Every family has their own wonderful ways to encourage and teach each other. Here are a few of mine. I’d love to hear a few of your ideas too!
- Display a colorful book at the breakfast table (a children’s bible, a book of saints etc.)
- Gift cute stuffed animals that have a little recording of a bedtime prayer.
- Play bible games (memory, Pictionary, trivia).
- Have kids flip your rotating Christian calendar.
- Host parties for Saint’s feast days.
- Put up hand written Scripture verses around the house from your own personal prayer.
- Celebrate saint feast days specific to your children.
- Let your kids light a candle at a church on a special day – like the anniversary of their baptism.
- Give Holy Water to your children and let them bless the house.
- Start your drive on long trips with a prayer.
- Pray the rosary in the car.
- Listen to cd’s about saints, scripture or good stories.
- Explain basic prayer into words kids understand.
- Participate in Feed My Starving Children with your family.
- Pray every night at bed time.
- Make a morning offering with your kids.
- Walk your kids on a tour of your church.
- Walk the stations of the cross as a family during a time when the church is open but not busy.
- Emphasize the physical motions of piety and reverence during Mass. (Kids love kinesthetic learning!)
- Aim to do a devotion every morning with your kids.
For 10 more tips…
I didn’t used to be crazy about the saints until I realized that they were becoming my friends. As I get to know the stories of their childhood, their struggles and their ways of living out deep concepts, I myself find a strong grace at work in my own thoughts and actions. Surprisingly, I can see this effect in my children too as they relate to Christians from the past and carry a kindred connection to the present. Here are three of my favorite ways of getting to know a saint. I call it “easy” because the writing of these three approaches is simple, story like- almost candy. Continue reading “3 Easy Ways to Get to Know the Saints”
Sometimes getting ready for the Sacrament of Reconciliation can be like staring at a blank wall. We don’t know where to start. Plus, you might be freaked out because you don’t remember what to do once your are in the confessional. Here are two guides that that my family uses. 1. One of the guides is to prepare (we often do this in the car on the way to the church, at the church in the pews or in line for confession). 2. The other guide is a cheat sheet to bring in to the confessional so we remember the steps. Priests way of conducting Reconciliation vary quiet a bit so, this can make any guide a bit ridged at times.
You can use this word document or read below.
Confession Steps and Prep
Continue reading “Guide for Confession”
If you listen to a kid pray the Lord’s Prayer, it is super cute “our father who art in heaven, Howard be thy name”… until you realize that she has no idea what she is saying. Even for adults, it is easy to zip through the prayer without meaning the words because they are different from the terms we usually speak. So, here’s a translation for a 9 year old:
Our Father, who art in heaven,
God, you are our father. You are in heaven. Continue reading “Howard be thy name?!?… the Our Father for kids”
At a soccer game this weekend, I listened as a lady and her husband lamented that they could not turn back the clock to a few months ago, before their son began playing Fortnite. They wished they could do it differently. These parents longed for the old productive good fun their son had and they felt a bit mournful and defeated amidst his new addiction to the game. However, they were wearing a chipper attituded in the midst of their “defeat” because they love their son no matter what and figured this is the way it just had to be. At least it wasn’t worse, they thought. We traded stories. At first they were surprised at my family’s stringency however, by the end of the soccer game (which we won), the mother was ready and energized to restore the order she and her son once had. The only thing that my stories really told her was, “you can do it.” Continue reading “Surrender your dreams for your family? No way.”
We pray as a family around the fireplace every so often and sometimes just as a married couple. Since this time is not always easy, it can help to have some format. Here’s an idea to try adapting along with your own message:
Bless the Lord, o my soul and all that is within me bless His holy name. (or a different song)
Light Candle with Prayer
Leader: “This candle reminds us that Jesus is with us.”
All: “Jesus, you are welcome here.”
Leader: “We come together as a family to love you, to listen to you and to be filled up with you.”
Deliver a good short message to the family using the bible, a book, storytelling, art, conversation, witnessing etc. Ideas: a healing story of Jesus’, the importance of kindness, the definition of love… Continue reading “Family Prayer”
A little while ago, my family of 6 studied one of the Psalms while eating a nice pancake breakfast. We didn’t fight. It wasn’t awkward. I didn’t preach. I wasn’t pulling teeth. It worked. Was it the fresh strawberries? The fact that my husband made the pancakes extra fluffy? Or maybe it was a good Psalm. Or was it that it was a simple approach? We have used this a few times since and it is so easy and open that I want to pass it on:
Draw a big heart on a paper and say, “the point of reading the bible or praying is always to love God and to receive his love. So, let’s keep love in mind.”
Notice – Draw a pair of glasses in the heart. “In this Scripture passage, what do you notice. What do you imagine? What do you see in your mind? If this bible portion were part of a movie, what would you see or hear? What do you smell or feel?” Read the passage and then let each person say something.
Wonder – Draw a think bubble (cloud with dots below). “What does this passage make you wonder? What are you curious about? What is confusing? What ideas pop up for you?” Read the passage again if you wish and then let each person say something.
Act – Draw a stick figure running. “What does this part of the bible make you want to do? Make some change or resolution? Pray about? Keep in mind?” Let each person share. This last one can perhaps be done as a prayer. “Jesus, I would like to …”
“Thank you, Jesus, for this time in your Word. Please help us to do the things you brought to mind. We love you. Amen”