Mother Church Says, "Yes, You May."

01/14/2014 Comments (20)

Does your school have a zero tolerance policy for certain types of infractions?  According to the New York Times, many schools are backing away from draconian, one-size-fits all policies when it comes to discipline, because they cause more harm than good.  The article says that when students are simply thrust out of school for breaking certain rules, these kids become even worse offenders.  Who'da thunk it?  Turns out if a kid is making trouble, he's not going to suddenly become a model citizen if he finds himself on the street, away from teachers, with an incomplete education and an arrest record.  

Zero tolerance policies -- the ones that leave no room for judgment on the part of the...READ MORE

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Embarrassment Vs. Shame

01/09/2014 Comments (89)

Recently, a mom used social media to teach her erring daughter a lesson.  She posted a picture of the girl holding a sign saying something like, "Since I use social media to bully people, I'm obviously not mature enough to have a smartphone, so I'm selling it and donating the money to an anti-bullying cause."  I forget the exact words, but there have been plenty of similar cases in the last several years.  The parents who mete out this type of punishment are hailed as strong, take-charge types who will save us from a generation of entitled brats.

Yesterday, Matt Archbold came out in favor of public shamings like these.  He says,

[W]hat's wrong with shame? I mean, does anyone think...READ MORE

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How to Thaw a Frozen Heart

01/08/2014 Comments (30)

Ever have frozen pipes?  Us hardscrabble New Englanders are used to dealing with them, but now people all across the country are discovering the joy of waking up, heading to the sink, turning on the tap, and getting a fine, rushing stream of nothing at all.  Bah.  I suppose you should have checked the weather report last night, and you should have left the cabinet doors open and left the faucet running just a trickle. Or gosh, you should have invested in some pipe insulation or heat tape when the home inspector said it would be a good idea.  But you didn't, and now here you are.

Moreover, you need to do something about it quick, before the ice in your pipes expands and bursts and floods...READ MORE

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When It Comes to Building a Community, Choose, Don't Drift

01/02/2014 Comments (21)

The other day, I did something I'd been trying to avoid: I took a swipe at Catholics who just don't like Francis.  I regret this -- not because I was wrong, but because it wasn't helpful.  Furthermore, among the people who don't like Francis, there is a wide range of motivations.  Some people are just plain ignorant, and aren't interested in remedying that ignorance.  It's easier and safer to just say, "Well, he's just naive and/or a commie, so don't listen to him.  Now, who wants to buy my newsletter?"

I regret the three minutes I lost getting upset over stupid stuff like that.  But I actually have more sympathy for people who don't like Francis because of of the fight they're...READ MORE

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Do You Even Deserve a New Year?

12/31/2013 Comments (22)

Take this simple quiz to find out!


How did you fare as a pet owner?

(a) After rescuing, spaying, and neutering all the chinchillas in the tri-county area, I have established a fellowship to fund chinchilla rescue, spaying and neutering in perpetuity.  Pretty soon, the chinchilla population will be so rescued, there won't be any at all!

(b) The cat is now litter trained, and the dog now poops in the backyard.  Good enough for me.

(c) Petco, Petsmart, and the Humane Society have posted Polaroids of our family with "DO NOT LET US HAVE LIVING CREATURES NOT EVEN BETTA FISH" scrawled in marker underneath.
 

How are your people skills coming along?

(a) I don't mean to brag, but...READ MORE

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Why Busy Parents Should Always Go to Midnight Mass

12/26/2013 Comments (31)

At our house, if we do something one time, the kids assume it's a tradition.  Not only a tradition, but an indispensable tradition without which life is nothing but an empty fraud.  This is frustrating when the insta-tradition is something like feasting on jumbo shrimp, which happened to be on sale on someone's birthday last year, but it certainly isn't on sale this year. 

We didn't mind at all, though, when the kids just assumed we'd be going to Midnight Mass this year, just because we did last year.  To them, it was a tradition, and we were happy to play along, even though we have tons of little kids and live in the great, frozen North:

It's the opposite of camping out all night...READ MORE

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The Light of the Child

12/24/2013 Comments (4)

Many years ago, my father Phillip Prever wrote a melody for Chesterton's poem, "A Christmas Carol."  There was harmony and a descant, too, but who knows where they are now -- in an attic, tucked into a book, or just gone.  Here is the poem:
 

The Christ-child lay on Mary's lap,
His hair was like a light.
(O weary, weary were the world,
But here is all aright.)

The Christ-child lay on Mary's breast
His hair was like a star.
(O stern and cunning are the kings,
But here the true hearts are.)

The Christ-child lay on Mary's heart,
His hair was like a fire.
(O weary, weary is the world,
But here the world's desire.)

The Christ-child stood on Mary's knee,
His hair was like a...READ MORE

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How Delmar Got Saved

12/19/2013 Comments (10)

In today's second reading, poor Zachariah gets a one-two punch:  first he was doing his duty as priest, burning incense in the sanctuary, when he's terrified by the sudden appearance of an angel.  He survives the shock, but then the angel tells him that his wife will bear a son -- and his first response is, "“How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.”

A reasonable response.  They were old; they thought their time had come and gone, and it seemed obvious that God was going to allow them to remain in the "disgrace" of being childless.  But the angel answers,

“I am Gabriel, who stand before God.
I was sent to speak to you and to announce to you this...READ MORE

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About Simcha Fisher

Simcha Fisher
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Simcha Fisher, author of The Sinner's Guide to Natural Family Planning writes for several publications and blogs daily at Aleteia. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and ten children. Without supernatural aid, she would hardly be a human being.