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MFP 284: Is Your Child Addicted to Screens?

“The destructive effects of video games are not on boys’ cognitive abilities or their reaction times, but on their motivation and their connectedness with the real world.”

Dr. Leonard Sax

Technology can be a blessing or a curse. It can be used for great good and yet it can expose people to grave evil. Helping our children learn how to responsibly navigate the use of technology, especially social media, is one of the immense parenting challenges of our age.  In this podcast, we look at the unique challenges that technology presents to parents and why parents must meet this challenge head-on!  We talk about how to discern your tech use as a family and why just locking down every device is simply not enough.  Like most areas of parenting, we need to first train ourselves and then take the time to train our children. 


Key Takeaways

  • Don’t be naive. Stay on top of what your kids are watching and what they are engaging with.  It is our responsibility to prepare and guide them. 

  • Discern your tech use as a person and as a family. Walk them through the seven keys to empower them to make good choices because tech is a powerful gift of God and should be used for good.

  • Seven keys the church gives us to guide us in using technology

    • Does it communicate a balanced worldview?

    • How is the creator’s attitude oriented towards the subject?

    • Does it dignify the human person?

    • Does it speak the Truth?

    • Is it inspirational?

    • Is it done with skill? 

    • Is it motivated by experience?

  • Train your children to use it as they grow. Like driving a car, prepare them to use it as they mature and are old enough to use it wisely and virtuously


Couple Discussion Questions

  • In what ways have we been blessed by media and technolgy?  How has it helped us? 

  • How can we discern our media use as a family?  

  • If our goal is to form our children to become adults who can make good media choices, how and when can we give our children appropriate freedom?  What does that look like for our kids today? 



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Listen Here 50 MINUTE LISTEN

MFP 283: MPF 283: Marriage, Divorce and Hope

“We can only see our spouse clearly when we look at Jesus first.”

Dan Lawson

In this podcast, we tackle some hard issues in marriage.  What makes couples believe that they need to get divorced?  Why is it essential for couples to have a vision for their individual lives and for their marriage?  What is the pattern in successful marriages that we can emulate?  We even talk about what to say to a person who tells you they are getting a divorce – a very difficult and sensitive topic, but one that we have to discuss.  Dan Lawson is a Catholic therapist who takes a solution-focused approach with his clients, as opposed to “problem-focused” approach.  This means that instead of looking only at what is going wrong in a relationship, he asks questions and guides clients to look at what is going right.  This hopeful approach helps spouses to encounter their own goodness which is where you need to start to create a pattern of mutual admiration, one of the hallmarks of a successful marriage.  Listen into this essential conversation! 


Key Takeaways

  • Divorce is a sin against hope.  It says “I can’t change.  They can’t change.”  

  • The goal of life is not the perfect marriage, the goal is holiness. We need to start first by looking at Jesus and pursuing holiness in our own lives.  Then our marriage can improve. 

  • It is essential that each of us look first at what we are doing right in our marriages and in our lives.  When we can see and affirm that, then we can do more of that and “starve” out the negativity.

  • Every person needs to ask themselves the question, “Who do I want to be at the end of my life?”  We need to have a vision for our lives and live that way in our marriages.

  • Establishing a pattern of admiration and trust is key to building a life-long, life-giving marriage. Most spouses struggle to communicate their needs and their feelings. 


Couple Discussion Questions

  • What is my vision for my life?  Who do I want to be at the end of my life? 

  • How has my spouse loved me this year?  What are some of our greatest accomplishments together?

  • “The goal of life is not the perfect marriage, the goal is holiness”  What are my thoughts on this?

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Listen Here 69 MINUTE LISTEN

MFP 282: These People are Driving Me Crazy! Growing in Patience

“It’s easier to be patient after we come to realize how patient our Heavenly Father is with us.”

