From Crib to Stroller--Teach Children at Home

Author: CCD

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Series 1, Leaflets 0-12

Birth to Three Years

Copyright 1961 by Confraternity of Christian Doctrine

Nihil obstat: Francis J. Connell, C.SS.R., Censor librorum. Imprimatur: +James A. McNulty, Bishop of Paterson.

Parent-Educator Series Introductory Leaflet PE-0


DO YOU KNOW THAT the Parent-Educator section of the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine seeks to impress upon you, the Catholic Parents of today, the fact that your function as Teachers of Religion in the home is a God-given assignment? The Parent-Educator program is planned not only to arouse you to an awareness of this great duty, but to offer you practical direction toward its fulfillment. This appeal is not for the special few, but is a vigorous call to action for all Catholic parents.

The Popes have made clear the Church's teaching concerning the education of the young. They have stressed the importance of the home as the place to form character and to lay patterns of habit. They have emphasized the twofold responsibility of parenthood: the supervision of the physical and the spiritual welfare of the young.

"For the love of our Saviour Jesus Christ, therefore, we implore pastors of souls, by every means in their power, by instructions and catechisms, by word of mouth and written articles widely distributed, to warn Christian parents of their grave obligations. And this should be done not in a merely theoretical and general way, but with practical and specific application to the various responsibilities of parents touching the religious, moral and civil training of their children, and with indication of the methods best adapted to make their training effective, supposing always the influence of their own exemplary lives."

--"Christian Education of Youth", Encyclical Letter of Pope Pius XI, translation of National Catholic Welfare Conference, Washington 5, D.C., p. 28.

At the same time the Church points out through her Popes the responsibilities and difficulties of parenthood, she indicates its beauty and dignity. It is not merely a task of earning a livelihood or of keeping house, but also the privileged co-operation of husband and wife with God Himself in the very act of creation and conservation. The guardianship of a human being, possessed of an immortal soul, is a sacred charge. The fact that the Sacrament of Matrimony brings abundant graces to the married state permits you to approach your problems and accept your challenges with courage and confidence.

"It is unjust to say that the ceremony of Matrimony imposes a heavy burden on two human beings, unless one adds that at the same time it gives a divine strength, an inexhaustible grace which will help them not only to bear the burden, but even to find it light, enjoyable and sanctifying....

"The grace of Matrimony, accompanied by the grace of Baptism, the Holy Eucharist and Penance, becomes a suffering grace, a grace of renunciation, expiation, redemption, a grace bringing peace and serenity. But, like every grace as well as every cross, it is the seed and the price of glory."

--"Christ Acts through the Sacraments," Aimon M. Roguet, O.P., translated by the Carisbrooke Dominicans, Liturgical Press, Collegeville, Minnesota, pp. 132, 136.

The Holy Family of Nazareth is the model for all generations of homemakers. In their home, the carpenter, Joseph, and his wife, Mary, set about the important task of rearing the Child entrusted to their care. As guardians of souls created to the image and likeness of God, theirs is an assignment similar to that of parents of today. Parents everywhere may well feel a closeness to Our Lady and St. Joseph.

"They are, first and foremost, home saints, the two of them, family saints, who did no more glamorous things than the daily doings of every husband and wife; but in the doing of them they achieved the highest sanctity. Our Lady...tells every modern mother that her task, too, is to raise the perfect Christ in her children, to mold them in heart and mind after the fashion of Christ, to make them, as far as may be, other Christs. Joseph...tells every Catholic father today that his greatest and most lasting accomplishment is not his business, not his financial success, not his leadership in club and society, but his success in making his home a real home, in giving generously of his time and talent and energy to the making of a family that will be like the Family of Nazareth, a peaceful, holy family."

--"The Word," J. P. D., "America," January 8, 1944.

As parents you will watch the physical development of your child, you will help with the first step, listen for the first word, feel the first break of white along the surface of pink gums. Knowing that you are responsible for the earliest impressions of childhood, you will watch your child's spiritual development even more. Through your influence by word and example, your child will become aware of God, his heavenly Father.

Religious instruction falls effortlessly into the design of any Catholic household. The preschool child will be your constant com- panion. Example and habit will be reflected in the thoughts and actions of your child. The development of personality does not commence with formal education. Rather it begins at birth. It is a blend of the individual's innate capacities and the influence of his environment. Where there is an atmosphere of practical Catholicity, there is bound to be a favorable reaction in the formation of character.

"Deepened religious convictions will bolster and reactivate the sense of personal responsibility. We must seek to enlarge the area of personal autonomy to protect the human personality from a greater encroachment on its freedom and responsibility. The individual person must assume as his proud right the accomplishment of whatever he can for himself and for others, especially those of his family, and herein lies the importance of the Christian home."

--"Need for Personal Responsibility," Statement by the Catholic Bishops of the United States on November 20, 1960, National Catholic Welfare Conference, Washington 5, D.C.

As parents you are your child's first teachers of religion. This fact cannot be overlooked. You must equip yourselves to fill this role. To help you do this the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine has developed the Parent-Educator movement. The Confraternity has prepared a set of leaflets for you, mothers and fathers (fathers, please note especially Leaflet No. 9). These are designed to progress with the growth of a child, from birth to age six. The attempt to assist you in your special role as teachers of religion in the home. Book lists in each leaflet suggest only a few titles you might "Buy or Borrow" to help you, as well as your children. Those in the first series are largely devoted to giving religious information to parents, whereas those recommended in the second are directed more specifically to children.

"To discharge their duties properly and to establish in the home the preventive work which will forestall the remedial action which now prevails, parents must possess a certain equipment.... That the parents may be properly equipped, it is necessary that they should know what material to present and the best means of doing it effectively. The material that should claim attention will depend in a large measure upon the ability of the child and the circumstances that envelop him. His attention must be directed to thoughts and words concerning God, His creative works, trust in Him, our dependence upon Him, and the reward for goodness."

--Most Rev. John A. Duffy, late Bishop of Buffalo

The Parent-Educator Section of the Confraternity exists for you. It would like to hear from you. Send your questions and suggestions. They will receive careful consideration. A sharing of experience is often helpful and encouraging. An exchange of ideas is stimulating. Kindly send yours to the diocesan director of the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine or write to the National Center of the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, 1312 Massachusetts Ave., N. W., Washington 5, D. C. Ask for a list of the other Confraternity publications prepared to help you in the sublime task of educating your child in Christian living and doing.

Pray with the Church:

"O Lord Jesus Christ, You sanctified home life with untold virtues by being subject to Mary and Joseph. May they assist us to imitate the example of Your holy family, so that we may share their eternal happiness."

--Collect, Feast of the Holy Family




Parent-Educator Series 1 No. 1--3 mos.


The arrival of your new baby brought congratulations and best wishes from relatives and friends. The occasions of his birth and Baptism were deep and moving. You will never forget them. You continue to experience, as you did then, a sense of fulfillment and a feeling of achievement. Breath-taking is the knowledge that you have been partners with God Himself in the creation of a new life which is destined for eternity. However, if this child has not yet been baptized, have him baptized as soon as possible; for theologians teach that there is a grave obligation to do this within a month of birth, unless there is some very serious reason.

Your baby is three months old and, strangely enough, his mark is on everything. His influence touches your decisions regarding your household furnishings, insurance policies, excursions, the accepting or declining of invitations. He reminds you continuously of your responsibility as parents. You have already discovered that parenthood is a 24-hour-a-day job.

Can you recall the time before your baby came? Perhaps you marvel now that you could ever have considered your lives complete without him. Somehow your love has been enriched and enlarged by sharing it with another. Your love reaches out to include each child as he or she comes along, yet there's always plenty to go around. You will agree that things have certainly changed--in this case, for the better.

Experience and Guidance

Though your baby at three months finds you a veteran in infant care, you can easily recall your recent nervous apprenticeship. You remember how cautiously you first picked him up when you were on your own, away from a comforting hospital routine.

Now, after three months, there is nothing to it. It seems that you were born to lift and care for your infant. How did you achieve this confidence? You learned by doing. You made use of reliable and practical sources of information. You followed your doctor's instruction and, even now, you keep an accredited book on infant care within reach. In other words you are constantly guided by authority. You are determined to give your baby a good start in life.

Great Responsibility

As you lovingly contemplate this child in his crib, you may say: "Some day he will be a grown man." You are reminded that man is a creature composed of body and soul and made to the image and likeness of God. Yes, your baby's soul, as well as his body, must be cared for from the very beginning. His soul must be conditioned for its ultimate salvation. Now is the time to give earnest consideration to the teaching of religion in your home. (See "Our Christian Vocation," listed under "To Buy or Borrow," at the end of this leaflet.)

Sterilizing bottles and preparing formulas involves a lot of work and worry, but actually it is your easiest chore. It is the part you can touch and see. The more delicate part of your baby is his soul. There are safeguards for his spiritual as well as his bodily welfare. You must nurture and care for his soul. Are you wondering how to go about it? Are you frightened at the immensity of this assignment?

In this, also, you learn by doing. There are certain practical things you can do, even now, to teach religion. The Holy Family of Nazareth is your model in fulfilling your God-given vocation to care for the soul of your child who, you pray, will one day merit heaven.

A Catholic Home

A Catholic home should, first of all, look like one. Artistic pictures and statues of our Lord and His Mother are proudly and lovingly displayed. A picture of the Sacred Heart in your living room reminds you and all visitors to your home that Christ reigns over it. Prayers are said regularly, together if possible; and grace is recited before and after meals. There is an atmosphere of serenity, born of a close friendship with God and an awareness of His presence.

Religion will become a part of your baby's daily life. Within days or weeks he will absorb these character-forming influences.

A Change In Focus

A baby's arrival puts new meaning into one's religious life. You are now more closely related to Mary and Joseph in the sense that yours is a similarly inspiring yet challenging responsibility.

In the rush of caring for the physical aspects of infancy, you may have forgotten the spiritual. As conscientious parents you will want to check your routine in this respect. See that there is time for fifteen minutes a day of spiritual reading and for family prayers. Bottles and diapers are not too inspiring in themselves; but if, through prayer and reading, you keep before you the significance of your sublime task, the incidentals will not bear down on your spirits. The graces needed to carry out your assignment are always at hand.

