition easier# <hen you, as a %arent, interact with and su%%ort your children, your children are more li!ely to be successful# +ou can hel% younger children if they !now: Their name, address, and %hone number How to ta!e outer clothing on and off How to ta!e care of their basic toilet needs How to be %atient and wait their turn $efore their first day: Establish a bed routine that ensures ade*uate rest Ha"e children s%end time one'on'one and in small grou%s with other children their age Hel% your children learn letters, numbers, colors, and sha%es ,ead to your children daily .et your children learn by trying new acti"ities Practice the route they will ta!e to and from school Tal! about ma!ing friends and doing new acti"ities Fisit you child s school and classroom if %ossible For older students, let them !now you are interested: Tal! to your children about friends, classes and acti"ities Teach your children how to set goals Encourage them to be in"ol"ed in e&tracurricular acti"ities at school, church, and in the community 3i"e them o%%ortunities to try new s!ills and earn recognition for a job well'done Plan with them how they will budget their time As a %arent, it is recommended that you: Establish definite times and location for homewor! A%%end %arent'teacher conferences >oin the school s PTA 2ee% the school calendar handy Folunteer ' o%%ortunities are e&%anding for wor!ing %arents, tooA -tay informed about school e"ents -er"e on a school or district ad"isory committee 3et to !now your children s friends Teach your children how to say ;no; to %eer %ressure Ma!e sure all %arties ha"e adult su%er"ision Place guidelines on your older children s wor! schedules ,e%rinted from Insights for Parents# H 9DDB by 1rthodo& Family .ife and the original author5s6# =,.: htt%:IIwww#theologic#comIoflweb# This web site is donated and maintained by Theo.ogic -ystems, which %ro"ides software and information tools for 1rthodo& 0hristians and %arishes world wide# '''''''''''''''''''''''''' The $eginning of the -chool +ear: -ome Ruestions for Parents to Thin! About The summer is o"er, the "acation has been ta!en, new clothes and school su%%lies ha"e been %urchased, the children are ready to go bac! to school and %arents are ready for them to go bac!A It s the same scenario each August# It s time to get bac! into a routineA The same goes for 0hurch and 0hurch -chool classes# There are some areas related to our children s education that %arents need to concern themsel"es, areas that ha"e to do with their relation to the church and their s%iritual and moral li"es# $elow are a number of reflection *uestions# ,ead each *uestion and answer it honestly# -ince this is also the ;)ew +ear; for the 0hurch, %erha%s some of these could be ;)ew +ear s ,esolutions; for your family# Are you more conscientious about getting your son or daughter to $oy -cout or 0am%fire 3irl meetings than about getting himIher to 0hurch -chool on -undays/ Are you concerned about your child s s%iritual nourishment as much as you are about hisIher %hysical nourishment/ <hen you are ta!ing your child to Holy 0ommunion, do you set the e&am%le by recei"ing yourself/ 4o you let your child get away with contri"ed e&cuses for not attending the ser"ices of the 0hurch/ 4o you loo!