Why is it so hard for parents to be patient with their children?  People who thought they were good and normal adults find themselves tearing their hair out over the things done by a child half their size and a fraction of their age!  One thing we tell parents over and over is that parenting is supposed to change you.  It is supposed to form you.  It is supposed to be challenging, so if you are struggling, that is OK!  But we do have some tips for you and some stories that we hope will help change your perspective on growing in this essential virtue for moms and dads.  


Key Takeaways:

  • If you are impatient with your children you are normal!  Lean in and allow yourself to be changed as you grow in virtue

  • Children need adults to slow down and give them time to do things by themselves

  • Parenting takes alot of time!  Lessons need to be taught over and over.  There is no magic bullet.  Parenting is a marathon, not a sprint.

  • We can learn to be patient by first realizing how patient God is with us.  We are disobedient, messy kids but our Father teaches us the same lessons over and over


Couple Discussion: 

  • How would you rate your patience on a scale of 1-10?  How would you rate your spouse?  Discuss this.  

  • What lessons in your life has God had to teach you over and over?  How has God been patient with you? 

  • Which one of your children do you find it most difficult to be patient with and why?  Which of your children to you find it easiest to be patient with?  How can you learn from this?

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Listen Here 53 MINUTE LISTEN

MFP 281: MPF 281: Your Intimacy Questions Answered

“I now am taking this kinswoman of mine, not because of lust, but with sincerity.  Grant that she and I may find mercy and that we may grow old together.”

Tobit 8:7

Physical intimacy between spouses is a topic that is difficult to talk about, but one that is absolutely essential in Catholic circles.  You see, Satan’s plan is for people to have as much sex as possible BEFORE they are married and as little sex as possible AFTER they are married!  These lies and confusion need to be addressed in a way that is respectful but also practical for married couples.  In this podcast, we welcome Ellen Holloway of Vines in Full Bloom, a ministry dedicated to helping women and couples experience a joyful, satisfying sexual relationship within marriage. We discuss sexual pleasure, the different ways that men and women handle stress, the relationship between sex and prayer, the difference between “anticipatory” and “escalatory” foreplay,  and what to do when your libido is completely gone.  There is a wealth of valuable information for husbands and wives to hear and then discuss with each other.  Listen in and join the conversation! 


Key Takeaways

  • Part of foreplay is being aware of your spouse throughout the day and letting them know you are thinking of them. 

  • Being joyful in marriage means you have a willingness to build intimacy through unity with your spouse.  

  • If you have no desire for sex at all at the moment, ask yourself, “What AM I willing to do?”

  • No one should accept zero libido as a lifestyle. That is not normal. 

  • There are many similarities between how we view prayer and how we view sexual relations with our spouse.  We should be continually learning in both. 

  • Our Heavenly Father made sexual relations to be pleasurable because He loves us and wants us to be happy.  Sometimes we don’t accept how overly generous our Father is! 


Couple Discussion Questions

  • Take 5-10 min daily for a week to discuss sex with each other.  

  • How often do we discuss our sex life?  What is holding us back from having this conversation? 

  • Do I believe sex is a sacred gift from God? Why or why not?  



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Listen Here 80 MINUTE LISTEN

MFP 280: 12 Parenting Tips

Parenting is not an inborn skill. It is something that we learn over time from trial and error and with help from others. 

Over the past 28 years raising our 10 kids we have made a lot of mistakes, but also learned from them!  In this podcast, we go over 12 tips that we have found make a big difference in the life of a family.  They are principles that we live by and how we have gotten where we are today.  None of them are rocket science – but they are things you may not have thought of before or realized how essential they are.  We have released this podcast before, but now we have a new perspective since our kids are older and now we have grandkids.  The great thing is, we have found that these tips still work!  As you listen, make sure that you choose 1 or 2 things that you want to implement in your lives starting this week.  Don’t try to do everything! Small changes over time have the biggest impact.  Listen in and join the conversation!  


Key Takeaways

  • It is not your job to make your children into saints.  It is their job to make YOU into a saint!

  • You are irreplaceable.  Your children will only ever have ONE mom and ONE dad.  No one can do for your child what you can do. 