Keep a Record

Precious facts that will become memories all too quickly fly by in the rush of the everyday activity of caring for your baby's body and soul. You will want to record these in a Baby Book before you forget them. You will want to remember the details of the baby's Baptism and his first visit to church. Already he has selected his favorite toy. He may have been on his first outing. It is well worth any extra effort to find time in an already crowded schedule to record briefly the details of your child's physical and spiritual growth. Such a document will become an invaluable source of information and joy. You will want to preserve it always as a Memory Book of some of your happiest years.

Briefly, Then...

1. You have been privileged as parents to share in God's creation. The arrival of a baby exerts an influence on every phase of your lives.

2. By following your doctor's advice and by supplementary reading, you are better able to give your baby a good start in life.

3. It is important that you should give earnest consideration to the task of teaching religion in the home. You are not alone in this work, but have an ever-present guide, Holy Mother Church.

4. The surroundings of a child contribute to early character formation. You yourselves are the greatest contributing force.

5. Always keep before you the sublime task in which you are engaged, knowing that you have available to you the graces necessary to accomplish it.

6. Record, from the beginning, the many facts and figures pertaining to your child's spiritual and bodily growth.


"Man, Woman and God: the Three Partners in the Sublime Contract of Marriage," James H. McCown, S.J. The Queen's Work, 3115 S. Grand Blvd., St. Louis Mo. A realistic approach to the plan of God that man and woman should be partners with Him in the continuation of the human race.

"Our Christian Vocation": Chapters on "The Beginning of Life" through "The Meaning of Confirmation," Rev. Leo J. Trese. Confraternity Publications, 580 Marshall St., Paterson, N.J. Eight chapters from a popular discussion-club text, with application to daily Christian living and with suggested religious practices.

"Marriage: The Magazine of Catholic Family Living." St. Meinrad, Ind. An alert, helpful and almost indispensable magazine which touches on every facet of the Christian home.

"Baptism is Social," Therese Mueller and the Benedictines of Conception Abbey. Conception Abbey Press, Conception, Mo. The import of Baptism on the family, the parish and the sponsors.

"How To Make Your House a Home," Rev. Bernard Stokes, O.F.M. National Catholic Welfare Conference, Family Life Bureau, 1312 Massachusetts Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. Contains practical suggestions by means of which an average family can bring Christ into the home.

"Baby Grows in Age and Grace," Sister Mary de Lourdes. Doubleday Image Books, Garden City, N.Y. A most helpful book covering a child's early years.

"My Way of Life," Simplification of the Summa of St. Thomas Aquinas, Rev. Walter Farrell, O.P., and Rev. Martin Healy, O.P. Confraternity of the Precious Blood, 5300 Fort Hamilton Parkway, Brooklyn, N.Y. Indicates a "Way of life" wherein a man or a woman can follow God and find Him everywhere. Prayer book size. Read a few pages a day.

"Our Baby's Memory Book," St. Anthony's Guild, 508 Marshall St., Paterson, N.J. An ideal book for recording facts and figures about a baby's spiritual and bodily growth. Pink or blue binding.




Parent-Educator Series 1 No. 2--6 mos.

Enjoy Your Baby

Today pediatricians and child psychologists urge you, as new parents, to relax in your infant's company. They recommend that you enjoy your baby. They tell you, "A show of affection during the day is exactly what a baby needs."

You may wonder why parents have to be told to express their love for their child. Not too long ago, exactly the reverse attitude was in vogue and parents were urged not to pick up the infant and not to feed him other than at the appointed time, regardless of how hard he cried for another feeding. It doesn't take too much thought to determine which of the two is the saner and more practical viewpoint.

The current attitude blends effortlessly with the teaching of the Church; it is essentially Christian. It is natural to love and to show that love. By the nature of your parenthood you will know what to do at a given moment. Enlightened and strengthened by God's grace, you can relax and trust that He, who gave you this child, will guide you in your task of leading it, body and soul, to heaven.

Partners in a lawful marriage receive the special grace of the sacrament in order to discharge their duties. It is this grace which assists a mother and a father to teach religion in their home.

Have Confidence

Your baby is now six months old. Half of his first year is past! And isn't he quite a fellow? He can sit up, or at least he is trying. He may have a tooth or two. He gurgles with delight when he is given a bath. And he can greet "Daddy" with a huge smile of welcome. Because you took care of his daily physical needs, he is now the fine baby that he is.

Your child is growing spiritually, also, whether you are aware of it or not. As you look at him, you may ask yourself: "How shall I teach my baby the great truths of his faith?" There is no need to worry. Now, while he is yet an infant, make up your mind to cooperate in every way with the counsel of the Church in the Nuptial Mass to bring up your child in the love and fear of God. Having done this, and renewing the pledge frequently, you may be confident that you will achieve your end: that he will attain his full spiritual stature and will one day be ready for heaven.

Your Child Sees

A child first sees God through the eyes of his parents. Your resolve to serve God as best you can will be reflected in all that you do. Your life will radiate an awareness of God's presence, and your baby will sense His presence in you. He will read your facial expression. He will look into your eyes. He will catch the reverence of a gesture. He will notice your smile. He will model himself unconsciously on your habits. Your child will be a little mirror in which you can see yourself.

You may not always be pleased with what you see there. Striving for the ideal is not always easy; but, as long as we try, we know that our efforts are fruitful, however feeble they may be. For baby's sake, as well as your own, Mother and Dad, a periodic checkup on your motives and desires will help to regenerate the spirit of giving, loving and living for the glory of God. (See "Love in Action," listed under "To Buy or Borrow," at the end of this leaflet.)

Ask Yourselves

Do you kneel down every morning and night to say your prayers? Do you pray ejaculations through the day? Ask yourselves if you want your son or daughter to develop the beautiful habit of daily prayer. Just as you teach a child to pat-a-cake by repetition, so a baby can learn to make the motions of the Sign of the Cross. Example is a more penetrating influence than verbal guidance. Your child will learn more easily, more naturally, more thoroughly, if you teach him through daily demonstration. A Christ-centered life is the best indicator for the small child.

Make Your Home Beautiful

Are you more concerned about the physical fitness of your home than about the atmosphere you create? The essential beauty of your home is dependent, not on brick and paint and venetian blinds, but rather on the spirit which permeates it. Always keep in mind as a model the home of Jesus, Mary and Joseph in Nazareth. Your home will then be filled with peace, which is necessary before a child can feel the loving breath of God's presence.

When your baby is small, you will not be going out as often. Are you restless in the new adjustment you must make? If so, you will need to examine candidly the varied pleasures to be found right at home. Are you interested in gardening? You can cultivate your own flowers and plants to be used for shrines in the home. Father may like carving and may decide to make a statue or a crucifix. Or, if you both are interested in the lay apostolate, now is the time to become informed, so that, when your routine changes, you can easily move into another category of activity. Each one according to his or her taste should fill his time usefully.

Realizing that this is a temporary situation, you will be amazed at how often you will find yourselves even enjoying the fact that you have lost a certain amount of freedom. You will find that now you are free to engage in other activities than those you pursued before your baby arrived. Line them up carefully and methodically before succumbing to boredom and depression.

Your Catholic Culture

The Catholic religion is so rich in culture that there is hardly a phase of daily living which is not affected by it. Books, pictures, hymns, traditions, and customs will contribute to the abundance of your lives. They are a part of your own and your child's heritage as Catholics. Use them generously. Learn about the history and beliefs of your Church. In literature, art and music the Church has made tremendous contributions throughout the ages. Now is the time to examine these more closely and to ready your selves for the time when you will be able to inspire your children to fill their lives also, with the good, the true and the beautiful.

Briefly Then...

1. Appreciate the fact that the Sacrament of Matrimony is a rich source of grace.

2. Have confidence in your own ability, which can be fortified daily by God's grace.

3. Your child's spiritual growth is as definite as his physical. Keep in mind that you safeguard his soul's welfare by setting a good example.

4. How do you measure up? Check your attitude toward your new responsibilities.

5. Read about the rich Catholic culture that is yours and use it in song, picture and story.


"Enjoy Your Child," James L. Hymes, Jr. National Catholic Welfare Conference, Family Life Bureau, 1312 Massachusetts Ave., N. W., Washington, D.C. A child is a gift from God which is received with gratitude and joy.

"Love in Action," Rev. Leo J. Trese. Confraternity Publications, 508 Marshall St., Paterson, N.J. A CCD discussion club text that explains how love of God and love of neighbor are perfectly fulfilled by obeying the Commandments of God and the Church.

"Together toward God, Religious Training in the Family," Pierre Ranwez, S.J., J. and M. L. Defossa and J. Gerard-Libois, translated by P. Barrett, O.F.M.Cap. Newman Press, Westminster, Md. A remarkably complete text with reading list to help parents in the religious education of their children throughout their childhood. An indispensable book.

*"Beginning At Home," Mary Perkins. Liturgical Press, Collegeville, Minn. Helpful and practical book for family training in Christian culture.

*"Praying While You Work: Devotions for the use of Martha rather than Mary," Dom Hubert Van Zeller, O.S.B. Templegate, 719 E. Adams St., Springfield, Ill. Shows women burdened with household cares how to advance in prayer.

*"Religious Customs in the Family" (republished as "The Year of Our Lord in the Christian Home"), Francis X. Weiser, S.J. Liturgical Press, Collegeville, Minn. Written in easy style, it offers many suggestions for bringing the liturgy into everyday life.

"Reading for Catholic Parents," F. J. Sheed. Sheed and Ward, 64 University Place, New York, N.Y. Tells why, how and what parents should read. List of suggested reading for adults and children.




Parent Educator Series 1 No. 3--9 mos.

Which Walk of Life?

As your baby reaches nine months, you become more and more interested in his physical development. Because he can now creep, sit and stand, he is something of an investigator. You are so proud of him that you eagerly listen for the admiring comments of others. This is as it should be. A baby is a possession well worth the admiration of others. It is a natural impulse for a father and mother to want others to know that being parents is an incomparable experience. God wants us to be proud of our children. He wants us to be so proud that we will accept only the best way of life for them. This was clearly pointed out for us by Christ Himself when He said: "I am the way, and the truth, and the life" (John 14:6).

Your baby attracts attention as you push him down the street in his stroller. Your neighbors, and sometimes even a stranger, will say, "What pretty eyes!" or "How healthy he looks!" Then they may try to decide whom the baby looks like. You agree, and admire your baby with them. As you continue down the street, you think of his soul, which is made in the image and likeness of God. How much more beautiful than any physical attribute! You realize that you can help to keep it beautiful and undefiled by your teaching of religion, so that it will return one day to heaven and God. What a glorious responsibility!

