3 Black Friday Mind Tricks You Can Withstand

Black Friday

In the last decade, marketers began using scientific research – neuroscience, cognitive science – to create their ads. It’s been very effective for increasing their sales. The impact on the consumer, though, is primarily negative. These methods bypass our rational processes. They either induce impulsive desires or, even more harmful, generate fear and anxiety that can only be soothed (we think) by making the purchase.

Black Friday is the season when the marketers use their best techniques, first to entice you into a store or onto a website, and then to make purchases – especially unintended ones.  Here are 3 of their best mind tricks, with some tips for avoiding falling prey to them:


Black Friday is all about urgency.   Continue reading

Posted in Culture, Psychology, Simplicity | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

My little girl wants to be a Sister?! 3 tips for parents


Sheila, Megan’s mom, spoke to me when I visited her parish. She was dumbstruck. How could Megan, her youngest, the dependable one, surprise her this way? Megan was valedictorian at St. Mechtild’s. She’s doing well in college, a peer minister and teaching assistant, preparing for a super internship.  It was a bolt from the blue when Megan told her mom,  “I’m thinking of becoming a Sister.”

It’s not that Sheila doesn’t value the Sisters, although she’s never really known one. She wished there was one at her parish, or the kids’ school. She prays the vocation prayer at Mass quite fervently:  “Lord, choose from our homes those needed for your work.” But she didn’t mean Megan – not funny, generous, lively Megan!

Website advice helped Sheila a little. The Washington Archdiocese site understood her confusion; they even anticipated her feelings:  Why didn’t Megan talk to me first? Won’t she be lonely without a husband? Is she religious enough? But their answers were generic and unsatisfying.  The Dallas Diocese gave her practical tips:  Be supportive and informed, don’t badger Megan about her vocation or assume it’s just a phase.  Sheila wants the best for her. She’s doing her best to follow the expert advice. But she’s struggling.

“What about my turmoil?” she asks. “I’ve spent years preparing to be mother-of-the-bride and grandma, not mother of Sister Megan – or whatever, Sister Mary Anthony.” The websites didn’t help her cope with her own feelings – work she needs to do if she’s going to support and help Megan the way she wants. .

While we were talking, I suggested three realistic things Sheila could do: Continue reading

Posted in Benedictine, Discernment, Family, Vocation | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments