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The Spirit's TetherFamily, Work, and Religion among American Catholics$
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Mary Ellen Konieczny

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199965779

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199965779.001.0001

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(p.139) 4 Children
The Spirit's Tether

Mary Ellen Konieczny

Oxford University Press

Chapter 4, “Children,” shows how Catholic identities are implicated in the different logics underlying childrearing approaches in each parish, especially in the two groups’ different religious anthropologies, or perceptions of human nature, whichground their conceptions of childhood. These anthropologies reflect each group's Catholic identity and support local cultures that emphasize different parenting strategies. They also embody distinct visions of moral living that, although having some common concerns, also oppose one another, thereby supporting polarization among Catholics. The anthropology grounding the culture of childhood at Assumption emphasizes a perception of humans as sinful, an ethic of parental protection, and the concerted cultivation of virtue in children. At St. Brigitta, perceptions of childhood are linked to understandings of human psychological and spiritual development through the life course, leading to childrearing strategies in which parents both protect children and expose them to social settings and problems different than their own.

Keywords:   Childrearing strategies, Religious anthropologies, Perceptions of human nature, Cultures of childhood, Parenting strategies, Moral living, Concerted cultivation, Virtue, Psychological development, Spiritual development

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