This past Sunday, my family celebrated my baby girl’s baptism. So, you can imagine all my worries on the Friday and Saturday before the big day.
How much food should we order? Will everyone fit in our cozy little home? What cake flavour will the guests enjoy the most?
Well, Sunday came and went. The party was a great gathering of immediate family only. Everyone enjoyed the food and the cake.
Now, the hard work starts.
Parties are all well and good, but the bigger worry is this: my daughter is officially a member of God’s family. How am I going to nurture her relationship with Him?
It’s a good thing that this month’s mother’s group addressed this exact worry.
Each mother’s personal experience growing up in faith, in combination with the Mothering Full of Grace DVD we watched together, gave me a great place to start with my daughter.
Say the rosary. It’s okay if your kids don’t know all the prayers. Having them make the effort to just sit together with you is a great start.
Attend church as a family. Get them familiar with the house of God. This is where we sit, we stand, we kneel, we sing, and we listen to the word of the Lord. I take comfort in the words that Father Joseph once said at mass: “no family ever got kicked out of church because of a crying baby.”
Include God naturally in parts of your day. Be it before meals, in the car, in the morning when you wake up or at night as you lie in bed. Take Him with you wherever you go. Whether it’s a formal prayer, or a casual chat with Him, keep the line of communication open.
Give thanks whenever you can. Pray alone or together. Pray in good times and in bad. Take time to witness the beauty of God’s artwork all around you.
The underlying message that echoed throughout was to start your kids early and to be the example for them. Like any relationship, you need to invest time and effort in order for it to grow and strengthen.
Sounds easy, right?
In theory, it all makes sense. But, as more and more mothers shared their experiences with their kids, we started to notice a pattern.
As these mothers watched their children get older, they were lucky to have them present for holiday masses. Instances of doing anything faith-related as a family were few and far between. It seemed as though no matter what you do, life will get in the way, and they will find more and more reasons of why they can’t go to church.
All the worries came back. Only this time, the worry brought along frustration, sadness, anger, and even confusion. Many of our moms grew up traditional, church was non-negotiable, whereas nowadays it’s more of a if-i-feel-like-it kind of thing.
Why can’t we teach our kids about God the way we teach our kids everything else, like how to eat, how to walk, how to tie your shoes?
Why can’t we treat Church the way we treat extracurricular lessons? Thursdays are for ballet, Fridays for hockey, Saturdays for piano, so why can’t Sundays be for Church?
Some mothers even agreed that church should be considered a routine part of your life. A non-negotiable, like the way we brush our teeth every morning, or the way we go to school or work during the week.
After a great group discussion and some reflection on my personal journey with God, I walked away with this —
Everyone’s walk with God is different. Sometimes people need to stray from the path in order to return to it. We need to experience life ‘without God’ to realize that we do, in fact, want Him present in our lives. We don’t want to live with emptiness. At the end of the day, the truth is that God is with us, whether or not we talk to Him, whether or not we go to church. He is there for us whether or not we ask for help. Most importantly, God knows our heart and He has a plan for us.
As mothers, all we can do is plant the seed, build a strong foundation for our kids, and nurture that seed for as long as we can. And if our kids stray? Well, then we pray for them.
So, what am I going to do with my daughter? Well, for starters, I’m not going to worry. I’m going to give my worries to God. I’m going to try to model the best example of a strong and deep relationship with Him. I’m going to pray and pray, and pray some more, that whatever I plant in her is at least the size of a mustard seed.
Reena Lewis is a home childcare provider and a family coach. She lives in Ajax with her husband and her two kids, a boy and a girl. Whether it’s a terrific-two’s type of meltdown, or an epic naptime fail, she is grateful everyday for her two blessings from God. Without them, she wouldn’t be the proud recipient of the world’s greatest honour: Mom.