TheBODYMatters Children's Program Pre-K–8th

Theology of the Body Evangelization Team

Between 1978 and 1984, Pope St. John Paul II delivered a series of Wednesday audiences that eventually became known as the Theology of the Body. This profound teaching offered what St. John Paul called an “adequate anthropology”—an examination of what it means to be human, made in God’s image and likeness, and how that reality is made visible in our human bodies. TOBET seeks to share this life-affirming message with others through educational resources: books, programs, talks, and seminars will offer hope and healing to a culture in need.

TOBET’s Episcopal Advisory Board confirmed the decision to create an original, age-appropriate program for Pre-School to 8th grade children not only to protect them from these negative influences, but also to help them to see the wonder of being made in God’s image and likeness.

Recent Blogs

The Penetrating Wisdom of Cardinal Sarah on the Body

The Penetrating Wisdom of Cardinal Sarah on the Body

Cardinal SarahMost of us are tired of all of the discussion about COVID19 and general upheaval, so we are relieved to speak of something else. To that end, let’s talk about Cardinal Sarah’s latest book, The Day Is Now Far Spent. At a time when we are uncertain whom to...

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The One Best Thing

The One Best Thing

The cover of our book, The Body and Holy MassWhat is THE one, best thing any one of us can do for our children? It’s a gift that will never wear out or depreciate in value, never be donated to Goodwill, eaten by moths, or stolen from a vault. THE ONE BEST THING. It is...

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We all hunger for GOD. ...

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TOBET is now introducing a series of posts to help you enhance your dialogue and reframe complex subjects in our society today, looking through the lens of TOB and how God intends us to live our lives. We hope this series will be insightful and inspirational to you and your families as we explore together how to live our lives made in God’s image and likeness.

Continuing the theme of the body is a gift, TOBET would like to provide another example for parents to exercise Theology of the Body language for parenting and dialoguing with your children to build an understanding of St. John Paul II’s Christian anthropology.
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The Body Is a Gift

The body is a gift; each person is a gift. We are gifts not only by giving, but also by receptivity, or how we receive gifts. Part of receiving includes how we respond to the gifts others share. We are gifts when reciprocating a gift of self with another gift of self. All of this entails the BODY.
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The Body as a Gift through Receptivity

Your spouse walks in the door, and your children are in the kitchen helping set the table, or at the table, working on homework.

You usually ask, “Hey, honey, how was your day?” and get a generic response of “Okay,” “Good,” “Fine,” “Not good,” et cetera.

That’s assuming you’re not too busy to greet your spouse, or he or she isn’t too distracted or exhausted to reply. Keep in mind, your kids are aware of what’s going on, whether they show that they’re paying attention or not. This simple routine and daily exchange show your kids how to receive the body as a gift, or it doesn’t.

If you’re noticing that your spouse and you don’t give each other the few seconds to make your greetings and farewells count, what does that say to your children? Nothing bad, necessarily, but it doesn’t necessarily say anything at all.

You can change this and show your children, working with your spouse, using your marriage as an example of the body as a gift.
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The Body as a Gift through Response

If you notice that your spouse doesn’t respond to your question and greet you the way you’d hoped, you can take this as a chance to show the gift of response.

You could say to one of your kids, “Joe, could you go grab your dad’s work bag for him and put it where he needs it? I think he needs a hug.” And then, assuming your son Joe helps you, you give your spouse what you recognized was a much-needed embrace.
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The Body as a Gift Through Reciprocity

In turn, your spouse might return the embrace and open up about their day and why they needed a hug in the first place. Or, you could start a dialogue at the table with your children after you all say grace.

You could start with one of your kids and say, “I think we all need to hear a good thing about everyone’s day today. It might give some of us something happy to think about.”

Then, proceed to do so until it ends with your or your spouse. You can then explain to your children how sharing something that makes you happy with others can be a way of giving back the body as a gift, especially if you see someone needs to hear something good because you can tell they had a difficult day.
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The Body As a Gift to Overcome Barriers

If your spouse is resistant to a greeting or embrace, you can still share positive things around the dinner table, giving the same explanation about finding different ways to share the gift of self with someone—if they can’t receive the body as a gift in the usual ways.
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Thank you for receiving the gift TOBET has to share by reading our post. If you’d like to learn more about The Body is a Gift, please visit tobet.org/product/body-gift/. Be sure to check out next week’s post as we share Theology of the Body and deeply explore more complicated subjects on how the body is a gift.
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What is your gift? ...

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