Shortly after the Boston Marathon bombing, Angie’s daughter Charlotte, 8, was struggling with why the bombers would do such a terrible thing. Charlotte asked her mother question after question about the bombings, straining to get all the information so as to answer her big question, “But why?”
Angie answered as many questions as she could, but eventually she recognized that with the question of why, her daughter was looking for a worldview. So Angie changed her tactic. “I told her that the bad news is what is often reported, but God wishes for us to do good and most people strive for this,” Angie says. “I suggested that when she sees something good happening, she should pass it along to someone else, so that news is spread.”
A few weeks later, Charlotte approached her mom and told her about an act of kindness a boy in her class had done for her, explaining that she was practicing what her mom said about passing on the good news. “I was so happy that out of all our talk about the bombings and the terror, this is what she took away—that we are all responsible to spread the good news.”
Our church holds that parents are the first and most important teachers of their children’s faith. For some parents, this can be intimidating. Many parents are new to a faith life themselves, having drifted away from regular church attendance or prayer during young adulthood. Other parents feel that talk of religion, spirituality, or faith is better left to the experts—they feel like they lack the qualifications to speak about faith.
In approaching their children’s faith, the gift parents have that priests and religious education teachers may lack is access to the events of their children’s lives. Parents are crucial teachers of the faith not because of their theological background, but because they have the intimate knowledge of their children’s lives needed to see (and point out) the movement of God. Angie’s daughter came to her mom—not her priest or teacher—when she needed to make sense out of life. Parents need to be ready to bring God and faith into those moments. …continued next week
By Annemarie Scobey, from the pages of At Home with Our Faith, Claretian Publications’ print newsletter for parents on nurturing spirituality in the home. Winner of the Best in Class award in 2014 from the Associated Church Press, as well as a First Place General Excellence award from the Catholic Press Association for four years running. Here’s a sample issue.
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