by Moira Cullings
TOPEKA — God’s timing isn’t always our timing, but it often turns out to be more opportune than we ever imagined.
At least that’s how Dr. Jeanne Doyle sees it.
After years of encouragement from family and friends to write a book about raising kids, Doyle, a member of Most Pure Heart of Mary in Topeka, finally got around to it.
But her book sat for nearly two years while she pondered how to promote it.
“So I just started praying about it,” she said. “I said, ‘God, you put it in my heart to do this. So, if you want something done, you need to take it and figure it out.’”
That’s when Doyle had a chance encounter with Archbishop Greg E. Kpiebaya of Ghana, who was visiting at her parish.
That was when she found out in a casual discussion with him that he was on the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for the Family.
“So I thought, ‘This is kind of weird,’” said Doyle.
Archbishop Kpiebaya, it turns out, was the push Doyle needed. He read her book and persuaded her to find a publisher.
By the time she did, Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann announced his hopes that 2017 would be a year in which Catholics of the archdiocese would focus on marriage, parenthood and family life.
The book, “Kids for the Kingdom,” seems to have been completed at just the right time.
‘Kids for the Kingdom’
“Kids for the Kingdom” is geared toward parents of young children and focuses on helping them raise kids who will one day get to heaven.
The book was published by Christian Faith Publishing, Inc., in October 2016, and its forward was written by Archbishop Kpiebaya. Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann provided the imprimatur and nihil obstat for the book.
“I feel like the family, parenthood [and] stay-at-home parents who put their careers on hold in order to raise families are really ridiculed and looked down upon,” said Doyle.
“I think our society has forgotten how important parenting is,” she continued. “And the fact that when you parent your children, you’re not only parenting them, but you’re also parenting your grandchildren and great-grandchildren.”
The book’s goal is largely to help parents navigate the obstacles of parenting kids in a faith-filled way during a very unique time in our society.
A mother of eight, whose ages range from 12 to 29, Doyle gave up her career as a psychiatrist to dedicate her life to her family.
Her book offers wisdom from her own experiences as a mom, as well as knowledge of theories from her background in psychiatry.
“The most important thing I learned through psychiatry was being able to ‘jump’ into another person’s reality and see the world through their eyes,” said Doyle.
“Using this skill enables me to be an effective parent,” she continued, “for it allows me to jump into the world of a 3-year-old to see things from a 3-year-old’s perspective.
“Therefore, when an issue would arise and I had to think on my feet, I could take their developmental state as well as their perspective into account, and this helped me to think on my feet and relate to them.”
Practical advice for a complex time
Katherine Gatschet, a friend of Doyle and fellow Most Pure Heart of Mary parishioner, believes “Kids for the Kingdom” is just the boost parents need.
“It is a practical, common-sense guide for parenting that is rooted in faith and written with both humor and humility,” said Gatschet.
“It is a beautiful tool for parents trying to raise kind, empathetic, faith-filled children [in] a culture preaching the most opposite of these virtues,” she added.
Gatschet, a stay-at-home mother of four who left her career as a chemist to raise her kids, believes the book is “a refreshing affirmation of the value and sanctity of motherhood with the grace of self-sacrifice.”
Doyle’s husband Tom was one of several people who initially encouraged her to write the book and is amazed at what she accomplished.
“Jeanne, in her book, breaks down everyday parenting into simple, concrete terms,” he said.
“My greatest hope is that people who read the book will fall in love with their children and the vocation of parenting,” he added.
This year, as the archdiocese focuses on the significance of the family, Tom Doyle encourages parents to rediscover their vocation by reading “Kids for the Kingdom” with an open mind.
“I hope this year, children get a glimpse of the unconditional love God has for them by how their parents unconditionally love them,” he said.
“Kids for the Kingdom” is available at Trinity House in Overland Park.