How do you hand on the faith to your children? Send us your stories.

mom daughter on back, morguefile0002029315062At Home with Our Faith, Claretian Publications’ award-winning newsletter for parents, is seeking your stories and examples of how you are handing on a living faith to your children. Feel free to answer any or all of the questions below. Please identify yourself by first name and tell us how many children you have.

If your answer is used in At Home with Our Faith, you’ll be identified only by first name and number of children. Thanks for sharing what has worked for you in passing on the faith!

1. What is the area of your faith life that you feel you are best equipped to teach or pass on to your child? (Examples: praying, concern for the poor, regular church attendance, belief in the sacraments, forgiveness, helping neighbors, living a moral life–anything in your life that you connect with your faith.)

2. Give an example of a moment that you felt that you taught something important to your child about an aspect of faith (and this includes moral life, how God is present in both good and bad situations, trust in God).

3. Give an example of a parent you know who has taught something important about an aspect of faith to his or her child.

Many thanks!

 

 

6 Responses

  1. Please identify yourself by first name and tell us how many children you have. Ann Marie – 2 children.

    If your answer is used in At Home with Our Faith, you’ll be identified only by first name and number of children. Thanks for sharing what has worked for you in passing on the faith!

    1. What is the area of your faith life that you feel you are best equipped to teach or pass on to your child? (Examples: praying, concern for the poor, regular church attendance, belief in the sacraments, forgiveness, helping neighbors, living a moral life–anything in your life that you connect with your faith.) Regular church attendance, praying and giving service to others.

    2. Give an example of a moment that you felt that you taught something important to your child about an aspect of faith (and this includes moral life, how God is present in both good and bad situations, trust in God). Both my husband and I have gone through changes regarding our career. We used this time to point out to our children how God provides and made sure we did not use this as a time to be negative towards each other. We used this time to become closer as a couple and a family. Our children also know that we attended Retrouvaille earlier in our marriage. We explain to them that this helps couples that are having problems in marriage. We tell them that is wasn’t always easy for us to be married. Today we show that our marriage is very important to us by doing things that enrich our marriage at our Church or other events. We also have couples doing FOCCUS marriage preparation at our house while our children are home. Our children see that we respect the sacrament of marriage and want to help these new couples in their journey.

    3. Give an example of a parent you know who has taught something important about an aspect of faith to his or her child. A parishioner in our Church leads a Special Olympics Basketball group in our area. He got his whole family involved and it is something they love to do together.

  2. 1. Being involved in our church community gives my family a greater sense of purpose. It teaches my girls that our parish IS their church family. Each one of us gets involved in one way or another: my husband often helps bring up the banner during special Masses or ushers when needed; Megan (13) is a Lector at Mass and a VBS volunteer; Madison (9) is in the Children’s Choir; I (Anne) am a Catechist, Lector and Communion Minister, and Vacation Bible School director. It sounds like a lot, but it’s been a very gradual and natural fit… it’s just a part of what we do.

    This didn’t happen overnight. When my husband and I decided to send our daughters to public school kindergarten, we made a commitment to each other that we would “step-up” our faith life to make up for their not being in Catholic school. It’s little things, like changing the verbiage of “having” to go to Mass with “we’re going” to Mass because that’s what we do on Sunday. It’s praying before meals and talking about always trying to do the right thing.

    2. One day after Mass, a parishioner approached Megan and told her that listening to her lector gives her hope for the future of our Church. Megan was having a hard time with friends at school and the comment made her feel so special and loved. I told her that no matter what happens in the outside world, she will always have a place in our Church community where she will be welcomed and loved.
    I occasionally forward a daily email from the Henri Nouwen Society to my 13-yr old. Yesterday she emailed me back to say “I really like when you send me emails about myself and God!”

    I feel like every day is a teaching moment. Talking about Jesus and our faith used to be uncomfortable. It felt weird to bring it up in everyday conversations. Now, it’s very easy to talk about God and see Him in everyday life, whether it is a beautiful sunset or rain-soaked flowers.

    My husband is very personable… he loves to hold open doors, help old ladies and talk to perfect strangers. He believes in learning the names of the people in our community. I see my formerly shy 13-yr old being the same way. I love watching her help someone pick up something in the supermarket and offering to carry people’s groceries. She loves it too! It helps her feel good about herself, while she’s struggling with hormones and middle school drama.

    After experiencing guided meditation, I introduced it one night to the girls while they were in bed. (They like to sleep together sometimes.) I put on some soft music and had them imagine that they were sitting at Jesus’ feet. It was very moving and they often do it on their own. One night their boy cousins (12) were sleeping over and as I was about to yell at them for not going to sleep, when I heard them all praying for various friends and family. I don’t think that people give older kids credit for wanting to be more spiritual.

