About 30 years ago, a man told my brother-in-law that there was a young mother who took her four children to church every day. He wondered why anyone would do that. Without missing a beat, my brother-in-law said, “She does that so that they can practice for Sunday.”
My brother-in-law told me about that conversation because he knew that I was the mother of the four young children. He teased me about it and I often think about his words when I see young mothers in church with their children.
God eventually blessed us with seven children, and I continued to take them to daily mass while they were growing up. I didn’t do this because I wanted to practice for Sunday, but because I needed the grace to get through each day. It was not easy but I knew that I was teaching them the importance of taking time out for God every day, and not just once a week on Sunday.
I wanted “time with God” to be a daily routine for our kids. They needed the grace as much as I did. It became a daily ritual for them.
It was very encouraging to hear comments from other parishioners at church on how well behaved my children were. Who doesn’t treasure those comments? I really believe that those comments were God’s way of patting me on the back and encouraging me to keep taking the children for daily worship.
For those who cannot take their children to mass or church services daily, be sure to set aside some time each day at home for some type of faith formation. I recommend that the time be consistent every day so that your children know that it is part of their daily ritual. It is very important that you join your children for this prayer time. You can call it “Quiet time with Jesus” or “Prayer Time” and be sure and provide the children with devotional books, children’s Bibles or other religious books. Younger children can be encouraged to color or look through books at this time.
One thing that I had my children do was write love letters to Jesus. It was touching to see what they came up with. It is important for children to learn that we have 24 hours in a day, and most of those hours are used to eat, sleep, attend school, play and be entertained. We should at least spend 30 minutes a day in prayer or quiet time to reflect and thank God for what He has done for us.
As Patrick Peyton said, “A family that prays together, stays together.”