Raising Chaste Catholic Men
Practical Advice, Mom to Mom
By Leila Miller
LCB Publishing, 2016
142 pages, $11.95
To order: amazon.com
Given the culture in which mothers are raising their children today, there are perhaps few greater concerns to a Catholic mom than raising moral kids.
As a mother of a young boy, whom I pray will be a chaste Catholic man, and a young girl, whom I hope may be surrounded by chaste Catholic men, I was excited when I came across a succinct guide to raising boys into morally responsible men in Leila Miller’s Raising Chaste Catholic Men: Practical Advice, Mom to Mom.
Brimming with common sense and featuring a relaxed tone on an often-worried-about topic, Miller has written a book she describes as “the equivalent of one Catholic mom sitting down over a cup of tea with another mom in [her] kitchen, to talk informally but quite seriously about navigating this culture with your boys’ morality and chastity intact — and to give you the confidence you need to do just that.”
I found this book invaluable as a relatively new mother of two children, my oldest a boy. But I already know that I will be revisiting this book many times throughout my mothering journey, as there are countless gems of wisdom and practical advice for every age and stage of parenting boys.
I was impressed by Miller’s ability to navigate discussions on tough sexual topics, like pornography, masturbation, same-sex “marriage,” hook-up sex and other threats to our boys’ innocence and dignity, with clarity and simplicity — not to mention the appeal of truth and the natural law. No doubt she has had a lot of practice in broaching these issues in her Catholic family as a mother of eight, six of them sons. Miller tackles things like how to respond to your toddler putting his hands in his pants constantly, what to say when your elementary-aged child asks about why a classmate has two fathers and how to navigate your older son’s shameful sexual misconduct, without piling on more shame with harsh words. She also busts the notion that the Church is the one “imposing” her moral beliefs on the culture (when, in fact, it’s the other way around).
The chapters are full of lighthearted yet serious stories from her own parenting experience.
Since “the sexual sins are the sins of our day,” as Miller points out in the introduction, this book is really a necessary companion for Catholic moms, teaching mothers how to become truly approachable and tackle such an important aspect of sons’ upbringing without fear (“Don’t freak out about stuff,” is her advice, as Catholic moms are often too good at worrying).
The book presents practical, straightforward, specific, no-nonsense talk about a topic that couldn’t get much closer to a modern devout Catholic parent’s heart. Then, Miller reassures, “Do not be afraid. … God is in control of, and is much bigger than, this world. He cares for you as tenderly and lovingly and personally as you care for your own child — except infinitely more. Pray to him. Rest in him. Be at peace. Then do your best, and let it go.”
Katie Warner writes from Florida. Her website is CatholicKatie.com.