Sunday, September 19, 2021

Select Spiritual Reads for Teens and Tweens

...there is hardly one among you who cannot spend a quarter of an hour each day in spiritual reading...

Let it take the form of a talk, an intimate conversation with God, and I promise that it will not be long before you will witness a happy change in your lives. 

Left to yourselves, you will always revolve in the same plane, think the same thoughts, and perhaps never find a new habiliment in which to dress them. Therefore, you must frequently renew your wardrobe of ideas. Some one must whisper new sentiments into your ears each day.

                            from Counsels of Perfection

                            for Christian Mothers 

                            by Reverend P. Lejeune

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After reading Counsels of Perfection for Christian Mothers  by Reverend P. Lejeune, I began working to build a habit of conversing with God through focusing on at least 15 minutes of spiritual reading daily.

If I am honest, I will admit that I still have not perfected the habit. However, I am getting nearer to this simple - but not exactly easy for me - goal and always find my days edified and enriched when I successfully dedicate time to immerse msyelf for a quarter of an hour in spiritual reading.

Typically, I engage in my spiritual reading during pockets of time when my children are not in my direct presence - in the wee hours before they rise, in the margins of time between dropping some of them to work and entering Mass, out on the swing in our front yard while they are otherwise occupied... As such there has been little, "there is more that's caught, than taught," going on here in regards to spiritual reading.

Okay. Over the summer, one child sometimes chose to read spiritual materials without my prompting, but the other two do not. In fact, sadly, one of my children tends to eskew all things faith-related right now

As I thought about all this at the beginning of the month, I wondered if I should move the times and locations of my (almost) daily spiritual reading to ones when my children are near to me in order for more "catching" to go on. Then, i realized, with my faith-adverse child in the mix, my efforts might be fruitless. I would likely end up distracted and at leat one of my children would probably not "catch" anything.

Therefore, I decided to coax the kids into personal spiritual reading this fall with clear parameters and appropriate carrots and sticks.

The parameters: Every day, each child must pick material off our spiritual reading shelf and read for a quarter of an hour, freely taking some of that time to journal, too, if desired.

The carrot: When a child finished a book, he or she can  let Mom know. Then, the child can choose a treat (a snack to share or a place  to go visit) and we'll have a book chat whle eating or visting.

The stick (for the two who may need it): No child may not turn on a screen until spiritual reading/journaling are completed.

After deciding this, I stacked a shelf with fiction, nonfiction, light, and heacy faith-related reads and let each child pick one.

One of my children picked Ablaze: Stories of Daring Teen Saints, enjoyed it, and, then, moved onto Mother Teresa: Lessons of Love and Secrets of Sanctity.

Another child is reading Catholic Stories for Boys and Girls, because that child cannot remember when we read the stories as a read togther and wanted something super light to start with.

My final child began with The Great Divorce, which I am now reaidng, too.

Then, that child moved onto
A Shepherd in Combat Boots next.

None of these books are of the deep spiritual quality that 
Reverend P. Lejeune indicated would be best for daily spiritual reading, but all are serving the purpose of building a holy habit in my children and that thrills me.

I pray that the habit of daily personal spiritual reading is ignited in my children and continues throughout their lifetimes.

I would love to hear what spiritual reading (including edifying faith-based fiction) has engaged your middle and high school level children. Please share titles with me in a comment here, on our Facebook page, or, if I am blessed to know you in real life, in person.

Thank you!

May God bless and guide all of our families as continue living and learning during this new school year.


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