Saturday, April 16, 2011

Book Review: Guiding Your Catholic Preschooler

Guiding Your Catholic Preschooler by Kathy Pierce & Lori Rowland. Our Sunday Visitor, 2001, 169 pages, $8.95 US.

I read this book as part of my Lenten spiritual reading. As you will see, it should have been part of my pre-Lenten spiritual reading!

Brief overview of content:

Guiding Your Catholic Preschoolerlooks at some basic ideas and areas for Catholic parents to concentrate on or might need help with developing their preschooler's faith. Topics include developing a prayer life; participating in sacraments, especially Mass; memorizing prayers and scriptures; learning tools like books, toys, videos, songs, play time, etc.; handling holy days and liturgical seasons like Advent, Christmas, Lent, Easter; advising on secular holidays, including 4th of July and Halloween; monitoring what they take in from television, internet, books, toys, and movies; rejecting temptations to neglect the child's faith development. Appendixes provide information on how to pray the rosary, other common popular prayers, popular Catholic saints, and media resources.

Author overview:

From page 169: Kathy Pierce, a native of Oklahoma City, holds a bachelor's degree in advertising and a master's degree in gerontology. She worked briefly designing and selling advertising, and for six years as the director of marketing for a large nursing home organization. She and her husband, Larry, reside in Edmond, Oklahoma, with their six children, all of whom have received homeschooling.

Lori Rowland, also a native of Oklahoma City, has a bachelor's degree in journalism. She worked as a public relations and advertising coordinator for a health care system, and as a coordinator for provider relations for the same enterprise. She and her husband, Paul, live in Jacksonville, Florida, with their four children. Lori is very active at the parochial school that her three oldest children attend.


1. Read cover to cover vs. consult as needed.

While the book is short enough to read cover to cover, actual use of what's recommended should be on an "as needed" basis. In fact, in the introduction, the authors recommend that the reader does not try to implement every recommendation at once because that would be way too much to handle.

2. Readability.

The book is very accessible and written from a mom's prespective. The style definitely assumes the reader has fully embraced the Catholic faith. For example, when discussing how to live your faith at home: "...practice your faith in the way that you feel is best. Do what is necessary for you and your family to steadfastly grow in your faith and devotion. Do not be concerned with the opinion of your friends. Your God, and your family, come first. If your example affects your friends and their children, praise God!" [p. 21] I think that's pretty awesome, myself.

3. Helpful to a parent?

Many practical ideas are found throughout the book. Of special note is the discussions around liturgical seasons (Advent, Christmas, Lent, Easter) and secular holidays, with plenty of great suggestions on how to celebrate in a Catholic way that is also appropriate for your preschoolers. Advice on how to handle young ones in church is always welcome, too.

4. Did we use it?

We were very close to creating a Lent calendar to help us pray, fast, and give alms this year. Life got in the way (and I read the book a little too late to provide enthusiastic support; we'll do it next year for sure). The book does make me feel a little guilty for almost always going to the cry room at church for Sunday Mass. We need to get the kids to behave better in church! We will implement some of the ideas for that, too.

Sample text

There are advantages and disadvantages to the Internet. It all comes down to choice: choosing to supervise or censor the accesss and content your children are exposed to. The good news is that the Internet can be used as a wonderful resource and tool for increasing one's own knowledge of the faith; a tool for increasing quality family time; and engaging in an activity that your children are exposed to daily as they grow. The positive or negative results of Internet usage rest squarely on the shoulders of the parent. Lead by example. As a parent, you must gain the knowledge and engage yourself in the world your child is growing up in. [p. 126]

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