Actions speak louder than words, and the way we live every day teaches our children a lot about what it means to be a Christian.
I have a toddler, and I’m really excited for the day empathy clicks for him. Oh, and reading, and table manners, and the importance of wearing socks when it’s cold, and I could keep going. There are only so many little talks and explanations that I can give him every day. But, I have already noticed how much my example teaches him, and I often forget what a powerful tool that is. When I react calmly to a situation, it’s always better than when I’m frustrated and impatient — he senses my mood and acts accordingly. So, if my example is a good way to teach now, why not use it to help him learn about Christ and what it means to be a Christian?
Here are eight ways we can show our kids what Christianity looks like.
1Make quiet time for yourself to pray every day.
This might mean praying when your kids are asleep, so they may never know that you have this habit of prayer. But you will be a better mom and a better person because of it. And they will appreciate that change.
2Pray out loud spontaneously around your kids.
When you hear an ambulance while on the road, pray for the people who are hurting. Share what you’re thankful for that day on the way home from school by thanking God out loud. Kids will love to have a turn. When you hear about a sick friend, pray out loud: Jesus please bless so and so today. Make it normal to talk to God throughout the day.
3Speak well of your parents and your husband's parents.
You can discuss grievances or disagreements that you have privately, when your kids can’t hear. But teaching them to respect their relatives, especially their grandparents, is important.
4Take your kids to Mass.
Show them that Sunday is important. If your kids are little, Mass might be a stressful experience as they struggle to sit still and listen. But take them anyway. If you form the habit now, it will be easier to continue as they grow older.
5Speak well of other parents.
Avoid gossip during your conversations with your friends. Gossip is so common and easy to fall into. But it does not respect the person gossiped about, and it eats away at the gossiper’s integrity as well. One way to truly love someone, especially someone you may not particularly like, is to consciously choose to speak well of that person.
6Interact with the homeless.
Find a soup kitchen nearby to volunteer at together or roll down your window and talk with the guy holding the sign at the stoplight. Ask his name and how he’s doing. Then later you’re able to pray for him by name.
Try to be present to each circumstance you are in. Moms are great at multitasking, but sometimes we overdo it. Make time for the things that are important to do each day, and then don’t cross-pollinate. If it is time to recharge for you, do that. If it is time to spend quality time with your kids, do that as fully as possible.
8Speak lovingly of your husband, or if you’re a single parent, speak well of your kids’ father.
They will notice how you speak about their dad, especially when you speak to others about him.
In little ways, we can live a life focused on Christ and that way, when we do talk with our kids about faith, it’s all the more convincing because we’re living what we trying to pass onto them.
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