Twelve movies to terrify your kids

Last night, a little voice told me to take out the part about There Be DragonsBut I shouted that little voice down.

So, any ideas for what to write about for Thursday?  I’m in such a rut.  Politics, blah.  Halloween, blah.  Stem cells, maybe I was wrong that it’s good news, blah.  It turns out that, when you have eleven people, you can’t just throw in a load of laundry here and there and still expect to be able to walk through your house without tripping over sour-smelling heaps of dirty clothes.  Especially *sob* during fall weather, when you really do need to have everything from tank tops to turtleneck sweaters available.  So, no housewifely/spiritual epiphanies, blah.



  1. I could use some advice on how to talk to my kids about their deceased grandmother that they never met. When they ask where she is, I hate to tell them, “Im not sure, let’s just pray that she’s in heaven!” My son is only 3 and Id love to say, she’s in heaven with Jesus, but I also dont want to fall into that common error, where people assume everyone gets to heaven and therefore there’s no need to pray for those departed souls. This maybe isnt what you had in mind for a topic to write about, but Im sure others may benefit from it and youve likely dealt with it in your family. ThanksSimcha!

    • Oh, that’s a good topic, especially with All Soul’s Day coming up! One thing I always tell my kids is that there’s no such thing as a wasted prayer, so if the person t hey’re praying for is already in Heaven, their prayers did somebody who needs it some good. (Um, that’s true, isn’t it?)

      • That’s the same thing I tell my kids. I don’t want them to think most people go straight to heaven because I’m banking on their prayers for me! On second thought, they will definitely know I need prayers.

  2. this would prob be on your personal blog, not the other one, but i know sometimes you do amazon links for books….anyway, i’m looking for some great catholic board books for my toddler. he looooves to be read to (as in, 30 min + a day) and i’m getting tired of the books we already have! a lot of the catholic children’s books i find aren’t board books, so just wondering if you have any suggestions. or even classic books i may have overlooked. just books 🙂

  3. My response would be to say that she’s in God’s hands (and then maybe add that we should pray for her just as we pray for all our loved ones where ever they are). That we are in God’s hands is true of us all. And true of souls in heaven, hell and purgatory. It is hopeful but not outright deceptive like saying someone is in heaven nor as confusing as trying to explain purgatory. Our family always adds a petition for the souls in Purgatory to our bedtime prayers as well. We don’t necessarily explain it to the three and under crowd and they don’t ask– just like the petition for the end of abortion. When they do ask, then we can start to have that conversation at whatever level they are at.

  4. Write about how to get your kids to sit still and PRAY for bed time prayers. Sigh. And about how it’s totally normal to be in no prayin’ mood after wrangling with the kids to sit there and pray….that….that IS normal, right??

    I would love to read some ideas on how to incorporate little faith things into my children’s day. They are very young, but I feel like I miss so many opportunities to teach them about God.

  5. How about the fun of family get togethers during the political season when the attendees are all over the board politically and religiously, passionately so.

  6. I apologize if you’ve already done so, and I know this is completely uncreative, simplistic, and obvious, but have you ever written about, well, being in a rut? I notice that you reached out to others for assistance/ideas/inspiration. But sometimes we don’t look outward – especially if we’re feeling down or discouraged. Anyway, are ruts inherently wrong? Should we flee from them? Are they a sign that we are bored, boring, lacking in virtue? Were there any saints recorded as being in ruts? If so, how did they – and how should we – respond? How can we get out of them? Are there some we should hope to stay in? Dear Simcha, I suppose I am saying – at least in your writing – embrace the rut! Be one with the rut! What can we learn from the rut? Okay. All done. Whatever you decide to write about, I will read. 🙂 God bless you!!

  7. I would love to see a post on sibling rivalry, both how we as parents do our best (or not) to set our kids up to get along, and how to step out of any lingering natal family dysfunctions that affect our ability to be fully invested in our marital families.

    I also love your book lists and actually add every single one to my “Simcha’s Recommendations” list on Amazon. That way it’s easy to pick a high quality book for a gift.

  8. Maybe you could write about how on earth you find time for prayer time with your husband and how on earth you ever got him to pray with you in the first place. or maybe he talked YOU into it!

