Lorelei Savaryn reflects on how her own upbringing in the faith impacts her approach to raising little Catholics today.
I think how we raise our kids in the faith is likely formed, at least to some extent, by how we were raised in our own. If we had a good experience that developed a rich faith life, or if we encountered struggles or poor examples or formation in some way still lingers in our minds and in our hearts.
There are moms who do an amazing job at liturgical living, or who are faithfully and frequently found with rosary beads in their hands. Moms who take their kids to Adoration often, to Confession often. Moms who homeschool and love it.
Since converting to Catholicism in 2016, I have tried on many different Catholic-mom hats. We do love celebrating liturgical days and feasts, but not all of them. We do love praying the Rosary, but it’s not my most frequent devotion. We love going to family Adoration, and would love to do that more often than we have. There were many parts about homeschooling that I loved, but in January of this year we enrolled our kids at a local Catholic school and I am beginning work there as a teacher. That particular move has been better for our family in many ways.
At first, I think I felt like I wasn’t a complete Catholic mom, in some ways, because I didn’t fit neatly into one of the boxes I had created in my mind about what a Catholic mom should be. But over this past year, that has changed. I am realizing that Catholic moms come in as wide a variety as the women who embody that name.
And, for me, I have come to accept that the thing that I lean most into as a Catholic mom is encouraging my kids to think deeply about the faith, to ask good, rich questions, and then to walk them down a path of knowing that there are deep, good, rich answers to be found. I also want them to love the liturgy, to see the beauty in ritual and tradition, and to know that we are connected profoundly to the Christians who have come before us.
This is likely formed by my childhood growing up in a fundamentalist-leaning but also somehow charismatic evangelical church. I was taught that faith and science are sometimes at odds with each other. I didn’t know there was depth to be found past the basic tenets of the Gospel, and when I became an adult my despair that there may not be deep answers to be found lead me towards agnosticism.
My husband had similar experiences within the Catholic Church, where he grew up knowing the rules but not understanding why they were there.
So, together, it has become very important for us to let our kids ask questions, to explain the whys of our faith, and then to hope and to trust that when they go off on their own some years from now, that they will find they have a firm foundation to stand on. My prayer is that they will feel safe at home.
I am the It’s okay to wonder and ask deep questions kind of Catholic mom, along with a sprinkling of the other kinds too. And that’s one of the beautiful things about our faith: that rich diversity is what makes the Church. God has given us each unique passions and gifts and calls, and we can all be ourselves fully within our Catholic home.
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Copyright 2022 Lorelei Savaryn
About the Author
Lorelei Savaryn joyfully joined the Catholic Church in 2016 after many years as a Protestant. She lives outside Chicago with her husband, four children, and dog named Saint. She writes about her faith and family life on ThisCatholicFamily.com. She is also a children's author. Her debut novel, The Circus of Stolen Dreams, released in Sept 2020 from Penguin Random House/Philomel.