    This past Easter, my sister and her kids (ages 8 and 5)joined us for the weekend because she wanted her Easter to be more spiritual than the Easter bunny. On Saturday afternoon, I had all the kids make “resurrection rolls” made from croissant rolls, cinnamon, butter and marshmallows. The marshmallow represented Jesus and we dipped it in butter and cinnamon to represent the oils and spices used when preparing Jesus’ body for burial. We wrapped the marshmallow in the croissant roll (the tomb) and closed it really tight. After the rolls were cooked and cooled, I read them the bible story and they cut into the rolls to find them empty, just like Jesus’ tomb. The younger kids were in awe! That evening we went to the Easter Vigil Mass. My sister was nervous that it would be too long for the kids, so I had them sit near the baptismal font. When the resurrection story was read, each of the kids looked up and couldn’t wait to tell their aunt how they already knew the story. They loved watching the two adults being baptized. It was a long Mass and they may not do it again for a while, but they had a better understanding of what Easter was all about.

    When I look through these notes, it sounds like we’re born-again Christians, but we’re regular people who attend Mass but are no longer afraid to profess our faith in our daily actions. I can only hope that my daughters will continue to feel the same way as they grow up. My husband and I feel that if we give them the foundation they will at least have something to come back to if they stray.

    3. Mary and John are the impetus behind my husband and I being more faithful at home. They pray together often and while their children are now adults, Mary often shares the fun things she would do when her kids were younger. Mary gave me a copy of graces she had made up to the tune of the Adams Family and the Superman theme. My girls loved them. When visiting our niece and her young children (13, 9, 7), we prayed before our meal with the Superman grace, and then discussed our low and high points of the day (always end on a high point). My niece tells me that the kids now want to pray before every meal and discuss their low and high points too. It’s the little steps towards create a beautiful path to heaven.

  3. I think that the way in which I am most effective in passing along my faith to my children is by the example I set in seeking to have a strong, active relationship with God, day in and day out. My children see me make time for personal prayer in my day. They know to be quiet when they come into my room and see me in my “prayer chair” with my eyes closed. Sometimes, they will come and sit by me and join me in prayer.

    I started a prayer group with several women in my church. We meet once a month, pray the upcoming Sunday’s scriptures together, and then share our experiences, hopes, and worries with one another. My daughter, aged 9, asked what I do at my “prayer group” each month. Then, she asked to start her own prayer group. After encouraging her to pray about whom to ask to join her group, I worked with her to set up a date and time, helped her invite some friends, and assisted her in setting up a format that works for her and her friends.

    My own faith is strengthened by my children’s witness to me, whether it’s my 11 year old son asking me to take him to Reconciliation, my 9 year old daughter starting her own “prayer group,” or my 7 year old son asking a question about the Gospel from mass that day. I find that the more actively I live my faith, the more my children get engaged in their faith, which, in turn, strengthens my faith. It is a beautiful cycle of renewal and growth, with each of us encouraging the other.

    -Jennifer M. St. Louis, MO Mom to 3 (ages 11, 9, 7)

  4. Mary ann  2 girls  After shopping at the mall, we were approached by shabbily dressed man who asked for bus money. We kept on walking past him. When we were headed home, the girls asked if Jesus would ignore him. We turned around and I found the man still there.I gave him money for the bus, explaining that my girls wanted him to have the money. He replied, “God bless your children.”  They learned to care for others.

  5. How do you hand on the faith to your child? That is a good question. As a parent of an 11 yr. old son and 9 yr. old daughter, we try to teach them many things. We try to attend church regularly even during the busy hockey and baseball seasons. There are so many important aspects of faith to share. One is important to my husband and me which is following good morals and being respectful of others. One example comes to mind that happened not too long ago. We were at a restaurant and walking out. An elderly couple was walking in. I figured my children would just walk out in front of the couple and not let them in like usual. To my surprise, my son and daughter held the door open and let the elderly couple in walk first. The look in the woman’s eyes was one of surprise, and she said, “Well, thank you!”
    I was so proud of my children for doing that. I know it’s something small in terms of the big picture, but each small act of kindness makes a difference in the end. Signed, one proud parent, Patti

  6. Hi, I am a mother of a son (20) and a daughter (15). I believe my best example of faith life is prayer, regular church attendance, teaching Christian history and values, helping those in time of need and living a moral life. But if I had to pick one I think regular church attendance is the most consistent and regular aspect of my Catholic faith. An example or moment of faith that I taught my children is care, compassion and comfort to those beyond their immediate crisis and being there in the long haul. This is displayed with my children’s grandmothers who have been very sick and friends who have experienced great tragedies.

    Sincerely, Mary Susan

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