  9. Well, since you asked… As a mother who sends her kids to school (as am I) where do you draw the line on homeowrk interfering with family time. I mean, I think they have my children for a LONG time during the day, shouldn’t that be enough? All of the projects (that really are projects for me in the younger years) are driving me crazy. I have things I want to do with my kids in the evening. Do you have this conflict in your family? How do you deal with it? I am not a very popular mom, as I have often sent in notes to the teacher explaining why a child did not complete said homework because it interfered with our family plans for the evening. You can’t really get away with this past 5th grade, but for the younger ones, I do it all the time. Am I alone?

  10. Simcha, I really don’t know how you remain inspired–but you are inspiring even if it is artfully disguised drivel. Yesterday I thought of something that I wish you would write about, but–tah dah! I can’t even remember what I did five minutes ago, much less what I thought of yesterday. I will venture a guess though, as I was thinking about that blog you linked to today, some of the alarmist comments, and how difficult it sometimes is to get past the *fears* that can be associated with our faith…”and then Mary opened up for the three little children, a vision of HELL, the place where poor sinners go…” Fear is crippling, and stunts the imagination and even good instincts at times. There is also a book that is being advertised on NCR’s sidebar by Ralph something-or-other that tries to make the claim that “few are saved”. That kind of disturbs me… I sometimes wonder if the Gehenna Jesus speaks of is actually purgatory… I like the “Divine Mercy” spin on sinners much better. It also seems to me that fear and horror rarely bring out the best in people. Of course on the other extreme of this is the whole “Idiot god” thing. Do you ever get the feeling that the Devil uses some “conservatives” as his best tool to keep religion and conversion away from average worldlings?
    Anyways, my *only* real accomplishments yesterday was washing and folding five loads of laundry, and getting a good dinner on the table at 7. Yes 7…It was too hot to cook until the sun set. I salute you for writing a column and a book about “goop” on top of it all.
    @Danielle, other than photo collages in K and 1st, or the dreaded Lepracaun trap (Dad-fare for sure) I have my kids do everything by themselves, with some brainstorming on my part. Kids #3-#6 are far more efficient and self sufficient. I’m more ashamed of the work other people do for their kids than my own kids’ honestly executed projects. (okay, I fudged on the 1st communion banner last year, but I got older sis to do it) I write “notes” too. I’ve learned not to care so much. They think we’re somewhat weird for being so Catholic anyway.

    • I got to take a class with Peter Kreeft this summer and that whole “few will be saved” thing came up. He pointed out that God is a Father, not a statistician. If you have 18 kids and they are ice skating and one falls through and drowns, but the other 17 are fine – then too few were saved, even though, math-wise, the percentage was pretty good. I loved that reminder that God really is speaking from His Fatherhood always…

      • I love Peter Kreeft!! I find so much sound reason in what he has to say about these kinds of things– and yes, I do believe I’ve learned the most about God by being a parent. Lucky, lucky you for having the opportunity to take a class with him…(hmmmm, I’m not sure I believe in luck…) What a *blessing* to take a class like this. Thanks.

        • No idea how often he’ll be there, but the class was Philosophy of JPII at the Theology of the Body Institute in PA if you wanted to keep an eye out. He is a good teacher, but his tests are downright mean.

          • I just went to a talk he gave on Saturday. He had everyone cracking up. My favorite was his line about feminists, “And what a misleading name. To call these people feminists is like calling a cannibal a chef, so much do they hate femininity and its power.” (Paraphrase).

            • Lol. Perfect. That’s why I love him so much…@Anna, so, so far from my neck of the woods…I’ll have to stick with the great talks they put on New Advent for now. Please don’t tell me he is one of those teachers that takes great delight in tricking his students on tests! Aargh.

              • Yeah, the 22-hr (one way) drive gets a tad long for us too – but a week at the Institute is so worth it! Half class, half retreat, great facility.
                And here, so you can see the reason for my hair-pulling, is Q.38 from the test:
                What is the relation between procreation and the personal love between husband and wife, according to JPII?
                A. Procreation is only biological, love is only spiritual; we tend to confuse them.
                B.All 3 of the above statements in (a) are false; procreation is personal and love is biological.
                C. Both of the above statements, (a) and (b) are true.
                D. All of the above statements, (a), (b), and (c) are false.
                E. I am so confused now about all these trues and falses that I can’t even guess; I give up.

