My wife Karen and I have been working hard on a fun new project coming out in February, and we figured now is a great time to start sharing some sneak peeks to get you excited! How To: Catholic Family is a fun new book from the incredible team at Word Among Us Press, and Karen and I have put the book together as a practical, encouraging guide for the rest of us: Catholic parents who want to impart the faith to their children but aren’t quite sure where to start. The topics we’ve in the book include leading by example, having conversations about faith, reading the Bible as a family, learning about the saints, praying together, learning what the Mass means, celebrating special/feast days and liturgical seasons (Advent, Lent), and finding community with other Catholic families.
We were sure to put the emphasis on making all of this a doable task and, with a little bit of humor, we are here to let readers know that there will be plenty of fails along the way but encourage us all to not give up on trying to develop a faith-filled family life.
Today we wanted to give a sneak peek into the topic of the importance of having conversations about the faith with our children on a regular and recurring basis. In the chapter titled “Were There Dinosaurs on the Ark?” we explore the importance and challenges around having conversations with our kids about the Catholic faith, hoping to keep them engaged, see that our faith is more than just a Sunday thing, and help them to delve deeper into their own contemplations about the bigger truth.
Over time, our kids have gone from the typical kid-level questions right into epic questions like, “Why does God let people make bad choices?” or “Why would some of the angels decide to go against God?” or even the dreaded “Why do we believe (insert any Catholic teaching)?” These moments always give us pause as parents, and leave us scrambling to come up with the “right” answer to their question. We start sweating, panicking, assuming if we don’t provide the perfect answer in that moment our kids are going to go off to college, become heretics, and join some cult waiting for the return of an alien named Gorg. And it will all be because we couldn’t come up with an answer to the question about why there were no dinosaurs on the ark.
While that last bit may be a bit over the top, this chapter takes the anxiety parents feel when it comes to imparting the faith to their kids heads on and provides ideas for ways to a) calm down and b) get your kids thinking about the faith more often in the hopes that they’ll keep on thinking about it for the rest of their lives! When he was seven years old, James asked why the angels would have followed Satan in turning away from God if they were in heaven before making that choice. Why would they choose to be bad despite being face-to-face with God from the time of their creation, seeing him in all his beauty and majesty? We sat there staring off into space thinking, “Yeah, why would they do that?!”
These kinds of questions can be conversational stumbling blocks, as we’ve seen, because as parents we often feel we’re supposed to have all the answers. After all, when we look back on our own childhood it seems that our parents knew it all. So shouldn’t we know it all? Well, in reality, they didn’t know everything (sorry, mom and dad), and we can’t expect to, either, especially when it comes to questions about faith.
The internet can be a big asset here. When your kids start asking questions you can’t answer, you can find much of the information you need through the amazing Catholic resources online. Don’t be afraid to tell your kids that you’ll investigate and get back to them — but make sure you do … Bottom line: finding the right answer, either through your own research or together, is way better than responding to a question with, “Because he’s God and he can do whatever he wants.”
Learning together is one of the best ways to help show your kids that you take their faith questions seriously, and a great way to grow in humility since we most definitely do not have all the answers they’re looking for!
For this and more great content about how to keep your family focused on the Catholic faith throughout the day-to-day rush of life, pre-order How To: Catholic Family now, and keep it here on Catholic Mom for more great sneak peeks as we get closer to the big release!
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Copyright 2019 Tommy Tighe