Marriage Matters

Why You Shouldn’t Ignore the Teaching the Way of Love Home Study Course

Many parents know the Teaching the Way of Love program as a series of three live presentations: Embrace Parenthood, Growing in the Way of Love, and Bodies and Boundaries. I just presented the live “Bodies & Boundaries” program and was struck again at how powerful this program is for parents. It empowers parents to start conversations with their children about God’s plan for relationships, love and sexuality. I always encourage parents to continue the conversation at home, and I often receive uncomfortable chuckles in return. Parents just don’t feel that they know enough themselves about God’s plan for relationships, love and sexuality to discuss it with their children. Yet very few parents go home with the home study course that could give them the help they need.

Parents may not be aware that the live programs are not the main Teaching the Way of Love program. The main program is actually a home study course. Whereas the live programs are meant to introduce parents to things they can do to guide their children according to God’s will, the home study program shows you how to do that.

The printed version progressively educates parents as their children grow from children into adults. Like the live presentations, the printed materials are founded on Catholic Church teachings and designed to empower parents to be the primary educators of their children. Unlike the live presentations, the printed version provides parents with a deeper application of each of the principles.

The 26 segments are spread across the same three titles as the live presentations (Embrace Parenthood, Growing in the Way of Love and Bodies and Boundaries). Each segment contains a short text introduction, a DVD clip, questions for discussion and a “Make a Plan” activity.

The “Make a Plan” activity is the most powerful part of the Teaching the Way of Love program. It helps parents apply what they learn in each segment directly to their parenting. Some of the activities ask parents to observe their children in order to learn more about them. Some activities challenge parents to grow in their own faith or virtue in order to become better role models. Other activities offer you a guide for building a specific conversation with your child. The “Make a Plan” activity can make real differences in the way you parent.

Embrace Parenthood is the first and most important step in the series. It presents ten foundational principles that underpin fulfilling family life and is suitable for all parents, especially those with children in Pre-Kindergarten through 3rd grade. These segments focus on the role of the parent as the primary educator and the establishment of the family as the domestic church. It helps each parent discover the relationship that exists between love and expectations and acquire basic communication skills that result in disciplined, motivated and respectful children.

Growing in the Way of Love, the second step in the series targets parents whose children who are entering puberty (typically this includes children in grades 4-7). This program includes seven segments and walks a family through the basic information of transitioning from childhood to adulthood. It includes information on holistic development (spiritual, emotional, social, moral, personal, and physical) rather than just physical maturity. This “middle” portion of the program emphasizes parenting strategies that help the parent to stay connected to the child during a time that often leads to estrangement, especially in areas such as sexuality, relationships and morality.

Bodies and Boundaries is the third step in the series and it is recommended for parents with their 8-10th grade youth. It focuses on nine critical topics including sexuality, true love, chastity, and relationships. Emphasis is placed on strengthening communication between parent and child and the development of behavioral standards that are based on the Ten Commandments. Bodies and Boundaries provides information that parents can share with their young adult on forming solid, loving relationships that avoid the “hook-up” mentality, discernment of a vocation, and understanding chastity and the vital role that it plays in their life.

Parents are encouraged to purchase this valuable resource. Just go to the Teaching the Way of Love website at www.twl4parents.com and click on the link found at the bottom of the home page.

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