That’s right, folks, here’s my “7 sure-fire ways to keep your kids Catholic”. In just 7 easy steps, you too can keep your kids Catholic.
Don’t forget to pre-order my book, Forcing Your Kids to Be Catholic in 7 Easy Steps, available where all parenting books for desperate parents are sold. 🙁
Quantities are limited. So get it today before they are sold out!
Now, on to my 7 Easy Steps…Satisfaction Guaranteed.
Accept That There’s No “Sure-Fire” Way to Keep Your Kids Catholic.
Sad, but true. From the get-go you have to accept the fact that your kids, my kids — they have free will. There simply is no “sure-fire” way to keep our kids Catholic — but you probably already knew that. (There go the book sales. 🙁 )
Have you ever wondered what God was thinking — giving us free will?
The truth is, God was thinking about Love — the only thing that really matters in this world — and He knew that without freedom, there can’t be love.
Think about it, we can’t force anybody to love anything they don’t want to love — we just can’t — that’s part of what makes so love so darn beautiful.
Love — it’s a choice. It is so important that God actually risked losing us in order to allow us the privilege to love Him and to reflect His love in the world.
Love requires freedom, and God knew it was worth the risk!
The downside to all that freedom is that our kids just might choose not to love — not to love God, and not to love His Church.
Step 1 might be the hardest step, but if you don’t accept this from the get-go, you just might try to force your kids to love God and His Church — which will likely only push them further away.
Being Catholic is About a Relationship.
Okay step 1 was a bit of a downer. I’d much rather force my kids to be good then to trust that they’re going to choose it themselves. But since I can’t, I guess I won’t. Gotta move on.
But that doesn’t mean we don’t have a role to play in their faith lives. Rather, it just changes the focus. Remember that being Catholic is not about a bunch of mindless rules — it’s about a personal relationship with Jesus which (hopefully) will inspire in us a loving response.
Our job is to walk our kids to Jesus, put their hands in His, and slowly step back — and hope and pray that it sticks.
And this walking our kids to Jesus and stepping back — it takes time, it takes effort, it takes wisdom, it takes prayer. Lord, have mercy, we have our work cut out for us.
Simple Things Can Be Life Changing.
My mother was once asked to give a talk at the Franciscan University of Steubenville on “Keeping your kids Catholic”.
She decided to call all of us kids, in different places around the world, and asked us what was the thing that kept us Catholic.
Each of us, individually, without knowing what the other sibling had answered gave the exact same response. So I’m going to share it with you.
We all said, “Remember that time I was (6 or 7 years old) and you asked me if I wanted to ask Jesus into my heart? I think that’s what did it.”
Wow. So very simple. You, as a parent, have a crucial role in keeping your kids Catholic. And it doesn’t start in high school or college, it starts way before then.
It’s the simple prayers, the simple gestures that introduce your kids to the most important relationship of their life.
Respond to those little inspirations in your life and remember that sometimes it’s the little things that can have the greatest impact on your kids’ walk with Jesus.
Never Give Up, Never Give In.
Take heart, even if you “messed up” their early years, it’s never too late to begin.
Being a parent can be absolutely exhausting. It takes vigilance and wisdom and lots and lots of little conversations along the way.
Sometimes, we’re going to mess up — we just are. The key is to keep trying our lousy best and never, ever give up.
And sometimes we’re going to have to help fight for our kids’ souls — especially if they can’t fight for themselves. Don’t forget that this is a battle.
You just might have to pull out the big guns that our faith offers to us — Confession, the Mass, and the Rosary are powerful weapons.
Using Holy Water and Blessed Salt or making the sign of the cross has been known to make demons flee too — so don’t forget to use the weapons the Church has given to us.
You get out those weapons and you kick the devil out the door — as best you can. And equip your kids to recognize his influence and teach them how to do battle themselves.
And if you don’t know how to do battle, then find a good priest or prayerful friend and start asking questions.
Don’t ever think your job is done, because your.job.is.never.done.
You’re always going to be their parent and their always going to be your child — no matter how old they get.
Keep Praying and Sacrificing for Your Kids.
Keep praying, keep fighting, keep asking God the way you should go. And if all seems really lost, then maybe it’s time to start to take on some suffering, some fasting, for your kids.
Make up for what is lacking in the suffering of Christ. You have a special role in suffering for your kids — just ask St. Monica about that.
And just maybe, your suffering and sacrificing for your kids is not only going to help them to become a saint — but it’s also going to help you on your journey to Christ as well.
You might have to go to Hell and back for your kids — but it will be worth it, in the end. Take heart in that.
Never, ever give up on God’s ability to break through the darkness — where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more.
Say You Are Sorry.
Kids are really good at detecting hypocracy — they really are. To be honest, sometimes my kids are the first to call me on my bad behavior that I am telling them is unacceptable. 🙁
Oh, how humbling it is to be a parent. So very good to have those reality checks and then I think it’s good to have a laugh about it.
That’s right — have a good laugh at your ridiculous behavior, apologize to God and your kids — and then dust yourself off and begin again.
To be honest, I don’t think fighting and arguing and yelling are the worst things that a parent could do — I think that the worst thing is to not recognize those behaviors when they are wrong and to not apologize for them.
Honestly, a simple, “I’m sorry” covers a multitude of sins — hello confession — and it’s a very healthy environment for your kids to not see “perfection” as much as they see humility and reconciliation.
Saying sorry doesn’t take away your credibility — it’s the not recognizing your own bad behavior that does.
My husband is really good at this one — I’m working on it. Ahh, being a parent is not for the faint of heart.
You Can’t Give What You Don’t Have.
No matter how hard we try, we can’t give our kids what we don’t possess ourselves. This is critically important when it comes to a relationship with Jesus.
How are you going to share about a Man that you don’t know yourself? You need to spend time in prayer with Jesus to get to know Him, or you simply won’t have the ability to help your kids get to know Him.
When you fall in love with somebody, you want to sing about them from the rooftops. Your kids need to see that love for Jesus in you — because you can’t give what you don’t have.
We need to fall in love with Jesus. Have you fallen in love with Jesus?
If not, now is the time to get to know Him — because if you do, you’re going to love Him. To know God is to love Him, and there’s no better way to know Him than through making the commitment of daily prayer.
See what miracles happen as you give everything over to Jesus and stop trying to fix everything yourself.
Not only does He want to help you — but He’s the most capable person of effecting real change in your life and the lives of your kids, if only you’d take the time to pray and follow His lead.
Don’t be afraid to get to know Him. Don’t be afraid to Behold Him, in all His Beauty.
Don’t be afraid to let Him save you and your kids. He’s waiting to do just that.
Linking up with Kelly.