for e"ery e&cuse yourself/ 4o you teach your child that it does not matter whether you go to 0hurch or not/ 4o you show your child by your e&am%le that other acti"ities, such as s%orts and recreation, are more im%ortant than the 4i"ine .iturgy/ 4o you encourage your child to be generous by being generous yourself/ 4oes your gi"ing to the 0hurch and your lending hel% to others reflect generosity or selfishness/ 4o you challenge your teenage child to !ee% hisIher %urity because it is 3od s will to do so/ <hen you tal! to your teenager about se&ual matters, are you %ractical and so%histicated about it, or do you teach what the 3os%el says about fornication/ Are you afraid to call se&ual %romiscuity sinful/ Are you concerned enough about your child s morals to !ee% himIher from watching TF shows in which e&tra' marital se& and di"orce are %resented as normal facts of life/ 4o you really e&%ect your children to be %olite and res%ectful to older %eo%le/ 4oes it matter to you when your child either refuses to s%ea! to an adult or answers with a curt ;yu%; or ;no%e;/ Are you %leased when your child tal!s bac! to an adult because you thin! that %erson deser"es it/ 4o you defend your child e"en when he is wrong in something he has done or said/ 4o you refrain from correcting your child for fear that she will lea"e home/ 4o you tal! about your neighbor or some member of the church in your child s %resence/ 4o you thin! it is cute for your child to use bad language heIshe has %ic!ed u% outside the home/ Has heIshe heard the same words at home/ <hen your com%any offers you a new job and a higher salary for mo"ing to another city, do you concern yourself about whether there is an 1rthodo& 0hurch there or not/ There are %arents today who do not belie"e that being 0hristians obliges them and their children to be different# If we want to bring our children u% in the 1rthodo& 0hurch, we need to understand that they will indeed be different, and that it s a good differenceA Are we so afraid that their obser"ance of 0hristian standards of beha"ior will ma!e them odd or strange, and that we do not want that whate"er the cost, e"en if that cost more often than not is estrangement from the 0hurch/ H 9DDG by 1rthodo& Family .ife and the original author5s6# =,.: htt%:IIwww#theologic#comIoflweb# This web site is donated and maintained by Theo.ogic -ystems, which %ro"ides software and information tools for 1rthodo& 0hristians and %arishes world wide# ''''''''''''''''' PA,E)T R=IP: Are +ou ,eady to 3o $ac! to -chool/ Here s a *ui7 to see whether you re ready for a new year# 3i"e yourself fi"e %oints for something you usually do, 7ero %oints for something you ne"er do, or any score in between# WWWWWW My teen !nows school'wor! is the to% %riority# >obs and s%orts must ta!e a bac! seat# WWWWWW <e ha"e wor!ed out a schedule that %ro"ides time for my teen to study e"ery day# WWWWWW I try to attend as many school e"ents as I can# WWWWWW I ha"e signed u% to "olunteer during the year in class or a school acti"ity# WWWWWW I ha"e met my teen s teachers and ha"e joined the %arent'teacher association/ How did you score/ A score of ?C or abo"e means you re off to a good start# Fifteen to 9D is a"erage# $elow 98 means you need to loo! for o%%ortunities to become more in"ol"ed# H 9DDG by 1rthodo& Family .ife and the original author5s6# =,.: htt%:IIwww#theologic#comIoflweb# This web site is donated and maintained by Theo.ogic -ystems, which %ro"ides software and information tools for 1rthodo& 0hristians and %arishes world wide# ''''''''''''''''' 1rthodo& Home -chooling by -arah .oft A nationally growing ;home school; mo"ement is an attracti"e alternati"e for 1rthodo& 0hristian %arents# <e ha"e been home educating our eight'year'old daughter since !indergarten and ha"e found it a rewarding e&%erience# I would li!e to share some of the %ositi"e benefits of this e&%erience as well as %ro"ide some concrete resources and information for others who would li!e to consider home'based education# -ur"eys and studies of home'educated children ha"e shown them to be not only academically ad"anced, but better adjusted emotionally and socially# This results, %erha%s, from the more natural and secure home en"ironment, freedom from negati"e classroom %eer %ressures, %ersonal attention, greater %ersonal freedom, and an indi"idually tailored learning %rogram# 3enerally, home'educated children become self'directed learners, ha"e higher self'esteem and are more inde%endent and 5sur%rising to many6 better sociali7ed than their %eers# An 1rthodo& 0hristian Education The benefit of a home'education %rogram for 1rthodo& 0hristians, howe"er, e&tends beyond the usual ad"antages o"er institutional education# <hen 1rthodo& 0hristians ta!e on the res%onsibility of educating their own children, they ha"e