Baby's Relatives

You have a natural inclination to share affection. When you love someone dearly, you want others to know and love him also. Because of your love for each member of the Holy Family and your enrichment by their patronage and favors, very soon you will tell your child about Jesus, Mary and Joseph. You will want the members of the Holy Family to love your baby and care for him all his life, just as you will teach your baby in turn to love them.

Are you wondering just how you can go about introducing the Family of Nazareth to a nine-month-old baby? Well, how did you introduce his grandparents to him? If Grandmother and Grandfather live in the same city, your child probably became aware of them almost as soon as he came to know and recognize you. He probably came to know Granddad's hearty laugh and to reach for Grandmother's glasses.

If his grandparents live in another city, you have possibly taken him to see them or they have come to him. At the time of that visit your baby already knew about his grandparents, by the bootees and sweater Grandmother knitted and the fuzzy stuffed dog Grandfather had sent some time before. You had told him about countless other indications of their affection.

At nine months your baby readily distinguishes you and his relatives from strangers. The Holy Family can become as familiar to him through colorful pictures about their life at Nazareth. Indeed, a love for the members of that family must become part of the baby's life. Make room for them in your home. Listen to their words. Let your child feel their presence.

Learning Is Gradual

Nine months is the between-age because it is the period in which the baby loses his initial helplessness and verges on a certain inde- pendence. He is eating three meals a day with the rest of the family, instead of having formula feedings at special hours. He has teeth, sits up, and is creeping about. He amuses himself with toys and he fingers various objects, seeking the third dimension. If he is not yet drinking milk from a cup, he is trying to do so.

Do not be afraid to hold up the cup of learning to your baby. What does it matter if most of it washes down his intellectual bib? Who can say just how much nourishment his mind absorbs; at what point he begins to grasp an idea?

His Own Saint

A nine-month-old baby is wonderful company. He is a good listener. You can talk to him about anything. He turns his head when he hears his name, a saint's name. Ask that patron to guide you in giving the spiritual education your child needs. His own particular patron saint will become his very special friend. There are some simple books on the well-known saints. Though still quite young, your child may enjoy looking at pictures of the saints.

In this way, he will soon understand that the saints are his friends also, just as are his relatives. If you yourself are not acquainted with his own special patron, read about him. Then, if the baby's name is Francis, for example, you will be ready, when the time comes, to say: "Once upon a time there was a rich young man named Francis...."

Family Unity

The family is a unit of society. Our nation is as strong as are its families. Startling, indeed, is the large number of broken homes that exist today, with the resulting instability on the part of the children and the entering into unlawful marriages by the divided partners. The seriousness of such an act should always be before us. "And I say to you, that whoever puts away his wife, except for immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and he who marries a woman who has been put away commits adultery" (Matt. 19:9).

Though you yourselves may feel that you would never travel down the rocky road from a broken home, you must guard against anything that could lead to disunity in the life of the family. You should stand together as living examples of the precepts of God and of His Church-- ever united as a family unit. Family members become more stable and, therefore more virtuous, through recitation of the rosary. This practice has been singled out as valuable insurance against breakdown of family unity. Though your baby may be tucked in his crib, you can speak for him as a member of the family. As you shape and build your fortress against sin, participate with Christ in the salvation of the world by praying for those outside your home. Each day through prayer join those who strive to make the world what God intended it to be, for all have a responsibility to help restore, directly or indirectly, the world to Christ.

Briefly, Then...

1. Because you are proud of your baby and want the best for him, you will safeguard the purity of his soul.

2. Because you yourselves love the members of the Holy Family, you will be anxious that your child should come to know and love them, also. You will make a conscious effort to acquaint him with Jesus, Mary and Joseph through pictures.

3. Though you are not sure how much he will absorb, you will try to feed him some spiritual food.

4. You will enlist the help of your child's patron saint in his behalf, and will learn about the various saints, so that you will be prepared to teach your child about them.

5. Because you respect your marriage contract, you will strengthen family unity through daily recitation of the rosary.


"Guiding Christ's Little Ones," An address by the late Pope Pius XII. National Catholic Welfare Conference, Family Life Bureau, 1312 Massachusetts Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. The late Holy Father directs parents and teachers on the religious education of children and youth, with special attention to training the various faculties of mind and soul.

"I Can't Copy That Family," Francis L. Filas, S.J. Queen's Work, 3115 S. Grand Blvd., St. Louis, Mo. This will help you realize the truth that every Christian home is in reality a duplicate of Nazareth.

>"Miniature Lives of the Saints," Books I-IV, Rev. Daniel A. Lord, S.J. William J. Hirten Co., Inc., 25 Barclay St., New York, N.Y. These are very small and the text of each saint's life is presented opposite an attractive picture. There are "boy" saints and "girl" saints.

"Family Prayers," W. Busch. Liturgical Press, Collegeville, Minn. Aid to prayer in common for family at table in the morning or evening.

"Truth, Unity, Peace," First Encyclical of Pope John XXIII. Translation of Paulist Press, 401 W. 59th St., New York, N.Y. In this booklet the wise words of the Holy Father carry a great and personal message for families. Fathers and mothers are directed toward their place in the institution of the family, and the vast influence of family life on the affairs of the world is indicated.




Parent-Educator Series 1 No. 4--1 year

The First Birthday

It is difficult to decide who enjoys your baby's birthday more, you or the baby. The party, candle and presents all make the occasion a special one. Though your baby does not understand yet what a birthday party is, he does sense the joy in the household, for at the same time you are celebrating your good fortune as parents. You experience a warm feeling of accomplishment as you look at your sturdy offspring. You know that if you are fulfilling the responsibility of parenthood as an assignment from God, your baby is also developing spiritually each day.

Birthdays are a time for lighting candles. Why not take your baby to church on his birthday and light a vigil candle for him? He won't understand this little ceremony, but he will no doubt absorb some of the peacefulness surrounding him. A candle lighted by your reverent hands in honor of our Lord and Our Lady symbolizes a lasting prayer to God for your baby's temporal and eternal happiness. Such a pilgrimage to the parish church can become a yearly event. The idea that prayer, not vain wishing, helps to achieve ultimate salvation, will gradually take hold of his consciousness. Do not forget to light his baptismal candle at home if you have one. This, too, can become a yearly event.

The early helplessness of babyhood has passed. It was a wonderful time, as well as a trying and continuing time. Now, at twelve months, your child has developed a definite personality. He is like no one else in the world. Though he has certain rights which must be respected, you must teach him also to respect the rights of others. He must learn to adjust to his surroundings and maintain a happy balance when circumstances bring about changes. He must not be dominated by adults, nor, on the other hand, should he be allowed to rule the home.

Respect His Rights

Baby's rights include those of sufficient sleep and rest, healthful, attractive meals and cheerful surroundings. Because a baby finds security in regularity, it is essential that in all things you maintain order. But do not give up your own recreation in planning your routine; rather, adjust your activities to it. Treat yourselves to an occasional evening or afternoon by yourselves, leaving your baby in competent hands. You will enjoy the change and will come back refreshed and eager to resume your duties.

If, however, it is impossible to find someone reliable to care for the baby, then don't assume a martyr complex and show irritation in front of your child. Disappointments, along with lack of sleep, anxiety and all the other daily discomforts, can be offered in union with the sufferings of Christ. In this perspective they will seem as nothing. You can entertain quietly at home or follow your favorite radio or television programs. Do some worth-while reading so as to be ready to share your background of Christian culture with your child. Read your Catholic papers and magazines. Keep abreast of the world conditions in the midst of which your child is growing.


You want your child to obey because obedience is necessary for character development. It is possible to explain to a year-old child in a reasonable but simple way just why certain things are required of him. However, there are parents who unknowingly approach the matter of obedience as dictators. They want a child to hop and step like a trained animal. They overlook his God-given intelligence.

A child is reasonable. Usually, he will cooperate in the everyday requirements made of him. Sometimes, when routine has been upset, when rest is inadequate, or an illness is coming on, a child will rebel. Try to be understanding and patient. This does not mean that you must give in. Before the trying situation arises, study your assignment. Always keep in mind that you are dealing with another person and try to see his side of things.

There are homes which are uncomfortable places for all who enter them. These are the homes where there are "Don'ts" for almost everything. Baby's hands are repeatedly slapped when reaching for objects too fragile for his curious little fingers. Wouldn't it save wear and tear on the nerves of all if such objects were put away or out of reach during these early years? Then, the few essential "Don'ts" would carry weight. Do not permit a thing one time and forbid it under similar circumstances another time. Whenever possible, be consistent; if you are not, your child will become confused.

The first real tantrum is a frightening experience for the mother if she has not previously learned how to deal with such an outburst. Your baby thinks that if he kicks and screams he will gain your attention. However, by busying yourself with something else, you will teach him that you will give him your attention only when he stops. Above all, remain calm and gentle. This takes some doing, but grace is always available to assist in this important segment of child rearing.

Watch Your Language

Your child will soon develop a small vocabulary, which will increase with amazing speed. As your baby adds one word and then another, it is important to remember that you, his parents, are his primary source of words. You will be amused to catch pet phrases of your own coming from your offspring. You will be gratified when you hear "please" and "thank you," and you will know that you have given good example. Keep close guard, therefore, on the language you use, and you will seldom or never have the distressing shock of hearing anything undesirable spoken by your child.

By your own example establish the habit of truthfulness in your child. If you always tell the truth when he asks "Who?" "What?" and "Why?" both you and he will be more satisfied. He will be grateful; and as he grows older and needs to confide in someone that someone will be you, if you have gained his confidence through truthfulness and understanding.

Grace before Meals

The Christian custom of grace before and after meals should be established early. It is inspiring to hear a family ask God's blessing on their food and thank Him for it. You may also wish to establish the practice of blessing your child. This is a prerogative of parents and a heritage due a Christian child.

Briefly, Then...

1. Start a family tradition by taking your baby to your parish church on his first birthday. Light a vigil candle for him.

2. It is an incomparable privilege to share the growing years of your child. Recognize him as the individual that he is.

3. Respect for the rights of a child as well as respect for those of parents will contribute to domestic harmony and happiness.

