After her great reviews of Abby Johnson's Unplanned and Hallie Lord's Style, Sex, and Substance, my wonderful wife is back with another. Today Kathleen is looking at CDs and DVDs from a new kid-friendly Catholic media company.
ABCatholic is a Catholic media company based in Charlotte, NC whose goal is to “produce professional, quality Catholic media that will inspire and educate.” Some people have christened their work the “Catholic Baby Einstein”, so when they invited me to review some of their products I thought it worth checking out.
My first taste was their Marian Lullaby CD. Our children love listening to music at home throughout the day, so I thought this would be a perfect way to add some Catholic music to the mix. The CD includes ten songs such as “Lovely Lady Dressed in Blue”—a favorite of Archbishop Fulton Sheen—and “Hear Thy Children Gentlest Mother.” All the songs feature beautiful music, and some include vocals. The song choices are diverse and beautifully composed. However, relative to other children's media, I found the the vocals here lacking in quality.
In addition to the CD, ABCatholic offers learning DVDs similar to the Baby Einstein series but for Catholics. Currently they have My Catholic ABC’s and Learn to Count, and you can pre-order Little Latin.
Our three-year-old son recently learned to count though he has a hard time recognizing some of the numbers. So I thought the Learn to Count DVD would be right up his alley. He resisted at first, begging for Veggie Tales or Baby Einstein, but he warmed up after a few minutes of watching it, moving from no-interest-whatsoever to maybe-I’ll-look-up-every-now-and-then-but-only-if-mom’s-not-looking.
The DVD is very repetitive, which is good for young minds (though grating for parents.) It's Catholic symbolism--the children count nuns and rosaries rather than cows and apples--gives it a religious flavor not found in Baby Einstein. Also, the DVDs do contain more advanced concepts for older children such as contrasting different groups of numbers and counting on.
Overall, I really like the idea behind ABCatholic. The uniquely-Catholic CDs and DVDs allow parents to introduce their Catholic faith to children at a young age. Compared to other products on the market for babies and toddlers, the quality here is a little on the low side. But hopefully since they're just getting off the ground that will only improve and future offerings will be up to par.
ABCatholic is currently giving away a whole set of their CDs and DVDs. Check out their Facebook page for more info.
My latest article at FathersForGood.com:
"About once a week, my wife and I take our kids to a local indoor playground. We usually know what to expect: dozens of kids running around and screaming chaotically. If you closed your eyes, you wouldn’t be able to tell whether you were in an orangutan exhibit or the midst of the apocalypse.
But something else strikes me each time we go. After setting our kids loose, I glance around at the other parents and almost to a person, each one sits in the same odd position: head bent down at a 45-degree angle, eyes glued to a small screen, fingers quickly tapping as if they were playing a miniature piano.
Despite the fact that the most surprising and wonderful creatures in the world are zig-zagging right in front of them, their attention is locked onto their iPhones. In fact, one day I was sitting next to a mom who was playing Space Invaders on her phone for half an hour. Her son came up to her several times, tugging on her forearm and begging for her to watch him do what can only be described as a mix between Irish dancing and karate, but she waved him off again and again.
Because she was too busy. With Space Invaders."
(Photo: Son of the South)
If you're in the Orlando area tonight, come out to St. Mary Magdalen Catholic Parish at 7:00pm. In the main church I'll be giving a talk titled, "Your Families and Cyberspace: Raising Saints in a Digital Age" which will help parents understand and master new media technology and use it to raise virtuous children. The talk will be followed by some time for Q&A.
If you can't make it out tonight, we're hosting a duplicate event this Saturday morning (1/28) at 10:00am, same topic, same place.
And for a taste of what to expect, check out my latest article for FathersForGood.org:
"Navigating the dangerous waters of the web with your kids is difficult but not impossible.
Like Alice, who passed through the mirror and found herself in Wonderland, many of us dads have also been swept into a strange new world —a world of Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, blogs, text messages, and more. What makes this world even more daunting is that it’s loaded with young people who speak an unfamiliar language.
It’s definitely scary. Almost every day we hear internet horror stories: children being cyberbullied to death; kids surfing into pornography; teenagers addicted to cell phones and social media; the malignant spread of distraction and narcissism. What’s a parent to do? These tools seem to be only growing in force, and placing a wedge between parent and child. So how can we raise saints in this digital world?"
"One day while waiting at a train station, a young atheist wandered over to a bookrack. He browsed the selections, picked up a small fairy tale on a whim, then sat down and began reading. He was immediately hit with odd sensations. It felt like a waterfall had engulfed him. Suddenly his mind was washed with wonder and life. And all of his boredom and cynicism felt as if they were being wiped away.
Some years later the young man marked the event as his “baptism of imagination.” This one book — a fantasy story — ignited his wonder and forever changed his view of the world. A few years later, the young man renounced his atheistic views and became a devout Christian.
Most of us can probably relate to the great power of stories. From our boyhood we remember being drawn into tales of pirates and knights, soldiers and cowboys. Most of us can still recall the great adventures, enchanting mysteries, and exciting journeys that captivated us as children."