the uni*ue o%%ortunity of %ro"iding an 1rthodo& 0hristian education ' 1rthodo& in conte&t, content, and %resentation# $riefly, our a%%roach has been as follows: 1ur academic calendar follows the 0hurch calendar, beginning on -e%tember 9 with a %rayer ser"ice# <e obser"e all major Feast 4ays by attending ser"ices, discussing the Feast and doing a%%ro%riate reading such as the 3os%el accounts of the )ati"ity at 0hristmas, the life of a saint, or selections from the 0hurch Fathers# <e reduce the academic wor!load during .ent and ta!e off all of Holy <ee! and $right <ee!# <hile it is necessary 5in order to meet most state re*uirements6 to ha"e ;school; a certain number of days %er year 5usually 9KC6, there is no re*uirement to follow a secular or state calendar of school days and holidays# In addition to regular attendance at ser"ices, we begin each day with morning %rayers and usually ha"e some form of religious education e"ery day# The rest of the day is s%ent doing %rojects, reading, "isiting the library, wor!ing on math, etc# There are many resources for homeschoolers, I get do7ens and do7ens of catalogues from com%anies whose only or %rimary business is su%%lying te&tboo!s, mani%ulati"es, or "isual aids to home'educating families# I will add a list of resource addresses at the end of this article, but here I want to concentrate on the ;religious education; as%ect of home education# ,eligious education can 5and does6 ta!e many forms for us, including reading the $ible# 5The International 0hildren s $ible has a third grade reading le"el, the .i"ing $ible %ara%hrases an eighth grade reading le"el, and the 2ing >ames Fersion, a twelfth grade le"el6# <e ha"e used 10E0 and 4,E materials intended for 0hurch school use, icon re%roduction art boo!s, and $ible atlases# <e ha"e studied fre*uently using liturgical te&ts, the sacraments, or 0hurch history, etc# LEd# )ote: 0onsult with your %arish %riest before using the .i"ing $ible# -ince it is a %ara%hrase based on the Protestant denomination of the author, the te&t is *uestionable in areas# The 1rthodo& -tudy $ible, which is a )ew 2ing >ames Fersion, should be used in any study of the $ible because of the footnotes and articles#M A sur%rising amount of material is a"ailable for adults# 5,ebe!ah read and a%%reciated -t# 0y%rian s The .ord s Prayer in a "ery sim%le and clear translation by Edmond $onin#6 <e ha"e also found many useful boo!s in the children s section of our local %ublic library, not only $ible stories, but boo!s such as 0ostumes of 1ld Testament Peo%les 5Phili% ># <atson6, I am a 3ree! 1rthodo& 5Maria ,oussou6, My $est Friend Elena Pa%%as 5Phyllis -# +ingling6, and e"en a recounting of the )ati"ity story as told by a fourth century bisho% of 0y%rus illustrated with re%roductions from 9Kth century Ethio%ian manuscri%ts in the $ritish .ibrary 5The ,oad to $ethlehem by Eli7abeth .aird6# In addition to study materials and %artici%ation in %rayer ser"ices, we ha"e felt that religious education re*uires an acti"e dimension as well# 0hildren can be encouraged to sing, ser"e, learn to ma!e %ros%hora, "isit monasteries, %artici%ate in social %rograms 5such as nursing home "isitations6, watch an icon %ainting course in %rogress, etc# The acti"ities ser"e both to reinforce and to fulfill and e&%ress the child s own %ersonal faith# Academic and ,eligious 4imensions Much of the religious education just described has an academic dimension: it in"ol"es reading, writing, oral e&%ression, music, study of history and geogra%hy, e&%osure to "arious cultures, discussion of ethics and ;"alues#; The re"erse also a%%lies: for an 1rthodo& 0hristian family the academic ;subjects; can ha"e a religious dimension# It is not necessary, for instance, to go with the %ublic school dehydration of history that carefully remo"es or twists the role of faith and the 0hurch# Too often the te&tboo!s are written to offend no one and em%hasi7e secular cultural "alues# $y7antine and 1rthodo& 0hristian history and culture are marginali7ed, if %resented at all# Home educators are not obliged to use te&tboo!s at all, although it may fre*uently be easier to go to the te&tboo! as reference, but on the whole ha"e found it more