4. You demand obedience from your child for his own good and not your own satisfaction in dominating another. Be consistent in your demands.

5. Deal with tantrums in a calm, gentle manner. The less attention you give to the performance, the sooner your child will stop.

6. Remember that your child will speak as you speak. If you establish early an atmosphere of truthfulness in the home, your child will seek your advice now and in the important years to come.

7. Establish the Christian custom of grace at meals. It will inspire others, as well as your own family.


"Parenthood," Daniel A. Lord, S.J. The Queen's Work, 3116 S. Grand Blvd., St. Louis, Mo. The future of God's created and redeemed world depends upon what your children receive from you, their parents. Parenthood is the most important profession in the world.

"The Spirit of Catholicism," Karl Adam. Translated by J. McCann. Doubleday Image Books, Garden City, N.Y. The basic concepts of the Catholic Church are herein carefully and brilliantly analyzed.

"Children and Their Religion," Eve Lewis. Sheed and Ward, 64 University Place, New York, N.Y. How to meet a child's psychological capacity in teaching religion.

*"Marriage and the Family," F.J. Sheed. Canterbury Books, Sheed and Ward, New York, N.Y. Another "must" by a favorite author among many.

"Bless Your Children," Archabbot Ignatius, O.S.B. Grail Publications, St. Meinrad, Ind. Few persons know anything about parental blessings. This short pamphlet will show you how to open up this channel of grace to your child.




Parent-Educator Series 1 No. 5--15 mos.

Mastering Life

Your fifteen-month-old child will soon be walking, if indeed he has not already carefully and cautiously made his way across the room. Though wobbly and clumsy, his progress will seem like one of God's greatest wonders to you, his parents. It will take a bit of self-control at first to permit your child to walk alone even a short distance. You will want to rush to him each time he topples. You will want to keep his hand in yours just a little longer. You will want to spare him all the bumps you can, until he acquires his sense of balance.

But naturally you will keep your hands off, so that he may learn. You want him to know the vast satisfaction of accomplishment, which is his right. By permitting him this achievement, you contribute further to his normal development.

This mastering of limbs, this co-ordination of body, is his first manner of traveling under his own power. Since his birth you have been preparing for this moment as you so faithfully attended to his physical needs. As the weeks and months sped into the past, you measured the daily dosage of cod-liver oil or its equivalent. You supervised the sun-bathing and regular offering of Vitamin C. Those sturdy little legs are a tribute to your intelligent and devoted parenthood.

Your child must walk through life alone in more ways than one. He must learn to solo in a spiritual sense, too. It is your task, also, to see that he is as well equipped in character as in physique, so that he will have the will to develop the special powers God has given him, and so that he will influence those about him to do good.

If he is exposed to the healthful atmosphere of a practical, happy Catholic home, he will develop well spiritually. He will acquire stability of character and the set of values necessary to maintain the balance which is so easily tipped by the uncertainties and insecurities of contemporary living. He will at last reach the ultimate goal for which all people are created--eternal happiness.

Yet Not Alone

Though your baby appears to be walking alone, you are actually walking each and every step with him. He is with you in all the hopes and fears and in all the dreams a parent dares to have. If you are wise you will use prayer to fortify all these hopes, fears and dreams you have for him. You will place your child under the patronage of Jesus and Mary and good St. Joseph. You will then relax, knowing that he is in good company.

Remember always that God is with him, not only in every step he takes, but in every breath and heartbeat. God gave him the gift of life and He will sustain him. God is mirrored in every living, growing thing about him. If you teach your child, as he grows older, to see God in himself and in everything about him and in everything that happens, you will help him toward confidence and courage and inner peacefulness.

Out of the Play Pen

At fifteen months your baby may still spend several hours each day within the confines of his play pen. It is reassuring to know that baby cannot injure himself while you answer the doorbell. But before very long he will let you know emphatically that he is tired of his play pen. He will demand more and more freedom from it, and you will reluctantly fold it up and store it, and by doing so, open to him a world of independence. At times you may wish you could set up some sort of protective enclosure to shelter your child from the dangers and hurts of the world. You feel it is too bad that you cannot erect a definite barrier blocking off all sin and temptation from your precious offspring.

Certainly no such wall of wood or steel or stone is possible. But there is another type of wall you can set up; a strong wall of protection against the evils of the world. Yours is the task of instilling in the heart of your child a deep, enduring love of God; of providing him with a shelter in which his soul will be safe. If you bring him to an appreciation of the need of following the teachings of the Church, you will have provided him with the best guard against the enemies of goodness and holiness. Through discipline, administered with love, you will have trained him to brush aside the alluring lights of a materialistic culture. Through your teaching you will show him how to remain firm in his convictions, knowing that they are the only ones that can bring lasting happiness.

Will He Outgrow This Shelter?

Will your child outgrow the shelter of the Church as he did his play pen? There is no need to fear if you teach him always to cooperate with God's grace. Not is there need to question the durability of the Church, for our Lord promised: "...thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" (Matt. 16:18). What a tremendous consolation it is for parents to know that the spiritual future of their children has its foundation upon a rock!

Work As A Team

The older your child grows, the more it will become apparent to you, Mother and Dad, that you function most efficiently as a team. A team has a common destination. It shares the same burdens because its members work together for the same purpose.

Your destination is, of course, eternal salvation; your purpose, to bring to that salvation, not only your own immortal souls, but those of the children entrusted to your care. Each of you has certain unique tasks to perform in regard to the rearing of your child. Teamwork suffers if one parent assumes an overbalance of authority. It is unfair for one to slip up on his or her share of responsibility. Such laxness leads to disharmony and disunity, which in turn often cause a feeling of insecurity in the child.

A husband and wife working together, sharing, giving and taking, laughing together and accepting disappointment in common, give a child the balanced sort of background he will need if he himself is to acquire stability of character and a high sense of Christian values. Equipped with such a background, he will not only live his life peacefully, but he will also be able to radiate serenity to those about him and will help to restore others to that peace which the world cannot give. The peace, harmony and unity that we build within our homes will reach far beyond its walls. Together you are helping to build the kingdom of God on earth.

Briefly Then...

1. Just as you allow your child the opportunity to assert his physical independence by learning to walk alone, so you must bring him to the point in character development where he can stand alone.

2. The healthful atmosphere of a practical, happy Catholic home is the best training ground for your child.

3. It is imperative that you give your child as adequate protection from the forces of evil as you do from possible physical accidents.

4. If you rear your child to know and love God, you are providing him with lifelong protection against spiritual disaster. You are showing him the way to heaven.

5. Parents must work together. Accepting the teaching of the Church in regard to Matrimony, husband and wife must live and work as one.


"Blueprint for Raising Children." D. F. Miller, C.SS.R. Liguorian Pamphlets, Liguori, Mo. A practical and helpful pamphlet on raising children.

"This Is Catholicism," John J. Walsh, S.J. Doubleday Image Books, Garden City, N.Y. In easy question and answer form, this book gives an explanation of the Catholic faith.

"Sin" (From a "Companion to the Summa"), by Walter Farrell, O.P. Canterbury Books, Sheed and Ward, 64 University Place, New York, N.Y. Many people don't believe in sin, others are plagued by scruples. It is the highest importance that we understand just what sin is.

"Dear Newlyweds" Pope Pius XII Speaks to Young Couples." Farrar, Straus and Cudaby, 101 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y. A collection of talks on married life, useful to newlyweds and to all Christian couples.




Parent-Educator Series 1 No. 6--18 mos.

Discovering Together

Isn't your eighteen-month-old child delightful company? Almost every day you notice some new sign of development. He walks quite steadily now and stumbles only when there is something to trip him. Though his vocabulary is very limited, he can make you understand what he means by gestures and funny little sounds all his own. He likes to look at picture books and tries to turn the pages himself. He may turn three at a time, but nevertheless is quite satisfied.

There is a priceless element of suspense and surprise in this companionship. You are not sure what he will do or say next. Together you share the new experiences. It is a glorious adventure to advance with a little child as he discovers God's wonderful world. Commonplace objects and everyday happenings take on new luster and value. Though we are balanced on the brink of uncertainty in world affairs, it is consoling and inspiring to see the world as God created it and wished it to be. A child is the best guide to the world's lasting wonders. Together you can thank God for these and for each other.

Opportunity To Teach

As you go along with your child, you can guide him to those things in life which will make him a well-balanced adult. As you watch all the new gates swing wide at the touch of his chubby hand, you can make certain that the other side of every gate holds something to strengthen not only his body but his soul as well.

In the new game of turning pages, for instance, you will find that he enjoys simple pictures best. He is especially pleased when he sees familiar objects. If he sees a shoe, he will look up, eyes bright with recognition, and exclaim, "Shoe!"

This is your opportunity, then, to include in his first library a book about Jesus and Mary. You can identify their pictures as "Mary" or "Jesus' Mother" and "Baby Jesus." Your baby will show pleasure in recognizing another baby. In this manner, you place Mary and the Child in the realm of day-by-day surroundings. That is exactly where they belong in your baby's world; not remote and far away, but within his short reach.

Stories Are Growing

Your child is taking a larger size in clothes. He is ready now for a wider variety of solid foods. He is more active than he was a few months ago. He is climbing and he loves to run around the house. The world is huge and new to your child.

His capacity for story material has increased also. Possibly there is no single medium of instruction so powerful and effective as storytelling. A real closeness can develop between father and child through shared stories. Since Dad is away at work so much of the time, he can use the medium of storytelling to meet his youngster on a common ground. How absorbed a child will be with the account of the travels of Jesus, Mary and Joseph as Dad relates them! All through life it is wholesome ant pleasant for an individual to be able to remember hearing certain childhood stories told by either of his parents.

Storytelling can become a prelude to reading. A child loves to hear stories and watch pictures as you turn pages of a book. By reading to your child while he is still very young, you are creating in him appreciation of a basic, indispensable source of learning.

Ideally, story time should fit into the daily routine at the same hour each day. However, if it is too difficult to allow some minutes for stories other than at the time of the bath, it should be done then. Choose your story time wisely, so that your child will look forward to it with pleasure, rather than dread, because you happen to choose a time when he would rather be active. The time should not be too long at first, because at eighteen months your child's attention is short-lived.

