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Catholic Family Fun: A Guide for the Adventurous, Overwhelmed, Creative, or Clueless Paperback – January 1, 2012
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Without question, CATHOLIC FAMILY FUN should be standard reference material for all Catholic young mothers. In her aptly titled book, Sarah Reinhard works her way through dozens and dozens of excellent suggestions. She details innovative techniques for enriching the lives of everyone in the family and, by extension, many outside it. Nothing in the book is earthshaking, and isn't meant to be, for this is a book for the committed Catholic pragmatist. Though Reinhard's deep faith is evident, pervading all aspects of the work, her tone is that humorous, self-effacing, clarion call familiar to all good moms. The message may well be "I don't know...try THIS.", because the path, to her, is not nearly so important as the goal, i.e. enriching the family by deeply assimilating the Catholic faith.
The author's upbeat, leisurely, presentation belies the strong Benedictine ethos, "ora et labora", pray and work. This, in my opinion, is the strength of the book. Clearly it is fundamental to the author, and her intended audience, to raise a good Catholic family. She leaves no question that there is, labora, required to do so. Reinhard, however, strives to keep that work lighthearted by reminding us that keeping the family amused is the most direct path to keeping them interested. She clearly intends that the Holy Spirit do most of the heavy lifting, but offers a wealth of advice to those many of us who appreciate a practical roadmap, as well.
The book is intelligent, well written and easy to read, although, to simply do so would miss the entire point, for CATHOLIC FAMILY FUN is, above all, a delightful reference book. It needs to be on the bookshelf somewhere between "The Joy of Cooking" and "The Imitation of Christ". I highly recommend this book to all young Catholic families as well as to grandparents, godparents, or anyone else who cares to help create CATHOLIC FAMILY FUN in the lives of their loved ones.
I will certainly be purchasing this book for my married children, in fact, I may well be giving out several copies to First Communion Mom's in this season. I've no doubt that Sarah Reinhard's CATHOLIC FAMILY FUN is a gift that the whole family will come to cherish.
Catholic Family Fun is divided into four parts - "Are we Having Fun Yet?," "At Home," "Out and Around," and "Faith and Fun." In each of these sections, you will find ideas to help your children spice up a boring day as well as grow in their faith. Some of the activities included are singing silly songs, creating skits, scavenger hunts, and Eucharistic adoration. Almost all of the activities are low in cost and low in prep time. This is a big selling point as you don't want to sink a lot of time and money into an activity that your kid might show no interest in.
Maybe I'm holier-than-thou or maybe I'm just looking for a way to increase in holiness, but I really liked the "Ways to Serve" chapter. As Sarah points out at the beginning of this chapter, "Service was the core of Jesus's ministry, and it is integral to who we are as Catholic Christians." Let's look at her ideas for pregnancy centers. She suggests hosting a diaper drive at your church where people can donate diapers. You could also do a fundraiser where you pass out baby bottles and get families and friends to fill them up with dollars, coins, and checks. I've seen that work at my mom's Baptist church. What's great about these ideas is that they are both fun AND helpful. It is also a way to include not only your family, but the Church family as well. So whether you are a parent, grandparent, teacher, or catechist, you will find this 5-star book to be invaluable for many years.