Understand the importance of motivation. It can be tempting to look at the child next door who has a passion for soccer and wonder why our own child is picking dandelions in the field. Parents need to remember that there are many areas of childhood that are not required for a successful adulthood. Yes, motivation and effort are important, but no one wants to give their all to something of only marginal interest.
“Last year we signed our youngest up for swim team,” says Dave, father of two. “It was a struggle to get her involved. There was no motivating factor that could get her excited about it. We didn’t sign her up again.” Parents need to be able to let their children’s interests, not their own ambition, provide guidance.
Put effort toward faith development. Parents who have worked to develop a deeper faith life often are more appreciative of the effort needed in all areas of life.
“I think that we need to put in hard work when it comes to prayer,” says Emma, mother of three. “I’m not someone to whom prayer comes easily; it’s harder to ask for help than to give it. So I need to practice praying. I have to work at it.”
Brigid, the chaplain and teacher, agrees. “One of my greatest revelations was that discipline is required in one’s spiritual life. I had developed this notion that ‘Because it’s God, it should be easy,’ but I came to see that, like every other relationship of quality in my life, I had to give in order to receive,” she says. “I learned that I had to submit myself to a discipline of daily prayer and examination if I wanted to have a good relationship with God and God’s people.” Brigid explains that this caused her to place a greater value on training of any kind. “Athletic, music, homework completion—I have come to see the value of perseverance in all aspects of life,” she says.
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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