Posted January 24, 2012
Book: Embracing Motherhood
Author: Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle
Servant Books. Cincinnati, OH. 2012. pp. 141
An Excerpt from the Jacket:
Popular author Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle is back, this time with a book that addresses the vocation of motherhood, with all its joys and challenges. Using personal recollections, stories, Scripture, papal writings, and quotes from the saints, Donna-Marie encourages women to fully embrace their calling as mothers. The book takes an honest look at family planning, raising sons and daughters in our media age, overcoming perfectionism, single parenting, and dealing with the tough issues of today’s families face.
An Excerpt from the Book:
The Dinner Table
“The best and surest way to learn the love of Jesus,” Bl. Teresa of Calcutta said, “is through the family.” In our everyday dealings with the family, we can surely experience the love of Jesus. I am convinced that amazing things happen when families gather at the end of the day to break bread together --- to reconnect and grow as a family. Dinnertime is a lot more than just filling our bellies. I am immensely appreciative that my mother saw the importance of mealtimes together, and because she did, she passed down vital traditions to my siblings and me. We all ate together at the dinner table, not in front of the television set. Our dinner conversations may not have always been profound, and our behavior at times may not have been Norman Rockwell picture-perfect (far from it), but we were, without doubt, growing together and learning from one another and, what is maybe even more important, were provided with an invaluable paradigm.
How can we create found memories and have meaningful conversations if we are talking on our cell phones, playing electronic games, or watching TV? We must lay down the law --- no phones or games at the dinner table, no texting when conversing within the family setting.
Spilled drinks, arguments, or kids in a rush to leave the dinner table may hardly look like an occasion for grace and prayer. We can’t expect impeccable behavior and impeccable dinners together, especially when our children are young. Accidents happen, kids get messy, adults lose patience, or a teen may be having a hard day. Parents are wise to lower their expectations while still teaching their children to respect them and practice good manners as best they can. Everything in the family is a learning process! This is where tenderness, forgiveness, respect, fidelity, and more come in, as parents strive to fulfill their responsibility to educate their children.
Even amid the occasionally chaotic mealtimes, families forge a blessed bond together while creating lasting memories. We may sometimes need to remind ourselves that we live within a family, not a regimented military mess hall. Flexibility and patience are paramount. Rigidity often causes butting of heads and disappointment because of expectations of results that may be unobtainable at that moment --- results beyond one’s abilities. However, we certainly can expect that cell phones, iPods, electronic games, and other kinds of technology should not be at the dinner table. It’s tough enough to keep our children’s attention when they’re not distracted, and we don’t need unnecessary competition when we’re attempting to have a nice meal together.
Table of Contents:
Blessed with little souls
Building our domestic church
A mother’s never-ending prayer
First and foremost educator
Mothering our daughters and sons
Dealing with demands for perfection
The Blessed Mother as our model for holiness
Dealing with the really difficult stuff