I hope everyone enjoyed a wonderful Easter!
We had a great day visiting our families after attending an inspiring Mass early in the morning. And we ended the day by putting our kids to bed and saying their nightly prayers with them.
But this was not something new for the Easter holiday.
We have actually developed several “rituals” throughout the day where we share family prayer, and it’s become a cool part of our family dynamic.
That’s the type of question my 5-year-old son is likely to ask completely out of the blue.
He’s also been known to ask things like, “Where is Jesus?” or “Who is the best: Baby Jesus or God?” or “Why was Jesus on a cross…did it hurt?”
I can tell you that answering these queries from an inquisitive kid is both challenging and really inspiring.
It can be tough to explain things on his terms (or to actually know the answers sometimes), but it’s so cool to know that he feels connected enough with his faith to wonder.
If you met us on any given day in real life, I don’t think you would peg our family as an overtly religious or deeply spiritual bunch.
We’re normal folks with all of the typical faults and failings that accompany a busy life in today’s society. Our kids are generally pretty good, but there are certainly no halos floating above their heads.
This makes me particularly proud to have a young son who asks such deep questions about spirituality. And it got me thinking about why he may be giving these things so much thought.
We make it a point to attend Mass every Sunday, and we try to speak openly about our faith within our home. However, I really think that our young children are connecting on a more basic level.
I think it’s the prayer.
Again, we do a few basic things as part of our family routine, including the traditional Catholic blessing before our meals at home.
My wife and I also end every night with a visit to our kids’ rooms to say some more traditional prayers over them while they sleep (Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be, Prayer of the Guardian Angel). Of course, they don’t know that. 🙂
All of that is well and good, and we find it to be very valuable to take these few minutes each day to thank God in a ritual way.
However, I think the real impact for our children comes from the prayer our kids say each night before they go to bed:
Thank you dear God
For Mama and Daddy
And (sister or brother’s name)
And all my Grandmas
And all my Grandpas
And thank you for having a good day.
At the end, we usually ask them to think of something specific that they are thankful for that day. This could be tee-ball, princesses, chocolate or any other thing that looms large in the minds of young kids.
This prayer actually has a bit of history. It was the prayer my wife said each night with her parents when she was growing up.
It had enough of an impact on her that she suggested we adopt it with our own children as soon as they could talk. And I am so glad that we did.
So I’m curious to hear about your experiences with this topic. You may not be a parent and you may not be religious. That’s totally fine, but feel free to chime in with any words of wisdom that you may have to share from your own upbringing or from others that you know.
Do you pray with your kids? What kind of prayers do you say?
Do you think this has had a positive impact on them (and you)?Photo by Rennett Stowe
Dustin Riechmann created Engaged Marriage to help other married couples live a life they love (especially) when they feel too busy to make it happen. He has many passions, including sharing ways to enjoy an awesome marriage in 15 minutes a day, but his heart belongs with his wife Bethany and their three young kids.