"When my husband Chris and I got pregnant with the first out of our five kids, our first conversation was about how we were going to develop our parenting culture.

What will be our family moto? How are we going you live it out?

It came down to; “In everything, make a gift of yourself.” In learning to put others first, we will learn how to love and serve one another.

We have a sign in the centre of our house. We got it from the Madonna house, and it says, “Love serves.” Everything is solved when you make a gift of yourself. For example, today there was a fight about who gets to sit in the middle seat. But one of them made a gift of themselves and the fight was resolved. My children know this, we all know this, and we try to live this out daily within our family. We have to get over our self-tendencies, to get over our pride. But the greatest value you can do is to make a complete gift of yourself.

Another important part of motherhood for me, is that I have been tasked with giving my children a jump-start in a personal faith life. However, I can’t micromanage the way they prepare for Confession, what is going on in their hearts during Mass or when we are having a Catechesis family moment. I can’t even micromanage what happens at school and what they will be exposed too.

But I can give them a sense of guidance, that Jesus is first, others are second and you are third. That’s part of a sermon I heard, where if you spell it out, it spells J.O.Y. If you follow this, you will truly become a person of joy."

#CatholicsOfToronto Part 4/4 of Monika's Story.

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