D.I.Y. Spiritual Training for Your Kids

•December 20, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Richard and his two boysAre you a do-it-yourself kind of guy? How about when it comes to teaching spiritual lessons to your kids? For some guys, that’s harder than finishing the basement or changing the oil. But sometimes it just takes some good ideas to get started.

Try one or more of these to take a walk through the Bible with your sons and daughters—to drive home some important points while your kids are home for Christmas break. Ask them for 30 minutes or an hour so that you can begin to highlight the following books or passages of Scripture with them. In true D.I.Y., man-of-action style, I’ll keep the list short and sweet.

1. Read a proverb or the whole book of Proverbs, which speaks out against sloth or slack and in favor of being diligent, hardworking, and wise.

2. Read and discuss Paul’s warning in 2 Thessalonians 3:10: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat” (NIV). How does it apply to you and your kids?

3. Read about the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30, which talks about God’s expectations regarding the abilities He has given us. Talk about each of your own abilities, how you’re using them or not, and what you could do to apply them best.

4. Review Paul’s counsel that equates work with serving the Lord, not men (Colossians 3:23-24).

5. Review sins that pertain to the marketplace—pilfering (Titus 2:9-10), slackness (2 Thessalonians 3:11-12), being a man-pleaser (Colossians 3:22). How do these apply to you?

6. Study “the wife of noble character” in Proverbs 31:10-31, who “works with eager hands” and “gets up while it is still dark” and is “clothed with strength and dignity.”

7. Read Genesis 2:2 about God resting after His work. What does this teach us about keeping the Sabbath a day set apart for rest, Sunday worship and family?

Here are a few more starters for thought and discussion.

8. In Stephen Covey’s book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, he provides an entirely new paradigm of delegation, called “Green and Clean.” The idea is to train our sons and daughters to be stewards who are trusted, their own bosses governed by conscience and committed to agreed-upon results. Ask them how will such an approach help prepare your son or daughter for the workplace? How can it apply to them now as students?

9. Ask them what this Indian proverb means: “Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day, teach a man to fish and he’ll eat for a lifetime.” How does it apply to them? How does it apply to you in the task of preparing your son or daughter for the workplace?

10. Covey writes in The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, “No amount of technical administrative skill in laboring. . . can ever make up for a lack of nobility of personal character. . . . It is at a very essential, one-on-one level that we live the primary laws of love and life.” Ask your kids if they agree and why or why not.

Which action will you start with to engage your kids in spiritual lessons?

photo illustration of Fr MichaelFr. Michael A. O’Donnell, Ph.D., is a best-selling author, researcher, and international lecturer best known for his Adolescent Wellness Research Project. He is a former Professor of Family Studies and Department Chair of Psychology & Behavioral Sciences at Rochester College. And he currently serves as Rector of St. John’s Church in Ogdensburg, N.Y. Michael’s eight books include A Question of Honor and How A Man Prepares His Sons for Life, which was nominated for Christianity Today and Gold Medallion book awards.

Good News!

•August 15, 2014 • Leave a Comment

prayerI didn’t quite believe it until I read it for myself …

Two Amish girls, 6 and 12, who were abducted just outside their home, were returned to their parents in less than 24 hours. Something you rarely, if ever, hear about these days.

I ran to my brother’s room and literally shouted the Good News! We stood there, just hugging and crying for joy, because what had once been lost had now been found by the mercy of God.

So … what just happened, my friends?

A miracle?  Why, Yes. A genuine miracle of when heaven and earth meet. When two hardened hearts, predisposed to do evil, are stymied by the unseen hand of God, and all who witness it are at once transported from this known physical planet called “earth” to the supernatural Kingdom of our Christ. A kingdom where the blessed Trinity reign…

St. John describes it in Revelation 21:10-27, this way:

10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.

11 It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal.

12 It had a great, high wall with twelve gates, and with twelve angels at the gates. On the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel.

13 There were three gates on the east, three on the north, three on the south and three on the west.

14 The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

15 The angel who talked with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city, its gates and its walls.

16 The city was laid out like a square, as long as it was wide. He measured the city with the rod and found it to be 1,400 miles in length, and as wide and high as it is long.

17 The angel measured the wall using human measurement, and it was 200 feet thick.

18 The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass.

19 The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone….

21 The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of gold, as pure as transparent glass.

22 I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.

23 The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.

24 The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it.

25 On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there.

26 The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it.

27 Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

And so, we all witnessed a miracle … and for a brief moment, our collective prayers from every conceivable denomination, from Jewish, Protestant, to Catholic, in neighboring towns, boroughs and cities all throughout the North Country rose like incense as a sweet smelling savor into the nostrils of God.

And, the heavens responded, mightily.

You see, a battle was waged against the supernatural forces of wickedness in the heavenly realm, with St. Michael the Archangel leading the charge.

The kidnappers’ plans were cut to the quick.  How dare they conspire to lay a hand on the Lord’s anointed—two darling daughters of God.  No doubt, God used their underestimation of the Amish girls against them and both Fanny and Delila, guided by the Holy Spirit, were able to slip away, alive.

And so, I just had to talk about it.

I knew you’d agree.

To pass it by as some casual event; or worse, merely happenstance would perhaps be a kind of anathema this side of heaven.

And so, I wanted to rejoice with you and celebrate the goodness of God and commend increased unity among Christians and all God-fearing friends. Indeed, a cord of three strands is not easily broken; and, so too, when Jewish, Protestant, and Catholic peoples join forces in prayer.

