"Big Four" Highlights


 

Home-Front Father

Reflections of a stay-at-home dad

By Jason Godin
Associate Editor, Fathers for Good

Parenting books take up lots of space in used bookstores. A slow scan of the shelves offers an idea why – publishers seem to place a priority on quantity over quality. There are just so many new and innovative ways to raise a child, and parents sense when hype overtakes common sense.

One book not destined to collect dust, however, is Catholic Dad: (Mostly) Funny Stories of Faith, Family, and Fatherhood to Encourage and Inspire. Available both in affordably priced paperback and digital formats by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, the book is a collection of 52 short, freestanding narratives by author Jake Frost about him and his family. They’re all worth reading because they interlace timeless, faith-filled wisdom with a down-to-earth wit. Frost is a self-described “lawyer in hiatus” who has “temporarily traded court rooms for kitchens and depositions for diapers” in order to raise his children. He knows how to turn a phrase and to find a silver lining even in those mounds of diapers.

One of the many sure-to-be favorite parts is his “Litany of the Everyday,” which recalls Frost sitting in the Bear Chair with Liz, his 2-year-old daughter. It begins with a Hail Mary prompted by a fire siren – a family tradition. Typically, his daughter’s “Litany of the Everyday” tests his patience as she offers innocent thanksgiving prayers for everything from far-away family members to power tools. To his surprise, however, this time his daughter offers thanks for her own life. It prompts him to ponder the perspective of the crowds during the multiplication of the loaves and fishes found in the Gospel of Matthew. “As with the loaves and fishes, there’s no clamor of fanfare accompanying the ordinary, everyday blessings God bestows on us, nothing to remind us just how extraordinary His everyday gifts really are,” Frost concludes. “We just get the blessings.” (Loc 504).

Other faith lessons shine forth from the book’s pages. Frost talks about dads needing to chase big dreams, learning from his own father that he may need to sacrifice some of those dreams for what’s best for his wife and children. He acknowledges the need for parents to remember they’re always being watched by young witnesses, how selective reading leaves us short when it comes to Scripture, and that we can find sources of extraordinary strength in everyday events if we just take the time to look. Frost also learns from biblical figures such as Zechariah, Moses and Jonah about how fatherhood is a vocation that is all about where our hearts take us, in seen and unseen ways, when parents turn to the needs of their children – and closer to the loving gaze of God.

Catholic Dad embraces the adventure of fatherhood through the smiles of a stay-at-home dad. It would prove most worthy of different subtitle – “Surprised by Joy” – if the phrase hadn’t already been used by C.S. Lewis to talk about his conversion to Christianity. Like Lewis, Frost has a way of attracting us with words. He shares lessons worth learning, presenting them in ways that capture the mind and the heart of the reader.