Religious Education – It’s Time to Step it Up!

If I were to ask you what you want most for your children, your list may look like this:

  1. Good education
  2. Stable job
  3. Strong happy marriage
  4. Healthy children
  5. Enough money to support their family
  6. Strong faith life
  7. Personal health and well-being
  8. Nice things – house, car

But I’ve been realizing lately that what I want for my children is much simpler, and yet more difficult too.  Here’s my newly revamped list.

What I want for my children:

1.   To get to Heaven!

 

And that’s all that’s on my list!  Now the practical side of me has all those items from the previous list there too, but if I don’t teach them what the goal of this life is all about, then the rest of those things are exactly that, just things.

 

Okay, I’ve figured out the goal, but how to accomplish that…..

I am still working on this but here are a few ideas.  We are responsible for our child’s religious education.  Whether we send our children to our parish school or to SOR/CCD classes, or even homeschooling them, we can’t just check that “Done” box next to “Religious Education,” which falls right in between the “Involved in a  sport” and “Plays a musical instrument” categories.  Sending them to class/school or teaching them theology at home doesn’t cover our responsibility to teach them about God.

That’s the bad news – we have to do more than drop them off, pick them up, and ask how it went.  It’s going to take years and yJesus teaching childrenears of hard work and dedication.

Now for the good news – all that we do to help our children learn about God, brings us closer to him too!

So I’ve figured out that I have to live it and teach it every day.  It is my example – my words, my deeds, my prayers – that they are going to see and remember.  We can tell them about God until we are blue in the face, but it is how we live our lives that will resonate with our little ones.

Here are some things to do to make our own faith real to our children.

1.  Serve without complaint.

Sometimes this is difficult when we are feeling run down and overwhelmed, but it’s important for our children to see our selflessness, whether it is at their school, our church, sports team or dance troop.  And when we get too frazzled, we can always tell them “Yes, Mom is feeling a little stressed right now, but maybe you could help me out because I really love being your room mom at school.”

2.  Don’t hide your prayer life.

                This one is difficult for me because, although this website may not portray my true feelings, I am fairly private in my prayer.  However, I have realized that if my children are going to be strong pray-ers, they have to have a strong model.  So pray those prayers outloud!  “God, we are running so behind and I don’t think that we’ll be able to get everything done without your help!”  “Dear Lord, please help me explain this math in a way that my sweet child will understand without getting frustrated.”  They need to hear our prayers as much as we need to say them.

3.  Suffer gracefully.

I have a dear friend who has migraines 90% of the time, and although admitting to the headaches, she rarely lets her mood get down because of the pain.  She is still joyful and kind, still thinking of others first.  Our children need to know that although things don’t always go our way, with our health or what we want for our lives, but it doesn’t have to change who we are, which is joyful children of God.

4.  Talk about God.

In everyday occurrences, how can I talk about God?  How can we bring Him more into our lives?  When we solve problems with friends at school, we can ask what God would have wanted us to do.  Or complement kindnesses with “Your thoughtfulness makes me happy and it makes God happy too!”  Talk about how you depend on Him in your life.

5.  Work on your own faith life.

                When the children see you going to adoration or an extra mass,  when they hear you say that you prayed the rosary or read the Bible today, these actions will remain with them.  As much as they may not admit it, they want to be like us, and we must set examples that are worthy of being followed.  If we live faith-filled lives, they will too!

 

Good luck raising your own little saints!

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