Open Forum -- St Joseph & Papal Inauguration Day!

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By Rebecca Teti

Tuesday: Open Forum

(Join each day’s Coffee Talk discussion: Mon: Parenting; Tues: Open Forum; Wed: NFP; Thu: Marriage; Fri: Education; Sat/Sun: Changing Roles)

This is the Open Forum Coffee Talk. That means ... anything goes. Ask a question, make a suggestion, share a story, offer some advice -- the floor is yours!

Rebecca Teti


  • We have been blessed with a new Papa. In general, I think that secular media has treated our traditions and His Holiness with a great deal of respect. Refreshing!

    Posted on Mar 19th, 2013 at 5:34 AM by Anne

  • This is very encouraging! A good start with a new Pope.

    Posted on Mar 19th, 2013 at 5:39 AM by Mary

  • Almost forgot! Have a blessed Feast of St. Joseph!

    Posted on Mar 19th, 2013 at 5:51 AM by Anne

  • Wonderful news for today's inaugural Mass...the Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I, will attend Pope Francis's inaugural Mass. This is the first time such an event occurs since the Catholic-Orthodox split in 1054, an important sign for Christian unity! A blessed Feast Day of St. Joseph to all!

    Posted on Mar 19th, 2013 at 6:58 AM by Patricia

  • I am thrilled about the new pope. My children were excited at the white smoke and I lifted the no TV Lenten sacrifice so we could watch such an important occasion. I need some guidance, however, with my preteen daughter. There is a talent show at school and she wants to perform a song. The problem is she cannot sing. Some kids already make fun of her. She sees too many others singing and being overly dramatic and wants to be an actress/singer, etc. The trappings of fame/fortune, I suppose. Sigh. I want so much more for her. I keep trying to play up her other strengths and the academic side of things but she just keeps on dreaming of "stars." I really do not want her to go up and embarrass herself and I really do not want to tell her she can't. Her feelings would be crushed. I thought about scraping together some money to have a professional tell her but that could backfire on me, too, in a few ways. So any advice? My heart is so heavy with this matter.

    Posted on Mar 19th, 2013 at 7:25 AM by Mean Mommy

  • Oh Mean Mommy, your name suggests you are truely too hard on yourself:-) have you tried video taping your daughter performing, maybe say its in preparation for the big day? I'd like to hear what other parents think but remembering being a preteen myself, I really think I could have benefited from learning my own mistakes more often. Yes, sometimes teasing can be detrimental so I'll let you decide where the line is but it kind of sounds like she has all the self confidence in the world to overcome it. Good luck and God Bless!

    Posted on Mar 19th, 2013 at 7:40 AM by Katherine

  • Mean Mommy, I am a professional. I have met very, very few people over the years who truly cannot sing, but if I had a dime for every person I've met who thought they couldn't sing because some (usually) well-meaning person told them so, I could take you out for coffee and we could discuss this. Does she have a music teacher at school who would coach her a bit? Or would she be willing to take piano lessons to help her with ear training and basic musicality? A lot of voice teachers don't take students younger than 15 so you may or may not be able to find a voice teacher even if you look, but there are still things she can do. Recording her and asking her to watch and critique herself are very good things to do as well. I guess what I'm saying is, please, please, don't tell her she can't sing because unless she has issues that 99% of people don't have, she just needs a lot more practice.

    Posted on Mar 19th, 2013 at 9:03 AM by Alice

  • I don't know if it will help, but Matt Archbold had a lovely piece about the talent show at his kids' school (where all the kids can do something if they want to - no tryouts - and his son did a cartwheel). Might help to see which of his kids' reactions with not being in the show describes your dd and go from there.

    Posted on Mar 19th, 2013 at 9:04 AM by Anna

  • Hi Mommy, I agree that you should NOT tell her she can't sing...unless you are a professional/judge for voice. You should challenge her to do her best, and be her biggest cheerleader! Get the video camera out, practice a few {or many} times so she feels that she did her best for the talent show and pray that it goes well!

    Posted on Mar 19th, 2013 at 9:34 AM by Donna L.

  • Ideas for self-defense courses for Mommy and older teens? I checked into Brazilian street-fighting {Jiu Jitsu or something like that} and I can see the need for it. However. Perhaps I'm just squeamish about wrestling on the floor with people I hardly know, to get to learn about how to get away from an

    Posted on Mar 19th, 2013 at 9:41 AM by Lynnea

  • Mean Mommy, I thought for a moment you were writing about my daughter! Same age, same belief in her own singing ability. We had a bit of a setback a couple of weeks ago. She tried out for the lead in the school spring musical -- not only did she not get the lead, she did not even get a real part. She was assigned to the vague "ensemble." She was SO unhappy for a day or so but she got over it and is now just having fun attending rehearsals and learning the dance steps. I'd say, let your daughter sing! The audience will applaud her courage. Or, is there anything else your daughter can do? My wannabe-a-singer daughter happens to be an excellent hula hooper, and has done hooping routines at talent shows and coffee houses. That gets her the applause she craves. Good luck! This is so hard.

