Never underestimate the effect of a consistent witness! Jesus’ life as a boy was in part defined by his parents’ yearly trip to Jerusalem for Passover. The trip, which was sixty-five miles and probably took four days, provided a certain rhythm to Jesus’ boyhood. It was something his family did; it was part of their identity. Yes, it was Jesus himself who impressed the teachers at the Temple, but it was his regular trips to the holy city that made him comfortable at the Temple and spiked his interest in what the teachers were talking about.
What do you do as a family to make your children more comfortable with their faith? Do you pray together? Some families say morning or evening prayer, others say the rosary together, and others go to daily Mass. Some families read Scripture or do Bible studies together. Others make it a point to give time on the weekends to service opportunities like donating meals to the poor, visiting nursing homes, or giving “angel tree” gifts at Christmastime. It doesn’t have to involve a big commitment of time or money, either. Simply blessing your children every night before bed can speak volumes to them of who you are and what you treasure.
Practices like these, while not an end in themselves, are clearly signs of our faith, signs that our children will read and understand, even if they don’t always appreciate them! Remember that what you do, and the priorities that you set for yourself and your family, speak volumes about who you are and what is important to you. Children instinctively pick that up.
No matter what you do, know that it will make a difference in your family! Your faith traditions, whatever they are, will send the message that God plays an important role in your life. And these messages, lived out consistently, always have a positive impact.