Read the daily quote from Pope Francis


Meaningful connections

“Growing Together in Good Soil” by Connie Carlson in Take Out: Family Faith on the Go

One of my favorite parables in Scripture is of the sower and the seed (see Mt 13:1-23). In it, Jesus describes a farmer throwing seed that falls on rocky and weedy ground and is unable to grow until it falls on good soil. Jesus’ lesson — to be good soil so his Word can flourish — is not an easy task in this world filled with distractions. It can be especially difficult for busy parents to keep track of what connects them to each other in a deeper, more meaningful way. Couples can easily become rocky or weedy soil in need of nourishment. So, how do you and your partner care for your spirit, faith and relationship, in order to be the good soil where your children can flourish? Take heart. There are very simple things we can do every day to enrich our marriages and thus enrich our children’s lives.

Here are a few ideas:

Share the Peaceful Part of Your Day. This is my favorite because it is so simple. The kids are in bed and it’s those last few quiet moments of the day. Laundry, bills and lunches can all wait for tomorrow. Turn off the TV and sit together in the quiet. Share in the peace, share your day and share a prayer.

Do the Dishes Together. So, maybe you are like me and simply can’t let those dishes alone. Clean them together, and while you do them, ask your partner about her/his favorite part of her/his day. Or, if it’s the laundry that has been piling up, have a great conversation over that mountain of socks you’ve been meaning to match.

Get Cooking. Pick one night a week where you make a meal together. The benefits of families eating together have been proven, and when that meal has been made by hand with love and attention, the importance increases tenfold. Consider creating a special meal prayer to honor this tradition.

Take a Walk around the Neighborhood. Now that summer has finally arrived, one of my favorite rituals in the evening hours is taking a walk with my family around our neighborhood. I like naming the flowers or waving to a friend. But best of all, I like to walk slowly holding my husband’s hand and watching the kids race their bikes ahead of us. As the years pass and my children leave home, these walks will be a lasting memory of my years as a parenting partner with my husband.

Get Connected to Your Community. I look forward to Sunday mornings. Going to Mass together is a great beginning to a busy week, and talking with other parishioners helps us feel connected to our community.

Listen with Your Heart. So, you finally have a night out (you found a baby sitter!) and want to get the conversation going. Ask specific questions such as, “What was your favorite part of your day?” or “What did you pray for today?” Most importantly, follow Jesus’ advice from the parable of the sower and listen with your heart.

COMING NEXT WEEK: A Prayer for Fathers

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