Preventive Measures

Because of intelligent co-operation between parents and health authorities, many diseases have been brought under control. Inoculations have done much to curb the scourge of diphtheria, whooping cough and polio. Smallpox vaccinations are given as a matter of course at the age suggested by your doctor. There is immeasurable relief in knowing that you have done all in your power to protect your child from physical illness.

In "Christian Education of Youth" (listed under "To Buy or Borrow," at the end of this leaflet), the late Pope Pius XI laments that "for the fundamental duty and obligation of educating their children, many parents have little or no preparation, immersed as they are in temporal cares" (p. 27).

However, it is possible to prepare yourselves for the task of guiding and protecting the soul of your child from those things which might blight or scar its present beauty. As parents, you will want to keep the truths of your religion clear and constantly in your mind. What better way to do this than to review the catechism? (See "This We Believe, By This We Live," listed under "To Buy or Borrow," at the end of this leaflet.) With such a knowledge of the Church's teachings you will be rewarded with peace of mind. You know you are trying to do all you can to safeguard your child's immortal soul. This permits you to relax in the confidence that God, also, is watching over your child and that now and in the future He will supply him with the graces necessary for his state in life. Sin cannot survive where there is close communication with God.

Everything His Size

Your baby enjoys things fitted to his size. He likes the stubby-handled spoon with which he attempts to feed himself. He prefers his own little chair to an adult one. He sleeps more comfortably in his own crib than in a large bed. When you are teaching prayers, this preference for the small size should be kept in mind. Baby can start by learning prayers such as "I love You, Jesus," and the Sign of the Cross. They must be simple little prayers which fit his age and ability to speak. He will build up a joyous attitude toward prayer if he learns that prayer is talking to God, or Jesus and Mary. It is enough, at this age, for him to acquire an impression of praying; to be given the smallest taste of what is to be a lifelong source of nourishment and consolation for his soul.

Briefly, Then...

1. At eighteen months your child offers you endless joy as you observe his rapid physical and intellectual development. The world takes on new luster as you observe it through the eyes of a young child.

2. It is not only your opportunity, but your obligation as well, to guide the development of your child. Through picture books a child can become familiar with his friends Jesus and Mary.

3. Both parents can contribute to the increasing scope of the child's mind by storytelling. Stories can be told while certain other activities are being carried on.

4. Just as such preventive measures as inoculations for various diseases are given to safeguard health, so, too, may steps be taken to protect the child from moral harm and to keep an atmosphere of spiritual wholesomeness in the home so that he may grow in purity and grace.

5. Teach your child to pray. Let him learn to recite short prayers at first. Help him to make the Sign of the Cross.


>"The Catholic Mother's Helper," Sisters Mary, I.H.M., Mary Roberts, O.P., Mary Rosary, O.P. St. Anthony Guild Press, Paterson, N.J. (Reprinted by Our Lady of the Rosary School, Bardstown, KY.) Part I takes the child through his first four years.

"Christian Education of Youth," Encyclical of the late Pope Pius XI. Translation of National Catholic Welfare Conference, 1312 Massachusetts Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. This document should be read by all who have charge of the spiritual welfare of children. Shows the responsibilities of parents to help the child develop his natural faculties by co-ordinating them with the supernatural.

"This We Believe, By This We Live," Revised Edition of the Baltimore Catechism No. 3. Confraternity Publications, 508 Marshall St., Paterson, N.J. A necessity for every Catholic home. Learning the truths of the Catholic faith should continue throughout life.

"John and John and Their Guardian Angels." St. Anthony Guild Press, Paterson, N.J. A picture book that will easily become a favorite.




Parent-Educator Series 1 No. 7--21 mos.

Hi Name Is...

Most likely the day after your baby was born, someone came to you for additional information in order to complete the hospital record and to register your baby for the Bureau of Vital Statistics. You were probably ready with a name months before. You and your husband gave much thought to the naming of your baby. The tiny form in the nursery was no longer just "Baby Jones"; for now he had a name of his own.

This name belongs to a certain pair of bright eyes; with a certain voice like none other in the world and with two clutching arms, the touch of which you would recognize in the dark. The name you selected is a part of this child, who has his own lovable way and manner, who has developed certain habits, who has become a distinct personality. He deserves recognition as a person. This child is your child and, above all, God's child. He is like no one else, and yet he is made to the image and likeness of God, as are all others. He shares a common destiny with others--in heaven.

He Is Himself

You can notice the development, not only in his body but in his mind as well. Your child is not like your sister's baby nor your neighbor's nor like you yourself at the same age. His body is unlike any other. For this reason hospital personnel took imprints of your infant's feet or a photograph of him for use in identification.

Approach the problems in the care of this child with an open mind. Do not permit yourselves to have a set mold and expect his behavior to fit into it. Do not be disappointed if his reactions are not like those of other children at the same age under the same circumstances. Parents have been disappointed because a second child did not like to sit quietly in church during the celebration of Mass, while an older child seemingly had enjoyed the experience. If you find this to be so, introduce the child to the church at some other time, when no one is there. Explain quietly to him that it is God's house and that we talk to God in His house. Let the acquaintance be made under happy circumstances. If he grows tired and restless, then by all means limit the visit to the boundaries of his short patience and to the length of time his vast energies can be stilled.

It is important to keep the proper perspective in dealing with a child of this age. Be flexible and relaxed in the timing of certain accomplishments. Do not be influenced by a neighbor's boast that her child is already doing this or that. What do you want to achieve? It is the durable, long-lasting accomplishment, of course, which is your concern. Always approach the teaching of your child with love and understanding for that particular child.

His Way to Heaven

For some children, it is natural to use the left hand more than the right. They feed themselves, dress, open doors or lift and use playthings with the left hand. Wise parents will not interfere with their child's particular tendency. Let your child vary in his way of doing things provided it does not interfere with the Christian life you and your family are striving to live. Approach all problems and events with a supernatural attitude. If, for instance, God has seen fit to deprive your child of one of his faculties, accept this hardship with patience and recognize it as a means for gaining merit. Your child will learn best by your example how to accept every situation in the proper perspective, knowing that the acceptance of God's will brings peace.

Discipline Is Essential

Are you afraid of the word discipline? It is a necessary, an important word in the teachings of the Church. It does not necessarily infer punishment and penance. Rather, it means the positive approach to any present problem or anticipated problem which threatens to disturb the order of your home or of your child's thinking.

It is well always to keep your goal in mind. The small, everyday actions are those which build character. If these are carefully dealt with, the big and important ones will take care of themselves.

Discipline must be maintained. Keep at this day by day. Let there be emphasis on the positive approach. If you assume that your child will be honest, obedient and kind, he will very likely acquire these virtues. If he comes to see and know the pattern of goodness in other members of the household, he will follow it.

Authority Comes from God

Your authority, Mother and Dad, is sacred. It comes to you from God. It is there, not for your sake, but for the sake of the child. Its use should always be tempered with love.

If only St. Benedict had written a book on child psychology! His Rule shows that he believed much more could be accomplished by love than by fear, that love is a more desirable motivation than fear. Love of God comes first; love of creatures follows.

Parents who lead with love can expect to form lasting confidence on the part of their child. They can hope to give him something he will use all his life. Fear of parents leads toward slyness and secrecy. It nurtures rebellion even in a very young heart. When there is love surrounding him, a child knows a sense of security which is of in- estimable importance to him. He is free to grow and learn and do. Was there any indication of a lack of strength in the home at Nazareth?

A Review of Method

You have progressed with your child in his various stages of growth. Do not forget, now or ever, that you and your own habits are the most important factor in the molding of his character. Smile your way through even the most exasperating situations, for it this particular age a child is not intentionally bad.

This is a good time to review your baby's past, brief though it is, and to plan for his future. It is well to restate your purposes to yourselves, so that you will always continue in the light of faith to direct your children toward God, their first Beginning and their last End.

Briefly, Then...

1. Your child is developing into a distinct personality. He is your child and, above all, God's child.

2. Give your child an opportunity to develop into the unique and wonderful person God intended him to be. Do not try to make him grow according to a chart in your baby book or like a neighbor's child.

3. Let your child develop according to his abilities. If God has seen fit to deprive your child of one of his faculties, teach him by your example to accept this cross.

4. It is essential that good habits of discipline be established in the home. The child who is taught consistently from the earliest time to obey and to have a certain respect for the rights of others, will continue to do so as he grows older.

5. Because you love your child, your task is easy. Let common sense come to your aid. Be firm but understanding. Be kind and just in administering discipline. Ask the Holy Ghost to help you.

6. Continue to make your home a Christian one. Your habits are a very important factor in the molding of his character.


"More than Many Sparrows," Leo J. Trese. Fides, Notre Dame, Ind. A practical guide to Christian living; how to meet and overcome the tensions and anxieties of life in the modern world.

"The Image Of His Maker," Robert Edward Brennan, O.P. Bruce Publishing Co., 440 Bruce Bld., Milwaukee, Wis. Gives much information on the nature of man, which in turn leads to a better understanding of one's fellow men--and children.

"Discipline in the Home," Cecilia Desmond. Divine Word Publications, Techny, Ill. Important principles are given for using discipline in the home: in dealing with mischievousness, tantrums, disobedience, and as a tool in forming a child's character.

"Catholic Marriage Reader," anthology of nine articles. Authors range from Gerald Vann, O.P., to Ed Willock. Grail Publications, St. Meinrad, Ind. Valuable and helpful information on a variety of subjects pertaining to marriage and the family.

"Love and Grace in Marriage," H. Caffarel, Fides, Notre Dame, Ind. A series of essays on spirituality for married couples.




Parent-Educator Series 1 No. 8--2 years

Wider Horizons

Your baby has reached another birthday. This time when you bring in his cake, he eagerly blows out the two candles. Somehow he senses that this cake has something to do with his day of presents and love and extra kisses. He merits all this just for being himself.

Your baby is now a participating member of the household and you find it difficult to recall any time when he was not one of the family. Now your child can share many more things in family life. His schedule of meals, sleep, play and prayer is somewhat flexible and adjusts, when necessary, to the needs of the rest of the family and household. If he has older brothers and sisters, he has shared some phases of play with them since birth and will continue to learn much from them. Perhaps the most thrilling of all his accomplishments are his short sentences. This skill introduces you to the mind and heart of a two-year-old. He indicates delight in each new experience and you can share it with him.

