Most parents are not trained teachers but, for better or for worse, they are the prime nurturers in faith of their children, according to Bishop Michael Kennedy.
“Worry not that your children don’t listen to you. Worry that they watch you,”” says Bishop Kennedy.
“A major way in which we nurture our children’s faith is by letting them see how ours is lived out in daily life. So it’s always good to reflect on where we can brush up our own faith life and make it more relevant and attractive to our children.”
Let your kids see you pray and pass on faith to them by following this advice from the Australian Bishops Commission for Pastoral Life:
- Create a small prayer space in a corner of your family room. Place on it a crucifix, bible, candle, or an image of Mary or someone being prayed for. Consider changing the colour of the altar cloth to match the liturgical season. For example, use purple for Advent and Lent; white for Easter and Christmas; Green for Ordinary Time and red for Pentecost.
- Plan the best time of the day to pray as a family. It’s the best way of involving all.
- Be consistent and stick with a time and routine that works.
- Remind children that prayer is simply a conversation with God.
- Constantly pray in their presence. Seek out instances to praise God and pray throughout the day. God wants us to come to him with all things and at any time, not just in the morning or before bedtime.
- Say regular prayers for a good day at school, for friends, and local world events. ‘Thank You’, ‘Sorry’ and ‘Please Help Me’ prayers are perfect ideas for kids of any age.
- Have them repeat after you.
- Use Meal Time as Prime Family Time. Meal time is a major time for sharing, recalling family and faith memories and developing values.
- Avoid phone calls and competing TV programmes, etc.
- Encourage conversation and encourage all to have their say, no matter how young or old. Avoid sources of tension (humour is a great ‘circuit-breaker’).
- And always start with a prayer!