Faith at Home

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Let the Children Come to Him

by Barbara Laufersweiler
1. Children & faith
2. Family life, Sundays
3. Integrate; tell stories

Parents of young children eventually ask, "How can we teach our children our faith?" It may be easier than we imagine. Soon after our children are able to use words, they astonish us with what they tell us from earlier months when they couldn't speak and simply experienced their lives wordlessly. This tells us it is possible to offer even the youngest children a richness of experience of God and the Church as the foundation for their spiritual life.

It can be very helpful for parents to remember that liturgy — and our personal spirituality — are built upon our experience of the mysteries of the Resurrection and of the triune God, which cannot be expressed fully in words of doctrine and catechism, no matter how hard we try!

When we think of teaching our faith to a child we often think of church and liturgies. Whether or not children seem aware of what's said, they do absorb the sights, sounds, and scents in a church service, and the rhythms of motion, song, and stillness.

Every aspect of the liturgy and the church environment directs our hearts, imaginations, and even our bodies to experience the mystery of Christ; often even adults cannot express this in words. Children also see how we prepare for church, whether we go consistently, and all of those nonverbal ways with which we communicate the importance of this activity to us.

I can't say I am able to keep my three-year-old son in church for an entire service, yet with this perspective on religious formation I'm more willing to bring him into a service for as long as he and I can manage. Still, church activities are just a few hours each week. One question I have been asking myself is, "What can I do at home?"

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Copyright © 2002 Barbara Laufersweiler
Last updated June 26, 2001


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