33 thoughts on “justice for us: Catholic social teaching at home

  1. I am Protestant, but discovered CST at my Jesuit grad school and am glad to think more about how to incorporate these ideas in our family. Thank you!

  2. Thank you so much for these inspiring ideas, Laura! My oldest daughter just turned two and we’ve been teaching her what ‘garbage’ and ‘recycling’ are (funny how explaining something to a toddler can distill your beliefs!). Now when we are at the park and she notices trash left behind, I remind her that it’s not supposed to be on the ground and needs to be disposed of properly. She now offers to ‘put it away’ in the trash or recycle…followed by a healthy handwashing! It’s a small example but we are teaching her to be a good steward of the environment and the resources God has given us.

  3. I feel like I am constantly falling short of fulfilling these Social Teachings and it is most apparent when I see my poor habits in my kids. They do catch on to some good habits, we pray in the car when we witness an accident of the side of the road and we lessen our waste by shopping secondhand, but I wish that I could be setting a better example.

    Thank you for sharing this and for the chance to win a copy of this amazing book, I would love to read it.

  4. I have seen Haley’s book floating around on the other blogs I read, but truly didn’t know this was its focus. I’m very impressed and very intrigued!

  5. Beautifully written post, as always – love the ‘person-first’ language examples. I remember writing proposals for a healthcare company and we would be careful to say ‘people with disabilities.’

  6. Thank you for this post. I do not think of these things enough and am grateful to read some practical ways I can start implementing Catholic social teaching more within my own life.

  7. We have 6 children ages 2-14 and in daily life as we encounter people we talk about how each reflects the image of God and that means that they need us to react and encounter them with kindness. From the homeless to those who are unkind or rude, to try to view them with compassion and think about how we could easily be in the same circumstances. I enjoy Haley’s blog, and am looking forward to reading this book.

  8. We talk a lot about sharing with those in need – option for the poor. We try to buy extra food to share, usually with neighbors. Our neighborhood has a thriving Buy Nothing group as well as a food share network where people can ask for help as the need arises and my kids usually go with me to drop off, so they are really used to the idea of sharing extra with others, at least in terms of food!

  9. Thanks for this post. I always feel like we are struggling in this area. In past Lents we have tried to make a practice of giving to everyone who asks, either food/water or money. Obviously this is not a perfect solution, but I think it helps my kids notice people who are homeless/begging in our community and helps me treat them as fellow humans. I would love to read this book!

  10. I’m so excited to read this book! I’ve gotten much better about daily thinking about how my decisions in how I treat others, the world, and even myself impacts everything else because we’re all in this together, but I’m still such a work in progress.

  11. I am so grateful for this post! We don’t have kids yet but I am definitely taking notes for the future. These ideas are so simple, it makes living out catholic social teachings with kids sound less overwhelming.

  12. Yay! Haley’s book has been on my list for awhile now. In our household, a call to simplicity translates to living in solidarity with the poor. We don’t need all the “extras” because a lot of people/kids don’t have even the basics. We can live in a way that’s filled with gratitude for what we do have, rather than what we do not. Tithing, donating, prayer, etc also serve as reminders.

  13. We try to do the above mentioned ideas with our young family; recycling, giving to food pantries (my daughter likes the idea of giving food to real people who need it, not just handing it off to a volunteer or putting it in a donation box), home vegetable gardening, consuming less and buying less packaging, reusing containers, saving gas when possible, buying secondhand clothes and using hand me downs, and praying for our neighbors. Thank you for this giveaway!

  14. This was so great. My husband is the pro-life director for our diocese and took a course on Catholic Social Teaching a couple years ago…so good and the two areas definitely go together! We are very involved in pro-life work but always focus on both the mother and the baby…offering housing, financial assistance, adoption, etc. to help her out. We also had a homeless man live with us for a couple months this summer as he looked for a job. We have a toddler and an infant, so we continue to discern how to live out our vocations while caring for all of God’s family as well as our individual family.