Now he is truly a social being, for he spends short periods with other children. He does not always find it easy to share, but through your patience and tactful prodding he soon leans toward acceptable social behavior. At the same time, and especially as he grows older, he should be trained to enjoy solitary play as well, for this valuable habit will help develop his power of concentration and self-reliance. It will also help him lay a foundation for the resourceful use of leisure time. There are many occasions when you cannot give him all your attention and he must learn to be happy alone.

Expanding Ideas

The world of the two-year-old expands to take in new ideas and adventures. He likes to help with simple household tasks. New sounds and places and people add to his enjoyment. His progress in doing is dependent upon repetition. Now, you can build on his growing capabilities and further develop the work you have started in the religious education of your child. Certainly you have not attempted any formal instruction in Christian doctrine, but you have nevertheless been teaching religion day by day, by your own example, by the atmosphere in your home, and by the effort you have made, whenever possible, to introduce him to Jesus, Mary and Joseph, the Holy Family. Even now you are teaching him short prayers such as "I love You, Jesus." Though he cannot fully join in family prayers, he will appreciate their dignity and beauty.

By now your baby is aware of the church. He senses with you the importance of the House of God and will come to feel that it is a beloved and privileged place to visit. As he sees his Mother and Dad genuflect before the tabernacle, he will instinctively imitate their act of reverence.

You will be gratified indeed at such a tangible proof of progress. You will have the feeling of accomplishment as your baby reaches into the holy water font while saying, "Me, too." In all of this you are amazed by the power of good example. Indeed, it is "the supreme sculptor of character and lasting conviction." You pray each day that you will set the best example for him.

Introduction to the Liturgy

Because of its brevity, Benediction is a service well suited to a small child. The ringing of the bell, the flickering of candles, the fragrance of incense--all will blend into a treasured memory. Processions, too, will intrigue him. He may comprehend something of the fact that the little boys and girls are marching in a kind of prayer to please out Lord. Yes, introduce him early to the sacred liturgy and Church devotions. From your attitude he will learn that worship of God is not only a duty but a joy and privilege.

The sacraments are the most important way in which we establish direct contact with God. So you hope that your child will build up an appreciation of their magnificence and, realizing this, will frequent them often as the source of supernatural help. A child, even at an early age, can be prepared for the ceremony of the Mass and the reception of Holy Communion. Prepare him by buying an illustrated book about the Mass.

More Stories,

Stories are coming into their own. Your baby enjoys them more and more and asks for them frequently each day. Probably you have set aside a time each day for reading or storytelling. Story time is pure joy for you as you continue this intimate association with your child. There are stories everywhere. Tell your child about the grandmother of Jesus. Let him learn to love good St. Anne as he loves his own grandmother. The telling need not be too long. A short, short story is all that your baby has attention for just now.

You could even introduce him to the Bible. The quality of story in the Bible is far more acceptable than that of "The Three Billy Goats Gruff." Even at this early date you can begin to set the pattern for his reading habits. (See listing under "To Buy or Borrow.")

Keep Your Balance

It is a gay and wonderful experience to have a two-year-old in the house. With a light heart and willing hand, you enter into the daily responsibilities demanded of you. It is not meant to be a grim martyrdom. Training cannot be settled in one day, but must be approached gradually and without strain. Surmount daily vexations by means of the graces that are yours through the sacraments.

It is well to keep a basic schedule of household chores. Necessary daily chores should be accomplished first; then, if time allows, a weekly or seasonal chore can be fitted in. Never should panic born of a desire to adhere to a schedule eclipse sympathy for a child's momentary need or wish to communicate. Make the most of these wonderful days of a two-year-old. They will not return with this particular child. Keep in mind the habits of discipline and order you wish him to carry into maturity, and let the small things of each day contribute toward their eventual achievement.

Briefly, Then...

1. At two years of age your child is able to share in the fullness of family life. He basks in the warmth of your love for God and for one another.

2. Through stories, pictures and statues, as well as visits to the church, your child has come to know God. This is the birthright of every Catholic child.

3. Introduce him to the liturgy and devotions of the Church. He will most likely enjoy Benediction, which is a short service and suited to his capacity for attention.

4. Continue the storytelling. This is an excellent time to begin the habit of daily reading. Choose your material wisely.

5. Keep to a basic household schedule, but watch closely for those moments of need when your child wishes to talk to you, or even "at you."


"The Christian Home," Rev. John A. O'Brien, Ph.D. St. Anthony's Guild, 508 Marshall St., Paterson, N.J. An excellent little booklet on the sacredness of the home.

"A Catholic Child's Book of Prayers." "A Catholic Child's Book of Poems," Guild Press, 850 Third Ave., New York, N.Y. These two books help parents teach their children fundamental prayers and verses of praise.

>"Introduction to a Devout Life," St. Francis de Sales, translated and edited by John K. Ryan. Doubleday Image Books, Garden City, N.Y. A modern translation of a timeless classic which shows how we may aspire to a perfect life even though we live in the world.

"Mediator Dei," Encyclical of Pope Pius XII on the Sacred Liturgy. Translation of National Catholic Welfare Conference, 1312 Massachusetts Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. It is essential to all Catholics to understand the liturgy so as to appreciate more fully the divine rites and to participate in them.

"The Greatest Bible Stories," Catholic Anthology from World Literature. edited by Anne Fremantle. Doubleday Image Books, Garden City, N.Y. Parents will enjoy this reading material. It will serve to deepen adult comprehension of the stories told one's children.

"Children's Bible, by W. Hillmann, O.F.M., translated by Lawrence Atkinson. Liturgical Press, Collegeville, Minn. A delightful colorful retelling of the greatest Book every written. Your child will enjoy the vivid illustrations.




Parent-Educator Series 1 No. 9--27 mos.

Harmony Is Necessary

Harmony brings happiness into your home. Born of kindness among the members of your family, it guarantees respect for individual contribution and for the rights of others. The home is where your child will learn best the lesson of consideration for and service to others. You, Father and Mother, and every member of the household must strive to achieve this harmony, as you bend your efforts toward serving God on earth and, by this service, earning eternal happiness.

Though the task of maintaining harmony in the home at all times is not an easy one, it is important to work for it, while watching constantly the sublime model of the Holy Family. Day-to-day living as a family unit requires love. Each member of the family must try to perfect himself for the love of God and for the sake of the others. This love and respect extends beyond the boundaries of the immediate family to include the many who crave it. Unless harmony has existed in your home from the beginning, your child may never know its power.

St. Joseph, Model for Fathers

In St. Joseph there was great strength but at the same time vast tenderness. He is the model for all fathers. His life demonstrated for the heads of families the virtues that are essential for true success. St. Joseph was a laborer. He earned his living by his hands. His love of God sanctified his simple labor. Tradition tells us that St. Joseph excelled in prayer, that he avoided all occasions of sin and was diligent at work. Throughout his life Joseph constantly prayed that divine grace would sustain and guide him in every action.

Probably St. Joseph's tasks were made light and joyous by the knowledge that Jesus was watching him. The eyes of your child are on you, Dad. You are a V. I. P. in his world. You are his model, his guide. Probably you have been amused more than once when you observed him imitating your actions, manners or words. But this imitation is not a mere game to him. He is truly copying you. The awareness of his admiration for you, of his dependence upon you for leadership, will undoubtedly make you want to be the things you hope to see some day in your son. It is good to remember that you are a model for your child, and that, through his imitation of you, he is learning to train his will. You cannot escape that precious responsibility, even if you would. There is a definite challenge in trying to live up to what you want your child to become, by God's grace and your help.

What else do you mean to your child? You are more than just a model. Your presence, as a father, is of utmost importance to the healthy development of your child. Your son feels safe and secure in your presence. Your daughter seeks out your affection and esteem. They want your protection and guidance. The close relationship you achieve will prepare your son for his future social responsibility. You are his present contact with the world, outside the home. The ease and enjoyment which your daughter derives from your presence, develops in her the security which later will enable her to turn to you when problems and questions arise. Children thrive on the show of affection. Do not deprive them of this nourishment for soul and body.

Mary, Model for Mothers

One of the greatest consolations for mothers is the knowledge that the Blessed virgin Mary was also a mother. She understands all the experiences of motherhood, and therefore is ready to hear the petitions of all mothers.

Every mother will find inspiration in imitating Mary. She will find a kinship in remembering that Mary, too, kept house; she, also, had to wash and dust and cook, just as any homemaker does. She was always gracious, gentle and womanly. Certainly, you and every woman born since Mary will fall short of her virtues. But you can make your own life easier and better by trying to imitate the Mother of God, in the confidence that she is a living influence in your home, eager and willing to help you with any problem.

Women always enjoy speaking about their children. Have you formed the habit of talking about your child with the Mother of God? She is a tireless listener. The more you tell her of your own child, the more you will come to know her and her Son!

Working Together

Although each of you, Mother and Dad, holds a place of dignity in the home, you must work together in the important task of raising your child. Your child will respect and love you if you respect and love each other. He will be confused and demoralized if he is given conflicting orders. One parent must uphold the decisions of the other. If you have a difference of opinion, this difference must be discussed when your child is not present. The soul of your child will grow best in an atmosphere of harmony and affection.

Most fathers have only a meager share of a small child's waking hours. This share should be as happy as possible. Dad should be looked upon as a friend rather than a grim judge. As a mother, you will do all in your power to have your husband recognized as the head of the house in the manner in which Joseph was the head in Nazareth.

Your Child's Place in the Home

Your child, too, has a certain place in the home. When Jesus was twelve years old, He left the doctors in the temple "and went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them" (Luke 2:51). It was not yet time for Him to take His place in the world. There were still years of sheltered growth to be supervised by His parents.

Your child must be subject to you, his parents. He must be made ready for his work in the world. Christian teaching does not permit your child to rule you, but rather fosters love and respect for you. The effect of your example and attitudes is far-reaching. Given proper guidance, your child not only will realize his role in the family, but will also be preparing for his role as a member of the world-family-- and, above all, as an intelligent ant generous member of the Mystical Body of Christ.

Briefly, Then...

1. The Holy Family of Nazareth is a model for your home. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph lived together in peace and happiness, subject always to the will of God.

2. St. Joseph's qualities manifest the ideal for every Christian father. It is possible to emulate the Holy Family in everyday life.

3. Parents are models for their children. The most trivial mannerism is often copied by the young. Close association with the father is important to the full development of your child.

4. Mary is the model for all mothers. She is willing to help other mothers at any time.

5. It is essential that parents establish unified policies. It is a good idea to talk over important decisions so that there will be only one united decision presented to the child.