“How good and pleasant it is,” says our Lord, “when brethren dwell together in unity.” Perhaps this will mark a change; a kind of revival, if you please, in acknowledging what was spoken by God so long ago:

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

About the Author


The Reverend Michael O’Donnell, Ph.D., OSF,  the Rector at St. John’s parish in New York, is married to Rachel, a principal with The Classical Academy, and they have two grown children—Patrick (married) and Kayla (engaged). They have been married and in love for over 27 years and in 1991 lost an infant daughter, Cara, to a birth defect.  Home from Oz (Word) and The Oz Syndrome(Hillcrest) were books that Michael penned shortly after her death that helped him to process her early passing.  Michael  is also a principal blogger for Faithhappenings.com .

For a view of his parish St. John’s Church, please click: St. John’s Church in Ogdensburg, NY

For a more complete academic bio, please see: Wikipedia Article

Michael O’Donnell, Ph.D., to Blog for FaithHappenings!

•August 2, 2014 • Leave a Comment

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       faith happeningsBrowse for a few minutes to find an event for this weekend, or linger for an hour searching through the latest books, music or videos.

Whatever the reason, FaithHappenings is the first-of-its-kind website that is both a local and national collection of people, places, businesses, resources and services that can encourage and inspire your faith, your marriage, your family and your church.  And, they asked Dr. Michael O’Donnell to put his thoughts together on Fathering and Parenting as well as compose weekly devotionals for moms and dads!

FaithHappenings is just starting out, but they’re already active in 454 areas throughout America.  They’re building a local and national community of faith to encourage your soul and help you to find places to serve others. That’s what someone of the Christian faith is all about, right?

The best part about FaithHappenings is you can tailor it specifically to what you want. By completing the sign-up windows, you can receive in your inbox the events, the resources, the soul care and blogs you don’t want to miss.  Check it out ASAP: http://www.faithhappenings.com


Happy Father’s Day 2014

•June 10, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Happy Father's Day 2013

A great time to secure a copy of WHAT A SON NEEDS FROM HIS DAD for your pop! Available in e-book and hard copy on AMAZON! Get your discounted copy today!

Dar El-Thaqafa inks agreement for an Arabic-edition of “What a Son Needs From His Dad”

•April 17, 2013 • Leave a Comment

                            We are pleased to announce that Dar El-Thaqafa Communications House,an organization based in Egypt, has officially signed a contract for an Arabic-language edition of “What a Son Needs From His Dad”!Dar El Thaqafa Communications House

The “Doc” is Still in the Top Ten on Parenting/Fathering on AMAZON!

•February 10, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Pic of Dr. Michael O’Donnell

The “Lady in Blue” … A Marian Visitation?

•October 26, 2012 • 4 Comments

FatimskaiaA few years ago when celebrating Mass on a Sunday, I saw a dark-skinned woman, veiled in blue, come into the nave at St. Luke’s Church; she didn’t come into the nave but instead walked to where our Lady Chapel was located (I thought at the time that she was probably going to the nursery [next to the Chapel] although she wasn’t carrying a child that I could readily see.

After the consecration, as I was communing my parishioners, I wondered why the woman had not come to join us at the altar; just then, Ed—my adult acolyte asked me, “Father, where’s the woman in blue?”  I was pleased that he had seen her, too, and that she wasn’t just some figment of my imagination.

After Mass, Ed and I began to contemplate the significance of the “woman in blue” and what seemed like her miraculous appearance and disappearance.   As we shared this visitation with Fr. Walter, my priest associate, almost simultaneously we declared: “It was the blessed Mother of God!” Chills ran up my spine, as we began to ponder the significance of such a sighting.

Weeks later, I was visiting with my brother priest and friend, Fr. Anthony, who is an arch-priest with one of the Orthodox churches in town.  So touched was he by my telling of this extraordinary apparition, he asked that I immediately contact his iconographer and, with his blessing, have him paint the plain, white spaces that occupy the altar backdrop around the tabernacle.  (This is now moving forward.)

It’s interesting to note that the altar was a consecrated Roman Catholic altar that was given to the parish as a gift from a now-closed Roman Catholic parish—with the relics of St. Louis, King of France, and patron of Franciscan Tertiaries, imbedded in the altar stone.  (By the way, I am an Oblate with the Franciscan Order of Divine Compassion.)  It’s also interesting that the first known icon of the Black Madonna was painted by St Luke the Evangelist—for which the church is named.

For anyone reading this, I ask for your prayers and Mass intentions, because I’ve been approached by a number of orthodox (English Catholic) clergy to consider—with prayer and fasting—establishing a Shrine to the blessed Mother; and to seek her counsel and wisdom on behalf of her son, our Savior, Jesus Christ.

By the way, I was praying with a handmade Rosary that I received from attending the Roman Catholic Bishop’s pro-life dinner last year (they gave them as gifts to any priest who was in attendance).  The beads were silver, metallic.  Well recently, I brought it to St Luke’s to pray to the blessed Mother that I had seen there some years earlier—I did not see her, but I definitely felt her presence.  The next morning, when I woke up, the largest bead had turned color—like gold, I’d say.  I asked a friend if I could look at his Rosary that he received; and, indeed, the color on mine is noticeably different from his; my bead is gold, his bead is silver.

What think ye?


About the Author

Fr. (Nicholas, OSF) Michael O’Donnell, Ph.D., is a Court Expert in Psychology with the Tribunal of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Colorado Springs.

As an Episcopal priest, Fr. Michael is married to Rachel, a principal with The Classical Academy, and they have two grown children—Patrick and Kayla. They have been married for over 25 years and in 1991 lost an infant daughter, Cara, to a birth defect.  Home from Oz (Word) and The Oz Syndrome (Hillcrest) were books that Michael penned shortly after her death that helped him to process her early passing.

For a brief academic synopsis, please click: http://qwi.ki/KRdxPp

For a more complete academic bio, please see: Wikipedia Article


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