A Story Time Survival Guide

06/12/2012 Comments (79)

If you read the book lists I share from time to time, you might get the impression that my children have superb taste.

This is not the case. They are voracious readers, but, as the dictionary points out, "voracious" is from the Latin vorare "to devour;" akin to Old English ācweorran "to guzzle," Latin gurges "whirlpool." So, down the hatch go the books -- all books, any books, from J.R.R. Tolkien to Junie B. Jones, from Gogol to Goosebumps.

It's bad enough when you know your kids are poisoning their own minds with worthless trash, but it's almost intolerable when they insist that you get involved. What to do when their favorite read-aloud books make you break out in hives? Over the...READ MORE

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Books That Get Childhood Right

06/08/2012 Comments (57)

The recently deceased Maurice Sendak famously said that he wrote books about childhood, not books for children.  At our house, we love his books, but it certainly doesn't pay to think too hard about the things he gets right about childhood:  the strange and wild fears, the loneliness, the comfortless absurdity that we must endure.

As a connoisseur of children's books, I've lately become fascinated with books that depict childhood accurately, but gently.  Here are some of my favorites:

101 Things to To with a Baby written and illustrated by Jan Ormerod
Hands down, the most tenderly perceptive depiction of babyhood and childhood (with extra points for making the adults seem real, too,...READ MORE

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Perpetual Eternal, Or Standard Eternal?

06/07/2012 Comments (48)

Ah, spring, when an oldish couple's fancy turns to . . . coffins.  Here's an email my mother sent to the family yesterday:

The carpenter brought the coffins and they're standing right in Joey's old room, one inside the other to save room. They're very nice, plain pine boxes with rope handles. The simplest way to deal with the whole thing is to wrap the body in a nice quilt and I suppose a little pillow, and that's that. You do not have to buy a coffin from the funeral director, you can bring your own.

You can get information about funerals from www.funerals.org so you can avoid falling into the various traps the funeral industry has laid for vulnerable consumers. For...READ MORE

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Some Questions for the Catholic Consumer

06/05/2012 Comments (171)

The Bishops are investigating the ties between the Girl Scouts and Planned Parenthood. Our family is too busy for Girl Scouts anyway (and when you look up "overrated" in the dictionary, there's a picture of Thin Mints). But for many people, Girl Scouts is central to childhood and beyond, and it would be a significant sacrifice to sever ties with it.

Even if it turns out there really is a strong and problematic association, does that mean that Catholics should shun Girl Scouts? Would it be a sin to participate? Most faithful Catholics would never support Planned Parenthood directly, but where do we draw the line to avoid indirect support? A reader writes:

We do our best but I can't...READ MORE

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It Could Always Be Worse

06/01/2012 Comments (54)

We lost power on Tuesday, which is sorta kinda why I didn’t have a post. I'm not gonna lie to you:  We didn’t actually lose power for that long. But when the lights did go out, it was kind of like when you are just going along, living your life, going to the dentist, dropping by the library, picking up 240 pounds of humus (not hummus!) and suchlike, and all of a sudden the volcano in your back yard erupts! But you’re okay!  But then out of the still-smoking mouth of the devastated mountain comes a cloud of bloodthirsty pterodactyls, and you’re running and running with your family, and you find a safe place in a cave, and you’re hiding and you’re scared, but you’re still okay!  But then...READ MORE

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Fortnight For Freedom

05/31/2012 Comments (86)

The Fourth of July is coming, and it's an election year.  It should feel like a carnival, but instead, my politically conscious friends feel more like putting on black arm bands when we head to the polls.

As a Catholic, I associate myself more or less with conservative candidates, not because I own solid gold toilets and like to eat welfare mothers for breakfast, and not because I have an ounce of admiration or trust for any current prominent Republican, but because the Republican party is very slightly less pro-death than the Democratic party.  I don't expect to gain any ground; I just want to slow down how quickly we lose.

The dreadful part of such a position is that I'm pretty much...READ MORE

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Why I'm Still Mad About THE DESCENDANTS

05/30/2012 Comments (45)

Envigorated with all we accomplished over Memorial Day weekend, my husband and I actually committed to watching a whole movie (instead of spending a movie-length space of time watching Buffy and The Office on Netflix because it’s too late to start a movie).  We chose The Descendants, which came out on DVD in March of 2012. 

There is nothing more frustrating than a movie that could have been good, but just plain isn't.  Oh, there were some good things about it.  It's beautifully shot, and, as a Reel Faith review points out, it treats both end-of-life decisions and adultery as extremely serious issues.

This movie tries so very hard, from the very first moments, to shake you out of your...READ MORE

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So What SHOULD We Tell Our Kids About Sex?

05/25/2012 Comments (104)

No matter what sort of school your kids are in, it's primarily the parents' responsibility to shape and guide a child's attitude toward sex.

Yesterday, we discussed the drawbacks of abstinence-only education as it is commonly presented in secular schools, and an excellent discussion in the combox followed.  In this post, I will try to compile some of the ideas in that discussion.  Think of it as a sort of check list for concepts to cover in more depth.

Here are the basic ideas which should be included in sex education.  There is so much here that one thing is clear:  there is no such thing as The Talk, singular.  There must be many, many talks!  Also please note, I have not covered...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.