  • Your children cannot be the center of your family.  They are part of a community.  

  • Love requires boundaries.  But at the same time, remember that rules without relationship breeds rebellion.  

  • Children need to be taught everything.  They don’t know the words to say to be respectful, or the way to respond when you ask them to do something.  Do not be surprised when they don’t do what you want right away.  Your job is to teach them.  


Couple Discussion Questions

  1. Do I find it easy or hard to embrace my authority as a parent?  Do I recognize my unique place in the life of my child?  How would I articulate my role? 

  2. How do I feel about my child making me into a saint?  What are ways I see them teaching me how to be less selfish? 

  3. Do we have a plan for discipline? Are we on the same page?  Where do we disagree?



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Listen Here 57 MINUTE LISTEN

MFP 279: MPF 279: What do Families Need? Interview with Archbishop Naumann

Most of us rarely have an opportunity to sit down and talk to a priest, let alone a bishop!  We were so blessed to have a conversation with not just a bishop, but an archbishop and one who loves the Lord, loves families, and who leads with the heart of a shepherd.  Join us as we talk to Archbishop Naumann of Kansas City who shares his story of growing up without a father and how his mother and family gave him the stability and security he needed to flourish and become the man God called him to be.  He provides insights to families in our conversation along with a good dose of humor and practical encouragement.


Key Takeaways

  • Family stability and security are essential for children to flourish and fulfill their God-given potential, as Archbishop Naumann’s own upbringing exemplifies.

  • Archbishop Naumann emphasizes the importance of love, faith, and commitment within families as foundational elements for building strong communities and societies.

  • Practical encouragement and humor are valuable tools in navigating the challenges and joys of family life, as shared by Archbishop Naumann during the conversation.


Couple Discussion Questions

  1. How can we emulate the stability and security that Archbishop Naumann experienced in his upbringing within our own family dynamic?

  2. In what ways can we prioritize love, faith, and commitment within our family to strengthen our bonds and contribute positively to our community?

  3. How can we incorporate humor and practical encouragement into our family life to navigate challenges and foster a spirit of joy and resilience?

  4. Reflecting on Archbishop Naumann’s insights, what changes or adjustments can we make to our family routines or habits to better reflect our values and priorities?

  5. What lessons or inspirations can we take from Archbishop Naumann’s story to enhance our own journey as spouses and parents?

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Listen Here 22 MINUTE LISTEN

MFP 278: Conversations with Kids

In this episode, Mike and Alicia Hernon explore the transformative impact of conversations with children. They emphasize the importance of fostering a family culture centered around meaningful dialogue.

From toddlers to teens, discover practical strategies for nurturing curiosity, understanding, and mutual respect within the parent-child relationship. Don’t miss out on this engaging discussion that highlights the profound influence of conversations in shaping both children and parents alike.


Key Takeaways

  • Conversations form your children, but more importantly, it forms YOU
  • Kids will not always remember what you said, they will remember how they felt. 
  • Conversations should be different depending on the age of the child
  • Conversations should be part of your family culture—how the conversations happen, when they happen, and what you talk about. 


Couple Discussion Questions

  1. On a scale of 1-10 how good are we at talking with our kids?  How can we improve? 
  2. What is the most difficult part of talking with the kids? How can I get over this? 
  3. What assumptions do I make when I am talking to my children?  
  4. What are some topics my children would like to talk about?



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Listen Here 75 MINUTE LISTEN

MFP 277: MPF 277: Girl Power! An interview with the Given Institute

“Thank you, every woman, for the simple fact of being a woman! Through the insight which is so much a part of your womanhood you enrich the world’s understanding and help to make human relations more honest and authentic.”

