Why Having Fun might be necessary for a Serious Catholic
By Rita Davidson
We often complain about the lukewarm Catholics who don’t seem to know or care about what it means to be Catholic. We lament how they never think of Sunday Mass before going shopping. How they never care to say their morning prayers before starting their day. How they care even less how they dress as they go about with poor choices of friends.
But there is another direction that Catholics can go and that is to austerity. Now many might say -we need more of that today – with all the rainbows and dancing we see in Church’s and disregard for the faith.
But we have to remember here, the devil is active and he is going to customize his attack on you in whatever way he can. You see, he cares as much for your demise as God loves you.
With the troubles in the world and the Church, we often feel as if we have to be serious, stern, and austere to remain Catholic. After all we often have to forgo TV, give up modern clothes, shut off modern music, just to keep with our Catholic faith and avoid being scandalized.
The problem is, I think we can sometimes get in a rut, forgetting that our children growing up under us are young. They don’t see the problems in the world as we do. They have the benefit of a child’s eye view of the world. Do you remember that?
Now this is not to say can forget to train them to love the faith, and to practice the faith. There must always be a time for that. But, as there is a time for sorrow and a time for joy, so should our families fit in, appropriate fun.
Every Catholic family I know of, struggles financially, and we surely are no different. The juggling of the pocketbook is a common chore I have to do here, to run our family and our apostolate.
In the past, I confess, I made the mistake of not taking time for fun. While I tried to incorporate fun into our days, often I was just not able to make more happen. Now that we have three children out of the house, I am saddened I did not take the time to make more memories with them.
Money is something we have never had a lot of. We never even had a honeymoon when we got married! Running this apostolate since 1996, things were always tight. There were years when we had to wash our clothes by hand. We used cloth diapers, and did this for five years, because we couldn’t afford a washer. Another time we were housebound for five months, in the country, when we didn’t have a vehicle. I had to ‘do without’ too.
Doing without also meant we could not find ways to go on vacation. There was simply too much to do, think about and worry about.
I now look at my children that are gone from our family and wonder if things would be different if our life had some fun put into it?
I’m not talking luxurious vacations to Australia or Europe, I’m talking creative ways to get away with the family. Your family might love camping? I know many families enjoy that and have made it a way to ‘get away’ inexpensively. (we tried it once in the early years, but just wasn’t our thing) But if you enjoy it, Just do it!
How about trading homes with another homeschooling family from another state/province perhaps? I’ve heard of families that have done that.
This year we decided to drive to the closest large body of water, get a hotel room with balcony and keep it simple. Living with 3 boys with autism and an active 2 year old can be stressful. That plus running this growing apostolate all takes it’s toll. So when we had the chance to get away, found a great hotel sale, we went for it. Now that we are back we are refreshed and recharged to jump into the new school year this week.
What about spiritual retreats you ask? Well, they too are lovely and if you find one do it! But as there is time for spiritual retreats, we must remember we are not religious. We are families trying to bring up our children to remain Catholic.
Now why should we bother with a secular vacation?
1. Keeps life balanced. Some of us get in a rut and don’t realize much of our days we are just going through the motions. From morning to night, one activity to another, one payday to another. Monotony comes in and joy goes out the window. Getting away to another spot, away from problems and difficulties, can often ease up your worries enough to enjoy your kids again.
2. Keeps kids from seeing the faith as dead and boring. Granted life can’t be all fun. But, if your family struggles with crosses, worries, frustrations that seem to have no end, it’s possible your family needs a change of pace. This is especially true for Melancholic temperaments. Children will not grow up and keep their faith, if all we can show them is a life of suffering and crosses, and the world gives them a life full of fun!
3. Helps parents to correct themselves of they have allowed too much austerity in their lives. Children need to be children. There is often enough sacrifices that come from living today in a world so against our own ideals. We are so desperate to keep our kids Catholic, we don’t realize we are snuffing the Catholic life out of them, by keeping out the joy.
We must realize that our families are not religious. We do not live in convents. As a family we have a particular vocation to fulfill. This means if we take one vacation a year, or even every few years we should not feel guilty about it.
Who says a Catholic can’t take a vacation and make it Catholic? By bringing your rosaries, your prayer books and even a holy picture you can create a Catholic spot in your tent or hotel too. Don’t forget the holy water!
If you find yourself with few to no crosses, enjoying life, then perhaps this is not for you. (Woe to you with no temptations!)
But if you find your family struggling, suffering financially, endless worrying, close to burnout then perhaps a simple escape for refreshment is what you need. For the sake of our children, we must do all it takes to keep their faith alive when everything we are doing is against the world.
What does your family do to bring joy back to your family ? Share below!
©Copyright 2012 Rita Davidson All Rights Reserved.
Rita is a Catholic wife and mother of seven children. She reverted back to the faith when her oldest was making her First Communion. By then, she had completed degrees in Hairdressing and Make up artistry. She went on to receive a degree in Natural Health and another degree in Art. At age 26, Rita suffered a minor stroke. With no lasting effects, this dramatically changed her outlook on life. In 1996, Rita began ‘Little Flowers Family Apostolates’ to reach out to other families with her new found faith, by creating unique Catholic books and resources.. In 1999, she wrote the bestselling, ‘Immodesty; Satan’s Virtue’. She was editor of ‘The Catholic Health Letter’ for 7 years. She has been a homeschooling mom for 20+ years, and has written for various magazines. She is honored that families have trusted her with their questions, needs and concerns over the years. She continues to write and reach out to Catholic families with her husband, Mark and their 4 boys through