Friday, March 13, 2009

Keeping Kids Katholic

note - this post has nothing to do with this post of my bride's. It's not like I have to prove that I can be serious. I think I remember being serious during the either the Reagan or Carter administrations...she's just jealous.

Not letting the light of faith go out in our children should be every Catholic parent’s main goal in raising their children. Their faith is more important to them then food (shocking I know), medical care, shelter and clothing (heck going around naked can be fun). We go out of our way to have our kids vaccinated, to feed them properly and provide for them, but do we worry about and do as much about keeping their faith alive? I know that I usually don't. I'm a slacker and a slug most of the time.“For what shall it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and suffer the loss of his soul?” Mark 8:36

Speaking as a dad and husband, it seems that we guys have a tendency to leave this responsibility up to our wives. We consider it ‘women’s work’ and unmanly. Whoa I just read the title I used for this post, unfortunate initials. Where was I? But this is really our responsibility…it falls under that whole head of household thing. If we aren’t going to take charge and lead, we should at least be supportive of our wives when they do it.

I’ve been sorely lacking in this department. What brought this to mind was a young college girl who spoke at our church this past Sunday. She belongs to a nationwide college campus group called FOCUS (The Fellowship of Catholic University Students). This group helps to promote the faith on college campuses across the country.

Part of her talk was to share some stats regarding Catholics kids and their faith:
250,000 catholic kids start college each year. By the end of their freshmen year, 50% have stopped attending church and by graduation the number is 70%. This doesn’t even include kids who stopped going back in high school.

So would you rather spend the time and effort to help mold them into fine young Catholic men and women? Or neglect your spiritual headship and take the chance that they will grow up to have multiple tattoos and piercings in places you haven’t even heard of and live in your basement for years playing Guitar Hero and Resident Evil and smoking weed? Or maybe they well wind up going around Saturday mornings two-by-two trying to sell The Watchtower to unsuspecting homeowners just trying to keep their grass neat and garden gnomes clean. It’s really hard to say which outcome is worse. Those JW’s can be damn persistent. They are harder to get rid of then herpes. I’ve tried the garden hose, answering the door with a automatic weapon in my hand and shouting in Arabic, no trespassing signs, pit bulls, answering the door naked, drawn a chalk outline of a body on my front porch and even sicked all my kids on them. All to no avail. I really thought that last one would work. Any suggestions would be welcome.

What better time than Lent to work on this (teaching our kids the faith not running off the jw's). Here are some ideas and resources to help us dads out.

Grace at meals
Bed time prayers
Prayers for the dead
Celebrating Feast days and Holy Days – everyone is always looking for an excuse for a party
Nightly rosary or partial rosary
Monthly confession
Hitting daily mass once and awhile
Visiting nearby shrines, basilicas, cathedrals etc…
Reading from the Bible or Lives of the Saints books

Keeping Your Kids Catholic by Beret Ghezzi

Do I Have to Go? - 101 Questions About the Mass, the Eucharist, and Your Spiritual Life

Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters - 10 Secrets Every Father Should Know

Boys Should Be Boys - 7 Secrets to Raising Healthy Sons

Building Better Families - A Practical Guide to Raising Amazing Children

Gun Digest 2009: The World's Greatest Gun Book Just seeing if anyone is paying attention

Successful Fathers - The Subtle But Powerful Ways Fathers Mold Their Children's Characters

Parenting With Grace - Catholic Parent's Guide to Raising (almost) Perfect Kids


wife said...

wow, you can kinda be serious if you have to!!!

I will call you on this!!!


momto5minnies said...

Thanks for the book recommendations.

I think their has to be a lot of prayer to keep our kids Catholic. I know in my own family (with 4 children), I was the only one who regularly practices the faith. Even my own mother who did her best to raise us Catholic, has fallen away (that's a whole 'nother story).

Prayer ... lots of prayer.

Mau said...

It has to be part of your family identity. We talk about out faith and what it means to be Catholic almost every day.

Keep pictures of the Sacred Heart and statues of Saints throughout the house, even in the kids rooms.

Begin your day with prayer and end your day with prayer and when Dad is home, he leads.

Love this post, even if it is more serious than typical!

Annaberri said...

I've read a few of these books, and want to read the rest. Thanks for bumping them up on my list!

thefrenchchick said...

Regarding the JW's, one thing that worked for me was asking them if they believed in the power of prayer and salvation of souls. They will generally say yes. I then tell them: "So do I and I will pray for yours." This kept them away for at least two or three years. Unfortunately, you can't get rid of them forever.