John Paul II, Letter to Women

Women have particular gifts to bring to the world which were identified by John Paul II as the “genius of women”.  The Given Institute was created by religious superiors of the major orders in the United States and works with young women in all states of life to help them realize that they are gift, work to discover their unique giftedness and then make a plan to bring those gifts to the world.  In this podcast, we discuss these topics with Michelle Hilleart, their Executive Director who is  passionate about the need for women to know their own dignity and worth.  There are so many lies and confusing messages being given to young women today and these messages are preventing them from not just being who they were created to be, but also preventing them from knowing how they were created.  Listen in to hear about what REAL “girl power” is! 


Key Takeaways

  • John Paul II identified the “genius of women” as receptivity, sensitivity, generosity, and maternity.

  • Every woman is called to be a spiritual mother – whether she is a natural mother, single woman, or consecrated woman.  

  • Every woman is called and gifted and those gifts begin to grow when a woman knows who she is as a daughter of God. 

  • Once we know what those gifts are we should then create an “action plan” to bring those unique gifts to the world. 


Couple Discussion Questions

  1. Do I recognize my dignity as a daughter of God? 

  2. What are the gifts that are uniquely mine? 

  3. How can I develop those gifts and bring them to the people around me?

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Listen Here 43 MINUTE LISTEN

MFP 276: MPF 276: Why are Boys so Aggressive?

“It’s our experience that parents who don’t allow their children to play with weapons have little boys who will chew their toast into the shape of a gun”

“Hello, I wanted to ask a question in regard to violent play for a toddler. My 4 year old boy is obsessed with all types of toy swords, lasers, etc. Any suggestions on how to manage it in a way that lets him explore but also places limits on it?”  

This question came from a listener who is a mom of a normal boy!  But often this type of behavior catches parents unaware.  Our culture gives so many confusing messages to boys in the world.  Sometimes the behavior of little boys can be surprising or even shocking to moms who aren’t used to rough and tumble play.  But the beauty of boys is that they are made for this!  And playing is how they learn to make sense of the world around them, handle conflicting emotions and learn to relate in a healthy way to other boys.  In this podcast, we tackle the issue head on with some funny stories and practical advice.  We also discuss some of the psychology behind the emotional life of boys and what parents need to do to keep their boys well-adjusted and loved.  In the end we have tips for you on how to teach your boy to use his body in a way that respects himself and others.


Key Takeaways

  • Violent play in young boys is natural and when it comes from within their own mind (not from images introduced to them) it is not just harmless, but important to allow. 

  • Boys work out their emotions physically. The verbal and emotional parts of their brain are not hard wired as girls’ are. 

  • Getting your boys comfortable and confident in their bodies is essential for their emotional and mental health.

  • Boy’s emotions are just as present and as deep as girls are. They are just expressed differently and need to be responded to differently.


Couple Discussion Questions

  1. What do I find hardest about my boys?

  2. How can we respect the way they are made?



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Listen Here 63 MINUTE LISTEN

MFP 275: Where do Bishops Come From? An interview with Bishop Joseph Coffey

Join Mike and Alicia Hernon on this enlightening episode of the Messy Family Podcast as they sit down for an insightful interview with Bishop Joseph Coffey of the Archdiocese of the Military (United States). Together, they explore the intriguing question, “Where do Bishops Come From?” and delve into Bishop Coffey’s personal journey of faith, discernment, and leadership within the Catholic Church.

With candor and wisdom, Bishop Coffey shares his unique perspective on the role of bishops in today’s world and offers valuable insights into the formation and responsibilities of these spiritual leaders. From his early experiences in the military to his calling to the priesthood and eventual consecration as a bishop, Bishop Coffey’s story is both inspiring and enlightening.

Throughout the conversation, Mike and Alicia engage Bishop Coffey in a wide-ranging discussion that touches on topics such as the challenges facing the Church, the importance of prayer and discernment in leadership, and the role of bishops in shepherding their flocks through turbulent times.

Whether you’re a devout Catholic seeking a deeper understanding of the Church’s hierarchy or simply curious about the journey of bishops, this episode offers a fascinating glimpse into the life and ministry of one of the Church’s spiritual leaders.

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Listen Here 49 MINUTE LISTEN