satisfying to use other sources, such as biogra%hies, "isits to museums, and %rimary material# ,ather than reading about the American 0onstitution, it ma!es sense to sim%ly read and discuss it# This route also ma!es it %ossible to ha"e a more integrated curriculum# 3eorge <ashington, $enjamin Fran!lin, ,obes%ierre, <illiam $la!e, 3oya, $eetho"en, ,obert $urns, -amuel >ohnson, Hadyn, and 0atherine the 3reat were all, roughly, contem%oraries of -t# -era%him of -aro" and -t# Herman of Alas!a# -t# -era%him and his younger contem%orary, -t# Herman, can be read in the broad conte&t of the American and French re"olutions and the writers, artists, and com%osers of that time# The illustrations I ha"e used 5history6 for integrating 0hristian and secular learning also a%%lies to other areas# 1ur daughter learned to read 5after an initial %honics stage6 by hearing Mom read aloud from 0# -# .ewis 0hronicles of )arnia with fre*uent sto%s to discuss "ocabulary, ma!e %redictions about the %lot and tal! about religious themes de"elo%ed in the stories# I read aloud all se"en "olumes 5during baby Pachary s na% time6 and gradually 5in "olume @6 let ,ebe!ah read aloud, first a few sentences, then the first and final %aragra%hs of each cha%ter, then e"ery third or fourth %aragra%h, and finally se"eral %ages at a time# $y the end of her !indergarten grade she re'read all se"en "olumes and has been reading and rereading them e"er since# In the conte&t of home education we can ma!e the learning of reading a %rocess of absorbing good literature, 0hristian "alues, and the te&ts of the $ible itself# I would li!e to conclude with some general guidelines and suggestions for home educators# Find out what are the s%ecific laws and re*uirements in your state# Fre*uently school su%erintendents themsel"es are not well informed on the subject, but %eo%le further u% in the education establishment will be able to gi"e you accurate information# Home schooling is legal in nearly e"ery state, but re*uirements "ary widely# In )ew +or! it is necessary to notify the local school district in writing that you intend to home educate, to submit a curriculum, to ma!e *uarterly %rogress re%orts, and to test the child at certain grade le"els to assure that normal %rogress is being made# I recommend that all homeschoolers join the Home -chool .egal 4efense Association, e"en in "ery accommodating states 5such as )ew +or!6, both to su%%ort the wor! of the Association 5which hel%ed draft the )ew +or! state statutes and

many others6 and for the ser"ice they %ro"ide in the form of free legal ad"ice and re%resentation and their *uarterly re%ort# The cost is Q9CCS %er family %er year# They will hel% e"en with the small things# <hen regulations changed se"eral years ago in )ew +or! and our local su%erintendent was unsure of what his res%onsibilities 5and ours6 were, a lawyer in the Association contacted our local authorities and cleared the matter u% *uic!ly# The Association is also a good %lace to go for accurate and u%'to'date information about guidelines and re*uirements in any state in the =nion# <rite to: H-.4, Paeonian -%rings, FA ??9?D# I recommend contacting a school or networ! or other organi7ation that can %ro"ide ad"ice and hel% in de"elo%ing curricula# <e use the ser"ices of the 0lonlara Home $ased Education Program# For the cost of Q@CCS %er year %er family, 0lonlara %ro"ides a newsletter, a curriculum 5which can be modified or ada%ted6, !ee%s school records, submits 5and ty%es6 our *uarterly re%orts for the state, and %ro"ides access to %ublishers who will normally do business only with schools# It thus becomes %ossible to order a single te&t or a single mani%ulati"e !it for mathematics# In addition, the 0lonlara staff and teachers are always a"ailable for %hone consultation and will deal directly with the school district on behalf of member families# 0lonlara is itself a school, and if necessary, can arrange for contact with local %ri"ate schools for consultation, and testing# <hile there are a number of schools and organi7ations which will offer a similar %rogram, most are more e&%ensi"e, and most also re*uire use of their %articular %rogram including te&tboo!s, wor!sheets, etc# 0lonlara tends to be considerably more fle&ible in allowing for curriculum modifications# It is traditional to study certain countries in social studies in a %articular grade, for instance, but this year we "e o%ted to study ,omania 5an 1rthodo& culture6 not usually studied at all in American schools# <e