There are plenty of ways to foster faith in youth.
When Mary Clare Murray’s 8-year-old daughter came home with questions about why Catholics worship statues, Murray gave a simple explanation. Catholics don’t worship statues, said the mother of six from St. John the Beloved Parish in McLean, Virginia. Statues and pictures help us focus our minds to pray.
The question originated in a playground conversation between her daughter, who attends public school, and a classmate. Her daughter shared the explanation with her friend.
Are you teaching your kids that having fun means buying things?
Samantha, an executive for a Fortune 100 company and mother of two, loves to shop. While her job requires her to be nicely dressed, Samantha admits that she also often uses shopping as recreation. She brings her children shopping with her, and as a reward for waiting patiently while she tries on clothes and looks at jewelry, she’ll buy them a new toy, gadget, or outfit.
Our church is saved by those who run into the fire, not by those who pretend it's not burning.
I was standing in my kitchen when I learned Notre-Dame de Paris was on fire. A friend had posted about the fire on Facebook before I even heard about it on the news. I tapped into a live video.
Watching the billowing smoke and flames, then the roof and tower collapsing, I was filled with a heaviness and a sorrow that was all too familiar.
“The church is on fire,” I texted to my friend. “And I don’t mean Notre-Dame.”
Give your kids the words they need to become good communicators.
I know I’m not supposed to play favorites with parts of the Mass, but I do. I most look forward to the homily, and a good one will stick with me for a week or more. Too often I regard the first reading, psalm response, and various beautiful prayers as transitional parts of the Mass that propel me toward my favorite parts.
Most Sundays if you would ask me what the psalm was, I’d probably stare at you blankly. But on a recent Sunday, Psalm 137 leapt out at me: “Let my tongue be silent, O Lord, my God, if I should ever forget about you.”
It is not in spite but because of life's disappointments that we must foster children's spiritual imaginations.
Recently a friend of mine posted in a Facebook group for moms that she was concerned about her son who was expressing a sincere love of God, a response which pained her. “I wish I could just enjoy it and not feel this weird sadness about it,” she said.
I briefly considered a joke: “This is very on-brand for you.” My friend, for as long as I’ve known her, has wrestled with how to talk to her kids about matters of faith. I wouldn’t call her a cynic, because it’s her awareness of how good the world can and should be that makes the awareness of the negative so troubling.
We cannot lead our children toward peace if we ourselves are feeling unsettled.
Beth, a mother of four ages 5 to 12, admits that her children may see her as June Cleaver. “I don’t know that they’ve ever seen me in my pajamas in the morning,” Beth says. “By the time they get up, I’m showered and dressed with my makeup on.” Far from being an aspiring 1950s housewife, however, Beth explains that getting up an hour before her children is something she does for herself—not her kids.
“Once they get up, my life is crazy,” she says. “Taking the time in the quiet, before that first kid wakes up, gives me the peace I need to start the day.”
It’s easy to love our children when they are being sweet. But what about when they act particularly rotten?
This morning Liam, our 10-year-old, was upset because I wouldn’t let him eat Cocoa Krispies for breakfast. Despite a long-standing rule that sugared cereal is for weekends only, Liam thought this should be the morning that I made an exception. I said no.
Liam, overtired from staying up past his bedtime the night before, was soon a wailing mess on the couch. I held my ground and went about my morning routine matter-of-factly, deciding that ignoring Liam was the strategy that made the most sense.
To allow someone to help us requires us to come to terms with our own vulnerability.
We went out to dinner recently with a family whose son, Jonah, was celebrating his 14th birthday.
After checking with his parents whether it would be all right to order something special, he chose steak and a double-baked potato, a step up from the burgers the rest of us ordered. When the meal came, Jonah, not a regular steak eater, found he didn’t care for it. His dad offered Jonah his own burger as a trade. Jonah, feeling bad about his decision, could not accept.
How scripture can help you talk to your kids about pain and suffering.
Jesus came with them to Gethsemane and said to his disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took along Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to feel sorrow and distress. Then he said to them. “My soul is sorrowful even to death. Remain here and keep watch with me.” He advanced a little and feel prostrate in prayer, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet, not as I will, but as you will.”
Unknown saints can play just as large a role in our daily faith lives as famous ones.
If a saint is anyone who has died and is in heaven with God, as the Catholic Church defines the word, there are a lot more saints up there than the few famous ones the church has canonized.