Faith and YOUR kids.
Faith and YOUR kids
As I'm writing this, I hear laughter coming from the floor (either the Rectory floors are quite thin or there is very extensive ductwork!) It is coming from the children attending our summer Vacation Bible School (VBS). Little ones having fun as they learn about their faith - what an idea!
This is my favorite event of the summer: talking to and hearing from our VBS attendees. From our preschoolers and our high-school assistants to the adult coordinators, everyone has a great time at this week-long combination of fun and faith. For example, I never saw a group of children get
in cleaning a room: apparently all you need do is tell them that "Jesus will be here soon!" and they really go to town! It got me to thinking: how to we keep our children interested in the faith? What would keep them from considering a fall away from faith in those most dangerous times: high school and college/early adult years?
I was pondering those questions when an answer literally fell into my lap. As part of
"Parish Champion" program, I regularly receive literature offered for parish distribution (now you know where the books that mysteriously appear on the table in the church foyer come from!) This month the offering is by
, founder of the Peanut Butter & Grace Project (
) in his book
77 Ways to Pray With Your Kids
. They will be available for free at Masses this weekend; however if they are gone by the time you attend Mass or, like me, you prefer to do your reading electronically, you can browse the topics or purchase the book by using the links at the end of this article.
Using a format that is enjoyable, well organized and meant to be read in small bursts (it took me about 2 hours to read in its entirety), the author suggests methods that give life to the promise every parent makes to their children at Baptism: to be "the first teachers of their child in the ways of faith. May they be also the best of teachers, bearing witness to the faith by what they say and do, in Christ Jesus our Lord." (part of the Final blessing from the
Rite of Baptism
Giving helps that are divided by age from infancy to teens - it's never too early or too late - Windley-Daoust uses of combination of scriptural insights, established prayer rituals (meals, bedtime and waking to name a few) as well as advanced prayer methods (derived from sources such as the
Liturgy of the Hours
) as ways to incorporate prayer into many aspects of family life.
A family that prays together stays together!
Reviewing the many methods and the reasons that are given to instill a regular prayer life in our young people reinforces how important it is as the root of our faith. Because when (and it is
) life throws that curveball - health, financial, relationship troubles, whatever it may be - an alarming percentage of our young people don't know where to turn. And so, they go to ways that
to help, but in fact will only cause
trouble: drugs, gangs, promiscuity, "cutting" and the like. If instead they have been brought up consider faith regularly instead of waiting for the major crises, it is quite possible that they would turn to sources that could
help them cope and even overcome. Even if a person is not currently practicing their faith, it is so important that the seeds have been planted - there are so many stories of people who re-discovered and chose to deepen and mature in their faith after coming through one of the storms of life.
Whether you choose to read and follow some of the suggestions in this book or find another method to instill the faith, it is so vital to your children's life, both now and in the future, to do so. And also remember, even if it seems so, it's never too late, even if all you can do is provide support and a good example in your own words and deeds.
77 Ways to Pray With Your Kids
by Jerry Windley-Daoust
Index with links
Google eBook version
The greatest legacy one can pass on to one's children and grandchildren is not money or other material things accumulated in one's life, but rather a legacy of character and faith.
Rev. Billy Graham, American evangelist preacher
Our FORMED Recommendation for the Week
Video (2 minutes) -
Catholic Answers Ready Reasons: Can We Know God's Truth Without the Church?
St. John teaches in 1 John 2:27 that we have no need of a man to teach us since we have the Holy Spirit. Is John denying the Catholic belief that Jesus gave us a magisterium (a living, teaching authority)? Apologist Karlo Broussard gives the reason why the answer is no, and explains what John means by this.
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Sent by Fr. Ed Blanchett on Friday, August 10 at 3:00PM