You don't have to be specially trained to teach the Faith to your children. Laura Nelson offers 7 tips to get you started.
As a parish staff member, I became acutely aware of how much I needed to depend on parents to follow through with whatever resources I provided. I also became acutely aware of how overwhelmed those parents were and how ill-equipped they felt to teach the Faith to their children while sheltering in place.
But, unlike academic subjects, you don’t have to be specially trained to teach the Faith to your children. Because of your role as parents, you are uniquely equipped to teach your children about God and His unending love for us. You don’t have to be a theologian or a saint to teach your children how to be a good Catholic. You just have to love them and love God to the best of your ability.
However, if you’re like me, you need practical action steps to take. So, here are some quick tips on how to teach the Catholic Faith to your child when you have no idea where to start:
- Love them. That may sound silly, but when we love our children and express that love to them generously, they begin to know what God’s love is like. We are the first teachers of love and trust and when we, as parents, struggle with loving our children, our children often struggle to know what love truly is. That gets in the way of them understanding God’s love for us and of returning that love to Him.
- Talk about God. Have God be a part of all of your conversations. When you have a great day, thank God out loud in front of your kids. When you have a hard day, ask for God’s help so your kids can hear you. When you take a walk with your kids, praise God for His beautiful creation. When your kids are needing guidance, encourage them to ask God for his wisdom and help. Even more important, talk about God’s love for you and your children. After all, He’s the only one in the universe that loves your children more than you do!
- Read Scripture together. Take some time weekly, if not daily, to read some of God’s Word in the Bible and talk about it with your children. “What stood out to you about this passage?” “What do you think God is trying to tell us here?” “How do you think it felt to be the person in this story?” “What do you think God is asking of you here?” You don’t have to be a Scripture scholar to reflect on God’s Word. Just ponder it together.
- Pray together. Don’t make it complicated. Just spend some quiet time together acknowledging that you are in the presence of God and are trying your best to be present with Him. Praise Him for His greatness. Thank Him for what He has done in your life. Ask for His help. Close your prayer with an Our Father, a Glory Be, or a Hail Mary to ask for Our Lady’s intercession.
- Take part in the Mass together. Go to Mass if you have that available to you. If not, participate in the Mass on the television or via streaming sources online. If you are streaming Mass, try to make the experience as much like attending in person as possible. That might mean dressing up a bit, setting up the space to be more prayerful (remove distractions, dim the lights, light candles, set up a small table in front of the computer or TV and display the Bible and cross or other religious images) or locating the readings for the day or the order of the Mass to help you follow along and participate more fully.
- Answer their questions and don’t be afraid to say, “I don’t know.” Encourage questions and be honest when you don’t know the answers. You can always find the answer by searching online or reaching out to your parish staff for help and guidance. In today’s age of technology, there’s no need to have an unanswered question. Thanks, Google!
- Remember, you’re not alone. Not only do you have the support of your parish staff and other parents who are in the same boat as you, you also have the Divine Help of God through the gift of the Holy Spirit available to you. You just have to ask for it.
Copyright 2020 Laura Nelson
Image copyright 2017 Holy Cross Family Ministries. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Laura B. Nelson is a Catholic wife and mother of three children. She is also a Catholic blogger, author, speaker, teacher and life-long student of the Catholic faith. Laura likes to be busy but she most enjoys spending time with her husband and three children at their home in Grapevine, TX. Find out more about Laura at LauraBNelson.com.