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Seven C's for Boys: What do I tell my 10 year-old son about manhood?
Boys at 10 need less physical information, as they are 2-4 years from puberty. But because of the culture, they need more spiritual and emotional discipline that needs to be developed now before the testosterone rolls, to avoid "testosterone RULES." Initial talks with sons should be kept on a high, Godly plane, to avoid the danger of trivializing the sacred and deep mysteries of life. Any further physical details requested before puberty should be answered briefly with constant reference to God.
The Seven C's for Boys:
1. Christ rules as your model of love, kindness, humility, courage and strength. Courtesy and respect for women is important for boys who want to become strong Christian men. Develop the courage to go to the cross to live for Christ. Pray to hear Christ's call to vocation and be prepared to respond to Him.
2. Commandments: Review them together, possibly using the summary pages at the back of the Catechism, explaining what you think he needs at this age. For example, 6th commandment: certain kisses and embraces are allowed by God for married persons, which would be impure for unmarried. 9th commandment: dismiss impure or sinful thoughts by thinking something good. Form a conscience well, and go to Confession regularly (every two to four weeks). Hopefully, Dad is the leader in this. Don't let your soul get wimpy because it's full of venial sins. Seek your confessor's advice on doubts or temptations. Avoid "occasions of sin."
3. Chastity is the ideal virtue for men to develop. This form of purity of mind, words and body will help you live out your vocation, whether you are later called to Christian marriage, priesthood, religious life or single life. Refuse to listen to jokes or words that make fun of women or private parts of anyone's body. Change the subject or walk away. Do not discuss private things with groups of boys. Most of them do not know how to speak with reverence about those things that God deems holy and private. Talk to your dad or mom about private issues. Avoid groups of boys who think sin is cool. Choose companions carefully.
4. Custody of the eyes: We live in a culture that tries to make fun of God's plan for the holy marital embrace. Movies and magazines will try to train you to see women as objects for your pleasure or curiosity. If you give in to this training, you may see young women that meet you as "sexy" rather than beautiful children of God. Your job is to train yourself to keep your mind pure by turning your head away from these ads, avoiding those magazines and movies and being quick with the TV remote control to turn off any images of immodest women. Control your curiosity because you love God. Be quick to turn your eyes away from a girl who is dressed immodestly, too, and you will gain for Christ, "custody of your eyes".
5. Concentrate on developing your character: Apply the virtues and character traits to your studies, sports, skills and home life. Diligence, patience, honesty, kindness and self-control are good places to start. Changes in your body will turn you into a physical man. You must work each day to become a better man spiritually and emotionally. Develop your will power by doing things that are challenging. Seek out hard work, tough sports, large mountains to climb; look at bad weather as a chance to get tough, not to stay inside; do more difficult tasks to help out at home, never complaining or being disagreeable. Strengthen your body and your will power and flee from laziness.
6. Control your behavior, no matter what your emotions are feeling. Emotional maturity is the ability to THINK before you act. Human beings have this capability. As Christians, we have the grace of God to help us. Angry feelings should not lead to violence‚€¶passionate feelings should not lead to lust, jealousy or hatred should not lead to revenge. Just because you like a girl doesn't mean that you have to take her out or kiss her. Do not act impulsively or "however you feel". Practice the strength of self-control and pray that God will help you desire only those things which help you become a strong Christian.
7. Choose to take care of the body God gave you. You have been a temple of the Holy Spirit since Baptism. You will be growing to physical adulthood over the next ten years. Eat wholesome foods, avoid junk and excess sweets. Avoid temptations to smoke or to drink alcohol.
Copyright 2000. Dr. Coleen Kelly Mast.
Respect, Incorporated (877)673-7732
The Six M's for Girls: What do I tell my 10 year old daughter about womanhood?
It's time to build a more intimate woman-to woman relationship with your little girl, at a special talk and many ongoing ones.
The Six M's for pre-puberty girls:
1. Modesty: Dressing with dignity as you grow in womanhood and beauty helps avoid the problem of provoking the eye of disrespectful men. Enhance feminine beauty without drawing attention to your body parts so men will see you as a person rather than a body with parts he likes. The purpose of a bra is to support, protect and cover, not show off. Keep all private parts and covered without slits, short skirts, short shorts or peek-a-boo, tight or see-through clothes. Disrobing is saved for the wedding night. She must work to keep her mind pure from sexy movies, magazines, websites, romance novels and TV shows. Her modesty in dress and speech protects her purity and chastity.
2. Menstrual cycle: Normal process to prepare for motherhood, not a sickness, usually not painful. Happens monthly from puberty to menopause, stops during pregnancy. Purpose of cycle (preparing uterine lining) is fulfilled during pregnancy. How to use sanitary supplies. Celebrate this privilege of womanhood and fertility together. Improve diet to prevent PMS. Discuss fetal growth and development using pro-life materials if you haven't already. Discussion of conception is optional until puberty if she doesn't ask.
3. Men and women are different: Each gender has different gifts. They see life differently and have different emotional responses and methods of communication. Be observant of this as she sees boys and girls become men and women, so she‚€™ll be more understanding later. The girls will be physically mature before many of the boys in their class, and the girls who start chasing boys early are not the ones who end up with the best marriages.
4. Mary, our model of meekness: The Blessed Virgin Mary is a role model for women. She was not aggressive, obnoxious or gossipy. Remind your daughter that she will see many girls become louder and more immature when they physically develop if they do not know that a girl has to work spiritually to become virtuous. Meekness is inner strength without impulsiveness. Look to Mary, your heavenly mother, for guidance.
5. Moodiness: When the hormones start accelerating, she will find herself struggling with moodiness. Instead of making excuses for her hormones, it's time to strengthen her will so as not to live by her whims. Be sympathetic that she will not recognize or even like herself some days during big hormone fluctuations. Understandable, not excusable. A good diet without chocolate, caffeine, junk food and sugar will reduce the mood shifts. A deeper prayer life will draw her to Christ and His mother during the confusing times.
6. Marriage is a vocation that God calls many people to. Not all are called to be married. Pray to know God's will for your future. For now, develop your talents, skills and virtues so that you will be prepared for life. At the right time, God will send you the right mate. Don't rush it yourself. Marriage is a sacrament that gives the couples His grace to grow closer to God through their lifetime of marriage and lead one another to heaven.
Copyright 2000. Dr. Coleen Kelly Mast. Respect, Incorporated (877)673-7732