When I’m kept up at night by my racing thoughts, they usually revolve around my children. Specifically, they involve rigorous scrutiny of what I am or am not doing to raise them well, ideas for improvement, and decisions that are, in my mind, life or death decisions. Every single time.
Once my mind starts to spiral this way, I do my best to remind myself of the most important thing. The most important thing I want them to learn is how to have a relationship with Jesus. Yes, I want them to learn how to tie their shoes and fold laundry, to spell their names and to not interrupt. But at the end of the day, my primary goal is to help them become saints. And although this task can feel overwhelming, once I remind myself that my job is to help my kids know, love, and serve the Lord, I relax.
Fostering a Relationship with Christ
The beautiful thing about Jesus is that His Heart is ready to relieve my stresses about parenting styles, schooling options, activity choices, and discipline methods. He is my simple answer. And He is my children’s simple answer.
Helping my children come to know Him really just involves the ways I personally come to know Him more. So I focus on assisting them in:
- Appreciating (and eventually, frequenting) the Sacraments, especially reception of the Eucharist.
- Forming life-giving friendships.
- Creating a Christ-centered learning environment.
- Encouraging them to use their unique gifts and personality for the Kingdom.
- Exposing them to the true, good, and beautiful found in nature, the arts, and other people.
- Turning to God first in both sorrow and joy.
- Learning how to talk with God and how to recognize His voice, particularly through the Word.
This last point is the one I’d like to unpack with you.
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Learning How to Talk with God
Because God is perfect, every new thing we learn about Him is another reason to love Him. And the best way to learn about Him? Learning about Him in our own hearts, through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
I didn’t really know how to talk with God until I was a young adult. Being raised Catholic, I knew my Hail Mary and my Act of Contrition. I even understood the beauty of praying for other people like we do through the petitions at every Mass. And I always nailed the, “Please, God, let me pass this test,” plea every time.
But actually talking to God as though He was someone I knew? That was a foreign concept.
It wasn’t until I was shown how to have a real, honest, intimate conversation with Jesus that I even knew it was a thing. Once I opened my heart to Him and allowed Him to speak to me, I couldn’t get enough. I learned about His voice first and foremost through Sacred Scripture. I also tuned my ear to His voice through the teachings of the Church, the writings of the Saints, and the wisdom of the liturgy.
Through the triumphs and tragedies of my life, His voice has been my unwavering solid ground. My ability to have a conversation with Jesus has brought me back from the brink more times than I can count. Turning to Jesus as my friend has literally changed my life.
And that’s the most important thing I want my children to know.
Leading My Children to the Feet of Jesus
I’m not an expert at teaching my children how to talk with Jesus. I’m an unseasoned mom, and most of the time I feel overwhelmed by the concept of raising humans. But I know that our efforts are rewarded, so I’m giving it my best shot.
I also realize that I’m not alone in these feelings. I’m not alone in wanting my children to have a personal relationship with Jesus, the kind we may not have had until our adulthood. It was with this heart that we at Blessed is She created Rise Up, our first devotional for kids.
We wanted to give the kids in our lives—our own children, our students, our godchildren, our nieces and nephews—something to facilitate a personal encounter with Jesus Christ. We know what such an encounter has done in our own lives, and that’s the legacy we want to leave with the next generation.
Rise Up seeks to bring kids to the feet of God through examining the virtues which He possess perfectly. As children learn about the virtues (which are laid out by St. Thomas Aquinas), they are immersed in the Word of God, excerpts from the Catechism, and quotes from the Saints. They are led to examination through short reflections ending with a closing prayer.
The best part? It’s written on a level they can understand without watering down the Truth of the Gospel. Sometimes we underestimate children. But they are capable of grasping great richness, especially when it comes to Christ. After all, He did say that in order to enter the Kingdom, we must be like children.
The Legacy I Want to Leave
When all is said and done, and I transition out of the season of motherhood where my children share a roof with me, I hope the main lesson they leave with is that Jesus loves them with His whole Heart. I hope that I can help inspire them to return that Love with their own imperfect love. Being an imperfect mother myself, I am grateful for resources like Rise Up to help me teach them to pray, to introduce them to the greatness of God, and to be a facilitator of conversations with Christ that can change the trajectory of their entire lives.
What are some ways you’re teaching your children to pray? What are the resources that are helping you?The Most Important Thing I Want My Children to Know #BISblog // Click To Tweet
Written by Olivia Spears.