Lesson 8 – Meeting Your Children’s Spiritual Needs

Lesson 8 – Meeting Your Children’s Spiritual Needs

Children should learn about God from little on up from you as parents. Bible stories and stories of the Saints read to them will be cherished in later years. Catholic truths taught to them while they are little will make lasting impressions in their minds. Christian songs and hymns learned in childhood will bless them in many ways. Taking your children to church activities and Mass will shape their lives for good. Family devotions, that consists of praying the Rosary and reading the Bible together each day will provide a daily touch with God and His Word. Your own faith in God and love for Him will greatly influence your children toward God.We have the example of Timothy embracing the faith of his mother and grandmother.

Acts 16:1 And he came to Derbe and Lystra. And behold, there was a certain disciple there named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman that believed; but his father was a Gentile.

2Timothy 1:5 Calling to mind that faith which is in thee unfeigned, which also dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and in thy mother Eunice, and I am certain that in thee also.

Mark 10:13 And they brought to him young children, that he might touch them. And the disciples rebuked them that brought them. Whom when Jesus saw, he was much displeased, and saith to them: Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not; for of such is the kingdom of God.

  • What were some negative influences in Timothy’s life? Positive influences?
  • How do we know that young children can develop a relationship with Jesus and God?
  • List some ways you as parents can instill the fear of God in your children.

One of the greatest joys a parent can experience is their childrens baptism, and the privilege preparing their child for confirmation. This is the next big step of their spiritual journey you began for them at their their baptism. Your children will undergo the Sacrament of Confirmation and renew for themselves their baptismal promises given by their parents for them. They will receive in full the mark of the Holy Ghost, symbolized by the chrism oil on their foreheads, just as they first did with Holy Water at their baptism.

Understand that you are the most important role model in your child's life. The best way to encourage your child to deepen their faith is to deepen your own faith first.  Even if it doesn't seem like they're paying much attention, know that they are taking their cues from you. The life of the Spirit that radiates from you will (with prayer) rub off on your kids eventually, and maybe in ways you least expect.

It's All About Conversation 

Resist the urge to go through the motions and shuffle your child through the Sacrament with the other parents and children doing the same thing.  Don't rely solely on Catechists to impart to your child the importance of receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation; talk to them.

  • Ask your child about their faith, their relationship with Jesus, and with the Catholic Church.
  • Ask them why they want to be confirmed and what participating in this Sacrament means to them.
  • Talk about the Sacraments and the spiritual nourishment they receive through them.
  • What does your child think it means to be Catholic? To be a child of God? To be a saint?

Having spiritual conversations with your children will create a new norm in your relationship, and don't be surprised if you get a little closer in the process!  Try not to let feelings of inadequacy or spiritual ineptitude keep you from having these important talks with your child, and don't be discouraged if their eyes glaze over when you strike up these conversations.  The purpose is to awaken them to these kinds of 'big picture' faith questions, and to show them that they can feel comfortable talking with you about the struggles with faith they will inevitably experience in life.

Help Your Child With Spiritual Discernment

Your child has a unique personality with special gifts and talents. Help them to discover what they're good at and what they love doing.  As their parent, you have special insight into this. You've watched your child's personality and talents emerge and you know what makes them unique from other kids.  Ask the Holy Ghost to help you talk to your child about their uniqueness.  By doing this you will help your child to discern their vocation—what it is that God is calling them to do with their life.

If you help your child to discern what they were born for and what special gifts they can give to Christ in the service of others, this will help them to understand who they are—a child of God with a unique mission in this world.  Helping your child to spiritually discern also includes encouraging them to begin praying about their gifts and the vocation God is calling them to.  A great way to do this is through devotions and novenas to Catholic saints, especially the Confirmation saint they have chosen and any others they feel drawn to.

When your child receives the Sacrament of Confirmation, as the priest or bishop calls down the power of the Holy Ghost on them, you are helping your child to make this Sacrament a truly personal experience.  They will understand that God is calling them personally to this moment of fullness of communion with Christ and His Church.

Bring in the Backup

There is so much beauty and depth to the Sacraments that you don't want to miss covering anything with your child as you prepare them.  Encourage your child to read about the Sacraments for themselves so they (and you!) fully understand the Rite of Confirmation they are about to receive.  Have your child use a Catholic Catechism to retrace their path through the Sacraments thus far—from Baptism, Confession, First Communion, and now to Confirmation—so they understand the graces received in each. Talk with them about the future Sacraments in the form of vocations that they have the choice to participate in, Holy Matrimony or Holy Orders.

There are many that explain the Christian life and the Catholic faith. Having the right Catholic books in your home as back-up references and resources is definitely important, and your child will learn from them for years to come—so pray about which Catholic books to choose that will be just right for them.

Your last years with your children, before grow up and leaves home are very precious and important times, and you know all too well how they will fly by.  While they're still with you every day, create fertile soil in your home and in your relationship with them so that they will deepen their roots in the Catholic faith.