Sunday, October 28, 2012

What's the Secret to Raising Faith-Filled Kids?

Children have never been good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them. -- James Baldwin

The Secret
In my experience, growing faith-filled kids starts with us. Being a faith-filled parent or teacher ourselves gives us a better chance at raising faith-filled kids. 

Think of it this way: I couldn't possibly teach someone to pilot an airplane. I'm not a pilot. I couldn't train someone as an opera singer. Anyone who knows me knows that I can't carry a tune with a bucket! Even if I could, it would take a lifetime of study to be able to teach someone else the art of opera.

Therefore, to grow faith-filled kids we need to be experienced and knowledgeable in the ways of our faith.

Now don't panic yet! There is good news in all of this!

The Good News
First, God does much of the work for us, through the gift of the Holy Spirit. If I had to train an opera singer, I'd be out of luck. The Holy Spirit is not going to gift me with knowledge of opera singing! On the other hand, the Holy Spirit has gifted us with faith, and the Spirit strengthens that faith when we pray.

Second, we're not just talking about head knowledge of faith, which can take time to learn. Our faith in Christ has an important, personal, heart component that each and every one of us is ready to share right now. Each of us knows how Christ has moved in our lives-- through a conversion of heart, through a special loved one's example of faith, through a difficult illness or loss, through blessings-- this personal experience of Christ's love is how God stepped into each of our lives. No one knows the story better, and no one can share it and the feelings that go along with it better!

Third, since so much of faith is the human response to the movement of God inside of us (Catechism of the Catholic Church 166)-- each of us can be learning more about our faith while we are sharing our story with our children/students. 

In fact, our timing is perfect! The pope recently declared this the "Year of Faith." (See my recent post here..) This year is a great opportunity to grow in knowledge of the faith we profess, so that we can better share it with our children.

To be sure, there is much more that goes into raising faith-filled kids, but this is an important starting point. Wherever you are right now in your personal faith journey, you have everything you need to begin!

Photo credit: Pink Sherbet Photography via photopin cc

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