So much to teach our children and so little time
So much to teach our children, and so quickly the years go by. As a parent, the responsibility can at times feel overwhelming. The math, the reading, the sports and activities all contribute to the development of our children and have value and importance. But there is that One thing or more precisely the One Person that supersedes all other lessons in value. Helping our children to develop a strong and trusting relationship with the Lord will enable them to face all that they encounter in life. We cannot be with them at all times but we can be confident and they can too, that they are never alone but the Lord is by their side. What great peace and assurance we have as parents when we have introduced and fostered within our children a strong relationship with the Lord and the Saints.
The start of another school year and the Fall season is a great time to renew, begin or strengthen our family’s faith as the foundation of our family life. Even more than we need routines for good health and school and sport performance, we need a daily routine for prayer and taking time for our Lord. Committing to keep our family’s focus on Christ and growing in relationship with Him will impact every aspect of our lives enabling us to thrive and grow and mature in all areas.
Developing a routine for incorporating faith and prayer can be simple. We just need to stick to it and develop a family prayer life that works for our own family and schedule.
· Make Sunday Mass a Priority.
· Pray in the morning before school or at breakfast. It can be short and as simple as offering our day to the Lord and asking for His help and protection. If you commute, you can take a few moments to pray in the car.
· Bless your children with the sign of the Cross on their foreheads before they leave your home for the day and at bedtime.
· Pray at mealtimes.
· At dinner or bedtime, ask your children to Thank God for something that happened that day. Encourage them to pray for special intentions for themselves and others.
· Commit to praying for one another and teach our children to pray during the day for their own needs, for a family need or a friend’s need. It is important that our children realize they can pray at all times in the quiet of their hearts. Prayer is not just for Sunday or at bedtime.
· Help children to grow in virtue and strength by learning to offer up small sacrifices without complaint.
· Consider saying a Rosary weekly or even daily as a family – or a decade of the Rosary if time is short or you have very young children.
· Consider adopting a Holy Hour at the Adoration Chapel and sharing as a family or even with other families.
· Live the Liturgical Year as a family celebrating some feast days and our Baptismal days.
Catholic All Year has great suggestions.
· Help your children to get to know the saints. It is especially meaningful to adopt a saint that they relate to or have something in common with and then ask the saint to intercede for them. There are many saint books for children and teens that inspire and encourage. Check out this index of Catholic Patron Saints.
Consistent good will and small efforts in daily prayer foster a relationship in Christ, the One who knows and loves us and our children best. When we put Him first everything falls into place.
The life of faith and a relationship with Christ is the most valuable gift we can give our children.
When they leave home with this gift we can be confident that we have provided them with the best and all that they need to get to Heaven.