Monday, October 02, 2006

Sunday Oct 1st
To Wickenden Manor in Sussex for a conference discusing family life and ideas for enriching contribution was a talk on the Calendar, celebrating traditional feasts and seasons of the is exactly 20 years ince the first edition of my Book of Feast and Seasons (Gracewing publishers) came out and it is now in its fifth edition, and has given rise to a radio series a TV series on EWTN (watch this Advent, Nov/Dec, and you''ll see me in the kitchen, busy with mince pies and Advent wreaths, and Lucia crowns and all sorts of things). New book "The Yearbook of Feast and Seasons", a companion volume to the (still popular!) first book, is due out in 2007. In the pleasant sitting-room at Wickenden, after a delicious lunch, we were able to discuss practical matters in a constructive atmosphere, with some good ideas coming from busy families. How to cope with the modern lavish birthday party at which the birthday child is given huge quantities of presents that he can barely even acknowledge adequately, let alone enjoy and appreciate? One idea: birthday child chooses a couple from among the (still wrapped) parcels, and the others are donated to children in need. How to cope with TV/computer pressures? Succesful practical solutions by families present ranged from having a "No TV on weekdays" rule, to locking the TV except for a limited set of programmes, and keeping the TV in a cupboard so that viewing it involved a specific decision. There was a general agrement on no-TV-and-no-internet-access-in-child's-bedroom, also on having filters (regularly updated) operating on various key words and phrases, and having a family acknolwedgement that parents viewed the hard-drive so that all websites visited would be known. What also emerged is that one or two families can have a significant impact on local network of family groups, eg can help to damp down a culture of ever-more-lavish parties by simply refusing to join in.....

It is interesting to note that most of the problems raised at this, and other similar discusions I have attended in recent years, always end up focusing on the problems of affluence. It's actually not porn, drugs, alcohol or invcolvement in weird cults that present immediate problems, but the deadening reality of childhoods threatened by massive consumerism and the destruction of innocent pleasures by the fostering of greed.....all this within living memory of an era when many parents in Britain worried about saving enough money to buy just a few modest gifts for the children and treats for birthdays.

We drove back through green evening countryside, saying the Rosary. It's good that we've been getting rain these past few days: the reservoirs in Susex and Kent have been terribly low, and perhaps wil now begin to look normal again. The lawns at Wickenden were green, and logs were stacked in the doorway for winter fires - a comfortable sight.


Anonymous said...

I have been a fan of yours for ages and am so glad to have found your blog.

My children are grown up and it is sad to hear them -in their early 20s - talk about how the world is much worse now than it was when they were as children. I have been discussing with them how to regulate TV with their future families and put forward an idea from a friend.

Record the programmes you think are suitable for the children to watch and the parents decide when the programmes will be watched. This avoids the 'TV is always on even when there are guests' phenomena and the 'I can't do ... for you now I have to watch my favourite programme.

Children who watch TV occasionally will not grow up thinking that life is not possible without the sound of the TV in the background.

I absolutely agree that no child should have access to the internet in anyroom of the house which does not have constant passers by. The most innocent of words entered into Google can bring up pornography.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mrs. Bogle,

I LOVE your blog! It brings back happy memories of days spent in England where my husband did his D.Phil. in theology during the mid eighties. (His tutor was a Jesuit named Anthony Meredith, who I believe is now with another order.)

We have five darling but somewhat wild children, ranging in age from 17 to 5. I think a great deal about the problems that you have raised: materialism, pornography, loss of innocence, technology in the Catholic home. All of these issues live in my home -- or at least some of their consequences do. I think it boils down to one issue and that is contraception. Families are unnaturally small and children are both overvalued (hence the enormous amount of resources spent on them) and undervalued in that there is never room for just one more child. I fear that abortion is only the horrible tip of the huge and nasty contraception iceberg.

God bless you in all that you do. I have ordered your book on feast days and am trying to get the Julia Blyth book for my one daughter, age 10. In spite of all the troubles we face, somehow I believe that the church is in a new springtime. I feel so hopeful for my Church and for my children and grateful that I will live to see the flowering of this springtime.

with regards to you and to your husband,

Rachel Helms
Dallas, TX

Anonymous said...

Found this blog via Amy Welborn. I love what both you and Mr Bogle write and am glad to have found this.

We have one TV which is shared by all the family and is 'policed' by my husband and me. Because we have always done this there are no problems now the older children are in their teens.

We have two computers which are used by everyone for work-I write and the older chidlren are homeschooled. (Joanna please say something about Catholic schools in the UK. I would be most interested in your views)
The internet is ONLY available in the lounge.
The laptop can be taken to bedrooms for work but they have no internet upstairs.

We have five kids and one on the way and one nurses wage to live on so 'consumerism' is impossible. LOL.
Although there are times when we discuss not having things that their friends can have-but as this is hardly new to them, it is rare to be an actual contentious issue.