My little boy should arrive any day now. Having ventured beyond my due date, I’m experiencing Advent as the “season of patient waiting” to a very realistic extent this year. The extra days have given me ample time to reflect and prepare for both his arrival and the celebration of the arrival of the infant Jesus shortly thereafter. I decided to come up with a list of 20 things I look forward to teaching my son, many of the lessons inspired by the example of the Holy Family. Now my baby just has to arrive so I can get to work!
1. No one loves you more than Jesus. If you want to learn to love and be loved beyond your wildest dreams, learn to be loved by Jesus and to love Him madly in return.
2. The priesthood is arguably the coolest job on the planet. Always be open to God recruiting you.
3. Treating a lady with great reverence and respect is never old fashioned.
4. Always honor your father and I. God gave you to us in particular, and He did that for a reason. Respecting us, especially when you don’t feel like it, will make you a better man.
5. The most important trait you should ever desire to master is holiness. Disclaimer: it’s also the hardest to master.
6. Adoration chapels are the best getaways and surest places to relieve stress and find clarity.
7. Your future siblings will look to you as an example of how to behave. Rise to the challenge; give them something to aspire to.
8. Be like your father. Work hard, sacrifice, pray, study, and live morally, so that someday, if God calls you to marriage, you will attract a woman who loves you as much as I love your daddy.
9. Don’t worry. I’ve read studies that explain how much more anxious kids are today (about everything) than in previous generations. Worry is a crippling thing. Trust that God’s grace will help you handle whatever comes your way, and live in the present.
10. Make Sundays sacred. You have six other days in the week to do homework and all other work. Start healthy Sabbath habits now, so you can benefit from Sunday rest for the remainder of your life.
11. Take good care of your body. Eat well and exercise. Show God you appreciate the gift of your health.
12. Use your imagination! Your father and I will help you learn how to play, read, imagine, and dream. Don’t be jealous of your friends for the hours they will spend watching TV and playing video games. Have real fun.
13. Go outside. Enjoy nature. God gave us the mountains, beaches, forests, lakes, and valleys as an expression of His power and beauty. Take advantage of it. It’s a gift…for you!
14. Be self-aware. Examine your conscience every single night, so you can concentrate on how to be a better man tomorrow.
15. Practice gratitude–everyday. Tell God and others daily what you are thankful for. Gratitude cultivates a joyful spirit. Live with joy.
16. Be kind. There is not enough kindness in our hurting world today. Blessed Mother Teresa says that a smile is an act of love, a gift to another person, a beautiful thing. Smile often.
17. Don’t be afraid to share your faith with others. Offer them a slice of the great gift you have that is your salvation and membership in God’s family, His Catholic Church.
18. Learn to love Our Blessed Mother. Imagine the unconditional love of two mothers: one on earth and one in heaven. You are one lucky boy.
19. Make your Bible and Rosary your travel and nightstand companions.
20. Be a good friend. A good friend of your friends, a good friend of the saints, and a good friend of your Savior.
What lessons are you passionate about teaching your kids?
(Editor’s Note: Katie and her husband welcomed a healthy baby boy into the world a few days ago!)
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