Use what you don’t know. St. Augustine said, “God is not what you imagine or understand. If you think you understand, you have failed.” This mystery of God’s movement can help parents and children continue to seek God’s will for us. When Brigid, mother of four, lost her job, she explained to her four children, “Whether we want to admit it or not, we are all on the ‘God plan.’ ” Bringing faith into family life doesn’t mean providing all the answers. Rather, it means admitting that you turn over the struggle, pain, and uncertainty of life to God.
Allow the privilege of church attendance. While we often speak of church attendance as an obligation, a study from Mississippi State University shows that children whose parents regularly take them to church benefit behaviorally, emotionally, and cognitively. Children who grow up in churchgoing households are privileged with advantages over their peers who don’t go to church. Parents who approach church attendance not as a chore but as one of many acts of caring for their child give their children a tremendous gift.
Invite discussion. After Kevin and Amy, parents of three, took their children to the sacrament of reconciliation, the family had a robust dinnertime debate regarding the sacrament. “We were discussing why we all believed in reconciliation,” Amy says. “My husband and our oldest son were all about the priest standing in for Jesus. I explained that reconciliation is necessary because you don’t know who in the community your sin indirectly hurt. And our middle son argued that the main reason to go is to get the same grace you get in the Eucharist. We never did come to an agreement, but the real lesson was that faith is something to be talked about.”
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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