“Through the grace of the sacrament of marriage, parents receive the responsibility and privilege of evangelizing their children.” (CCC 2225)
As if being a parent wasn’t overwhelming enough already!
Most of us as parents are trying our best to raise our children with love so that they will grow up to be contributing members of society. We teach them everything: how to walk, to talk, to eat, to dress themselves, how to use the toilet.… The list goes on and on. But many of us forget or, perhaps, aren’t even aware that one of our most important jobs is to educate our children in the Faith.
For some reason, teaching our children about God’s love for us and how to live our life according to that response is intimidating to most of us. Either we don’t feel like we know our Faith well enough to teach our children OR we don’t know where to start.
Don’t freak out! You can do this! I’m here to help. Teaching the Faith to your children doesn’t have to be complicated OR intimidating. Here a few tips on ways that you can share the Faith with your children:
- Start simple. To know God’s love, your children need to experience love. This one is really easy–Love your children. Be affectionate with them and with your husband in front of them. Listen to them and give them your attention. These small but kind and loving gestures begin to teach them a bit of what God’s love for us is like.
- Start when they’re small. As a parent of teenagers, I can tell you it’s a lot easier to start good habits than break bad ones. Start the habit of weekly Mass attendance and daily family prayer when your children are little. Teach them to pray not just memorized prayers but prayers of petition and intercession and even start showing them how to meditate on Scripture. Don’t freak out if your children aren’t that small anymore; it’s never too late to start. Just choose one of these things that your family isn’t already doing and work on that for a month or two. Then try to add something else into your family life. I recommend starting with weekly Mass attendance if you aren’t doing that already.
- Start learning. The best way to be ready to teach is by learning. There are literally tons of books and websites available with great Catholic content that can help you learn the faith so that you can teach it to others. One book that can help you navigate the Bible is Bible Basics for Catholics by John Bergsma. This book puts the story of salvation in a concise form to help you understand the connections between the Old and New Testaments. Two great web resources are Catholic Answers and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops sites. Both are chock full of great information and resources. But if you’re looking for my top two resources for learning the Faith, all you need is a Catholic Bible (We have more books in ours. Don’t be undersold!) and a Catechism of the Catholic Church. Between those two books, everything in the Catholic Faith can be explained. What God revealed in the Old Testament and Jesus taught in the New Testament is collected, organized, and explained in the Catechism. The Catechism has tons of Scripture references that can help you understand where the Church’s teachings originate. (Hint: they all come from Scripture.)
With these three simple steps, you and your family can grow in love of God and knowledge of our beautiful Faith. See? I told you not to freak out!
What are some ways you teach the Faith to your family?
Copyright 2016 Laura B Nelson