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Sheri Wohlfert offers tips for parents who want to help their children establish lives that put God as the center.

As Catholic parents we have the privilege of leading our children to Jesus. We get to share the story of His love, mercy, redemption and salvation. Our children are a gift, and it’s our job to set them on the path toward heaven. God uses us as instruments of His grace and asks us to help our children establish lives that make Him the center of everything. We love our kids and we want to help them develop their God-given talents, so we do everything we can to foster and support them—but at what cost? As family stress escalates, it might be the perfect time to check our balance.

If you feel that faith, prayer, and opportunities for discipleship and moral development are falling short, here are some thoughts to inspire you. 


Begin with a wise perspective 

A wise mother who had raised a fabulous faithful family offered this advice about finding time for family prayer and passing on the faith: “We make time for what we find important. We spend time daily reminding and nagging kids to brush their teeth. We haul them to the dentist and orthodontist. We invest time, money, and energy into their teeth and don’t really think about it. But their souls should be the absolute most important thing we focus on as Catholic parents. Nobody gets to heaven because they have straight, shiny teeth: they get there because of the condition of their soul and as parents we have to teach them what that means.” 




The truth

There is no magic formula for creating more minutes to add to the week so busy families can find time to focus on faith and prayer. We have to make important and often tough choices about how to prioritize and use the time we do have. 


Find the center

God should be at the center of everything we do, individually and as a family. Living a life that leads us to heaven is the ultimate goal of our existence, but sometimes we lose sight of that goal. Ask yourself and ask your children if Christ is at the center of all the activities on your weekly to-do list. Entertain the possibility that if an activity isn’t leading you or your children to Christ, perhaps it can be removed from the schedule to make room for things that do put Christ in the center. 




Focus on the battle!

We can get caught up in stats and scores and performances and lose sight of the fact that the primary battle isn’t about scholarships, playing time, or advancement. The battle is for our souls. That sounds scary, but our children need people and activities and discussion that demonstrate the truth and teaching of our rich Catholic faith. 


Everything is a lesson

The way we treat others, the way we process disappointment, react to an official's call, or celebrate an achievement are all opportunities to include Christ and His teaching. There is a Gospel lesson in every trial and every disagreement, and those conversations can be a part of everyday life. Use car time to process events and talk about places you see God working in your lives. Our greatest teaching tool is the way we live our life as models of faith.  




Sunday start!

On the way home from Sunday Mass, each person can share one thing they grabbed from the Gospel or homily and set one goal for living out their faith that week. Checking in on each other's goals gives families a “faith conversation starter” for the whole week. 


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God uses us as instruments of His grace and asks us to help our children establish lives that make Him the center of everything.



Copyright 2023 Sheri Wohlfert
Images: Canva