Clever advice for parents of teenagers

October 5, 2011 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog

Hard to believe, but Nancy and I have been raising kids for nigh unto 31 years now. We’ve done our best to lovingly and prudently herd our oldest 10 children into and through their teenage years and, so far, everyone seems intact and no worse for the wear.

Nancy and I, on the other hand, while not any worse for the wear either, have come to the point in life where we can begin to savor the tantalizingly pleasant realization that our eleventh and last child, Stephen, will soon be entering teenagehood. And that means (dontchyaknow), that, for us, raising teenagers will in the not too distant future be something we wondrously behold . . . in the rearview mirror.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that we haven’t loved and been grateful to God for all these years of living with a rambunctious throng of teens in our house at any given time, but we’re . . . shall we say, close to being ready, to transition to the next phase.

One of our favorite comedians, the insanely funny Tim Hawkins, delivers in this video some innovative advice on how to deal with teenagers. If only I could play the guitar and sing as well as he does, maybe I’d try it on my kids. Check it out.

Halloween time machine

October 4, 2011 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog

The other day, I was telling one of my teenage sons about what it was like when I was a kid and went out trick-or-treating, back in the 1960s and early 1970s. For one thing, Halloween was always observed on October 31st. None of this modern-day social engineering stuff where the local municipality “transfers” Halloween to a different day. Also, back in those days, it was pretty uncommon for parents to be out walking the streets as chaperons for their kids, unless, of course, they were little kids. But pretty much, if you were 7 or 8 and up, you’d be out trick-or-treating sans parents and with your neighborhood pals. Boy, have times changed. It’s the foolish parent who’d let his grammar school aged child go out unattended these days. As for hauling candy, I learned early on (like this comedian mentions) that a pillow case is a much better, more effective confectionary repository than a paper bag, and for the very reasons he talks about.

I want that

October 3, 2011 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog

Yes, this gem of a video has been around awhile, though perhaps some of you haven’t seen it yet, so I thought I’d post it for your daily dose of humor and levity. Personally, I think every guy (or at least every normal guy) would secretly like to have one of these jibs to tool around in — I know I would. Imagine showing up on a drive-through window on one.

This model doesn’t look street-legal, but it would be the perfect thing for some of the big Catholic conferences I speak at. What would really be deluxe would be if the conference organizers could have a ramp installed so I could ride up to the podium in style. Seriously, I’d add this to my Amazon Wish List, if only they carried it.

Physical Graffiti: A Catholic Perspective on Tattoos, Piercings, and “Body Art”

October 1, 2011 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog


Every day, across the United States — indeed, throughout the world — men and women, boys and girls, get themselves tattooed and pierced. And not just their ears. They are participating in the modern fad of “body art,” which has its origins in antiquity, but which in recent decades as developed into some extreme forms that are often quite disturbing.

— By Deacon Robert Lukosh, Envoy Magazine —

The intentional marking or mutilation of the human body under the guise of “body art” goes beyond simple tattoos or ear-piercing as adornment for women. For many, it is a personal expression of solidarity with a social cause, a trend that attracts predominately young people, driving them to ever wilder and more shocking expressions of what some term “personal mutilation” that includes: total-body tattoos, pierced eyelids, lips, noses, tongues, foreheads, and even disfigurement of the genitalia, in a never-ending quest for the most “outrageous” form of self-expression through what is commonly known as “body art.”

These forms of personal exhibition have spread rapidly throughout contemporary Western society, resulting in a secondary wave of participants (namely, the children of those who engaged in radical body art during 70s and 80s) who, like their parents and role models, are disfiguring their own bodies irrevocably, claiming as their justification “personal freedom” and a right to unlimited self-expression.

In earlier generations, garish tattoos and unusual piercings were found almost exclusively only among members of social groups and subcultures that lurked at the fringes of mainstream society. Aside from your relatives who served in the military (which is definitely not a fringe subculture), chances are, neither of your parents nor any of your grandparents, aunts, or uncles — in the case of those born before 1950 — have tattoos or unusual piercings. But look around today and you will see a massive number of people — especially young people — who have become enamored of extreme tattoos and unusual piercings.

This modern fad of body art permeates American society, affecting virtually every industry, age group, race, sex, and religion. Since many of these people occupy leadership and mentoring roles in the lives of children and young adults, such overt displays have an additional rebound effect by providing tacit justification sufficient to overcome the doubts of those who are unsure if they want to dabble in the body art fad themselves, resulting in yet a third generation of pierced and tattooed bodies. . .

(continue reading this article in PDF form).

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