6. The Christ Child is the model for your child in filling his own place in the home. Help him to try to please Jesus by being as much like Him as possible.


"Sermons and Addresses on Marriage and the Family." Family Life Bureau, National Catholic Welfare Conference, 1312 Massachusetts Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. Sets forth patterns for imitation for fathers and mothers. Sections on the patron saints of husband and wife, St. Joseph and Our Lady, give inspiration.

"Family Man," E. S. Geissler. Fides, Notre Dame, Ind. "Father of the Family, E. S. Geissler. Fides, Notre Dame, Ind. In these two volumes, Mr. Geissler tells of the duties, desires, impressions, thoughts, satisfactions and sufferings experienced in living the vocation of husband and father.

>"The Reed of God," Caryll Houselander. Sheed and Ward, 64 University Place, New York, N.Y. A truly beautiful book about Our Lady. An inspiration at any time of year, but especially appropriate reading during the season of Advent, or another season of waiting, special to mothers, that of pregnancy.

"Questions People Ask about Their Children," Daniel A. Lord, S.J. The Queen's Work, 3115 S. Grand Blvd., St. Louis, Mo. Answers to questions asked the late Father Lord by parents during question periods following lectures. Covers period from earliest years through the teens.




Parent-Educator Series 1 No. 10--2-1/2 years

Making Choices

You will find that your child enjoys learning to use his free will, one of God's greatest gifts to him. It is your task to give him a proper sense of values, to let him come to know right from wrong, so that, when the time comes for him to make his own decisions, he will choose wisely. Everyday choices lay the foundation for adulthood in the world of men and for eternal happiness in the next life. Teach him about Jesus and His Blessed Mother and. you will be preparing him well to make mature decisions in later years.

You have discovered, no doubt, that giving your small son or daughter the opportunity to exercise his own choice in small matters is often a help to you, Mother and Dad. For instance, when your child wakens from his nap, all flushed and warm, instead of the command: "Come now, and have a bath and get dressed," you might suggest: "After you take your bath, would you rather put on your red overalls with the pockets, or the plaid ones with the shiny buttons?" Very likely the little face will beam, and the youngster will go about the business at hand without hesitation or tugging and pulling.

The relaxed approach is much more sensible than a brisk giving of orders. After all, your child is growing into an intelligent human being. You do not want him to obey like a trained puppy; you want him, of his own free will, to associate doing what is right with what is expected of him. You want him to realize the happiness that can be his when he freely chooses to be good. This training will enable him not only to avoid making unfortunate choices but to make the best possible ones.

Favorite stories

It is for you, Mother and Dad, to expose your child to spiritual influences. His alert little mind will make the happy selection. If you tell stories about saints, you may find that for each child there is one saint who holds a particular appeal. If he almost always asks for the story of this saint, let him have his way. And when you decide on a statue for your child's room, his own preference will influence you. Maybe your son will be drawn to St. Joseph because he's like Dad with his tools and carpentering. Perhaps your little girl will think of St. Francis of Assisi each time she sets out a pan of warm milk for her kitty.

Your child will not only choose the stories he wants to hear, but eventually he will choose the virtues he will attempt to acquire. He will want to be brave like Loyola, good like Joseph, kind like Elizabeth. How much better it is for him to emulate the virtues of the great saints than to imitate Dennis the Menace and other comicstrip or TV characters. Saints can easily become lifelong friends through stories told about them.

Let every possible example of goodness, kindness and charity be given your child. Show him by your own conduct how to respect the property of others, how to show kindness to salesmen, store keepers, beggars. Lead him by example to love his neighbor regardless of color or nationality. Prejudice germinates hate; soon it overwhelms the soul, leaving only devastation. As far as you can, let your own lives follow those of the Holy Family, and you may be reasonably confident of your child's decisions, now as a toddler and later as a man.

Angel of God

You cannot accompany your little one everywhere he goes. You cannot remain awake all night to watch over him. But his guardian angel is there--when the little charge is asleep and when he is awake; when he is eating, playing or praying. If you were able to afford trained nurse to attend your child constantly, you would think that he was being well cared for. But could a nurse, however efficient, protect your child from his spiritual enemies? The guardian angel sent directly by God for this purpose is a faithful friend and wondrous companion.

Tell your little one about his angel, sent down from heaven to watch over him. You can teach him the familiar prayer, "Angel of God, my guardian dear." There are many instances in the Bible (Ex. 23:20; Matt. 18:10; Luke 1:5-20, and 26-38; 2:8-15) which describe the use of angels as messengers between heaven and earth. A child will delight in this idea of angels' reporting to God about the happenings on earth. He will be fascinated by the fact that angels are always present. He may even move over in his chair to make room for his own celestial companion. "Sometimes we forget how personal is God's interest in us." (See "God Gives His Help," p. 97, listed under "To Buy or Borrow," at the end of this leaflet.)

The Church Teaches Courtesy

The teachings of the Church lead toward the development of a strong and pleasing personality. Consider a few everyday practices which not only point toward heaven but enhance life on earth as well. Saying grace at mealtime is just ordinary politeness. The child who is taught to say grace is being taught how to show gratitude for favors received.

Morning prayer compels one to give some thought to his plans for the day. Even the little child can do this in a simple version of the Morning Offering. Even if he does not fully comprehend what he is doing, he is learning to direct his energies into a worthy channel. He is being taught to make good use of his time. As evening approaches, the excitement of the day is forgotten in the quietude of prayer, and the soul is composed for sleep.

There are many other examples of graciousness taught by the Church. The genuflection is one; the inclination of the head at the name of Jesus is another. Catholic parents are indeed fortunate to have the direction of Holy Mother Church in instructing their children. She is old and wise and thoughtful of them. She offers a leadership of love, such as the people knew who followed Jesus in Galilee. As members of the Mystical Body of Christ, you share this leadership. Try to learn all you can about the Church and teach your children the proper attitude toward its precepts. It is important to establish this foundation early, so that in later life your child will not forfeit his salvation for a passing worldly attachment.

Briefly Then...

Do not hesitate to show your gratitude for the gift of faith. Teach your child to treasure it all his life.

1. Give your child an opportunity to learn how to make his own decisions. With the foundation of a proper sense of values, he will learn to choose right from wrong, and thus will grow into a balanced individual.

2. The Church teaches kindness. By your example show your child how to love his neighbor in God. He will want to imitate the saints as well.

3. In the stories you tell your child acquaint him with God's angels.

4. Your child will learn the gracious ways of Christianity through your knowledge of the Church and its teachings, as well as by your example.


"May Guardian Angel," Alma Savag. Guild Press, 850 Third Ave., New York, N.Y. A read-with-me book, with full-color illustrations, for the young child just beginning to learn about his religion.

"God Gives His Help," Rev. Leo J. Trese. Confraternity Publications, 508 Marshall St., Paterson, N.J. Chapter XV, "The Best Prayer," is especially recommended. However, the entire booklet deserves attention.

*"We and Our Children," Mary Reed Newland. P. J. Kenedy and Sons, 12 Barclay St., New York, N.Y. The author vividly shows how to mold the children in Christian living.

"A Catholic Parents' Guide to Children's Reading in the Home." Paulist Press, 180 Varick St., New York, N.Y. A listing of one hundred books for children, graded from two to sixteen years.

"Guardian Angels," Florence Wedge. St. Anthony Guild Press, 508 Marshall St., Paterson, N.J. In 52 pages, this pamphlet explores the entire subject of Catholic belief in angelic spirits, covering Scriptural proofs of the existence of angels and their aid to man, as well as giving the laity in simple terms a sound theological background on all doctrinal aspects of the subject.

"Mystici Corporis," Encyclical Letter of Pope Pius XII. Translation of National Catholic Welfare Conference, 1312 Massachusetts Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. A "must" for all Catholics. Gives a better understanding of the intimate union of the church with her divine Hear and the place of each member in "the whole Christ."




Parent-Educator Series 1 No. 11--33 mos.

Helping Himself

Your child is trying more and more each day to help himself. He attempts to feed himself and to dress and undress. He likes to place his storybooks back on the lower shelf provided for them. He is learning to pedal a tricycle. When you applaud him in his progress toward independence, you are understanding and patient.

You do not force or coax him to attempt any task beyond his capabilities. You do not insist that he dress himself all the time, nor do your expect him to do so completely. Instead, you are there to help with the button he just can't manage.

You do offer him sufficient freedom to try out his own powers. Thus you give him an opportunity to enjoy success, to feel a sense of accomplishment, and to venture into the world of grown-ups on his own terms. If you have added a new member to your family, your toddler will want to help with his care. A sense of humor and patience will carry you through this period of many demands.

His Scale of Things

Your child will want to take part in religious practices also. You do not coax or cajole or expect too much in these matters either. Offer him the same helpfulness and praise you did when he was learning to walk or pedal that tricycle.

You must try not to be so rushed and tired and hurried that you give orders and do things in an excited manner. If you are nervous because of the many demands made on you, retreat within yourself for a few moments to restore calmness. Your physical and spiritual well-being both will be improved by doing so.

Your child has long since become a part of the family group at prayer. He comprehends the atmosphere of prayer. He knows that prayer is a way to talk to God. He has become familiar with the prayer to the Sacred Heart the family says, even though he grasps little of its meaning. It is enough if he understands that this prayer tells the Sacred Heart every day that the whole family wants His blessing and loves Him dearly. If the child does not recite the prayer, he is nevertheless making the offering when he kneels quietly and bows his little head at the name "Jesus," while the older ones say the prayer.

He can bless himself nicely, though at times he may become confused. As long as it seems necessary, help guide his hand in making the sign of the Cross. Do not worry; before long he will do it himself.

In visiting the church, your child will want to observe the same rules as govern the rest of the congregation. A little girl who likes to cover her head, as Mother does, is learning the proper etiquette for church. Your child wants to genuflect in his own squatting fashion. He will probably place the wrong knee on the floor, but in time he will learn. He can be taught why this act of reverence is expected in the House of God.

Little by little your child will become practiced in matters of religion. When he is awkward or slow, remember, Mother and Dad, that he is learning lessons which are to endure for a lifetime and more. Teaching religion is a serious and sacred assignment.