                His sense of humor shows up often on the test (“Being is what bees do.”), but it’s far less of a skate than his clearly-written books would lead one to believe. And the answer above is B, just in case anyone wants to know… :-p

                • Your reply humbled me sufficiently. We always wanted to kill ourselves four hours after departing our home to drive to visit family in So Cal. Part of my terror had to do with breastfeeding babies, and taking them out of seats while my hubby drove like a bat out of hell…That is also quite the gasoline bill! I commend your dedication, and hope that the next chapter in my life will be one where I can do things like go on more retreats and take more classes. (I’m afraid I would fail the question on the test, even after having been supplied the answer…)

                  • Well, if we lived in CA, I doubt we’d drive all that way either. The last time we flew there was with a 2-y-o and a 3 mo-old and flying was so awful that we figured driving might not be better, but at least couldn’t be worse. And that was before TSA started copping feels (though after you had to empty sippys and take off shoes and all that jazz).
                    The drives have been pretty good (and I have become the queen of travel toy ideas); this time we had a 4 mo-old which was tough, but we eventually learned that he did okay if we stopped every 2 hours for about 15 min. He got miserable if we made him sit longer than that.
                    Also, it’s my husband’s dedication that is really commendable. He takes off work, drives us there, spends all week doing nothing but play with the kids so I can take the class, and drives back. Every year. And I get a retreat, intellectual stimulation, and a vacation from cooking and housework. Don’t know what we’ll do once I finish my certification next summer, but I’m sure I’ll manage to come up with other vacation ideas to inflict on my homebody husband.

                    • What a great husband. I commend you for your dedication, it really is inspiring. My husband got me hooked on drinking beer at noon next to the pool in Mexico. We haven’t done this in a while, and I don’t miss it. It got boring after a while and my brain suffered.

    • “My husband got me hooked on drinking beer at noon next to the pool in Mexico.”
      lol, I think it’s my kids who will get me hooked on that…

  11. How about food? Anything about making good meals that go far? or do you dread dinnertime? Hmmmm. Yes, all souls is great. How about advent with children. If you want to be more serious- what about depression or anxiety- and even how that can help or hinder our spiritual life. Or about trust in God. On a lighter note, since lists have been easy, what baby items have you found to be the best to invest in? (this was so hard when I was pregnant with first- what is hype and what is helpful? )

  12. Write about your favourite saint and why he/she is your favourite. As a normal, boring little stay-at-home mom of two under two bumbling through each day under the South African sun, I’m looking forward writing a post on why radical Dorothy Day is my hero and how I have found companionship from reading about her life.

  13. I would love to hear more about your (parents) conversion going from Jewish to Catholic, and what that was like growing up. Not sure how old you were when that happened. Maybe too personal, but very interesting I think.

    Also maybe how you handle technology with your kids. Internet, devices etc….

    You’re one of the few blogs left that I read. Also, love The Jerk, don’t care what anybody says 🙂 Blessings.

    • I second this. I would LOVE to hear more about the whole “Hebrew Catholic” thing. I love when you talk about little traditions, rituals, things that add nuance to your holidays/faith life. I’m starting from scratch for a lot of that….

      • I “third” this one. Growing up in a house called “deepening dread” MUST have some excellent, dark humor involved. This is tricky though. I could never be truly free to write some of the hilarious things about growing up in my family unless it was totally anonymous. Every now and then, when my mother is tempted to “gild” the past with her own fanciful version, I have to stop her and say,,,”wait, hold on, I was there, remember?” She doesn’t have the best sense of humor so she gets a little miffed.

  14. Danielle M., I have the same problem, so you are NOT alone. Except that I haven’t had the courage yet to tell the teacher that we have more important things to do than homework. I may have to do something soon though, because she sent home extra homework, apparently because she thinks the regular homework is too easy for him… What would Simcha do??

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