Father Leo Patalinghug is a Catholic priest, a professional chef, a third-degree black belt, and a former break dancer.
But despite his incredible resume, Father Leo didn’t grow up in the perfect family situation. His father often worked late, and his mother had to keep up with him and his three siblings. To make matters more complicated, his family lived hundreds of miles away from their support system as immigrants.
“Despite these challenges, my parents were able to create and maintain a strong, loving, supportive family,” Father Leo writes in the introduction to his newest book, Saving the Family. “Later, as I began working with families around the world, I met many people who overcame even greater obstacles to build happy, health families. Longing to share the source of these families’ strength with others, I began to investigate what they had in common.”
The answer that Father Leo found was shockingly simple: regular, shared family meals.
You can pick up a copy of Saving the Family at your local Catholic bookstore or online through Sophia Institute Press. But before you open up Father Leo’s latest book, here are five things you need to become a supper hero for your family. Yes, you read that right: a supper hero.
1. A grateful heart
“Our society has a bias towards negativity,” Father Leo explains. “We tend to only see the negatives in our lives and only the faults in ourselves and others. Although supper heroes have bad days and tough times, they don’t let life’s setbacks or their own shortcomings define them. They have a grateful heart. Even in the worst of times, they are able to look at their lives, seeing the good and bad, and smile.”
2. Clear eyes
“When things don’t go our way, we get disappointed. I’ve spoken with many people who try to take on more than their family can handle or want something out of life that just isn’t in the cards. They are discontented because they want the moon,” Father Leo writes.
So what sets supper heroes apart when it comes to transforming their families? “Heroes dream with their eyes wide open,” Father Leo answers. “They set realistic expectations and take pride in what they achieve as a family, instead of focusing on what they may never have.”
3. Open arms
“Getting caught up in the pressures of modern life can pull us in a million directions,” Father Leo recognizes. He’s right. Living as a Catholic family in today’s world is a challenge to say the least.
“We end up growing apart and consequently don’t know how to turn to each other when important issues arise. Supper heroes know they can’t do it alone. They work on growing together as a family every day so they are prepared for whatever lies ahead,” the cooking priest recommends.
4. A questioning mind
“It’s hard to take a deeper look at life’s most challenging questions. Many people stay on the surface, where everything is easy and safe,” Father Leo observes. “Heroes make time to reflect on the world around them and ask themselves the big questions. In digging into deeper issues, they get a better understanding of themselves and what they want for their family.
“Our culture demands instant gratification,” Father Leo observes. He’s not wrong. Even our microwave meals offer instant gratification on a daily basis.
“We want the quick fix, the fast solution,” he continues. “But the work of relationship building is never done, ever. A supper hero understands that a healthy family takes years of hard work and that even the strongest families require daily attention.”
Want to be a supper hero for your family? Get a copy of Saving the Family at your local Catholic bookstore or online through Sophia Institute Press!