I've received quite a few notes in the past few days asking me to explain how I choose resources.
First, I look to people I can ask in person. Because I was a classroom teacher before I had children, I have trusted friends (some from all the way back to my teenaged years in college) who share my passion for learning and children and God. They are invaluable resources. And then, I look to in-person parenting mentors. When considering a method or a book or a theory, it's very helpful to me to put it in context. How does that work in this person's home? How does it work in her marriage, with her children? What do I know about her life that will recommend it to me? What are the fruits of this resource in her life or her children's? My children's godparents are particularly good resources in this regard and, as my children get older, and choose Confirmation sponsors for themselves, I am blessed again with wise and holy confidantes.
Then, I might look to catalogs and online resources. I do this with not a little trepidation. Even though I might "know" an online correspondent seemingly well, a particular resource that works in her home might not work in mine. There are so many unknown variables. And like every veteran homeschooler, I have made way too many purchases based upon the recommendations of good people that I've later regretted because they were not appropriate in my home.
If a matter is controversial, or it is not clear exactly what the Church teaches, as in the very first online controversy I witnessed (over baby feeding ways and times) or the most recent conversation, I take it to my husband and, together, we seek spiritual counsel, in person, from a priest. This is the way we have made all the prudential decisions in our marriage. And God has blessed those decisions abundantly.
It is interesting to note, that every single time I have brought a confusing online conflict to spiritual direction, I haven't even gotten the story out before the priest expresses dismay and concern about spending time online discussing what should be prudential decisions made in quiet, with prayer. They always have more concern for the conversation than for the controversial resource. And they always, always counsel against debating or defending prudential decisions. They note that is exceedingly difficult to have a conversation about prudential decisions without committing sins of pride and detraction.
When I began blogging, I opened my life to public scrutiny. I have to admit, I never imagined the scrutiny it has received. But I did so then, and I do so now, with the full support of my husband and my spiritual director. I show you here and on Serendipity what I do in my home with the children God has entrusted to me. I show you because I do love the life I've been given and I hope that I can share God's goodness on these pages.
But I am not a spiritual director.
I can offer ideas along with the hundreds and hundreds of other ideas out there. Ultimately, the conversation and the prayer and the prudential decisions about my ideas or anyone else's must happen in the privacy of your homes, preferably with the counsel of a good priest.
Life is so short.We have so much to do to care for the souls he has put in our care. In the sacrament of marriage, God gives us everything we need to make prudential decisions without wasting a precious moment.