WonderAt our children’s youngest ages, nurturing the sense of wonder is foundational. (I mean this is the sense of amazement and awev-- not in the sense of skepticism.) Go on a walk
- Call out the things you see that are beautiful (look at the different ways God shaped trees!)
- Call out the things you see that exhibit God’s wisdom (trees to give us fresh oxygen!)
- Call out the things you see that exhibit God’s mercy (trees to give us shade!)
An Ordered WorldTeach that God’s design has order and purpose. Play the “ordered toward” game. In short, it involves recognizing the fact that everything God made is ordered toward something. You can play the game silly (“is spaghetti ordered toward wearing on your head?”) or as trivia (“I’m thinking of something that is ordered toward giving us heat and light.”) Learn about this game in more detail.
Scripture MemoryIsn’t this one of those things we mean to do and never get around to? (Or is that just me?) Here are some ideas as to how to make memorizing the Word of God part of your life:
- Print out the verse in pretty font and ask the kids to decorate it. Hang it on the wall while you learn it.
- Print out the verse and paste it onto places where they stare anyway: the back of a cereal box; the refrigerator; or the bathroom mirror.
- Put the verse to the tune of a familiar song and learn it by singing it.
- Once you are familiar with it, make a game by going around the table at breakfast or lunch and having each person say the next word. Whoever misses is “out.” Or just cheer when you do it successfully!
- Say the verse whenever the situation commends itself. My son just told me this morning that he “is trying to change but can’t.” There are a lot of verses that would apply here, but the one that popped to mind was “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Other truths to learn
- For lists of things you want your kids to learn (the Ten Commandments; the fruits of the Spirit; etc), nothing beats a song or rhyme.
- Print out what you want them to learn and put it in a strategic spot: the bathroom. One mom I know regularly posted signs like “God loves you” and “Love is willing the good of the other” near the toilet: one sign was for those facing forward and the other sign for those facing backward. Or occasionally put a little note on their dresser for them to find.
Live the Liturgical YearI can’t think of a more organic way to teach the faith than by ordering your family life around the liturgical year. Some examples:
- When better to learn about St. Thomas Aquinas than on his feast day (January 28)? Talk about how he had been locked into a tower by his family, who disapproved of his vocation to the Jesuit priesthood. They even sent a woman of “ill repute” into the tower to tempt him. He chased her from the room by waving a burning log he had grabbed from the fire. Is this or is this not a great segue into talking about purity? What are we willing to do to keep ourselves pure?
- On the feast of the Presentation of Our Lord we talk with our kids about how Mary’s fiat wasn’t just a once-and-for-all thing, but a continual submission unto the will of God. Even as she heard that a sword would pierce her heart, she gave her “yes.” Teach them to ask her to help us say “yes” to the will of God when it is a difficult thing to do. And since it is a feast day, after all -- make some cupcakes topped with little cocktail swords.
- Learn about Our Lady’s apparition at Lourdes on its optional memorial on February 11. If you are blessed to have an account with FORMED, watch a video about it -- and then go out and make your own grotto in the backyard! Talk about how Our Lady intercedes for us always and is a true mother to us.
Copyright 2020 Amanda Woodiel
About the Author
Amanda Woodiel is a Catholic convert, a mother to five children ages 11 to 3, a slipshod housekeeper, an enamored wife, and a “good enough” homeschooler who believes that the circumstances of her life -- both good and bad -- are pregnant with grace. She leads a moms' group at her parish that focuses on simple and meaningful ways to live the liturgical year at home. Amanda blogs at In a Place of Grace.