For His Very Own

Your child likes his own things. Be sure, Mother and Dad, that there are religious articles among the treasures which are his personal property. Inexpensive yet tasteful little statues of our Lord and His Blessed Mother, of angels and saints, are available. Your small child will want these for his own. He will be very proud of them, partic- ularly if you have them blessed. Encourage him to place them on a table or stand and to supply a flower in a pretty vase as a tribute to his friends in heaven; by doing this he will come to know and love those whom they represent. During Advent or at Christmastime, let your child hold the figure of Jesus which you will place in the crib. Let him fondle it as his own, and tell him how Jesus was born a tiny Infant just as he himself was once a helpless baby.

Let your child "pray" his own rosary during Mass. You can buy an inexpensive prayer book for him too. There are so many attractive ones on the market. Not only will a prayer book give him pleasure and something to do, but it will help him become familiar with the actions of the priest and sacred objects in the church.

At the time of the Offertory collection, let your child drop in his offering "just like Daddy." This way he is learning early to support the Church. Let the carrying of a prayer book, a coin and a rosary be a part of the ritual of getting ready for Mass. Provide a special place to keep these articles at home. You will be surprised at how co-operative your child will be in looking after these articles and in using them.

Be Cheerful

Motherhood and fatherhood are not for the faint-hearted. To serve God in the vocation of parenthood, "certainly means referring and offering the work to God in prayer; but it also means, essentially, to do the work well: one must be prepared for it, work hard at it and, in so far as possible, be well qualified for it." ("Lay People in the Church," Yves M. J. Congar, O.P., translated by Donald Attwater, Newman Press, Westminster, Md., p. 413.) Children can come to learn that parents undertake the hardships of their vocation, first, for God and, secondly, for them. Though it may be difficult, strive to maintain a cheerful attitude toward life at all times. And if you show your child that you notice his smiles and appreciate his unselfish actions, he will most likely become even more cheerful and generous when he grows older.

In carrying out the sublime challenge of parenthood, be as happy as you can. This does not mean you won't have your normal share of human woes. In fact, at times you may experience crushing blows. You will tire and get sick, and there will always be bills to pay and difficulties to be encountered in every phase of living. But if you are content in your married state; if you recognize the ever-present concern of the Holy Family in your welfare, you will be happy, regardless of what turn earthly matters take. Yours will be a happiness so deep, so enduring, so beautiful that you will come to recognize earthly troubles as the transient annoyances they really are. You will know that heaven is your ultimate goal, and that as long as you are on the right route, all is well. The greatest gift you can give your child is the happy and stable atmosphere of a Catholic home.

Briefly, Then...

1. Offer your child sufficient freedom to try out his own powers but patiently give help where it is needed.

2. Allow your child to develop in spiritual matters as you do in other things. Just as he learned to dress himself and to eat at the table, so too will he come to know how to conduct himself in church and at prayer time.

3. Provide your toddler with his own small prayer book and rosary. Teach him to respect these holy objects. Have them blessed by the priest and set aside a special place to keep them at home.

4. The spirit of a family is dependent upon that of the parents. Since God is all goodness, kindness and mercy, these qualities must be reflected in the lives of those who follow Him. Your children will know holy happiness if you yourselves possess it. A happy home is a priceless and everlasting treasure.


"ABC's for Catholic Boys and Girls," Catherine Beebe. Illustrated. St. Anthony Guild Press, 508 Marshall St. Paterson, N.J. These musical rhymes serve to teach manners and goodness to the small child.

"Let's Pray," Sister M. Juliana, O.P. Illustrated. Catechetical Guild, 260 Summit Ave., St. Paul, Minn. This attractive little book will be helpful in teaching your child to pray.

"Our Lord and I," Catherine Beebe. Illustrated. St. Anthony Guild Press, Paterson, N.J. This charming little book takes a child through the day, from prayer- time to prayer-time. Included in this book are prayers "For Father and Mother To Teach Me."

"Love Given and Taken," Mary Lanigan Healy. Confraternity Publications, 508 Marshall St., Paterson, N.J. The material contained in this work is extremely helpful to parents who are eager to live their family life in a truly Christian manner.

"The Long Adventure," Frank Weyergans. Henry Regnery Co., 20 W. Jackson Blvd., Chicago, Ill. About husbands and wives, children and home. Shows how family happiness can spread beyond the walls of the home and into the community.




Parent-Educator Series 1 No. 12--3 years

Emerging from Babyhood

Your child has come a long way in three years' time, hasn't he? Before your eyes in the months ahead you will see in innumerable ways that babyhood is passing; the babyhood that lasted such a short while. He is not going to be three years old very long either. Nor four, nor five, nor twelve, nor twenty. That's why you must continue consciously at your task of teaching religion every single day. This is the formative period. Though brief and fleeting, it is the most important time of life. The groundwork of character-building is being laid. It must last him the rest of his life.

The religious education of the three-year-old should continue much as it has thus far. The best way for parents to teach religion is to live it themselves. Living your religion from morning until night, each and every day of the year, is the best assurance that your children also will live it.

Living one's religion is a most satisfying challenge. Having acknowledged within your hearts the desire to do the will of God, you know the incomparable tranquillity of trust in Him. You live fearlessly, knowing that He is guarding you. You live happily, knowing that He wants you to be joyous in His service. God does not want a long-faced, sad-voiced tribute of your lives. He prefers the lilting song such as St. Francis of Assisi gave Him. He is pleased with the good humor which characterizes His saints. Going to heaven is not a sad assignment. The journey is made happy by the very thought of the destination, and so you perform your daily tasks to the best of your abilities; you strive to deal justly and patiently with your children; you keep praying for guidance in fulfilling your duties. Your child will sense your closeness to God and will continue to grow in the awareness of His presence.

God Is Everywhere

One of the earliest answers learned in the catechism is: "God is everywhere." Guided by an awareness of the ever-present Creator, you will be answering frequent questions asked by your inquisitive child.

The chickens, the birds and the animals in the zoo are all from God. The seeds planted in the earth come up by the power of God. Your child begins to think and to talk because he has a soul created by God. And if you are expecting another baby, your child will understand when you say that this infant, too, comes from God. You will not have to seek new and complicated theories in teaching him. You will be safe and tight and everlastingly correct if you are guided by the teachings of the Church. So often a small child will stare at an object, fondle it and give the impression of dawdling--but let him take this time; let him wonder for himself. Permit him to contemplate and then enlighten him further. He seems to explore the wonderful world about us as deeply as a philosopher.

Where Is Heaven?

Our Lord said, "Amen, I say to you, whoever does not accept the Kingdom of God as a little Child Will not enter into it" (Luke 18:17). Perhaps this explains why heaven seems so close to a three-year-old. Heaven is not distant when one is three. It is as close as the house next door; as the sandbox in the yard or the swing under the tree.

The child is right. Heaven is not far away. God is everywhere, and so are His angels and His saints. Being the parent of a three-year-old gives you a wonderful opportunity to look at heavenly things through his unclouded eyes--to stay close to God with him. Watch for his theological insights. It is not beyond a child of three to say such things as, "That's what God wants;" or, on accompanying his parents to the altar rail where they receive Holy Communion, to exclaim in disappointment, "No Jesus for me!" Open your ears to such expressions; they are amazing and, at the same time, very real and inspiring.

You will be edified by your own baby. Even as you prepare him for living his religion in adulthood, you will rediscover for yourself the crystal-clear and unquestioning faith of childhood.

Part of the Family Fun

You will find that your child, though young, will enjoy doing things with Mother and Dad. You will appreciate his taking part in any family activity, for a sense of security comes from family participation. You yourselves will think of many things that can be done as a family unit.

When you are all grouped together at home in the early evening, or in summer when you are under the trees in the yard, it is time to sing! The family songfest might end with a hymn to the guardian angel or one to Mary and her Son. During Advent and at Christmastime sing the carols often. Surely God will bless the family that prays through song. You will revel in the peace and contentment which you will discover through singing. For singing is a natural outlet of our hopes, our loves, our aspirations.

The Greatest Influence

It is well to remember that the influences of home are stronger than any others your child may encounter. It is your privilege and your responsibility to see to it that these influences are worthy of the trust God has placed in you as parents when He assigned this child or others to your care. Model your home as perfectly as you can on the holy home in Nazareth. Then your child will never wish to stray from its secure and soul-inspiring influence. Home will become for him the most desired place on earth.

Briefly Then...

1. During your child's preschool years, the groundwork for character-building is laid. Your task of teaching him religion continues throughout this formative period.

2. Continue to make your way of life a Christian one. Once you resign yourselves and your families to God's will, you will know happiness. Your child will be greatly influenced by your words and deeds.

3. Your child will delight in discovering the world God made and all that there is about us. Look at creation through his eyes, and thank God for the opportunity to walk toward heaven with a young hand in yours.

4. You will marvel at how close heaven is to a three-year-old. Do not be surprised if this small child inspires you by what he says about God.

5. Your family traditions, which include even the small three-year-old, are growing with your family. Singing and other activities done as a group draw a family together. The common destination of heaven gives to all a single goal and purpose.

6. If you follow the pattern set in Nazareth by the Holy Family, your own family life will hold your child anchored to virtue throughout his life.


"My Book about God for Little Catholics." Rev. Louis A. Gales. Illustrated. Catechetical Guild, 260 Summit Ave., St. Louis, Minn. A delightful introduction to God's wonderful world and the meaning of life.

"The Creed," Daniel A. Lord, S.J. W. J. Hirten Co., Inc., 21 Barclay St., New York, N.Y. Simply and completely, this little book presents the Faith in a manner suited to the child's understanding.

>"The Story of the Trapp Family Singers" by Maria Augusta Trapp. Doubleday Image Books, Garden City, N.Y. Any parent will enjoy this account of a splendid family. It is steeped in Catholic culture and serves to demonstrate how much pleasure there is in living close to God.

"Saints and Ourselves," edited by Philip Caraman, S.J. Doubleday Image Books, Garden City, N.Y. Twenty-four Catholic writers portray their favorite saints in profile.

"The Catholic and His Church," Henri de Lubac, S.J. Canterbury Books, Sheed and Ward, 64 University Place, New York, N.Y. Unique in its blend of theology and meditation; on the Church and its significance.

*"The Year and Our Children," Mary Reed Newland. P. J. Kenedy and Sons, 12 Barclay St., New York, N.Y. A book for planning activities for Christian feasts and seasons so that the family may live the Church year.