10 Ways to Share Love and Build Faith with Your Children this School Year
How’s your family settling in following the initial back-to school flurry of activity in your home? Each new school year brings a new set of goals, struggles, and joys for both moms and our children. Whether you’re missing your children terribly or frankly a little relieved to have a second to catch your breath, there’s lots we can do to let our children know how much we love them, even when we can’t be right there with them.
And since “we love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19), the ideas on our top ten list double as faith builders for you, your family, and your school community as we grow together in love of God and one another.
Here are 10 ways to remind your children of how loved they are this school year:
Pray for your children. Pray with your children.
Prayer is our lifeline. It connects us to God and, through him, to one another. Offering intercessory prayer (prayer on behalf of others) for your family members is a great way to talk about what’s going on in your lives and move forward in new directions, confident in God’s loving grace and provision. It’s a great comfort to children to know God is always listening. It’s a great comfort to moms too!
Moms are all about morning routines. Seriously. How else do you get everyone out the door with the essentials in time for first bell? Does your morning routine include morning prayers? A few minutes in prayer first thing can make a HUGE difference in your day.
Evening prayer time is a beautiful way to go back through the day and recognize both God’s blessings, and the areas we need to ask forgiveness and seek God’s reconciliation. While we’re on the topic, be sure to brainstorm easy ways for your older children to tell you if they need your help getting to church to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation (without having to spill their guts to you on whatever sin they’ve committed).
My Polish mom never let us leave the house without blessing our foreheads, “I bless you in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.” I added to that tradition, by blessing my kids with Holy Water.
Pop quizzes aren’t just for teachers. Do your children know how to bless themselves? Do they know their 10 Commandments, the Beatitudes, Spiritual Works of Mercy, Corporal Works of Mercy, the virtues, and more importantly, how they’re applicable to their daily life? Study up together and take note of how faith and love flow through our actions.
Pack a special object to remind your children to turn to God throughout the day. A Blessed Miraculous Medal, Rosary, or small Crucifix gives them something to physically hold and look at as a reminder of God’s love for us while in prayer. Teach your child how to pray the Rosary.
Pack a prayer card, or a few. Children can share with their friends at lunch or offer one to a friend, along with their prayer, in a time of need.
One thing that made my mom, Teresa Pilarski an effective evangelizer is that she was both “demanding” AND “delightful”. How might you adopt that sort of practice? I used to LOVE surprising my kids with hot potato wedges or a Little Ceasars Pizza at lunch time! It really helped since I was THE mom who hosted Rosary Club and a Saints Club at the school. Which meant my kids were sometimes teased about their religious mom!
Make it a point to get to know your kids teachers. If they attend Catholic school, find out how the teacher brings faith into each subject, not just religion class. Educate yourself on the sex ed curriculum and inquire as to how your school is implementing it. Don’t be afraid to voice your opinion as you feel compelled on matters of conscience.
Become an intercessor not only for your own children, but for their peers, teachers, friend’s parents. Invite your children to pray with you for their friends and teachers too!
Do you ever have seniors saying, “time goes by so fast! Stay home with them if you can!” Well, I have become THAT voice! Moments in your children’s lives are fleeting, bring them home for lunch if you can, pick them up when you can and yes, make a resolution not to miss those field trips.
You want to be “that mom” not with the associated pressures of a Martha Stewart, Jillian Michaels Or Sheryl Sanberg, but with a supernatural determination to become a magnet to fulfilling God’s Will for your life.
Dorothy Pilarski is the founder of Dynamic Women of Faith, author, motivational speaker, blogger , guest columnist with the Catholic Register and a facilitator on Salt + Light TV.