Friday, September 5, 2008

More parenting advice

from The Duty of Fraternal Correction, Gospel Commentary for 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, by Father Raniero Cantalamessa, OFM Cap:

Father Raniero Cantalamessa
What Jesus has taught us about correction can be very useful in raising children too. Correction is one of the parent’s fundamental duties. “What son is not disciplined by his father?” Scripture says (Hebrews 12:7); and again: “Straighten the little plant while it is still young if you do not want it to be permanently crooked.” Completely renouncing every form of correction is one of the worst things that you can do to your children and unfortunately it very common today.

You must simply take care that the correction itself does not become an accusation or a criticism. In correcting you should just stick to reproving the error that was committed; don’t generalize it and reproach everything about the child and his conduct. Instead, use the correction to point out all the good things that you see in the child and how you expect much better from him, in such away that the correction becomes encouragement rather than disqualification. This was the method that St. John Bosco used with children. (by Father Raniero Cantalamessa, the Pontifical Household preacher. The readings for this Sunday Ezekiel 33:7-9; Romans 13:8-10; Matthew 18:15-20)

Saint John Bosco

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Dumbstruck by the Mystery

...our temptation is always to impose our prejudices or our measure on reality -- except when we are faced with a fact that leaves us dumbstruck, and instead of dominating the fact ourselves, we are dominated, overcome by it. If there were no moments of this kind, the Mystery could do anything, but in the end, we would reduce everything to the usual explanation. But not even a Nobel Prize winner can stop himself from being dumbstruck before an absolutely gratuitous gesture. If there were not these moments, we would find answers, explanations, and interpretations to avoid being struck by anything. It is good that some things happen that we cannot dominate, then we have to take them seriously, and this is the great question of philosophy. If the conditions for the possibility of knowledge (see Kant) impose themselves on reality or if there is something that is so powerfully disproportionate that it does not let itself be "grasped" by the conditions of possibility, then the horizon opens. If this were not the case, then we could dominate everything and be in peace, or at least without drama. Instead, not even the intelligence of a Nobel Prize winner could prevent him from coming face-to-face with a fact that made him dumbstruck -- instead of dominating, it was he who was dominated. Here begins the drama, because I am called to answer. It is the drama that unfolds between us and the Mystery, through certain facts, certain moments, in which the Mystery imposes itself with this evidence. These are facts that we cannot put in our pocket, which we cannot reduce to antecedent factors.
-- Julian Carron in "Friends, that is, Witnesses."