ha"e elected, for the most %art, not to use te&tboo!s# )one of our ada%tations ha"e been a %roblem with 0lonlara which, in fact, encourages families to a"oid te&tboo!s, em%hasi7e acti"ities, and ada%t education to their own uni*ue traditions, cultures, religious faith, intellectual inclinations, and %ersonal dis%ositions# <rite to: 0lonlara H$EP, 9?KD >ewett, Ann Arbor, MI :K9C: I 5@9@6 GBD':89:# The %eriodical 3rowing <ithout -chooling 5and others li!e it6 %ro"ides a continuous source of educational ideas ada%ted to the home learning en"ironment, as well as contacts with other home'schoolers, suggested boo!s and learning materials, and %en %al lists of other home educated children# The cost is Q?CS for a year s subscri%tion# It is %ublished e"ery other month# <rite to: 3<-, ??BD Massachusetts A"enue, 0ambridge, MA C?9:C# Two useful boo!s: Mary Pride s The $ig $oo! of Home .earning 5Q9G#8CS6 is a massi"e listing of catalogs schools, corres%ondence courses, resources, and just about e"erything and anything a home educator might need# >ohn <hitehead s Home Education and 0onstitutional .iberties 5QB#D8S6 is an essay on the legal and moral basis for home education# ;The facts,; he says, ;are these: Historically our national literacy rate was higher 98C years ago, before the ad"ent of %ublic education# And legally, any basic constitutional liberties'including freedom of s%eech and belief, freedom of religion, and the right to %ri"acy'su%%ort your right to educate your children yourself#; $oth of these boo!s can be ordered from: The -ycamore Tree Educational -er"ices, ?9GD Meyer, 0osta Mesa, 0A D?B?G# I would be ha%%y to hear from any 1rthodo& 0hristians who are ' or are contem%lating ' educating their children at home# If there are enough of us it may be useful to form a networ! for sharing ideas and materials and for %ro"iding mutual su%%ort# 0ontact me at: -arah .oft, 9CC $ennett A"e#, A%t# >, )ew +or!, )+ 9CC@@ I ?9?'D?G'C8DB# -arah .oft attends -t# Mary Magdalene Mission in )ew +or!, )+# S9DD9'9DD? %rices are listed from the original article# Fees may ha"e increase slightly# The ,esource Handboo! Editor s )ote -arah loft s article brought to mind se"eral *uestions# They follow, with her answers, gi"ing the reader more insight into the %racticability of home school education# <hen %arent and child are together all the time, what about beha"ior %roblems/ How readily do they want to learn from their %arent5s6 when all the other !ids are going off to school/ There are %otential %roblems if a %arent tries to re%licate ;school; conditions at home: gi"ing lectures, assignments, etc# This is not necessary# -chool conditions are designed to meet the needs of a classroom of children, all of whom ha"e to be dealt with by one or two adults in some necessarily organi7ed way# The home situation is much more informal# It does re*uire a good and o%en %arent'child relationshi%# 2ee% it informal( no grades, honest e"aluation, in%ut and direction from the child, e"en the young child# Follow their interests# <e ha"e ne"er !nown any home'educated child 5although there may be some6 who wanted to go to school# The e&ce%tion we occasionally hear of is the athletically'inclined teenager who wants to %lay high school team s%orts# E"en so, a%%arently there are school districts willing to accommodate these families# The usual res%onse of ,ebe!ah s friends is, ;+ou re luc!yA; They 5almost uni"ersally6 want to be home'educated, too# Parents should ha"e a life, too# They should thin! of themsel"es %rimarily as %arent, rather than teacher# 4iscussion and

%rojects go a lot further than lectures# I e&%lain a conce%t in math only when ,ebe!ah can t figure it out herself and as!s for assistance# E"ery child is different, but most %eo%le don t want another %erson 5teacher, %arent, or anyone else6 ;breathing down their bac!s; constantly# ,es%ect for the child, hisIher inclinations, interests, limitations, feelings, and learning style are critical# <here does the child find friends/ How does the child engage in e&tracurricular acti"ities or s%orts/ There are a lot of !ids out there, and they aren t in school most of the time# ,ebe!ah finds friends in the neighborhood 5%layground, library6, at church, in classes and clubs, in her >unior 0horus and Ensemble# There are a "ariety of e&tracurricular acti"ities and s%orts a"ailable: $oyI3irl -couts, clubs 5a local chess club, 0am% Fire 3irls, :'H6, .ittle .eague games and other organi7ed s%orts through local churches and other