Saturday, January 31, 2009

Non-Secular Sunday

Four Sundays ago I had the rare opportunity to attend Mass by myself. Being that I had absolutely nobody to distract me, you'd think that I could remember a SINGLE THING that was said. But noooo....I have no recollection of the readings or the gospel or the homily. Something must have stuck with me, though, because as I drove the 1.8 miles back home, I was ruminating that other than attending Mass, we don't do anything to make the Lord's Day any different than any other day.

1.8 miles, people. That takes, like, 5 minutes. And in that 5 minutes, Non-Secular Sunday was born. I burst through the door and announced grandly, "Okay, kids, today we are observing a Non-Secular Sunday!" (picture, if you will, an arm-sweeping proclamation)

Blank stares. Quizzical looks. Total incomprehension. Drool.

So then came the impromptu Latin lesson. Secular, from the Latin root word saeculum, meaning "of the age" or "worldly." Non-secular, in this case, meaning Godly, or more faith-filled. Everything we do on Sundays from now on will be aimed at strengthening faith or family.

* No music or television that isn't of a Godly nature.

* Family reading or games, but only if it doesn't lead to fighting.

* An effort to be just a little bit kinder and more forgiving to each other.

* No unnecessary housework. (excluding meal prep and cleanup, unanticipated messes or spills, toilet overflows or twin havoc). This translates to: don't save your laundry, room-cleaning, or vacuuming for Sundays.

* And for Heaven's sake, NO GAME CUBE!!!!!

You can imagine how that first Sunday went. First we watched a new DVD that had been shelf-sitting since August - Junior's Giants #2: Envy Thou Not. We'd never seen this series before and I really enjoyed it; it was edgy and fun but also Scriptural, with a great, anti-possessions moral. We watched it twice in a row. Then we tuned into the movie of the week on JellyTelly. By the way, am I the only parent who likes to watch what the kids watch? I like to know what they're viewing, of course, but I also really enjoy most of it!

After that, my kids couldn't think of a single thing to do that didn't involve playing computer games or watching tv. In fact, all those boxes upon boxes of DVD and VHS in the garage never looked so good. They kept coming up with movies they hadn't seen for awhile, and pining for them. Non-Secular Sunday (NSS for short) looked like it was going to be verrrrrrrry loooooooong.

There was crying.
There was whining.
There was moping.
There was utter, abject boredom.

Thankfully, my husband had off that day to help keep morale up. When the twins were sleeping, we pulled out a Christmas gift we hadn't yet tried. It was called Whoonu? and it was surprisingly fun. I won't describe it fully here, but I will say it was quick - always a bonus. I like games that have a definite end in sight! It's not good for pre-readers unless they can be on someone's team.

We recently started to read the corresponding chapter of Proverbs for each day of the month, and we're working through the gospel of Mark a few paragraphs at a time, which took up a chunk of time. That's always good for some thought-provoking discussion, not to mention a vocabulary lesson. Newsmonger. Effrontery. Propensity. Numbskull. My 10-year-old son was in hysterics because he'd never heard the word 'numbskull' before, and they used it in the Bible !! Proverbs 17:21. (One of my husband's favorite verses!)

But still, the rest of the evening stretched out interminably in front of their eyes.

After a while, the biggest complainers
(Brian & Conor) disappeared, and I found them (much) later (after my nap) in the middle of their bedroom floor, surrounded by eight-and-a-half billion legos. They hadn't gotten busy with the legos for quite a while, and I deemed it a fit activity - as long as it didn't end in arguing or pummeling. Oh! Don't let me forget to add that they got away with not cleaning up the legos that night, because it was "Non-Secular Sunday" and they couldn't do any work!!!

I have to tell the truth - not checking my blog was the hardest thing I had to do all that livelong day. Just like the kids, I couldn't get my mind off of it. It was unbelievable how many times I was tempted, and I have to say that I did have a discipline FAIL.

The following Sunday? Worse. They had forgotten all about the first NSS, so it totally blind-sided them again.

There was crying.
There was whining.
There was moping.
There was utter, abject boredom.
Did I mention there was crying?

Sheesh, my kids are spoiled. If you can't plug it in or charge it up, they don't know what to do with themselves.

I made a point of reminding them tonight that tomorrow is another NSS.

We did a little extra downstairs cleaning (thanks, Conor) so that it would be more pleasant to relax and recreate together.

Tomorrow is the 3rd NSS but the first that Daddy won't be around to save the day. And I will have to resist temptation all on my own, so excuse me while I get the rest of my blogging done before the clock strikes twelve.

See you on Not Me Monday!

(and I have to add: everything in this post happened exactly as stated. Except for the drool.)



  1. Good for you! I think that is a great idea and well worth the effort required to get acclimated. So how was it without Daddy?! Did you survive :)

  2. We've been doing something like this, too. I call it "No Technology Day." I don't let the kids watch TV, play any video games, or get on the computer (and my husband and I try not to be hypocrites). There are some exceptions, like yesterday when we watched the Super Bowl or the occasional Sunday afternoon when we'll feel like watching a movie together.

    From experience, I can say that if you stick to your guns it'll get easier—the kids will still ask and still protest out of principle or hoping you'll forget, but they'll eventually get the idea and won't complain so much!

  3. I think that's a wonderful idea!!!

    I'm going to add you to my blog list that I follow. I am currently converting to Catholicism. I will finish my RCIA classes in April and have my confirmation. I'm very excited, but I still have a lot to learn. My husband was brought up Catholic. Our baby was baptized in October. :)