Today is Good Friday, the last Friday of Lent. And for this Catholic girl, I’m happy to report I kept up on my Lenten promise: no snacking after dinner. That may sound funny to some. But, hey, that’s what most of us do—we diet in the name of Jesus Christ. We give up things like junk food, soda, chocolate, or the ultimate sacrifice for a Catholic… no beer.
But, in all seriousness, I do feel like I’ve failed a little over Lent. I failed at encouraging more spirituality in my kids. My oldest is 4-years old and the times I do drag him (and myself) to Sunday mass, he’s bored to tears. My 2-year old… Well, she’s a screamer. If she attends mass, we usually sit in the back behind glass doors so the priest’s homily isn’t interrupted by a screeching, “Noooo!” And my husband, he considers himself agnostic and rarely attends church with us. That leads to an even bigger challenge of spirituality for kids when you and your husband have different beliefs.
My 4-year-old will attend Catholic preschool next year, so I feel the need to spirit-it-up quick. I’ve read children’s Bible stories and occasionally said prayers before bedtime with him. But, I really need to make a bigger effort at making religion an everyday thing—for both my kids and myself.
I did find an encouraging article, titled “The Gift of Faith” in Parents magazine. The article talks about bringing spirituality into everyday life—and not considering it something you “check off your list” when you attend mass or send your kids to Sunday school. It goes on to offer tips on how you can start passing on your religious values to your preschooler. Something that I am going to try is regular prayer before meals and bedtime, as well as attending mass every Sunday. Also, I should use this weekend to teach my kids that Easter means more than just jellybeans, bunnies, and plastic eggs.
How about you? What are you doing to help your little ones gain a sense of spirituality? Or do you feel guilty like me that you haven’t been doing enough?
We don’t often write about religion or spirituality on WMAG, but occasionally our contributors are moved to share a religious-related experience. Here are a couple more posts you might want to read:
4 thoughts on “Got Spirit? Considering Spirituality for Kids”
Oh, wow. What a loaded topic for my family! My husband is pretty violently anti-religion. Well, not violent in that he wants to do harm to people who are religious, but he really does not like to go to church or discuss religion. I grew up with a good church background, but we haven’t taken our daughter to church much, mostly because I haven’t made the effort on Sundays. I do consider myself spiritual, however. It’s hard when I think about what to tell my daughter about Christmas and Easter. Obviously there’s much more to them than Santa and candy eggs. Complicating matters is that we’re considering sending her to Catholic school if we aren’t pleased with the public schools in our area. We’re going to have to do a big download one of these days. Argh.
Jay and I are not into religion, but we are “spiritual.” We want Cassie to learn about religions and make her own choice about if/how she wants to express her spiritual self. But right now, she’s too little to really teach this stuff. I hope as she gets older we will take the time to help her learn about spirituality.
This is something I struggle with, too. J and I have talked about getting more involved with a church, but we do have that whole “different religion” thing going on–he was raised Catholic (schools and all) while I was confirmed Methodist. We aren’t sure what to do, so we just procrasinate. Procrastinators=Leaders of Tmrw.
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