Confession 3: I Don’t Know How to Keep My Kids Catholic

Good Enough is Good Enough: Chapter 3: I Don’t Know How to Keep My Kids Catholic

 I loved the honesty I found in the chapter.  I definitely had a vision of how I would raise my kids in the faith and while some aspect of that have come true, others have played out differently. In addition I didn’t expect the joy that could come with celebrating a feast day with a child or the special ways to live out the liturgical seasons with children.  On page 46, Colleen made me laugh as she described a feeling I’ve had before, “John and I felt like were were trying to teach the faith to velociraptors rather than preschoolers. “ She has some great relatable comments on teaching the faith to our children while reminding us on page 49 that “John and I had to learn the importance of accepting the limits of our children’s behavior, given their ages, in order to make Mass and family prayer time a better experience. We redirected their behavior as best we could and worked with the kids according to their abilities and temperaments.”

1.     Are you and your spouse on the same page when it comes to raising Catholic kids? Do you work with or against your spouse?

I am so grateful to have a husband who is a practicing Catholic.  We are definitely on the same page about raising our children in the faith and having the faith expressed daily in our homes.  That’s not to say that we don’t live out of our faith differently at times, but we aim to work as a team, drawing each other closer to Christ.  We each have our own struggles, for example I struggle with trusting God, whereas that comes easily for him. He has been able to show me how to trust more and I have taught him more about other aspects of the faith. We work to compliment the other person in their journey with God.

2.     Did you have preconceived notions about what it would be like to raise Catholic kids? Were your ideas accurate or not?

I had a total stereotypical view of what it would be like to raise children in the faith.  The kids would each know all of their prayer in Latin and English and we’d pray the rosary together each night as everyone sat peacefully moving the beads across their hands.  If this is your family, I’m jealous J The rosary has become a beautiful time of praying together as a family, but we’re still working through how we move the beads to keep up, and how we don’t use it as an exercising band, stretching it across our feet as we pray.  Our children have learned most of their prayers in English, and maybe someday we’ll get to another language.  I’m trying to remember that I want the children to embrace the faith and I feel like me yelling during prayer time isn’t going to make that something appealing.  It’s not to say that we don’t have standards about prayer time, it’s just to say that I’m trying to remember they’ll be older some day and able to focus differently.  I didn’t learn to pray the rosary till I was 21, so the fact that my 6 year old can lead a decade reminds me that the seed has been planted. 

3.     What is the biggest challenge you face as a Catholic parent?

The biggest challenge for me as a Catholic parent is feeling like I’m still learning about the Lord while I’m trying to teach my children about Him.  I’m still learning what it means to be Catholic and how best to instill that in my household.  I wasn’t raised Catholic so I have no experience of passing on the faith.  I pray that I can teach my children the truth of God and His Church and show them the joy of celebrating feast day and living the faith. 

4.     Are you tempted to manage your spouse’s or your children’s spiritual life?

I definitely struggle with wanting to control everyone’s spiritual life.  This past year, I’ve really come face to face with my disordered need for control.  I also struggled to understand what it means to be a Catholic wife who is leading her husband to the faith, without treating him as if he’s one of my children.  Luckily I’m married to a man who reminds me that he’s in charge of his own faith journey.  I am also moving into a season soon where my children will be able to attend junior high youth group.  I’m really excited for them to embrace their own faith life.  I’ve decided to make sure I’m focused more on my own spiritual life while continuing to guide and encourage my family in theirs.  How can I encourage them to pray daily, if I’m not taking the time myself? Ultimately, I make sure that I give them the best instruction on the faith and ensure that they receive the sacraments to live out their faith.  The moments that I have witnessed my children being baptized or receiving First Holy Communion have been moments of pure joy for me.  In the end it’s up to them to decide to practice their faith.  I love on page 62 where Colleen says, “But in the final analysis, it will be between Mary Bernadette and God. It was never between Mary Bernadette and me.” 

5.     How is your prayer life? What is one Catholic practice or devotion you love? Does your family know you love it? When, where, or how do you practice that devolution in everyday life?

I didn’t see this question before I answered the last one!  I love The Liturgy of the Hours and try to pray the Morning Prayer daily.  My kids see my praying in the morning and sometimes they might come sit next to me or inquire about it. I haven’t prayed it much with my children but now that their reading proficiency is improving, I’m looking forward to introducing that into our day.  I still want to make sure however that I’m spending time daily by myself in prayer.  I still have a tendency to make things teaching moments for my children and be concerned with them, which diverts my attention from my relationship with God.   

Copyright 2019 Courtney Vallejo All Rights Reserved

Image Credit Copyright 2019 Karen Padilla. All Rights Reserved

 

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Courtney Vallejo