How do we help our family and, especially, our children grow in love for Jesus Christ and His Holy Church? That's the question addressed in this month's FAITH Magazine, the official publication of the Diocese of Lansing, by popular Catholic writer and speaker, Sheri Wohlfert. Sheri writes:
"Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it." - Prv 22: 6
We invest so much time, money and energy into our children. We spend and plan for their education, social development, braces, camps and so many other things. All of these are good and serve a helpful and beneficial purpose in our mission to raise great humans! But the most important thing we can do for our children is to foster their discipleship and teach them to live in such a way that Jesus is truly the center of their life. Our faith is the answer to everything that causes worry, fear, disappointment or frustration. Faith is the blueprint for building a rich, successful, happy, grace-filled life, and this is exactly the wish we have for our kids. Here are some ideas to help your kids grow in faith.
1. Live love: Because God said so! “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children.” (Dt 6:5-7) That kind of love is what fills Scripture, and we’re called as parents to offer it most abundantly to our families. Using Scripture in this way to help guide our actions and the actions of our kids lays a powerful foundation.
2. Spotlight on the sacraments: Don’t just “go to church.” Celebrate Mass! Treat Mass like it is a great family celebration. Talk about it, prepare for it by reading the readings together before you go, and talk about the readings after Mass. On the way home each person, including the parents, should share one thing they learned, one change they were inspired to make or something they were struck by during Mass. Preparing for and going to confession together demonstrates receiving and extending mercy. Eucharistic adoration or even a quick visit to an empty church to “say hi to Jesus” emphasizes the importance of including Jesus in regular days.
3. Visual extras: If our children see us attend a daily Mass or walk into a room to discover you reading Scripture or praying in the quiet, you’ve given them a powerful visual of a disciple. It’s impossible to make faith important to them if they can’t see that it’s important to you.
If you put any one of these things in place, you begin to move faith from a one-hour obligatory event on Sunday to a way of life.
* Sheri Wohlfert is a parishioner and school teacher at Saint Mary in Westphalia. She is also a popular speaker, writer and founder of Joyful Words Ministries. Sheri blogs at www.joyfulwords.org.