Tuesday, February 22, 2011

What a great book!

Tom Playfair is a book that at first I never thought I would get through. It was very hard to "get into" Fr. Finn's style of writing but it worth every effort.

Father wrote this book in 1890 for the young boys of his boarding school.
"One of the greatest things in the world is to get the right book into the hands of the right boy or girl. No one can indulge in reading to any extent without being largely influenced for better or worse."
Fr. Francis J. Finn, S.J.

It took me and my younger kiddos several months to get into this book.  The style of writing is very difficult.  The language of the time is different and hard to read, I often had to break and explain.  I wondered if it was worth it and thought about putting the book up.  I spoke with a few other moms that I suspected had purchased the books for their own sons.  Everyone said that their kids liked the story.  Non of the adults that I spoke with had read the book.  Others loved the book so we kept going reading only a little at a time.  Then we hit the middle of the book.  I was struggling to keep the attention of the kiddos.  Then the story took off.

 I think this is a great book for anyone especially those about to receive their first Holy Communion.  I recommend reading it aloud to a child younger than 12.  The old wording can be tricky.  Wow . . . we laughed, we cried and surprisingly we grew strong in our faith.  Father Finn wrote with a black and white love of the soul.  Wrong is wrong, right is right, heaven is heaven but hell is hell.  We finished this book wanting heaven and loving God.  I can't wait to start the next book.  I hope it is just as good.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Quality TV Shows

So many times we as parents think that we are better parents when we avoid mass media. We get a local news story stuck in our heads about the amount of television the average young child watches and we twinge with guilt. We feel like bad parents because we are very close to that number. We all know that one "great" family that never uses the "boob tube" and their children are soo smart. We sometimes forget that our children do not enjoy time with that family because those children have no social skills. We just feel like awful parents because the news just pointed out how much we are like everyone else. STOP IT.

I am here to remind you to trust your judgement. If you feel that a show might actually be beneficial to your family then enjoy the show. It is true that young moms often pressure themselves to avoid all the "bad things".  This same mom doesn't shower until 3 in the afternoon when the three little ones are napping and by then she feels dirty and lazy and behind the ball.  This can do more damage to the peace in the home than any TV show.  I suggest that even a short filler show that will entertain the toddlers while the baby naps would allow mom to shower and feel refreshed early in the day. This might lead to a more productive morning and happy day for all.

On a recent visit to the local zoo my kids started quoting facts that I never even knew they knew. "Where in the world did you learn that?" I inquired. I was shocked when they responded that the source of their fountain of knowledge was a show that they watched 10 years previously. It was always on in the afternoons and it gave me a chance to do some laundry and figure out what was on the menu for dinner.  It wasn't just what was on, I did try to make sure that a part of their TV time included some educational time.

I have three favorites from the past several years. I like Zoboomafoo (the Kratt brothers had Kratt's Creatures before this present show. To be honest I liked Kratt's Creatures better.) Another one that we all enjoyed was The Magic School Bus. I wish there were more of a show called Wishbone. It has been out of production since 2001. I don't claim that these are the only ones but these are ones I trust.


Some are still available on TV and some are only available if you purchase them.  We have our DVR set up to record Magic School Bus and I am still amazed at how this crazy older show can intrigue the little ones.  They do have books and project to go with the videos.  All very good.  My oldest and I waited in line for hours years ago to meet the Kratt's.  It was so cool.  Wishbone was a  great way to introduce kids to classic literature, especially ones that struggle with reading.  The show introduced the stories in a fun way that allowed my kids to begin to understand. 

Leave a comment and let me know what shows you like.  I will try to add more later.