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The Three Pillars

There are many things that you can do as a parent to ensure that your children grow up with a firm foundation of faith.  But there are three things that are pillars for raising Catholic kids.  

"Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it"
- Proverbs 22:6

I - Make Sundays and Holidays Special

You probably have traditions around the way you do certain things in your family.  Do you have a favorite sports team?  How do you celebrate birthdays?  Do you have a particular way that your family kicks off (or wraps up) summer vacation?  Traditions are important. Make Sunday and liturgical feast days important by backing them up with traditional qualities as well!

  • Go to Mass and take everyone with you. Make this a habit of weekly life 
    because it is the single most important thing you do to help your children grow up Catholic.  If you can't make it every week, don't punish yourself. Go as often as possible for you. But make this a "special time" of household time.

  • Have special meals on Sunday.  Maybe go out to brunch or lunch after Mass.  Or for dinner, decorate a little and set the table, cook together, and make this a regular thing. There is nothing that kids remember more than great shared meals.

  • Visit relatives or friends.

  • Invite guests into your home for shared meals or an afternoon of board games and fellowship.

  • Give gifts to each other. Leave love notes on pillows or in lunch boxes, and make sure Sundays and holidays are special.

Family Quality Time

II - Bring Your Faith Into Your Home

III - Be a Model for Your Children

Incorporate symbols and practices of your faith into the "normal stuff" of daily life.

  • Always pray before meals. For meal prayers, go here.

  • Spend time in reflective talk with each member of your family or with the family as a whole.

  • Make Advent and Lent special times. Add elements to the household life that make these seasons "holy times" in your home.

  • Bring home some Holy Water and use it to bless each other before bedtime, before a big event, or at any other suitable time.

  • Give each child a personal Bible - but not so fancy they'll never use it! Make this part of their faith formation. As youngsters, give them a child's version of the Bible, and when they're old enough, give them an adult version.  For tips on selecting good Bibles, go here.

  • Gradually add "faith talk" to household life.

  • Affirm your kids when they do well and are loving.

  • Reassure your kids when they fail or become selfish.

They are watching YOU!

  • Whatever you do, they will do.

  • But don't make them uncomfortable by pushing religious practices on them if they aren't familiar with them or if they don't naturally ask for them.

  • Take time with them every day if you can.

  • You are busy: you have a job (maybe two!), a household to run, groceries to buy, garbage to take out, activities to attend for the kids, family responsibilities for older parents or for friends or family who are ill - but in the midst of all this, you will teach your child about life when you keep faith a key element.  You will also feel happier and more at ease because Grace makes us whole, real, and loving.

  • Remember that when you choose secular activities over attending church, you are demonstrating to your kids that you feel those things are more important than your (and their) faith life.  The reverse is also true.  When you put God and His church first in your lives, they grow up understanding that their faith and relationship with God is the most important thing in their lives.

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