organi7ations# There are also the commercial and organi7ed ;after school; acti"ities such as art, dance, music, classes at the +M0A s, local churches and ci"ic organi7ations, museums, libraries, and 7oos# Homeschool associations also organi7e grou% acti"ities# The difficulty is not in finding acti"ities 5in most areas6 but in selecting among the myriad of o%tions# ,ebe!ah made the %ainful decision last fall to dro% out of a girls soccer team organi7ed by a neighborhood .utheran church because of schedule conflicts with chorus and orchestra# 4oes this set u% assume that at least one %arent is at home all the time/ <hat !ind of educational bac!ground and teaching s!ills does a %arent need to be able to do home teaching/ <e ha"e heard of homeschooling situations where there is a single %arent or where neither %arent is home full'time# but it seems to us that the o%timum situation is for someone to be home on a regular basis and for both %arents to be in"ol"ed in the %rocess# Parents of many different educational bac!grounds teach their children at home# <hat s needed/ $asic literacy A willingness to learn 5by the %arent6, curiosity and interest# +ou don t need to be an e&%ert in e"ery %ossible subject 5e#g#, ,ebe!ah and I are learning French together6# It is also not necessary for the %arent to teach e"ery subject %ersonally 5e#g# ,ebe!ah goes to a 3ree! class with other children two times a wee! and ta!es "iolin lessons6# Parents may also elect to hire a tutor for a s%ecific subject or subjects# Fle&ibility and %atience# +our child s learning style is hisIher own# 1ne idea may be a bust, so you loo! for another one# There is no need to be isolated# .oo! at the 3rowing <ithout -chooling listing of certified teachers or s%ea! to your ;school; 5e#g#, 0lonlara6 for hel% in any area of difficulty# Thin! of yourself as %arent first, then as ;educational coordinator,; and follow the child s lead# I thin! of my role as %rimarily one of !ee%ing a balance, seeing that her education is not too lo%sided in one direction or another# $ut I let ,ebe!ah initiate, hel% select materials, and discuss curriculum# An =%date on -arah and ,ebe!ah In a recent %hone call to -arah .oft I learned that two years ago ,ebe!ah %assed the entrance e&ams and studied at one of )ew +or! 0ity s s%eciali7ed science high schools# 0urrently ,ebe!ah is li"ing in -%ain with her grandmother and studying at a -%anish high school# -arah is home schooling 9?'year'old son Pachary, as well as soon'to'be'ado%ted D'year' old .u!e and K'year'old 0atherine# ' Phyllis Meshel 1nest H 9DDK by 1rthodo& Family .ife and the original author5s6# =,.: htt%:IIwww#theologic#comIoflweb# This web site is donated and maintained by Theo.ogic -ystems, which %ro"ides software and information tools for 1rthodo& 0hristians and %arishes world wide# ''''''''''''''''''''''''''' In the %ast, 1F. has offered articles for 1rthodo& %arents interested in ma!ing the most of their children s e&%erience in the %ublic school system, and for %arents interested in home schooling# Many 1rthodo& %arents, howe"er, turn to non' 1rthodo& %arochial schools for their children s academic education# $elow, Po%adia 4onna Freude offers both her %rofessional and %ersonal ad"ice on e"aluating a %arochial school and handling the %otential conflicts between 1rthodo& beliefs and the religious beliefs taught by the school# ' )T2 <hy 0hoose a Parochial -chool/ by 4onna M# Freude, M#A#Ed# From the time of birth, we %arents ma!e thousands of decisions concerning our children# -hould we use dis%osable dia%ers or cloth dia%ers/ $ottle feed or breast feed/ <hat %ediatrician should we select/ And of course, where will we send our child to school/ The %lethora of choices continue to de"elo% as your child grows# The decision to send your child ' a ba%ti7ed 1rthodo& 0hristian ' to a non'1rthodo& %arochial school may be made for as many reasons as there are indi"idual children# <hat is a %arochial school/ A %arochial school is a %arish school that is controlled and su%%orted usually by a local church congregation# A %arish is ty%ically the financial bac!bone of the school along with some form of tuition for each child attending the school# The most common %arochial schools are ,oman 0atholic, but their numbers are now increasing in other denominations and religions# 51rthodo& 0hristian %arochial schools are becoming more common, too, and now e&ist in 0alifornia,

Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, )ew +or!, Pennsyl"ania, and Te&as# Efforts to establish more are underway across the country, including the 0le"eland'A!ron area where we li"e#6 The regional diocese ' using the ,oman 0atholic model as an e&am%le ' sets its %hiloso%hy and goals, has a su%erintendent, a curriculum de%artment 5including religion studies6, teacher de"elo%ment %rograms, code of conduct, school calendar, grading %olicies, and a go"erning board that ma!es decisions for the diocesan schools# The local %arish schools usually ha"e the autonomy to ma!e their own %olicies 5or modify to the diocesan guidelines6 in areas li!e setting tuition and hiring staff and teachers# They may e"en ado%t the local %ublic schools yearly calendar, for con"enience in sharing busses, etc# Is a %arochial school the right school/ -o why would you as %arents choose to send your 1rthodo& child to a %arochial school/ The reasons you de"elo% will be based on your own uni*ue situation ' location, s%ecial academic needs, etc# ' and your %ersonal %hiloso%hy about education and the teaching of "alues# I can only offer a list of areas to thin! about as you are ma!ing the choice and gi"e some suggestions based on our %ersonal e&%eriences# I ha"e one statement that is "ital: no %arochial school can substitute for your res%onsibility of instilling in your child the Faith of Holy 1rthodo&y# If you choose to enroll your child in a %arochial school, it ta!es time and ;foot wor!; in searching out different schools that can meet the needs of your child in the s!ills and subjects em%hasi7ed, teaching styles em%loyed, o%%ortunity for interaction with teachers, etc# <rite your *uestions down, then call the school office and set u% an a%%ointment with the %rinci%al# As! to see the school, the classrooms# 5,emember that most %arochial schools do not ha"e the same ty%e of budget as state'run %ublic schools# +ou may not see as many amenities, or you may see more# Ma!e sure the basics are a"ailable and well maintained#6 In*uire about the curriculum and the electi"es ' such as art and music ' that are offered# 4iscuss the *uestion of tuition, boo! fees, etc#, for you as a non'%arishioner# They are normally higher than those %aid by %arishioners# Tal! to a other %arents who ha"e a childIchildren attending the school# 4o you sense from your "isit and the %arents you tal!ed with that the school is a %lace where your child will not only recei"e the needed academics, but also be de"elo%mentally nurtured/ Fisiting as least three schools gi"es you a broader range of o%tions ' and a basis for com%arison ' before ma!ing your choice# After you ha"e done your homewor!, Mom and 4ad, and ha"e chosen a %arochial school for your child, the ne&t ste% is to ha"e your child "isit the school# This is a great time to begin %ointing out sim%le differences about the %arochial school s religious beliefs and our Faith in Holy 1rthodo&y# As your child goes through the year ' and future years ' other areas can be discussed with your child, such as: the difference of the interior church structure as com%ared to our own ' li!e the %lacement of the Holy Altar and the di"ision between the na"e and sanctuary ' and the use of icons "ersus statuary the manner of worshi% the difference in how and when the sacraments are gi"en, es%ecially Holy 0ommunion, 0onfession, and 0hrismation 5;0onfirmation; to ,oman 0atholics6 the use of lea"ened bread "ersus unlea"ened host ma!ing the sign of the 0ross the difference in the )icene 0reed the difference in when and how some of the fasts and feasts are celebrated, li!e .ent and Pascha and All -aints Attending a %arochial school -et aside some time to re"iew the religious te&tboo! that your child will be using throughout the year# Most of the %arochial schools I ha"e dealt with are straightforward in informing %arents that religion is an integral %art of the school s %hiloso%hy, and that all children will attend the offered religion class# <e 1rthodo& are both ;%aying customers; and ;guests; in %arochial schools, so this is to be e&%ected# $ut, %lease, do not be mislead into belie"ing that we all share the same theology and doctrineA If you ha"e any *uestions about your child s religion te&t or curriculum, see! the ad"ice of your 1rthodo& %arish %riest or refer to an 1rthodo& resource, such as the four'"olume handboo! by Fr# Thomas Ho%!o: The Faith, Folume 9: 4octrine( Folume ?: <orshi%( Folume @: $ible and 0hurch History( and Folume :: -%irituality# <e ha"e found that with any school, communication with t '''''''''''''''''''''''''''