Check out our regular column in Embodied magazine, the new full-length TOB magazine. We write a spread in each issue called the TOB Parent Corner. Embodied is such an absolutely beautiful magazine ... the content, the photos, the people. I love to display them in a basket in my home just to say to my guests, 'look, there's quality magazine content out there.' Our first column is published below. You can order Embodied here.
We shared our TOB Monthly Kids (ages 6-9) mini-magazines on Facebook Live this week. It aired on the TOB Educators page and TOB Educators group. The first is public, and the second is a private group for TOB Educators. You can request to join the group. Here's our Live session.
TOB Monthly Littles (ages 2-5) will be ready so very soon! Probably next week. We'll share a post when it's ready for purchase.
EXCERPT BELOW FIRST PUBLISHED IN EMBODIED MAGAZINE, 2021:
TOB PARENT CORNER, EMBODIED MAGAZINE
There is a large tree we pass on the way to school each day. In autumn, its leaves burst with colors of rich tangerine and vivid coral. A few weeks later the leaves turn crimson red just days before they drop to their deaths. The cycle of life, showing all of its glory and splendor in the days and hours just before its final transition, provides a simple teaching moment about death. And so, with a car full of little boys we touch on the beautiful gift of natural death on the way to school, in between morning prayers and “what’s for snack today?”
The opportunities to draw our children into the fundamentals of the Theology of the Body can be simple but quite impactful.
Our culture does not like to talk about death. It is a physically and emotionally uncomfortable topic for many people to explore. Why? Some people don’t believe in an afterlife. Among those who do, many don’t want to upset their child’s innocence. Surely there is a need for sensitivity, but as we well know, death is one of the only certain things in life, and avoiding it does our children no favors.
Theology of the Body reminds us that one day our body will be resurrected and perfectly reunited with our soul in Heaven, and we will once again be with all those we love whose eternal destinies are also Heaven. How beautiful! When we tell our children this fact, we are guiding them toward a happy ending. The key is to keep it simple because even simple stories can illustrate important truths.
I shared about when my Aunt Jerri died of cancer, in her final days and hours her heart was wide open to receive prayers for a happy death, face-to-face with her family. I held Jerri’s unsteady hands and assured her through mutual tears that I was so happy for her to soon be in Jesus’ loving arms, and that I loved her. It was intensely emotional but such an experience full of shared hope! If we had shied away from Jerri in her final hours, we would have missed her stunning last moments. It was an experience that transformed us all with total grace.
I also told my boys about Don, a high school friend who died of leukemia at 16. Our last visit turned out to be the day before he died. Although he had been bedridden, he rose from his bed, threw a football to his friends in the hospital hallway and entertained us in the lounge with Heisman poses. The next day, he was gone. My boys immediately wanted to know how it was even possible to do this at life’s end. “Well,” I said, “he had his final burst of life, just like those bright red leaves.” It was God’s pure grace — grace for Don, and grace for all of us.
Memento Mori. Remember your death. When we help our children understand the grace and joy that can be a part of the cycle of life and death, we help them understand the Theology of the Body. Use storytelling. Tell the stories of your loved ones who have died and focus on any beautiful last moments of their wonderful presence in this world. And if your family is anticipating the death of someone close to you, lead your children in making a gift of themselves by offering prayers and little sacrifices on behalf of their loved one. What a wonderful way to accompany someone and ease their way home to the Lord.