    Posted on Mar 19th, 2013 at 10:22 AM by Anne in NC

  • Mean Mommy - I think people here are ignoring one point you made. You said you think your daughter might only be interested in the celebrity allure of singing. This is pretty common for young people. Turn off American Idol and try to rid your home of other pop culture influences. Expose her to different types of activities and hobbies. Then see if she still wants to focus on singing or whether she develops another talent or interest. If she still wants to sing, get her some lessons.

    Posted on Mar 19th, 2013 at 11:56 AM by Monica (momof2)

  • Thanks, everyone for your input. It means so much. I cannot afford singing lessons right now or even piano. But I think you're all right that I should keep my mouth shut. I will encourage her performance and try to guide her to picking the best song for her "range." (For what little I know) And while we don't watch Idol or such shows, I'll try and just get her to focus on herself and not what she sees others do on youtube. (Does the whole world have to download everything they do?!) And, Anne, my daughter seems as resilient as your daughter seems. I am going to encourage this instead of just "hmmm, that's nice dear." She needs me to stand by her and support her. Anna, I'm going to check out the link, thanks. Alice, solid words. My dd's name is Alice so I consider it a clear message sent through you. Katherine, I'm getting the old video camera out. There's going to be a LOT of practicing going on, I'm sure. I feel so much better, ladies. God bless and thank you!!

    Posted on Mar 19th, 2013 at 1:04 PM by Mean Mommy

  • Mean Mommy- I think you have gotten a lot of great advice so far. The only thing I will add is that I remember my 7th grade year very well. I was socially awkward and didn't really fit in with any crowd. Kids that age are brutal - especially girls. My parents let me make some mistakes but they were not too far away and they caught me when I fell. When no one liked me, my dad told me that I was beautiful and that what was happening then and there was not important in the long run. He told me that if I kept following my heart and worked hard that I would succeed in life and that was what was important. BTW, he had to tell me this multiple times through junior high and high school. But, I can't tell you, in retrospect, just how important that was...

    Posted on Mar 19th, 2013 at 9:06 PM by JM

  • My whole life, my mom told me I could not sing. I was crushed everytime she said it, because I *wanted* to sing. It was just FUN. Fastforward about ten years and I decided to quietly enroll myself in professional voice lessons during college. It was hard to start singing again after being so crushed as a kid... but ya know what? All it took were some lessons. I learned how to take deep breaths and project my timid voice and it made ALL the difference. Suddenly I was singing! And it has been SUCH a joy for me to sing with every parish I've joined over the years!! So, please please please don't tell your daughter she can't sing. Most people "can't" offer professional-quality ANYTHING without some lessons. Why do people expect that of the human singing voice?! No one would judge a person's piano playing skills based on their proficiency BEFORE taking a lesson! Yet so few people are such naturals that they can do amazing things without having to take a few classes, lessons, etc. Encourage her to save up her money for voice lessons someday & in the meantime maybe she can still join your church's choir. That may put the focus on Christ and not the limelight. Singing is so FUN, its a shame the bad rap it can get as being for "celebs" only. :( St. Augustine says he who sings prays twice!!

    Posted on Mar 20th, 2013 at 1:05 AM by unknown

  • :) Glad to be of service. As a church choir director, I want to second unknown's suggestion of church choir if your church has one. If your church doesn't have a children's choir or she is too old, talk to the director. I've always tried to make sure that people who want to sing can even if they were at an in between age or we didn't have enough children for a children's choir that year.

    Posted on Mar 20th, 2013 at 9:37 AM by Alice

  • Hi Mean Mommy! Sorry to be jumping in a few days late. I want to address a side issue you mentioned that I don't think (skimming quickly) was really touched on. I have a bit of the opposite problem of yours. My daughter is a very talented singer and has been told so since she was very young. This has resulted in something of an overabundance of confidence and now, as an 11 year old, dreams of fame and fortune ala Taylor Swift. One thing that has really helped both us is frank discussions about why and what we sing. Do we sing to glorify God and his creation or to glorify ourselves? This leads into discussions of modesty on stage, etc. Hope this helps some.

    Posted on Mar 21st, 2013 at 6:45 AM by Becky Le

  • Becky Le, thanks for the heads up. I hadn't really thought to discuss that with her.

    Posted on Mar 21st, 2013 at 2:07 PM by Mean Mommy

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