  15. I’m quite interested in reading Haley’s book! With two children under two years (and one on the way – proof of God’s great generosity to us!), I find myself thinking about the first two CST principles a lot as I grow into this parenthood vocation. It would be so easy to simply seek to “control” my children but I know I honor and cherish them as God’s children when I seek patience, empathy, and merciful justice in my parenting.
    We’re also trying to work in some other practices such as donations to our parish’s St Vincent de Paul pantry, bringing meals to families, thrifting, and gardening.

  16. I have so far to go, but we do sponsor a child through Caritas. This practice has put a face to global poverty for my son. We try to eat a simple meal of rice and beans for dinner once a week and talk about Susan, our Caritas child.

  17. I love hearing your ideas on this! It’s so easy to let little things slide but our children do notice. I try to be intentional about living out these teachings but I know I need to do more. I love the idea of starting at home. Thank you for sharing!

  18. This concept is one of the reasons I identify strongly with being Catholic and why I want to raise my kid Catholic. So many people I know who identify themselves as people from Catholic families and culture were not raised with this mindset even though it is essential to Catholicism. While we do have many Catholic examples who embody these ideals, many people I know equate Catholic culture with the larger homogeneous culture of consumerism, fear mongering, and status quo patriarchy. Though this hurts and angers me because that is not the Catholic culture I was raised in, I do understand why many view us that way (obviously, we do need to work through the abuse of patriarchal power that is inherent in the church’s structure.) However, I refuse to let other people define my faith – how it is seen in the world and how a member should vote, etc. I will work to uphold and share the the social justice aspect that is at the root of my faith and religion. That’s why I’m still in the pews.

  19. This concept is one of the reasons I identify strongly with being Catholic and why I want to raise my kid Catholic. So many people I know who identify themselves as people from Catholic families and culture were not raised with this mindset even though it is essential to Catholicism. While we do have many Catholic examples who embody these ideals, many people I know equate Catholic culture with the larger homogeneous culture of consumerism, fear mongering, and status quo patriarchy. Though this hurts and angers me because that is not the Catholic culture I was raised in, I do understand why many view us that way (obviously, we do need to work through the abuse of patriarchal power that is inherent in the church’s structure.) However, I refuse to let other people define my faith – how it is seen in the world and how a member should vote, etc. I will work to uphold and share the social justice aspect that is at the root of my faith and religion. That’s why I’m still in the pews.

  20. I love knowing that it is never too late to incorporate CST into our daily lives. I’m further down the path in parenting than many of your readers and still like to be challenged in living out our responsibilities in our world! Thanks for the positive spin on CST.

  21. I love all these practical ideas to flesh out social justice with my young children! We try to take a meal to someone monthly, a lot of times to a new mama, with the season of life we are in:) I like to take my kids along to deliver the meal, so that they can be part of serving others. This book is on my list of books I want to read over the next year, here’s hoping I win a copy!

  22. Thank you for this post, Laura. I’d love a copy of Haley’s book.
    We have so much room to grow and I really would like to set a better example in this area of our faith.
    Last year during Advent we held to a “freezer first” rule for our meals, always beginning with what we already had in our pantry and freezer while meal planning. It helped us simplify and challenged my tendency to meal plan and grocery shop out of wants rather than needs (not to mention the needs of others worldwide). It was a small step but a positive one for our family and I’d like to see it continue beyond Advent. We’ll start again this Advent and donate the money we shave from our grocery bill in December to CRS.

  23. This is great! I’ve been wanting to read Haley’s book. We are starting to help our little ones with learning family contributions and chores to help our family. We also pray for babies and moms, and for those in most need of prayer.

  24. I’ve heard great things about Haley’s book! This post was a great reminder for me of how I can be more intentional in teaching my children. It always manifests itself in the small ways for me. Taking the extra two minutes to answer a question, explain why we separate the trash from the recycling, and always encouraging compassion and mercy within the home in hopes they will carry that out into the community one day.

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